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February 21, 2024 50 mins

In this episode of 'The Book of Joe Podcast', Joe Maddon and Tom Verducci discuss the Chiefs Super Bowl win and Kyle Shanahan's overtime decisions.  Onto MLB,  Spring Training is around the corner and Joe talks about the importance of setting the tone as a manager, emphasizing the need to establish a culture and philosophy from day one. We look at Shohei Ohtani's transition to full-time hitting and Mike Trout's loyalty to the Angels. Tom helps explore the strategies for building a World Series winning team and the potential impact of top free agents.

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Speaker 1 (00:04):
The Book of Joe Podcast is a production of iHeartRadio.

Speaker 2 (00:14):
Hey there, welcome back.

Speaker 1 (00:15):
It's the latest edition of the Book of Joe Podcast
with me, Tom Verducci and of course Joe Madden. Joe,
I want to get to since we're at that point
now where teams are just gathering for spring training, full
squads coming in. I want to get to how important
it is for a manager to set the tone literally
from day one. But before we get there, we have

to double back to our super Bowl edition. It's our
first show since then. I will just go on record
and remind you, Joe Madden, then I said, do not
give the ball to Patrick Mahomes for the last at
bat in the game, because he's going to beat you.
And that's exactly what happened. And listen, you're manager, Joe.

You've made some on the decision flies in the heat
of the moment. Give me your take on Kyle Hanns
Shanahan's decision to take the ball in overtime. It obviously
it didn't work out, But if you rewind the tape,
what were you thinking at that time?

Speaker 3 (01:11):
Well, you know that's six to one half doesn't either.
I know, I get it from that perspective. By kicking off,
obviously you get to make different choices moving forward. But
how about the other night I had dinner with Bruce
arians here in Tampa, and the question came up. He says,
I want the ball. I want the ball. That's what
VA told me the other night. So it's one of

those things when it works, it's great when it doesn't.
And of course I would imagine analytically speaking, there was
a numerical support to say that you should have kicked
as opposed to receive right there. So I honestly got
I didn't make a whole lot of it, because if
they had scored and they put the pressure on them,
then it's a different The world beats differently at that
point too. But the thing I was surprised about more

than anything was when I read post where a lot
of the forty nine ers were not aware of the
new overtime rules in the Super Bowl and playoffs. That
kind of shocked me a little bit. I don't know
that would have made a difference. I don't know, but
even the fact that they came out so easily admitted
to it. It just in the case are prett such

a bad picture towards the group of your organization. Shanahan's
so well thought out. He is that good of a
play caller. I do like watching his team's play, And
you're right, I did pick them in that game, and
then it did come down to mahomes at the end.
So I don't know. I'm sure you have some data
that might support kicking as opposed to receiving, But being

in a moment right there, i'd like to know specifically.
I guess they wanted to rest their defense. I heard
all these different reasons, so there are different reasons to
do different things.

Speaker 1 (02:43):
Yeah, first of all, you're right, it is six and one,
half a dozen or the other. I don't think there
is a quote unquote right way to approach the situation.
For instance, in baseball, there used to not be an
actual rule that the home team batted last. You know,
a century ago, the home team had the choice of
batting first or last, and obviously they just picked batting

a lot every time. So they just said, you know what,
We'll just make this a rule. It's an obvious choice, right,
if you're tie going into the bottom of the eighth
inning or top of the ninth inning, you do not
have to protect the lead. As a home team, it's
a big advantage to go last. We see that with
the extra ning rule with a runerund second base. Right,
if you're the home team, you know what you need

to win the game. If the other team doesn't score
in the top of the tenth, you can actually play
for one run in the bottom of the ginning. You
wouldn't do that if the team scored one or two
runs at the top of the inning. So what's happening
is the home team has more information on which to
base their decisions. That's what I didn't like about this call.
You're giving the Kansas City Chiefs more information when they

have the ball. If they had the ball first and
have a fourth and one on their own thirty five,
they're punting the ball. They ain't going for it, But
because San Francisco put points on the board, they are
going for it. And that's the play to me that
won the game for them. The homes keeper on fourth
and short. So you're giving Kansas City more information on
which to play call and to strategy. Guys, I'd rather

have the information now. What you said is correct, though,
if you score first, especially a touchdown that puts tremendous
pressure on the other team.

Speaker 2 (04:13):
So for me, there you can go both ways.

Speaker 1 (04:16):
And Shanahan's philosophy was mostly about getting the ball the
third time. He thought it was a field goal game.
Each team scores on field goals. Then the team that
has the ball the third time is the one that
has the big advantage because now it's a sudden death
situation field goal. You win the Super Bowl, you go
home if you're the third team that scores. He was
counting on that. I don't like the idea of deferring

your advantage to the third possession of overtime when you
could lose and did lose on the second possession. It's
like saving your closer, Joe. If you save your closer
and you never get them the game. You know, Zach
Britten up in Toronto with Baltimore. You know you look bad.
You have to go down.

Speaker 2 (04:55):
Taking your best shot and taking your best swing.

Speaker 1 (04:58):
But analytically, yeah, I don't think there's an obvious way
to go forward on this. You just know that when
you see the college football game, and I get it,
the rules are a little bit differently in terms of
where you get the ball. Teams always defer and let
the other team go first so you have more information
on which to make your decisions.

Speaker 3 (05:14):
Well, that's a great breakdown, actually, and when you start
bringing into the baseball world, that makes perfect sense. Again,
you're the three possession thing. I did not hear anything
about that, didn't even read anything about that. But I
can understand that. I mean again, when you're sitting down,
and I would imagine that they had, at least the
staff did prior to the game being played. Listen, if
we get to this point, how are we going to

work it?

Speaker 2 (05:36):
Yeah, sure they did, Joe. I'm sure the staff went
through this.

Speaker 1 (05:39):
Whether every player got the message, I don't know, but
you're absolutely right.

