The following is the 2nd part of my look at the best organization in baseball, the Los Angeles Angels. In this post, we will analyze the leadership style of Mike Scioscia and what we can learn his approach.
- The Angels, though not as famous as the Chicago Cubs, had a long history of play-off collapses. See the 1986 ALCS against the Red Sox. However, when Scioscia arrived he successfully communicated the “one day at a time” philosophy. Only Bobby Cox can match Scioscia when it comes to individual player and organizational long-term thinking.
- Scioscia refuses to accept credit. He constantly refers to the talent and depth of the organization. Furthermore, he constantly stresses that “we don’t do anything extraordinary.”
- The difference between equally matched teams is leadership. No manager puts pressure on opposing teams more than Scioscia. He brings a National League style of leadership that was formed from his days as a catcher. He places a great emphasis on base running. No AL team goes from first to third as often or effectively as the Angels. No team bunts more. Also, they specialize in strategic game-time decisions such as moving runners over manufacturing run support.
- Scioscia leads up well. Owner Arte Moreno lets baseball people make baseball decisions. Scioscia also gives the same ownership and responsibility to his Assistant Coaches. This could be a primary reason for the stability at every level of the organization. In 10 seasons as a Manager, he has lost only three assistants and two went to become a Manager (Bud Black and Joe Maddon).
- Player Development. In a Sporting News article in June 2008, Scioscia said “If you’re not developing your own guys, scouting, drafting, and developing your own players, a philosophy we know is important, it’s very, very tough to keep continuity and keep the team where it needs to be. This whole clubhouse really has a feel of player development in it, which is really the ultimate.” When someone comes up to the majors, they are generally ready.
- Every Player Has A Role. He uses the entire 25 man roster. This keeps the players fresh and demonstrates his full support of their efforts.
In conclusion, a final thought about Scioscia. When it came time to leading through the crisis of Adenhart’s passing, he understood the weight on the players’ hearts and shoulders. He didn’t discuss the team’s play for two weeks. After a long road trip losing five of six and a final memorial service, he re-focused the team on the the joy of playing baseball. Subsequently, the team then went 13-6 and off to the races.