07/14/2003 3:35 PM ET
Scioscia holds court on media day
AL manager reveals lineup, sounds off on issues
Rosters: AL | NL
By Doug Miller / MLB.com
CHICAGO -- Mike Scioscia and Dusty Baker, former teammates, longtime friends, and opposing managers in last year's World Series, sat at the table heading the room for the managers' press conference for the 74th All-Star Game and smiled.
Despite the much more relaxed nature of this festive, honorary setting, one thing couldn't be hidden by the hoopla.
Once they get on the field Tuesday, both men want to beat the other team's brains in.
But first things first.
Scioscia, the Anaheim Angels' skipper, and Baker, who managed the San Francisco Giants last year and now commands the Chicago Cubs, entertained a full room of writers with their lineups and opinions on a number of issues they've had to deal with since qualifying for some of the most sought-after mid-summer jobs in the country.
Scioscia didn't waste time, saying he felt honored to be the manager of the AL All-Stars in this, the year player voting returned.
He also gave a slight nod to MLB higher-ups by mentioning the new rule that awards the winner of the game home-field advantage in the World Series, something Scioscia's Angels took advantage of in 2002, prevailing in seven games over the San Francisco Giants.
"For the first time, the players had a strong voice in who was selected, and they were selected by their peers, which is very meaningful," Scioscia said. "It's a special group."
"And I'm excited because there's a little bit more on the line. It's more interesting for fans and media. As far as the players are concerned, though, pride has always been the motivating factor over the years.
"I've played in two All-Star Games and I know from experience that we always took a lot of pride in representing our league, and that pride dictates that everyone will always play hard and try to win."
Scioscia sat next to his AL starter, White Sox right-hander Esteban Loaiza, who was a Spring Training non-roster invitee by Chicago but has baffled hitters all year, compiling a 12-5 record and a 2.21 ERA.
"He's had an incredible arm for many years," Scioscia said. "It's a good feeling when a guy has so much talent and puts it together the way he has this year."
Scioscia then tabbed Seattle's Ichiro Suzuki as his leadoff man and right fielder, penciled in New York Yankees second baseman Alfonso Soriano in the No. 2 hole, then put Toronto's slugging first baseman, Carlos Delgado, third in the order.
Hitting cleanup is shortstop Alex Rodriguez of Texas, followed by Scioscia's own team MVP, left fielder Garret Anderson, who was voted onto the team by the players and replaced injured Boston slugger Manny Ramirez in the starting lineup, in the No. 5 slot.
Said Scioscia of his decision to go with Anderson instead of Toronto's Vernon Wells, who has more RBIs than Anderson: "He's been the most underrated player in the game for a long time, but he's the most deserving and he fits the best in the lineup."
Batting No. 6 will be Seattle's venerable designated hitter, Edgar Martinez, followed by center fielder Hideki Matsui of the Yankees, Angels third baseman Troy Glaus and Yankees catcher Jorge Posada.
Once the Q&A portion of the conference began, Scioscia tackled a number of popular questions, including how long he would keep pitchers in the game, specifically Toronto ace Roy Halladay, who was thought to not be participating because of the concerns of his manager, Carlos Tosca.
"We all have to be sensitive to pitchers' careers and arms and how much gas they have in the tank," Scioscia said. "Roy Halladay is available. I talked to Carlos about it and he can pitch. I'm not going to tell Dusty for how long or when, though. Then he'll start to formulate a plan."
Scioscia said he and his staff, which includes his pitching coach in Anaheim, Bud Black, would take a poll of the pitchers during Monday workouts to find out how they feel.
When asked if his managing strategy would change based on the new home-field advantage rule, Scioscia brought up some interesting points.
"I've looked at it a lot of different ways," he said. "It's tough to manage for matchups, so I'll have to apologize to a lot of guys in advance who might not play."
"But I believe that the home-field advantage is not as big as people make it out to be. Last year, we had to get through two series where we didn't have the home-field advantage.
"We had to get through New York (in the AL Division Series), where we lost the first game, then Minnesota (in the AL Championship Series), where we lost the first game. It's more important how you're playing than where you're playing. Having home-field advantage gives you a slight edge, but it's not the end-all thing."
Scioscia then mentioned that Loaiza might go longer than the prescribed three innings if he is pitch-efficient and that he likes the makeup of his bullpen, which includes setup men Brendan Donnelly of the Angels and Shigetoshi Hasegawa of the Mariners instead of the usual full slate of closers.
"It gives us the opportunity to do some things a little more differently," Scioscia said.
"I'm looking forward to that."
So is Baker, a fact that Scioscia didn't try to ignore.
"What makes this so much fun is how competitive Dusty is," Scioscia said, before turning to Baker and cracking his first joke of the week.
"You make any trades yet, Bake, or are we good?"
Doug Miller is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to approval by Major League Baseball or its clubs.