by Kody Acevedo
MESA — The Angels and the Cubs don’t have many similarities, but Chicago may want to thank the Angels for grooming the manager that led their beloved Cubs to a World Series championship.
Joe Maddon spent 31 years in the Angels organization. In his final decade with the Halos, he served as the team’s bench coach. Six of those years (2000-05) were under current Angels manager Mike Scioscia.
“It’s where you began,” Maddon said. “So you never forget that.”
Maddon enters his third season as manager of the Cubs and his 12th as a big league manager. Despite serving as the Angels interim manager twice in 1996 and 1999, the Angels picked Scioscia to take over the managerial duties in 2000.
It is a decision Maddon said the Angels got right.
“The thing that really stood out to me about him was that… he was not concerned. He was just there doing what he thought was necessary to do in the moment, which I loved,” Maddon said.
Maddon describes Scioscia as fearless on the field, both as a player and manager.
“He’s in the moment all the time,” Maddon said. “I really respect and admire that . . .”
Scioscia was amazed at the baseball knowledge his staff, including Maddon, had in those early days.
“Their baseball expertise was above and beyond,” Scioscia said. “And you know, they’ve all done very well.”
Scioscia’s staff included Maddon, current Colorado Rockies manager Bud Black and former Brewers manager and current Angels third base coach Ron Roenicke.
(Video by Tyler Paley/Cronkite New)
“If you just look at the names that were coaches, that was a really, really outstanding group of coaches that they put together back then,” Maddon said. “I was really fortunate.”
Maddon helped Scioscia guide the Angels to their first World Series championship in 2002. He now has two rings after winning with Chicago last year.
Scioscia said his former bench coach’s approach and understanding of baseball is a huge aspect of the success he has no matter where he coaches.
“He’s a very progressive thinker in the game of baseball, but he’s got a sound fundamental base which gives him a nice blend of old school (and) new school. He’s terrific,” Scioscia said.
Even though he’s now over 2,000 miles away in Chicago, the Angels will always be home to Maddon.
“I learned a (simple), effective way of teaching,” he said. “So, that’s what the Angels are. It was like you’re home. It’s your first class. Your first degree… Your first graduation.”
These days, Maddon and Scioscia don’t see much of each other during the season and only a couple of times in the Cactus League.
During spring training, though, the Pennsylvania natives always find time to get together for dinner and simply to catch up.
“He’s very funny and he makes me laugh,” Maddon said. “We had a good time in the dugout together.”