Speaker 3 (05:43):
Yeah, And I would think this is where I would
ask analytical question. I would I would ask my analysts
what he got here? Talk to me about something that
I'm not seeing right here, something that I have not
thought about yet. And that's really where I like analyst
and analytical part of the game is, Like I will
do that. I will say, listen, I'm unsure here. Like
there's times when you're really crystal clear and you feel

strongly about it may go beyond any kind of number,
it's just how you feel and you stay with that whatever,
But I really like the tiebreaker. When I'm ambivalent, I
just don't know. I really don't know. Give me more
intel about this, because obviously I like to really feel
strongly about we all do what we're going to do.
And when I do feel that way, I'm gonna go ahead.
I'm gonna plow forward. But when I don't, I want

the nerds involved. And that's and I would imagine that's
what they did today before that game.

Speaker 2 (06:32):
Yeah, you're absolutely right.

Speaker 1 (06:33):
And by the way, Joe, I want to ask you,
this is again from put your manager hat on here
decision making. How often do you think about how the
personnel on the other side influences your decision? In other words,
when I'm making this decision, I have to know that
it's Patrick Mahomes on the other side.

Speaker 2 (06:50):
This is not just an algorithm I'm trusting.

Speaker 1 (06:53):
I'm going against one of the best quarterbacks of all time,
who's got an incredible postseason record, especially in the big moments.
To me, it would seem like, you know, back in
your day with the Angels and you're going up against
the Yankees, and you know Marianna Rivera is in the bullpen,
that's just not a closer.

Speaker 2 (07:10):
That's the closer.

Speaker 1 (07:11):
How much does having Mahomes on the other side, or
my example, Mariano Rivera, affects decision making.

Speaker 3 (07:18):
Yeah, I mean even right down to the starting pictures.
When you're facing a really good starting picture that's hot,
you're going to take different chances early regarding where to
play your defense, play your infield in which I really
got used to anyway. I started doing it almost always
from the first inning on run third base only. So
the picture matchup can influence for me, how are you

going to play your defense early? And that's also going
to influence risk taking. The better the picture, the better
picture we're facing, the more risks I want to take.
It's just not logical to think that we're going to
step up into three run home run, We're gonna get
three line drives in the gap back to back to back.
It just doesn't happen. So when the other team had
a really formidable starting pitcher, I would alter defensive alignment

or aggressiveness. I would alter aggressing. This on the basis
also because I really felt you had to take more
chances and not played straight up. And then, like you're saying, bullpen.
That's when you the game is a seven inning game.
It depends on the bullpen. I want to win after
six or seven innings. That's how I would look at
It depends on how the strength of it, especially the closer.
But back it up again when the Royals went in

a couple of years ago, man, God, I mean back
it up to the fifth inning, sixth inning because of
the way they lined it up like a bunch of
you know, seven forty seven's on the tarmac. There's just
not a whole lot you can do about it. But
I would do both. I would be the starting pitchers,
would influence defense and aggressing this offensively, and the strength
of the bullpen, and a legitimate closer and set up guy.
You're starting to play a seven inning game here. You

just don't want to keep waiting, waiting, waiting, so you're
going to push it a little bit earlier to try
to take an advantage and then hold on towards the
end because you don't want to see the significant part
of their bullpen. You want to see the soccer side.

Speaker 1 (08:58):
Yeah, it was an enjoyable game, nough to watch. The
Super Bowl, of course, decided in overtime. But even before
or that, watching these two quarterbacks go at it and
pretty cool that both of them are sons of professional
baseball pitchers and they're out there on a Super Bowl
field competing. I just think, as I thought going into
the game, when you have someone like Mahomes and the
NFL is nothing but a quarterback league, Let's face it,

the NFL is all about quarterback play. It's the decisive factor,
There's no question about that. You saw that in the
Super Bowl. I thought the one third down play they
get played called by Shanahan for Brock Purty when Spegnola
is going to blitz every time in a big spot
on third down every single time, and they got caught
with a play a selection in which they did not

account for blitz. I think you almost have to max
protect and assume that Spagnola is going.

Speaker 2 (09:48):
To blitz you.

Speaker 1 (09:48):
They got the blitz, they stop Purty, whereas Mahomes can
improvise that one play I talked about the fourth and
one play was actually an option passed to Kelsey.

Speaker 2 (09:57):
He decides to keep the ball, it opens up.

Speaker 1 (09:59):
I just think Mahomes is on such a different level
Joe that he allows play calling and play making that
no other quarterback, and that's no knock on rock Perty.
I mean, you saw how well he played under tremendous
pressure from from Jump Street, no sign of nerves at all.
But you just have to put my homes in a
different level.

Speaker 3 (10:18):
Is there any league that's dominated by one position more
than the NFL is dominated by one position? No? I mean,
I'm just I'm just looking at it right here. I
had to brunch the other day with Raheem Morris. He's
the new skipper of the Falcons. I asked, who's your quarterback? Brother?
You know, I love Raheem. Raheem is one of the
funnest people to hang out with, and I'm really looking

forward to a success back dur in Atlanta. But who's
your quarterback? Me and baseball, it's a pitcher's league for me.
I mean, I I've always said that they could have
named the game base pitching as opposed to baseball and
the NBA. I'm just sitting here thinking it would dominates
the NBA used to be. I thought it was a
really real center back in the day as we were
growing up. But whether it was you know, Chamberlain Russell,

even big old Nate Thurman, I was a Zembo Baby
fan for years, but each team Bob Lander had to
have a real aircraft carrier in the middle. I don't
know that it's as necessary these guys are shooting three
pointers now, but I think it's remained static or clear
that the NFL, if you don't have a quarterback, you
can't be a really smart coach. And in baseball say this,

if you don't have a really good bullpen, especially at
the end of it, it's really difficult to be a
very good manager.

Speaker 1 (11:27):
Yeah, I would agree with that, Joe, and I think
if you went back to baseball in the sixties and seventies,
you would stay starting pitching right right. But now it's
obviously a game that's built from the back forward in
terms of bullpen arms, with so many, so many guys
with closer stuff. I'm talking about by the time you
get to the fifth or sixth inning, that's what's driving
the game right now. I mentioned new managers spring training.

We're going to get into that next. There are seven
new managers opening up camp this week. What kind of
message should they be giving their players to set the
tone for the twenty twenty four season.

