07/15/2003 7:03 PM ET
Scioscia stresses strategy
AL manager will try hard to win
CHICAGO -- Mike Scioscia knew he'd have to make some tough decisions.
By Doug Miller / MLB.com
As manager of the American League team in the first All-Star Game to decide home-field advantage in the World Series, he had to figure out a few things.
Would he honor the age-old tradition of making sure every player on his 32-man roster saw some time in the game?
Would he just scrap all that and manage the game as if he were in the playoffs?
Would he compromise?
Well, Scioscia's had plenty of time to decide, and in the dugout a few hours before the game, he said he'd do his best to make the All-Stars happy.
He also said he probably couldn't satisfy everyone.
Scioscia met with his players two hours before the first pitch and told them en masse that unfortunately, because of the high stakes of the game, some of them probably wouldn't play.
"There will probably be more of a focus on matchups," Scioscia said. "Certain players might play longer than they have in previous years. Of course, no matter who's in the game, the talent on the field is incredible."
"Unless the game is a blowout, one way or another you're going to have to save people for those positive matchups you might need. I don't know how you can get everybody in there without maintaining that opportunity."
While it might be a difficult assignment for Scioscia to break the bad news to players who ventured thousands of miles to play in the Midsummer Classic before friends and family members, he said the alternative would be even tougher.
"I think it makes it easier," he said.
"In years past, there has always been the competitive nature that you wanted to win the game, but it was very hard to balance that with the obligation to get everyone in the game. Now that the focus is on winning, it's easier."
Scioscia said he and pitching coach Bud Black consulted all the pitchers and decided on who would be the freshest and the least likely to have a season- or career-threatening injury because of overuse.
He wouldn't reveal the order of appearance of his pitchers or how long they'd pitch for, but he said starter Esteban Loaiza could go one more inning than the customary three if he was doing his job and being efficient.
As far as the playing -- and managing -- of the game once it starts, Scioscia said he would implement playoff-intensity strategy whenever he saw fit.
Would he use a sacrifice bunt in the late innings, for example?
"It's something you're going to consider, definitely," Scioscia said. "You're going to see a lot more of the subtle strategies of the game."
And what about walking Barry Bonds intentionally, which Scioscia did relatively effectively in last year's World Series?
"Well, I don't think that really would work here," Scioscia said with a smile.
"There are no voids in their lineup. Barry's been walked in the past because you thought you could see your way out of the lineup pitching to somebody else.
"You can't do that here."
Doug Miller is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to approval by Major League Baseball or its clubs.