Unflashy Ron Roenicke getting it done with Milwaukee Brewers - ESPN
Twenty-seven years later, Ron Roenicke is the rookie manager of the first-place Milwaukee Brewers, and he's a week from skippering his first postseason series. He's far from ignorant of the challenges involved, having been a coach for Mike Scioscia's Angels for 11 seasons and six postseasons.
As Scioscia's third-base coach and later his bench coach, Roenicke was one of the key tacticians responsible for helping inculcate a successful organizational approach that stressed tactical aggressiveness on offense, among other things stretching defenses by pushing baserunners (if not always base stealing). Six of Scioscia's 11 teams rank in the top 10 percent of all MLB teams recorded in the Retrosheet era (1950-present) in getting extra benefit from advancing on base hits, including the highest mark yet, the 2006 Angels. That sort of crude aggregation isn't useful as a suggestion -- it doesn't assess all of the benefits of a ground game's impact of challenging defenders to execute under pressure, of pitchers changing their assortments or deliveries, of the friction that pushing players around the diamond creates on defenses, especially the sloppy ones.
The relationship between Scioscia and Roenicke goes back to their playing days with the Los Angeles Dodgers. Two decades later, in the offseason of 1999, Scioscia defected to manage the crosstown Angels; one of his first hires for the coaching staff was Roenicke. They were joined by pitching coach Bud Black and bench coach Joe Maddon (a Halos holdover). The four were together for the Angels' World Series win in 2002 before Maddon left to become the manager of the Tampa Bay Rays in 2006 and Black departed to become the manager of the Padres in 2007. Scioscia, Maddon and Black have won manager of the year awards, and Roenicke could well join them at some point.
Roenicke is every bit as unflashy as a manager as he had been as a player. After a sloppy mid-September loss to the Rockies, he blandly told those in the media room that "there's always a concern, but we'll get out of it and start playing good ball again."
He is not the man to flamboyantly fulfill the modern manager's role as franchise front man. But whatever pizzazz Roenicke doesn't give the Fourth Estate he instead delivers from the dugout. In an era when managers don't get too involved with in-game tactics -- especially on offense -- Roenicke isn't simply a product of the "Angels way" but is one of its original practitioners. Like Black and Maddon and Scioscia, he's one of baseball's most aggressive in-game managers; the polite off-field baseball lifer becomes a tactical cutthroat. He will find a way to beat you, and the more ways he has at his disposal, the better to keep you guessing, reacting and one step behind.