Speaker 2 (12:02):
We'll talk to Joe about that next.

Speaker 1 (12:14):
All right, Joe, I want you to go back in
the memory book here and think about when you were
name manager of the Tampa Bay Rays Devil Rays at
the time, excuse me, And you know guys' rookie managers
this year, you've got Carlos Mendoza with the Mets, Stephen
Vote with the Cleveland Guardians. There's that first day speech
that you probably lose a little bit of sleepover and

probably is not as important as you make it out
to be. I don't know how it tuned players are
to actually listening to a twenty minute speech or however
long it is, but it does sort of set a tone.
So take me back, Devil Rays, Joe Madden, your preparation
for that message that you gave, and what tone did
you want to set?

Speaker 3 (12:56):
You're right, you do lose sleep I did. I'm one
of those guys. I mean, I was drawing on all
my years of having been in a field coordinator for
the Angels, a minor league manager, and even as a
bench coach for so many years to get to that
two thousand and six moment with the Devil Rays at
one of my favorite sports venues of all time. Al

laying Field and Saint Petersburg. That really, and I don't
want to get into that too deeply, but that's that
really I hold that place in high regard. Yeah, you're
trying to paint, you know, what you're about and what
you want your team to be about. You're trying to
set the culture and philosophy right from the jump Street
right there. And it does. It takes it did take
me a lot of long time or a lot of

time to try to again craft the words properly. And
again you have to understand your audience, like you're saying too,
you can't be too long winded, you can't get too involved,
but you still want to make that point. And there's
you know, everybody else's standing there too. It's just not
the players. You got GMS, you got maybe even the
owners in town. You got a bunch of coaches, maybe

a lot of former major league players that are coaches now.
So there's you're addressing a lot of people, and yeah,
they do want to hear what you have to say.
So for me, it's all about that setting the culture,
setting the philosophy, setting the tone for the camp. Now,
just moving a couple of years ahead of that or
beyond that to two thousand and seven eight we lost
hundred games, and we lost near hundred games, and then

here comes two thousand and eight, and I really thought
I needed to be more specific or give them something
to be realistic, because we had not won. I think
seventy games or something was like the benchmark for the
Devil Race to that point. So I was out in
California as living in Bray at that time, and riding
my bike daily, and one day I went out there
and I just pounded on something mentally to myself. I

had read something about the esoteric message the Miami Heat
had in their club house, used to throw a slip
of paper in a bucket or something as they walked
in under a towel on top of it. Just that
was their intentions for the day, and I liked that
esoteric component to it. So what I did was I
wrote a wrote it, wrote, and I don't even know why,
but I thought equals eight. I don't know why I

did it when I did it, but I did do it.
Nine players playing nine innings hard permission to be one
of the eight teams in the playoffs. So I took
that and I went back and I swear I just
called Andrewson as I got back Friedman San Andrew, what
do you think about this? He said, I love it.
So from that extrapolate at nine nine more wins out
of the offense, nine one wins out of the defense,

nine one wins out of the pitching. I went each
each component of the game to think that we have
to be nine games better in each department, which was
like obviously twenty seven wins, and that should put us
in the playoffs that year. To the point I used
to have little nine equals eight placards above urinoles in
their locker room. Everywhere they looked, they saw nine equals
eight and eventually, of course the T shirt and it
did work. It had it resonated. I mean, by the

end of the year, nine equals eight was all over
the Tampa Bay area. My players are actually residing it
after wins, and then eventually we got to the World Series.
But that was something I thought was really dramatic or
drastic that needed to be done. And how do you
convince how do you sit there or they're watching you,
they're talking, you're talking to your players in spring training
when you have not won more than seventy games. Ever,

and now of a sudden, I'm talking going to the playoffs.
I felt I had to give them an equation, a
way to make this work. So that's what I did.
So I sat down and I mean that was a
bike ride. I swear I can remember it, going down Baston,
Cherry up Rows, all these different streets, very hilly and bray,
a really great ride. And by the time I got done,
I felt pretty strongly about it that message, and I
remember the guy sitting in front of me. I remember

throwing it out there, looking at the looking at me like,
what the hell are you talking about? Kind of a thing.
But I stayed with it. And sometimes I think that
you have to create a roadmap. How are you going
to do this? Just don't say we're gonna do how
are we going to do this? And that was my point,
so I would try to be as specific as I could,
and I think eventually it did play out pretty well.

Speaker 1 (16:50):
And if I remember correctly, Joe, I think back in
the day, especially the first time with the Devil Rays,
that was a small gathering. It might have even been
on the field where you could address your troops. You've
seen it literally the game grow over the years and
my own experience. I went to spring training and played
with the Toronto Blue Jays in two thousand and five.

We're sitting in a big room. They didn't have a
great facility back then in Dunedin. But it was one
after the other. It was the trainers, it was support people,
it was the general manager, it was the assistant general manager.
Then finally it was the manager, John Gibbons. So there
were a lot of voices in the room. So I
think setting the tone for the manager now seems like

it's a shared responsibility by an organization.

Speaker 3 (17:37):
Correct, there was a time it was just a manager.
There's no question about that. The manager was the voice
and that's the only voice that anybody wanted to hear from.
I'm not saying that was right. I was always concerned
about that growing up in the ANGE organization because we
were changing managers so often. Philosophically, the organization was changing
almost every two to three years, and as a minor

league coordinator, my message to the players was always changing,
just based on philosophical whims. That's the best way I
could describe it. Of those that were in charge, there
was nothing really ever etched in stone and I think
to me, that's why the Angels floundered a lot coming up.
We had great players men. I think it's been said
that we documented we put more guys in the big

leagues between eighty four and ninety four than any other
organization in baseball, but we could not win on a
major league level until eventually we did. So, yeah, all
that stuff is important and it matters. And right now,
for instance, I'm thinking when you brought that up, I'm
remembering Sloan Park Cubs. There's this big meeting room, theater room.

