Scioscia: Opening Day is for players

Scioscia: Opening Day is for players

Scioscia: Opening Day is for players
ANAHEIM -- For Mike Scioscia, a Major League player for 14 seasons embarking on his 13th season as Angels manager, there's no comparison in Opening Day emotions.

"It's all about players," Scioscia said. "The butterflies, the excitement, the anxiety ... all of that is for the players, not the manager. Opening Day is always special for a player.

"For a manager, it's totally different. You're planning, preparing, getting everything in order. Sure, it's a big day, but it's not close to the excitement a player feels on Opening Day."

Aware of an elderly inquisitor's L.A. background, Scioscia made a telling observation comparing a former Dodgers slugger with his manager.

"When you were 7 years old in your backyard," he said, "who did you want to be: Walter Alston or Tommy Davis?"

Scioscia's favorite Opening Day as a player came in 1981, when he guided young Fernando Valenzuela through a gem against the Astros at Dodger Stadium, igniting what would become "Fernandomania."

"Fernando's shutout against the Astros has to be the best Opening Day for me," Scioscia said. "Jerry Reuss was set to go, but he hurt a calf the day before running and Fernando stepped in."

The rest is history, and Scioscia had a large hand in it in his connection with the legendary Mexican lefty.

The Angels are 7-5 in Scioscia's openers, having won seven of the past eight.