07/16/2003 1:49 AM ET
Scioscia proud of his players
Manager proves point that All-Stars play to win
By Doug Miller / MLB.com
CHICAGO -- For weeks leading up to the 74th All-Star Game, Mike Scioscia was pelted with questions about how he would manage this game differently.
Hank Blalock of the Texas Rangers is greeted at home by AL manager Mike Scioscia after hitting a two-run home run in the eighth inning. (Ted S. Warren/AP)
Home-field advantage in the World Series was up for grabs, naturally, and who knew about that better than Scioscia, whose 2002 Anaheim Angels won two in a row at Edison Field to beat the San Francisco Giants in seven games?
Scioscia was steadfast in giving the same answer every time, and he was speaking the same gospel after he guided the American League All-Stars to a 7-6 comeback victory Tuesday night in U.S. Cellular Field.
"I'm not as big on the home-field advantage meaning as much as some people," Scioscia said.
"We lived it last year, and I just know that if you're playing this type of baseball and you're playing your game, you're going to have as much of a chance of winning wherever you're playing."
"We started two series last year without home-field advantage, on the road, lost the first game of each series, played our game, and we were fortunate enough to win and get to the World Series."
That's why Scioscia insisted that home-field advantage wouldn't inspire the All-Stars to play any harder.
Throughout a long playing career in which he caught two All-Star Games as a Los Angeles Dodger, Scioscia said he always witnessed pride on the part of all the players that led to intense games.
Tuesday night was a perfect example of that.
"This year was no different," Scioscia said. "I don't think anything was tuned up because Game 7 was on the line.
"I do think the pride and the passion that these guys have to play is what motivates them and what puts you out on the field to be on the field with the best players in the world at this time.
"I think that's what our guys did. I know that's what the guys on the National League side did. They played every bit as hard and we came out on top."
The intensity didn't end with the players.
In the fifth inning, Andruw Jones hit a ground-rule double down the left-field line, scoring Scott Rolen and Rafael Furcal.
Scioscia said he didn't think Furcal should have been awarded home plate and went out to argue with home-plate umpire Tim McClelland.
"At the time the play developed, I believe Furcal was four or five steps from third base when (left fielder) Garret (Anderson) was getting the ball," Scioscia said.
"You know, you're only talking probably less than a 200-foot relay from where Garret was shallow, and I just didn't think there was any way that Furcal was going to score if the play was allowed to develop."
National League coach Tony La Russa said it was just typical Scioscia.
"That's a good example," LaRussa said. "Mike, he wants to win this game."
And so did both teams, according to Scioscia. Very badly.
"It was a terrific ballgame," Scioscia said. "I know the guys on our side, I don't think they were any more intense than any other games I've been around. These guys were playing baseball."
"I think there were a lot of little subtleties in it that were working into the way the game swung, and those guys played a heck of a game on the other side."
Doug Miller is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.