It's almost like a lecture hall in a university. And
I'm standing down there and it's like everybody's like, you know,
piled up, one seat extra higher than the other. Place
is packed. I mean, every seat's taken, everybody standing along
the walls, up side and back. It's a claustrophobic feel
feeling to it. And you got to go in there
and throw your stuff out at them. And I said,

it wasn't just me. It starts with I think mister
Rickett spoke, and then of course THEO spoke, Grank Kenney spoke,
everybody spoke, and then you speak. It's intimidating, not going
to lie to you, man, it's intimidating. There's a lot
of stuff going on there, and it's completely different because
there was only one message that mattered from I don't

know the beginning of time until was it nineteen, I
mean twenty fifteen. I don't even know when it really changed.
But I'm here to tell you, man, when Jeane Mak
stood in front of you, that's all I had to hear.
Johnny McNamara, Doug Rader, Marcel Latchman. There was no other
voice that was pertinent at that time, and it was
the same in every other organization.

Speaker 2 (19:45):
Yeah, I mean, you're right.

Speaker 1 (19:46):
You think about that meeting room and some at the
trading complex there that Cubs have. It's beautiful and it's
sort of to me is emblematic of the growth of
the game, both in terms of the front office size,
in terms of the staffing and all the different components
that go into building a team. And you know, I
was sitting on basically grammar school desks with the Blue
Jays back in their old training.

Speaker 2 (20:08):
Facility in Dunedin. So all these places have great facilities.

Speaker 1 (20:12):
As I mentioned, Joe, there's seven managers with new teams.

Speaker 2 (20:15):
Two rookie managers that I.

Speaker 1 (20:16):
Mentioned all of them. I don't care if you're Bob Melboyn.
You've been around for twenty something years, there's got to
be kind of an anxiety, maybe not a nervousness, but
you know, wanting to get off on the right foot,
introduce yourself to the players, the ones that you don't know,
in which case it's.

Speaker 2 (20:31):
Probably a lot.

Speaker 1 (20:32):
I'll go back to My favorite story about managers' first
day meetings or first full workout is usually when they
have them. Joe Tory in nineteen ninety six. Here's a
guy who's never been to the World Series as a
player or as a manager. He gets hired to replace
Buck Showalter. He knows he's got a good team, and
he stands up there and he's setting the goal, and

the goal is not to win the World Series. Remember
the Yankees at that point had not been to a
World Series since nineteen seventy eight. That's an eternity in
Yankee Kingdom. Joe Torre gets up there and he said,
I want to win a World Series, and not just one.
I want to win multiple World Series. And I think that,
in its own way, set the tone. It was something

that was very personal. Here's the guy just he spent
his whole baseball life trying to get to the World
Series and hadn't been there, and he's not satisfied with
even getting there once.

Speaker 2 (21:24):
He wants multiple ones.

Speaker 1 (21:25):
And of course that the Yankees go off on the
Dynasty and the Tory era. Anything like that stand out
for you, Joe, or one of your speeches or someone
you were a coach and you thought, man, that just
hit the right tone for a season.

Speaker 3 (21:38):
Well, yeah, I really do. I mean the nine equals
eight thing. I'm serious. I mean, think about it. We
had the Rays, the Devil Rays were nothing. I mean,
it was an organization, was not a good organization. There
was a lot of infighting. There was not one method
of doing anything, and kind of like searching for your footing.
And I thought it was really important that we and

then of course at that point I had to come
up with a thought or something to make it believable, predictable,
it can actually happen. And then just to take it
to another level. I know when I went to Chicago
with the Cubs, the first press conference at the Cubby Bear,
and I can see my name and the marquee out

the window, and I Wrigley feel that I'm going to
start talking playoffs. I'm going to start talking world series.
And that was the first thing I said with the
Cubs when I walked in the door there. Also, I
know with the Angels more recently and with the Double
Rays and what started, I talked playoffs. But I think
pretty certain I was more specific with the world series
with the Cubs when I got there in twenty fourteen fifteen,

moving on from there. So, yeah, you have to be listen.
It's a self fulfilling whatever. Whatever comes out of trepidation,
comes out of uncertainty, comes out in those talks or
thoughts or speeches. That's what the players are going to
carry with them. You have to aim high, and you
have to make sure that you're creating within the player.
Whomever else is listening this wanting to set some high

bars here, Let's set some expectations. That's the other thing
you've heard me talk about expectations and pressure. Everybody talks
about it as being a privilege, great, but I talk
about it as if you see those words, run towards them,
never run away from pressure and expectations, because those words
have really good conclusions. Attached to them, and that was
always a big part whenever I talk to my guys

to really point that out, because I mean so many
times you did mention the word anxiety and I prefer eagerness. Well,
you get to those moments, and we have all had
these moments where things get you're counted on, you're put
out front, you're the lead singer, you're setting the tone,
and there's an anxiousness. There's an anxiety. I cannot deny that,
but I try to channel it into eagerness. Eager is

a better word than being anxious for me. So I
really try to focus on that from my perspective and
realize when I get all amped up like that, I'm
just more eager than nervous or anxious, And it's easier
for me to deal with internally, because, believe me, man, everybody,
there's a lot of folks and myself included, that can
look like, you know, like a calm sea on the
surface from a distance. But I'll tell you what, if

you can see below the surface, there's a lot of
paddling going on and there's a lot of uncertainty going
on underneath there that it really does mess with your head.
A little bit. So I prefer the word eager over
anxious or anxiety. And I also believe in admitting to it.
There's a great line that I read years ago, feel
the fear and do it anyway. I think Sue the Grafton,

I think she wrote the book something like that. But
feel the fear and do it anyway. We all are.
We all confronted with that. That's that uncomfortable moment. And
if you want to be great, you have to facial
uncomfortable moments.

Speaker 1 (24:47):
Well, I'm glad you said, you know, establish expectations and
don't be afraid of identifying them, you know. Dave Roberts
says a couple of years ago took some heat because
he said we're going to win.

Speaker 2 (24:58):
The World Series. Well, what's he supposed to say?

Speaker 1 (25:01):
You know, if you want to be politically correct, say well,
I think we have a chance to play meaningful games
in September.

Speaker 2 (25:07):
I hate No, you're there.

Speaker 1 (25:10):
To win, and we've seen a lot of teams win
the World Series, go back to all the way back
to last year. Anybody think about the Texas Rangers as
a World Series champion?

