LA Angels: Former skipper Mike Scioscia to manage U.S. Olympic Team

Los Angeles Angels

Mike Scioscia, Los Angeles Angels (Photo by Masterpress/Getty Images)

Former Angels skipper Mike Scioscia has been named manager of the USA Baseball Team for the upcoming Olympics on Tuesday.

Scioscia, 62, will manage a team of minor leaguers in the Baseball Americas Qualifier, which will be played in June 2021. If they advance, Team USA will qualify for the Olympic tournament in Japan later this summer. The previous manager of the Americans was Joe Girardi who stepped down after being hired by the Phillies in 2019.

The U.S. will play the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, and Nicaragua in Group A with the top two teams advancing to the next round. Players not on 26-man MLB rosters and injured lists will be eligible.

There’s no introduction needed for Scioscia in Anaheim. The former manager was at the helm from 2000-2018 and was one of baseball’s best. In that span Sicoscia became the franchise’s leader in managerial wins with a record of 1650-1428, delivering the Angels their first and only World Series title during that magical 2002 season.

That run with Scioscia is the most successful in franchise history, including seven trips to the postseason, six division titles, and seven seasons of at least 90 wins.

Since parting ways with the Angels in 2018, Scioscia has coached baseball at the amateur level in the California Collegiate League while also helping MLB’s Urban Youth Academy initiative.

Now Scioscia has the opportunity to become the second manager to win both a World Series and an Olympic gold medal. The other is his former mentor and manager, the late Tommy Lasorda.

“We’re doing a lot of prep work now,” Scioscia said via Zoom on Tuesday. “Our system will be in place. We’re not going to give (the players) more than they can handle. We want them to get out there and play free. Their talent is going to win this for us, not anything we’re doing.”

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While he could easily use this as a showcase to become an MLB manager again, Scioscia says he has no desire to return to the big-league dugout.