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Angels are in a big hole, and he isn't digging them

Manager Mike Scioscia, also known as the Control Freak, bears a lot of the blame, even though he insists his lifeless team is 'exciting.'

August 09, 2010|T.J. Simers

Arte Moreno, more of a Parking Lot Attendant than I knew, moved media parking another 700 feet away from the entrance to Angel Stadium, but now it's a team not worth walking across the street to watch.

I was afraid they wouldn't let me get a shovel through security, 700 feet a long way to go back to the car, so I decided to bury these stiffs the best way I could with just a computer.

Besides, I figured they had already dug themselves a deep enough hole.

A year ago it was a team with no personality, but now it sits lifeless in the standings as well, and if the Dodgers are Choking Dogs, what does that make these Orange County Duds?

I blame much of it on the Control Freak otherwise known as Mike Scioscia, as well as players like Juan Rivera, Bobby Abreu and Hideki Matsui, who should be arrested for taking the Orange County Duds' money.

Matsui has been a bust, a career .292 hitter in New York as well as World Series MVP, now hitting .244 and benched in three of the previous seven games. But when you ask the Control Freak if Matsui has been "tremendously disappointing,'' his immediate response is, "no."

How can you believe anything else that comes out of his mouth?

The Control Freak apparently lives in a dream world, insisting the Duds are an "exciting" team, and they certainly excited everyone in Baltimore last week, the worst team in baseball sweeping our red-faced stiffs.

It's one thing to be dreadful, another to offer absolutely no interest, Torii Hunter the only every-day player here worth the price of admission as long as he isn't serving out a suspension.

Eventually the Control Freak will get rid of him too, already sliding one of the game's all-time top center fielders over to right to make room for a rookie.

How boring has it become in Orange County? The fans were doing the Wave on Monday night.

Something has gone horribly wrong here, all right, and it starts with the prime decision maker, Scioscia serving as both manager and GM, emboldened by an admiring owner and a contract that takes him through 2018.

He's operated for some time now like someone who can do no wrong, because after all, who is there to challenge him?

No question everyone loves the guy, a spirited former Dodger done wrong by one of the Dodgers' many idiot GMs who never thought him worthy to manage the Dogs.

He's won a World Series, wins a division title it seems every season here, and is available to play Santa Claus should anyone ask.

But this team has not responded to him as it has in the past, raising the question 11 years into his reign as supreme Orange County commander if some folks are tired of hearing the same old fundamental refrain?

He loves small ball, and apparently players that resemble jockeys, but did he assemble a roster that really doesn't fit his style of play?

Or, did he just blow it when it came to gauging talent and what he might get out of Abreu, Rivera, Matsui and Brandon Wood?

He says, "no,'' "no,'' and "no,'' to such second-guessing, and says, "You have to watch us every day to find out what isn't going right,'' like anyone would have the stomach to do so.

A look at the standings seems to tell it all, the Duds so off their game they also trail Oakland.

One might argue the Angels' season was over when they lost Kendry Morales, but that doesn't speak very well to their intestinal fortitude, or the other 24 players on the roster.

Others point to relief pitchers maybe loved only by their own mothers.

Scioscia seems to think the Duds have paid the price because of a lapse in defensive fundamentals, while not specifically mentioning the obvious slow-footed defensive liabilities in Rivera and Abreu.

Add it all up, though, and it's the Control Freak's team, but playing nothing like the teams folks have come to expect when managed by Scioscia.

Is it time to reinvent himself, maybe rewrite his plan for small-ball success or reevaluate the kind of lifeless players he insists on stocking the clubhouse?

"I honestly feel we have a chance" to win the division this season, Scioscia says.

I know I've begun to tune him out.

AS MOST of you know, no one works harder to get the most out of our local athletes -- or send them on their way.

We've had our share of bums. Andruw Jones, Kenny Lofton and Gary Matthews Jr. come to mind.

Don't know yet of Scott Podsednik falls into that category, but I understand now why he can't hit very well.

When I spoke to him Saturday night, he couldn't make eye contact, so hitting .205 and not looking at the pitcher, that's not bad.

He was sitting alone in the Dodgers' clubhouse because no one seems to like the guy, and so I greeted him as I do most disappointing players.

"When are you going to start hitting?''

He appeared stumped. I mentioned Don Mattingly's name and he didn't seem to know who I was talking about. At some point, he swore at me, and I hadn't even mentioned the ball he botched in left, allowing it to roll away for an inside-the-park home run.

So far he stinks and isn't much of a teammate, but I told him I was rooting hard for him to be with the Dodgers next season.

Now that Jones, Lofton and Matthews are gone, I think it could be the start of a beautiful Page 2 friendship.

t.j.simers@latimes.com

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