Speaker 2 (25:20):
I guarantee it.

Speaker 1 (25:20):
Bruce Bochie was, but just because the rest of the
world doesn't. Don't settle for just Hey, we want to
play meaningful games in September. No, go ahead and aim high.
This is why you're there. This is why you play
these games. And do I think the Oakland A's have
a chance to win the World Series this year? No,
that's not really what I'm talking about. I'm talking about
teams that are competitive. You know, you have a pretty

good ball club. Why not talk about winning the World Series?
That's why you're there, folks.

Speaker 3 (25:45):
If it comes out of your mouth, you've got a
chance to have it done. If it doesn't come out,
I've always felt that. I mean, I've said some things,
you know, and I get out there a little bit sometimes,
but always I don't know what. Weirdly, historically, I'm from
a personal perspective. If I say it, it has a
much better chance of it coming to fruition coming true.
And if I just hold it inside, it just it

just continues to percolate or fester, whatever you want to
call it. But don't be afraid to make proclamations in
that regard. And again, like you're saying it's over the top,
I mean, yeah, you have to. You have to temper
that a bit. But even listen, brother, if I'm running
the Oakland A's I'm going to try to convince these
guys somehow, And that's spring training. I'm not talking meaningful
games in September because that's that's another easy out for me.

That's that's that is exact. You talk right there. I
want to play playoff games in September, October, November. I
want to play playoff games. So in some way, uh,
and it can and I listen, you're right open to
be an unrealistic. There's certain teams will be under I
get that, but somehow I'd want to convince them that
if everything were to break right, we have a shot
to get to the playoffs. And I got to get them,

ayming high man, because if they don't, we're just We're
just going to be You're gonna have this awful record
in the middle of May, June, July, August, and it's tough.
It's tough going to the ballpark under those circumstances. It's
very difficult.

Speaker 1 (27:06):
Real quick, Joe, if if Steven Vote or Carlos Mendoza
asked you what am I in for as a rookie manager,
and think about vote. He just stopped playing two years ago.
You know, in one year of coaching, he's got Carlos
Albertaez is his bench coach, He's got the veteran Carl
Willis's pitching coach. And then you have Carlos Mendoza with

the New York Mets, who who has some years coaching
under Aaron Boone with the Yankees. What do you think
when they look back on their rookie season will strike
them as something that maybe was different or most challenging
about being a rookie manager in the big leagues.

Speaker 3 (27:44):
Well, let me go vote first. I think it's going
to be quick in the beginning because he's never really
done this, whereas Mendoza has, I mean as a bench coach,
and Doza's had to process the game from that from
that step to be an advisor to manage of the
New York Yankees. So that's he's got some decent back
ground right there. I mean, I'm just you know, my

personal level, when I became a manager, I'd already been
there for Marcel and Terry Collins and and so for
years and before that, you know, I'd run an organization,
I'd run the minor league system for a long time,
So there's there's a there's an ability to slow things down.
Even though Voter had been a player, and I get it,
and he played a lot a long time and he
played well, it's different when you're in there trying to decide,

make decisions for and be and be ahead of the
process always on a nightly basis in a very fast
major league game. Again from up top, it is kind
of like a nice slow dance when you're in the dugout.
It's almost like that beginning of Star Trek when the
enterprise just becomes a blur and runs out of site.
It's just there's two different methods or speech of the game.

So I think the quickness of the game as a
manager a thinking component of the game. Alb and him
are going to have to figure that out. And on
on Dozes's side, I mean I read a lot what
he says. The guy is, uh, he's he's he's got,
he's got away with words, he's he's pretty bright, and
he's also he's well thought out. That's that's what I'm
getting from. I read about his positivity and the different

attributes that I think that turns sterns on and and
and led him to this particular moment for him, I
just think it's going to be two when when he
when crap hits the fan for the first time, that
he's able to stay with his his philosophy's his thoughts,
his methods. He talks a lot about trust and building relationships.
He talks about that a lot, which I love. So

for him, I think it's going to be this first
New York crap hits the fan. Things aren't working like
we had talked about, being able to stay with this
message is going to be very important where I think
voter and that group. On the other hand, I don't
know that the expectations are nearly assigned. He's working off Broadway.
I just think the quickness of the game, he needs
to get a handle on that, and then he's going
to be just fine.

Speaker 1 (29:57):
Hey, we want to talk also about the news we
always generates this time of year in spring training, when
the stars report to camp. I mean, most news media people
haven't seen them, spoken to them for a few months,
so no matter what they say, they tend to generate
a headline.

Speaker 2 (30:11):
That certainly was.

Speaker 1 (30:12):
The case with Mike Trout, And I want to ask
Joe about Mike Trout and shoe Otani and the futures
ahead of both of those guys. Right after this, well, Joe,

let's talk about a couple of year former players, sho
Otani and Mike Trout. First, show A obviously not pitching
this year as he rehabs from Tommy John surgery. I've
been amazed, Joe at how much better show Hey has
gotten as a hitter at the big league level while pitching.
You know, last year made twenty three starts. I thought
that was his best offensive season ever. He has become

the best fastball hitter in the big leagues. He had
a little bit of trouble with that early in his career,
especially on the ball up and in so I see
a guy on a jectory straight up offensively, and now
I'm thinking in that lineup and not having you know,
the game prep as a pitcher and throw in the
recovery as well. I mean, Joe, it could be scary

the kind of numbers that he put up. He won
a home run title last year with forty four, and
he essentially barely played in the last three weeks of
this season. Give me your thoughts on Showhy now that
he will be dedicated only to hitting.

Speaker 2 (31:29):
I know he did that before after his first Timmy John.

Speaker 1 (31:32):
Surgery, but I think he's a much better hitter now
when he first got to the big leagues.

