by Nick Hamilton (@NickHamiltonLA)
ANAHEIM, CA – The Los Angeles Angels officially hired Joe Maddon as their next manager, and on a warm and windy Thursday afternoon the club hosted a press conference to introduced their new skipper to the media.
Maddon spent over 30 years in the Angels organization as a scout and bench coach before becoming a manager for the Tampa Bay Rays, whom he coached to a World Series appearance before guiding the Chicago Cubs to their first World Series championship in 108 years in 2016.
Maddon shared stories about his relationships with various players that include Mark Langston, Jim Abbott and Garret Anderson to name a few. He spoke about his humble beginnings as a scout and preached about the importance of striking a proper balance between “data versus art” in today’s game.
“In today’s game, everyone is working off the same sheet of music,” Maddon said. “I think there’s a reason why fans have been turned off a bit by our game. That’s because the game looks the same no matter where you go. I want to reestablish our own identity here.”
Maddon has always been a culture creator and players type of manager, that invoked balance in his style and approach to the game.
“You should never ever disassociate one or the other,” Maddon said. “To just be all analytically inclined or heartbeat inclined, you are going to lose; you are not going to be the best version of yourself.”
While stressed balance, owner Arte Moreno emphasized not only building a winning brand but having fun. The Angels have had four consecutive losing seasons that did not sit well with Moreno.
In the famous words of the late great Sam Cooke ” a change gon’ come“, and that change was in the form of Maddon. The clock ticks as the team has arguably the best player in baseball in Mike Trout, with a deep farm system with the right starting pitching in place, this team could go very far next season.
Moreno is serious about the team’s success so much that he voiced that the team’s payroll will go up next season.
With Maddon on board and general manger Billy Eppler on board for one more season, Maddon emphatically stated, “[I’d] like to work with Eppler for five-plus years.”
Only Moreno knows what the future holds, however Eppler and Maddon have some serious off season work to do.
“I’m not going to sugarcoat it or pussyfoot around it — my goal is to be playing [in October],” Maddon said. “I don’t like watching this crap on TV right now. I don’t like it. It’s much more fun to be involved, much more fun to be under the scrutiny, much more fun to be second-guessed than to not.”