LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — CBSLA Sports director Jim Hill took a trip to both the Dodgers and Angels spring training facilities and sat down with both managers, top players, and the man who has the enormous task of taking over for Vin Scully to talk about what they all except heading into the 2017 season.
Dodgers 2017 Preview:
The Dodgers in 2016 came close yet again to making the World Series for the first time in nearly three decades, but they fell to the Chicago Cubs in the NLCS in six games. That doesn’t mean there weren’t positive takeaways from the year, the Dodgers plan on carrying the momentum from last year and take the experienced gained and carry it into the 2017 season.
“There’s a look and a feeling in our clubhouse that’s a lot of confidence that last year was last year,” Manager Dave Roberts told Jim Hill in a sit down interview.
“This year, I feel we are the best team, and if you ask anyone in that clubhouse, they would tell you they feel the same way.”
Last year, the Dodgers tied an MLB record by placing 27 players on the disabled list.
Many claim that this was one of the reasons that they were unsuccessful in reaching the World Series, but General Manager Farhan Zaidi took it upon himself this off-season to help construct a more stable roster to withstand any health concerns that surrounded the club in years past.
“Health is so fragile in this game, even if you do everything in the training room or the weight room to prepare yourself, things can kinda change just like that,” Zaidi stated.
Then he goes on to say though that, “certainly, our team is built where I think we can now withstand certain injuries.”
Many of the members on this team still have a sour taste in their mouths knowing they were only two games from reaching the World Series, but they know the importance of putting last year in the past and focusing on the oncoming season.
“It just drives you and makes you want to work harder,” shortstop Corey Seager said in reference to last year.
Joe Davis Replaces Vin Scully:
After listening to Vin Scully’s voice for the past 67 years, Dodger fans have a new voice of the team in Joe Davis.
Davis sat down with Hill to discuss what he expects this year, and what it means to be replacing legendary Vin Scully.
“I’m still trying to wrap my mind around everything that it means to be with the Dodgers, but in that booth with all of the incredible history,” Davis said.
Scully’s successor knows he has some big shoes to fill, but Davis plans on staying true to himself in hopes that the fans will enjoy listening to him call games.
He emphasizes that in order to succeed, he will need to stay true to himself in order to do a good job.
During his sit down with Hill, Davis also describes the meeting that took place between him and Scully after he learned he would be his replacement.
Davis says he received a phone call at first from an unknown number, but didn’t pick up because if it was important enough he thought they would leave a message. When he checked his voicemail, he then learned it was Vin reaching out to him.
The voicemail left to him said, “Hey Joe it’s Vin Scully, I tried you earlier in the day so I guess I begin the year 0-2.”
The two eventually were able to get on the phone together, and Davis emphasized that the man you listend to on the TV and Radio is not an act, that in fact that’s just who he is.
Davis in previous seasons performed the play-by-play for the road games, but now is tasked with the entire season. Only time will tell if he can live up to the hype in replacing one of sport’s greatest broadcasters.
Angels 2017 Preview:
The Angels have high expectations this season, after failing to reach the post-season for the past two years. But the team shares a great deal of confidence backed behind the best player in all of baseball, Mike Trout.
Two time league MVP Trout knows that it takes a lot to make it to October, and has acknowledged that in order to do so, he needs to continue to improve on his game.
“I just want to get all around better.”
“Last year it was my arm and accuracy, but there’s always thing you can improve on.”
When sitting down with Hill, the star center fielder for the Angels Trout makes it clear though that his main focus is leading his team to the playoffs.
It’s not just Trout though that making the playoffs is the goal for this year, pitcher Garrett Richards also emphasizes the importance of it.
“It’s something we are trying to implement in our minds, everything starts right now, we’re trying to get to the playoffs.”
With one common goal in mind, manager Mike Scioscia knows what it takes to put together a playoff caliber season, as he has lead the Angels to numerous playoff appearances in his tenure as coach and also won the World Series back in 2002.
Scioscia stressed to Hill that “no one has higher expectations for this club then I do.”
Like the Dodgers, the Angels have plenty of youth in their lineup which can play in their favor if the prospects pan out. If they can get guys like CJ Cron, Kole Calhoun, and their young bullpen to play to the caliber they can, the Halos should have no issue in achieving their goal of playing in October.