Speaker 3 (31:37):
Well, first off, mechanically, I think he's better. I mean
when I saw him when I first got there in
twenty twenty, he was spinning off everything and he was
coming off with surgery and things weren't really back to
where they had been. So I never saw him really
good when he first got to the Angels, and I
saw him not so good with the Angels. Then I
saw him like wow. So first of all, I think
his hitting mechanics's balanced got much better over the last

couple of years. That's what I've seen. And you nailed
it right there. This boy can hit a high ball. Man,
he hits a high ball. Well, you can't throw an
elevated fastball by him. He'll he'll get on top of it,
he'll look for it, he won't miss it, and it's
going to go far. So I think the better balance
in his swing last several years, I think the ability
to really handle the ball up and like you're saying,

up and in, you can't go there because he's so
smart if he thinks you're going to go there, and
you will. The big thing is not only to look
for it and there it is, but you can't take it,
miss it followed off whatever, you got to hit it
hard and keep it fair, which he does in the
last point. What I've noticed is more off field. I
think he's more wanting to or able to just pook
the ball to the left side when it's necessary to

move the ball, and maybe driving a point and be
much more of a pinion. But because he likes to
run the basis, he likes to get out there and
be on the basis. He likes that too. He's he
plays a complete game so dangerous because of all those
different reasons. Better balance kills the high ball, which is
that's part of a game right now. And now he
knows that the change up something soft in a way

could go the other way. He's got all of that
in the playbook right now. And like you said, with
the I was just I was just like I thought
about this a little bit, the fact that I don't
know to what extent pitching balanced out this need to
just hit all the time. So is he gonna miss that?
Is he gonna miss that workout and going out and pitching,

is there, like, is it a way to park the
mind a little bit, to not become too obsessed with
your hitting. So I'm just curious if he gets overly
obsessed with the hitting and misses the balance in his game.
It's kind of like him playing defense. He's not a
defensive player. I didn't even be curious if they're going
to put him on defense at some point this year,
I would be I would I really like, if something
were to break down on the Dodgers, would they actually

put him on defense in the outfield if they need to,
You don't think so.

Speaker 2 (33:48):
No, no they won't.

Speaker 1 (33:50):
But if for whatever reason, if he has trouble rehabbing
and next year is not the same pitcher, absolutely he
becomes an option to play the outfield.

Speaker 2 (33:59):
I mean, this guy is such a good athlete.

Speaker 1 (34:00):
When he was first drafted by the Fighters, they talked
about him shortstop.

Speaker 2 (34:04):
I could see a true story.

Speaker 1 (34:06):
It's an interesting point you make, though, Joe about now
just dedicated to hitting. Because I've always said you know this,
I've said this to you. The best thing about show
Hey is he wants to be a two way player.
This is in his heart, and the American way is
to specialize. And for years and years people have said, oh,
just imagine if he was just a pitcher, how good
he'd be, Or oh, just imagine if he just concentrated

on hitting, how good he would be. I think doing
both brings out the best in show. Hey Otani. So
it's an interesting point you make about now just being
a full time hitter, and listen, he'll be doing all
his rehab work and at some point he's on a
throwing program. It's not like he's just not throwing, but
as far as game ready pitching, that's not part of
his mindset this year.

Speaker 2 (34:49):
And I absolutely I agree. I think he'll miss it
a lot.

Speaker 3 (34:51):
I do, I do. I mean, he's he likes to
be doing things. You don't see him a lot out
there because he likes to do things underneath. He's good
in the cage. He loves in the cage. He'll get
his workouts on the mound done at a good hour
away from the maddening crowd because he just has to
be I mean, he gets so he's the beatles man.
He gets, he gets inun dated. He's all four of
them wrapped into one, and so he likes to do

his work on his own, which I understand, but yeah,
I just I would just watch this play out. I
don't know that it's a slam dunk that just hitting
is going to be a difference maker, you know, theoretically
it sounds that way, but I just, like you said,
I know much he likes the pitch, and he likes
the competitive part of pitching, and like I said, it's

good to park your mind sometimes and not just get
obsessed with one thing, and that's let's just see how
it plays out. He might just nail it. Of course,
he just might nail it, because that's who he is.
But then again, it might he might miss it so
much or become so lopsided in his game when it
just when it doesn't go well with this with his hitting,

he doesn't have his pitching to fall back onto right now.

Speaker 1 (35:57):
Yeah, I would bet on him having a big year though,
given his talent, in the fact that now he's he's
playing on a team let's face it, that's going to
the playoffs, and he knows that from day one.

Speaker 2 (36:05):
This is what he wants. This is the environment he wants.

Speaker 1 (36:08):
And by the way, if you're drafting Fantasy league players
take Will Smith because he's a two ninety five career
hitter with runners in scoring position.

Speaker 2 (36:16):
I've seen him do it many times.

Speaker 1 (36:17):
He uses the whole field with runners out there, more
of a poll hitter with bases empty. And now he's
got Mookie Betts, Freddie Freeman, and shohe Otani in front
of him. Not only are they on base all the time,
all of them are excellent base runners. I mean excellent,
I mean top ten percent type base runners. So if

you're Will Smith, man traffic all year long.

Speaker 3 (36:40):
I never quite understood why he didn't catch more earlier. Smith.
I know Barnes, he's got his reputation, and some of
the pitchers like to throw to him. And I didn't
watch Smith closely enough to know how good or bad,
but I thought he threw well. But I like this
guy swing a lot. This guy can flat hit. I
saw him as being a pretty darn good catcher. I
don't know if they were just trying to bring him

along slowly, or if some of thes were clamoring for
Barnes to catch. But this guy here, nobody talks about
him enough as being one of the top catchers in baseball.
But I think he is.

Speaker 1 (37:11):
Let's talk about Mike Trout, because Joe, you and I
have talked about this a lot. One of the most
overrated narratives that's been going on the last couple of
years is that the Angels should trade Mike Trout.

Speaker 2 (37:23):
Mike Trout's not going anywhere, folks. We've been saying that
for years.

Speaker 1 (37:26):
If you know Mike Trout a little bit, you know
he is one loyal cat. He's not the kind of
guy that rocked the boat. He's not the kind of
guy who's going to put himself above an organization that
drafted him when twenty two other teams didn't draft him,
that gave him the biggest extension in baseball, twelve year contract.

Speaker 2 (37:46):
He said it well, Joe. He's a people pleaser.

