From the diaries of fair and balanced BruinsNation. -N
But, as I mentioned after Nestor's post about the other, other guys across town, I happen to be an American League guy myself, and that probably has something to do with the fact that I worked at the Big A as a teenager and attending over a thousand games. And I'm happy to see that there are some Angel fans here. So, I must say that, in my humble opinion, if you're a Bruin fan, and you like Howland, you'll probably like the Angels too.
Let's start at the top. Both the Bruins and the Angels have great coaching. Dodger fans should still be bummed that Fox and Rupert Murdock let Mike Scioscia slip away. And we all know the great things Ben Howland has done to bring the Bruins back to their rightful place among the college basketball elite. But the parallel's between these two men don't just end with success. Consider this. Scioscia and Howland:
- Both completely turned around their teams, with Scioscia leading the Angels to their first World Series championship in his third year as Angel skipper, and Howland leading the Bruin to the NCAA national championship game in his third year as head coach.
- Both have been winning by emphasizing the little things and encouraging what some consider to be "ugly" or "boring" styles of play. Angel fans know Scioscia's teams excel by playing "small ball", and his Angel teams value things like bunting, hitting behind the runner, productive outs, steals, the squeeze play and the hit-and-run; not just homers. Likewise, Howland has implemented an "old school" philosophy that values screens, movement away from the ball, toughness, rebounding and set plays; not alley oops, dunks and flash.
- Both win by playing defense. Scioscia's Angels have won their division the last two years thanks to good pitching, great team defense and timely hitting. This should sound familiar to Bruin fans, who have seen Howland transform our guys into a defensive juggernaut this season.
- Both have been able to maintain almost laser-like focus on the game at hand, and are (sometime overly) fond of repeating the mantra that they just take "one game at a time." Scioscia is almost famous for this. Howland may well be too before long. And it's not just Howland, he's also got Afflalo, Farmar and Ced to buy into this winning philosophy:
"That's exactly why I state as a team we need to play one game at a time," Afflalo said. "What we have achieved is all in the past."
"That was a big reason I chose UCLA,'' [Farmar] said. "But we're still in the process. I'm not thinking about that now. I'm just thinking about one game at a time.''
"Every season we come in, we expect to play well," redshirt senior guard Cedric Bozeman said. "[...]We're just taking it one game at a time and we're doing a good job."
- Both teams just won their leagues, with the Angels coming off their second ALW championship, and the Bruins just winning the Pac-10 title.
- Both teams are populated with generally good guys (except for maybe this guy).
- Both coaches have been honored for their abilities, with Scioscia being named AL Manager of the Year in 2002, and Howland taking home this year's Jim Phelan Award for National Coach of the Year.
GO BRUINS. GO ANGELS.