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Angels’ Scioscia nixes report he’ll step down as ‘poppycock’

August 5, 2018
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Los Angeles Angels manager Mike Scioscia speaks during a press conference before a baseball game between the Cleveland Indians and the Angels, Sunday, Aug. 5, 2018, in Cleveland. Scioscia has strongly dismissed a report that he’s stepping down after this season as “just chatter.” Scioscia, who has managed the Angels since 2000, said before Sunday’s series finale against the Indians that he won’t talk about his future with the club until the season ends. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)

CLEVELAND (AP) — Los Angeles Angels manager Mike Scioscia reached deep into his vocabulary to describe a report saying he’ll step down after this season.

“Poppycock,” Sciocsia said Sunday, using a dated term for “nonsense.”

A day after The Athletic reported that Scioscia is expected to end his 19-year run with the Angels in October, the manager strongly dismissed the report and insisted that he still loves what he’s doing.

Shortly after the Angels were beaten 3-0 by the Indians on Saturday night, longtime baseball writer Ken Rosenthal, citing unnamed major league sources, reported that Scioscia — the longest-tenured manager in the majors — and the Angels had reached a mutual decision to part ways after this season.

Scioscia said that’s not true, and he has “no idea” where the report originated.

“Nothing has changed since we talked in October,” he said, referring to what he told reporters at the end of last season about his status. “There’s always chatter out there. That’s it. Nothing’s changed. The only word I have is poppycock. That’s all it is.”

Following last season, Scioscia, Angels general manager Billy Eppler and owner Arte Moreno jointly said they would put off any talks about the 59-year-old manager’s future — or a possible contract extension — until the 2018 season was over.

Scioscia is in the final year of a 10-year deal he signed in 2008.

One of the game’s most likable managers, the former major league catcher was in a playful mood and joked with reporters while sitting in the dugout before Sunday’s game. Once he denied the report, Scioscia was eager to change the subject.

Scioscia said he did not speak with the team and doesn’t believe his situation will distract the Angels, who have little chance of making the playoffs. They entered Sunday’s game in fourth place in the AL West, 16 games behind division leaders Houston and well back in the wild-card race.

The Angels haven’t made the postseason since 2014, and they could potentially finish under .500 for the third straight year under Scioscia.

They were a playoff fixture from 2002 through 2009, making the postseason six times with Sciscia at the helm and winning a World Series title in ’02.

Indians manager Terry Francona said he spoke with Scioscia after seeing the report.

“I just wanted to let him know that I was thinking about him,” Francona said. “Because he’s going to have to deal with that now.”

Scioscia has twice been named AL Manager of the Year. He has managed the Angels in 3,028 games since taking over in 2000 after one season at Albuquerque in the Pacific Coast League.

Only four managers — Connie Mack (50), Walter Alston (23), Bobby Cox (21) and Tommy Lasorda (21) — have managed one team for more consecutive seasons than Scioscia. All four are in the Hall of Fame.

Francona said Scioscia’s steadiness is remarkable in a game where change is inevitable. Also, Francona marvels at Scioscia’s ability to keep his players motivated throughout the years.

“It is really amazing,” Francona said. “From my own personal experience, I worry about shelf life. Not worried because you’re losing your job. I don’t think I’ve ever worried about that. I worry that, because if your message stops getting listened to, that’s not good. And you can’t change who you are.”

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