Speaker 1 (37:49):
He wants to please the people around him, whether it's
family or whether it's Ardy Moreno, whether it's Angels fans.
He is not going to rock the boat. And people
love to write, Oh, Mike Trout's got to get out
of here. He's got to force the trade. So, of course,
Mike Trout shows up again in spring training, this time
without show Hey Otani for the first time in seven years,
and the question is about demanding a trade, and Mike

again said, you know, I think the easy way out
is to ask for a trade.

Speaker 2 (38:19):
Mike is not the kind of guy to take an
easy way out.

Speaker 1 (38:22):
Is he frustrated? Of course he is. Does he want
to win? Of course he is. The second worst narrative
is that Mike Trout is happy each year the angel's
not going to the playoffs collecting his paycheck. No, it
eats at him. But what he wants to do is
win with the team that he's loyal to. It's that simple,
and people have a hard time understanding that.

Speaker 3 (38:42):

Speaker 1 (38:42):
I mean, you know, Mike, you don't get any pretenses
with him. He's going to tell you the way that
it is. And I think the mistake of a lot
of people in the media, out and fans is to
try to find other intentions or agendas for Mike Trout.

Speaker 2 (38:56):
They're not there.

Speaker 3 (38:58):
No, he is who he is. So we've talked about
this too. In a very minute way, I could identify
with him being from the part of the world that
he's from, how he was raised, the town that he
had been raised in. You know, his family is his parents,
et cetera. A very very similar background and to it
be so antithetical Abhorn to think that I would demand

anything and he would not demand anything, like when it
comes to an organization to trade me or whatever the
demands might be. I would say this though, I think
that if the Angels traded him, of course he would
go willingly at that particular juncture, but he'll never demand
a trade. And I'm not saying that he wants one,
like you said, I don't say that, but I thought

they they would have traded him. I did after like
I said, Showey did not sign and I thought, at
that particular juncture, you still want to get as much
as you can out of Mikey as you're trying to
rebuild it or build the situation, not even rebuild it,
build it. So I thought that was kind of curious
because we talked about that. If Showey does not sign
back with the Angels, I thought at that point they

should consider trading Michael, and we talked about that all
so last trade deadline when they chose to not trade
show Hey and what that meant to the organization moving forward. Also,
so there's all this other subplot about this. But then again,
when you look at some of the young players, they
got some nice young players coming to camp again, they
have to augment their pitching. Although there's a lot to like.
I mean, I like some of their young pitchers. I

was there with these guys. I like these kids a lot.
So at the end of the day, I'm getting off track.
But with Trouty, he's there. He wants to be there.
I agree with that. They do need to build around
them a little bit more. I don't know how they're
going to He can't replace show how you cannot replace them.
So it's just gonna have to be a different method
they're gonna have to incorporate in order to get back
to five hundred and beyond. But as far as Mike
is concerned, he'd be very happy to stay there for

the rest of his career.

Speaker 1 (40:45):
Yeah, Joe, you and I know Artie Moreno is not
trading Mike Trout.

Speaker 2 (40:48):
Come on, Artie Moreno.

Speaker 1 (40:50):
You can attack whether he knows how to win the
right way and build a team around Mike Trout, but
he is there. I truly believe it's almost like an
old school type of owner. It matters to him about
the attendance, about the way fans and especially families view
his team, and Mike Trout is extremely popular in Anaheim.

And this is a guy who's every day I mean
literally every day You've seen it. He's out there signing
autographs for kids before a game. He is the definition
of a franchise player. The value that Mike Trout has
as the face of the franchise is enormous. And I
think Ardi Moreno is one of those owners and not
all think this way who truly values it's worth having

that ten pole player like Mike Trout. So he ain't
Mike Trout is not getting traded by Arti Morena.

Speaker 3 (41:38):
You're right. I mean, I'm not denying that. I'm just
just being like just the view or the GM there,
if I was a GM there, whatever, how would you
approach that independent of what the owner was thinking. I mean,
what kind of thoughts would you bring to the owner
regarding not to try to get beyond just being this,
you know, this major league team in southern California that
has this reputation where Mike Trout is my centerpiece. How

do we get beyond that to the point where just
beyond just appearances, we're here to try to really win
this whole thing. And what it would take to do that,
and what kind of return would you get for somebody
like this. And I'm sure they have to have had
explored all the options with something like that, but that's it.
I mean, I'm just if being in that position where
you're trying to build a World Series winning team, what

would you actually do under those circumstances.

Speaker 1 (42:26):
Yeah, well let's talk about that. First of all, they
need Mike Trout to stay healthy. There's no question about that.
Mike Trout hasn't had five hundred bats in the season
since he was twenty five years old. Think about that,
He's missed thirty three percent of the Angels games over
seven years. I want to see Mike Trout play a
full season because I've said this, Joe. He becomes a
more dangerous power hitter as he ages. There's no question

about that. He has learned the ability to get the
ball in the air, especially to pull side in the
right times. And it's typical of great hitters usually the
power quotion goes up as they age. And I think
he's a forty to fifty home run guy, if not more,
if you give him a full season. Now, he has
said he has gone to John Carpino and Arty Moreno

and pushed for them to sign more players.

Speaker 2 (43:15):
And I get that.

Speaker 1 (43:16):
Just because I said Mike Trout's not being traded doesn't
mean he's not behind the scenes saying go out there
and sign these players. Here's my question, Joe, if you're
already Moreno or you might put the Boston Red Sox
in this category as well, maybe even the Chicago Cubs.
You know, Scott Boris still has his clients out there.
You know, he's got five of the best free agents.
He's got four of the top eight free agents that

are still out there, Blake Snell, Cody Bellinger, Matt Chapman,
and who's the other one I'm forgetting here, Jordan Montgomery.

Speaker 2 (43:45):
He's got impact players.

Speaker 3 (43:47):
You know.

Speaker 1 (43:48):
If you're the Angels and right now you look like,
you know, probably a best of the five hundred team
maybe a little bit below, can you go out there
and sign Blake Snell and Cody Bellinger and now think
you're going to the playoffs with Mike Trout, Or if
you're the Boston Red Sox right now on paper you
look like the last place team in the Al East.

