Ward wins again at Outlaw

first_imgBy Paul SzmalDUNDEE, N.Y. (June 8) – Will Ward slid past Rich Karlnoski on the 10th circuit and cruised to his second straight Marion Decker Agency IMCA Modified feature win Friday at Outlaw Speedway.Karlnoski had taken the lead at the drop of the initial green. Brandon Smith and Rodney Morgan fought side-by-side over the finals laps for second, with Morgan getting the position at the check­ers.Completing the top five were Smith, Phil Yaw and Karlnoski.last_img

Alexander: Troy Percival reflects on new Angels manager Joe Maddon

first_imgThe new manager of the Angels and the baseball coach at UC Riverside have a relationship that goes way back.It includes some, um, unconventional training methods implemented by Joe Maddon, then an Angels minor league instructor, one Troy Percival will never forget.“I was a catcher, and that was kind of his forte, working with the catchers and hitting as well,” Percival recalled of that initial introduction in the summer of 1990. “He had me out there with something called the Lobster (which is actually a tennis ball machine), throwing multi-colored balls at me, and balls with numbers on them. And I’m trying to hit them.“Next thing I know, I’ve got batting gloves that have tubes between ’em, (part of) trying to teach me how to hit. So I worked a lot with Joe when I came up.” Angels’ Shohei Ohtani spending downtime working in outfield This is the part of the story where we remind you that, for all of his subsequent success as an instructor, coach and ultimately manager, Joe Maddon certainly isn’t infallible. In that 1990 season at Boise of the short-season Northwest League, Percival – a sixth-round draft choice out of UCR as a catcher that June – hit .203, with a slugging percentage of .203 as well, in 101 plate appearances. As a catcher, he wasn’t long for professional baseball.The next season, back at Boise, Percival was a pitcher, and that was the route that eventually got him to the big leagues.“I was fresh out of college at that point, and anybody who had an Angels uniform on and was a coach, I assume they all knew their stuff,” Percival said. “And Joe was just so positive and made you believe in anything.“And that’s one thing he’s good at. He will make you believe in your ability, in your team’s ability. It’s just the way he comes across. He’s a people person, and everybody respects and likes being around him.”Maddon will be introduced to the masses Thursday at Angel Stadium as the franchise’s 18th full-time manager, having agreed to a three-year contract last week. He has already been one of five Angels interim managers during his 31 years in the organization; in his two stints as a fill-in he was 27-24, which already puts him third on the franchise’s all-time list in winning percentage behind Mike Scioscia and Gene Mauch. Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error Jose Suarez’s rocky start sinks Angels in loss to Astros Angels offense breaks out to split doubleheader with Astros center_img “ … It’s really important to have a good clubhouse. I’ve always believed that. Matter of fact, that’s why Joe brought me into Tampa in the first place, because it damn sure wasn’t (about) what abilities I had left to pitch. I’ve always taken that with me from Joe and Scioscia as well, because they were both really big on clubhouse chemistry.”When Maddon took over the Rays in 2006 they were a forlorn club and organization; they were 61-101 in his first season but won 97 games and a pennant two years later. When the Cubs hired him for the 2015 season, they had a collection of young talent on the cusp of being really good; by year two they were World Series champs for the first time in 108 years.The Angels are somewhere in between, and as Percival noted: “I think Arte (Moreno) is ready to go out and compete again.”Maddon’s replacement of Brad Ausmus – the owner’s call, by all indications – is one sign. Signing Mike Trout to what amounts to a lifetime contract last spring is another.And if two top-of-the-rotation starting pitchers join them in Anaheim next year, there’s your [email protected]@Jim_Alexander on Twitter Angels’ poor pitching spoils an Albert Pujols milestone Angels’ Mike Trout working on his defense, thanks to Twitter Percival, who will begin his sixth season as UCR’s baseball coach in the spring of 2020, soaked up Maddon’s knowledge and wisdom both in the Angels’ farm system and with the big club; Maddon arrived in Anaheim as a coach in 1993, while Percival reached the big leagues to stay in ’95. And the pitcher received an upper-level baseball education in the season-plus that he spent in the bullpen with Maddon’s Tampa Bay Rays, in 2008 – when the Rays reached the World Series – and the first two months of ’09.“I always went into his office whenever there was anything I didn’t understand, especially baseball-wise,” he recalled. “He’s always five steps ahead on everything. I’m like, ‘Hey, Joe, you did this in the second inning. Why?’ And he’d be like, ‘Well, because if this guy came in to face this guy in the fifth or sixth inning and this happened or this happened, I wanted to have this available.’ And I’m like, ‘Holy crap.’“I mean, this guy thinks so far ahead of the game. And I try to do that sometimes, but to me, it’s a little more convoluted when I try to do it with college players. Big league players, you know that every single guy can do the job you need him to do.”(Mostly, anyway. When the job involves a bunt, for example, it becomes murkier.)A grasp of strategy, leavened with an embrace of analytics and a willingness to be unconventional, is one thing. A grasp of people skills is something else, and that might be Maddon’s true strength. Beyond the dress-up flights, guest speakers and other devices to keep things interesting, he shows players (and non-players) the respect of treating them the way he would want to be treated. The tenor of his clubhouse reflects that.“He knows how to get the most out of his players, and I don’t even think it’s a technique,” Percival said. “You want to go out there and play for the man. You want to play hard.“I had the same thing with (Scioscia). I would literally run in front of a train to get the job done because I respected him so much. When I got to Joe it was like, there’s no way this isn’t going to work. I’m going to make it work for Joe, for the team, because it becomes such a big team effort when you play for Joe.Related Articleslast_img read more