Speaker 2 (44:08):
You signed two of those pictures.

Speaker 1 (44:09):
Now on Montgomery, are you all of a sudden now
going to the postseason, it's a very interesting dynamic, Joe,
to have these top free agent players still out there
after camps open. I'm not talking about one or two,
but a whole bunch of them who could be different
difference makers. So that's the question for me, Joe, is
if you're Arty Moreno, and you've made some mistakes on

huge contracts in the past that haven't worked out, is
it worth it to try to go for that brass
ring where you're not really a playoff team right now?
But did two of those players, not one put you
in the mix and what's the cost of that?

Speaker 3 (44:45):
Well, you know, first of all, I mean I don't
see that Aarti succumbing to the pressure of even the
superstars asking him to sign particular players. I don't see
that being part of the landscape there. That's not what
I necessarily saw at that time. Arty would have to
be motivated on his own to want to get those
things done when it comes down to these players that
are available. From my perspective, heck yeah, I mean, if

if if I have a pretty nice looking ball club
and I got pictures of that caliber, and I know,
you know, Snell sayang, I get it, there's going to
be you have to have a pretty strong and formidable
bullpen to augment the innings that have to be pitched.
When he's starting listening to stuff, is that good. I've
seen this guy. I've only seen him good. I have
not seen him bad, and so that stuff is prodigious

and he is. He is. All of that just a
matter of him somehow getting more deeply into the game
or you're being able to support him from the backside. Montgomery,
on the other hand, I've always again, there's another guy.
I was was not shocked that he did so well
with Texas. I was kind of shocked at the Yankees
thought so little of him, you know what I had
read about after they had let him go. But yeah,

these two guys on a being signed by a team
that was does a decent or legitimate team on the
field position player wise, that just needs to augment their
pitching staff. This could be a yeah, it could be
a game change in regarding that. So I again, I
don't even and the Red Sox they just signed somebody
who the Red Sox just signed. I saw that. Well.

Speaker 1 (46:08):
They got Liam Hendrix on a two year deal but
he's rehabbing one year.

Speaker 3 (46:12):
Okay, is that right? It even that's one year of that.
So I don't know. I mean, yeah, these guys can
make a difference, but when it comes to the Angels,
I just don't see it happening there. I don't see
already going out and spending money on all those at
least two of those guys.

Speaker 2 (46:24):
You're probably right. I mean, listen to the Angels.

Speaker 1 (46:26):
They've spent a lot of money, but under ardy Moreno,
they've gone over the first luxury tax threshold once and
that was like an accounting error, but like twenty two cents,
and last year they did incredible financial gymnastics moving players
to get under the threshold. So does he all of
a sudden change routine with a seventy four to eighty

two win team and go for it now?

Speaker 2 (46:49):
Probably not, but it's interesting to see.

Speaker 1 (46:51):
How things are going to play out with It's very
unusual have this many top free agents. There's always one
or two maybe, but Scott Bores is sitting on five
of them right here, and he promises they'll be ready
to go, hitting the ground running and will not be
behind schedule.

Speaker 2 (47:05):
We'll see. And speaking of prodigious stuff.

Speaker 1 (47:08):
Joe, I always think about you as our closer with
prodigious stuff taking us out today, I wonder what you
have in mind?

Speaker 3 (47:15):
Well, it was about decision making. How about that?

Speaker 2 (47:17):
I love it?

Speaker 3 (47:18):
I was, yeah, you and I had two that I
was stuck on and I couldn't really decide on one.
One is from an author that I really enjoyed reading,
Malcolm Gladwell. Whether it was Blink, it was probably my
favorite by him. But he said, truly successful decision making
relies on a balance between deliberate and instinctive thinking. We've

talked about that, but it's so succinct and it's appropriate
and it's right on. And then the Lino Messi, the
soccer dude, right right, And this guy's pretty pretty good
from I understand, I'm not a soccer guy. But the
best decisions aren't made with your mind but with your instinct.
So does that mean that the analytical world has not
overtaken the soccer world yet? But again, you're talking about, uh,

deliberate and instinctive thinking, and then Messi's talking about, uh,
the best decisions aren't with your mind, your instinct. I've
always thought you you you always think I always think
with three body parts, and that would be my mind,
my heart, and my stomach my gut, and sometimes it's
it's you know, everybody always wants to think that it's

wise to choose and make decisions based on what you're thinking.
But believe me, man, I think there's times when the
heart matters and definitely where the gut matters. I mean,
probably the gut, to me, is the most accurate decision
maker that there is. And then I could argue over
number two between the heart and the and the in
the mind. I'm not sure there, like probably the heart
being the least reliable, just because emotions get in the way.

But man, if if you don't follow your instincts, brother,
you're you're gonna you're gonna miss out on a lot
of good situations.

Speaker 1 (48:56):
Joe, that sounds like really good advice for Steven Vote
and Carlos Mendoza. You know, gut is not a dirty
word if you explain yourself after a game on a
decision that didn't work out, and part of it is
using your experience in this game. And both these guys,
either as players or coaches, have a ton of it.
Why not rely on that and sort of admit to

it that this was my most well informed decision. It's,
as you said, a balance of the numbers and the gut.

Speaker 3 (49:26):
Tommy, you just nailed it, man, Gut is not a
dirty word. Wow. You talk about a T shirt that
should be the first Book of Joe T shirt that
the Book of Joe thing on. They're pumpet on the back.
Gut not Doug gut is it? Doug Gut is not
a dirty word. Er gut is Gut is not a
dirty word. That's awesome, brother, Yeah, that might be. That's
for your next book right there, at least my next

T shirt. Well done.

Speaker 2 (49:51):
Always a pleasure, Joe.

Speaker 3 (49:52):
Thanks save every buddy. Thank you.

Speaker 1 (50:02):
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The Nikki Glaser Podcast

The Nikki Glaser Podcast

Every week comedian and infamous roaster Nikki Glaser provides a fun, fast-paced, and brutally honest look into current pop-culture and her own personal life.

Music, radio and podcasts, all free. Listen online or download the iHeart App.


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