Old school manager, now modern day thinker.
It was quite a revealing Zoom call with the Angels Manager Joe Maddon on Sunday.
About his star Mike Trout, about his struggling-rebuilt pitching staff, and about his former shortstop too.
Veteran infielder Andrellton Simmons left the Angels in the off season, signing as a free agent with the Minnesota Twins.
Actually he left before the season was over, opting out in the final weeks of the Pandemic-reduced season.
It took months to understand why a very good player, making really good money, would leave his team fighting for a spot in the wildcard race.
Now we know, he was fighting depression, fighting off thoughts of suicide, unable to understand how he would cope with the new baseball rule at the end of the season, teams would go into bubble quarantines in hotels. He could not handle more isolation. He could not handle being without his family.
He scared himself. And then last month he spoke out why.
No one in the Halos clubhouse, nor on the roster, knew. Not his teammates, not his position coach, surely not his manager Joe Maddon, who had a good working relationship with his star infielder.
Now he knows, now we know, and the Angels are doing something about it, hiring a Mental strength coach.
A star crossed franchise, trying to recover from the pending drug trial of a former PR exec who was dealing stimulants to teammates. Trying to recover from the drug overdose death of pitcher Tyler Skaggs a couple of years ago. A franchise that never got over the loss of young pitching star Nick Adenhardt, killed by a drunk driver years ago. Or a franchise stained by the suicide death of Donnie Moore; the broken neck of Minnie Rojas and more.
But Joe Maddon now knows more, and is doing something about it. His comments came front and center when asked about the exit of Simmons, and what he learned.
Quite revealing the depth of Maddon’s intelligence, and the message he is delivering to his players now…old school baseball guy-modern day thinker.
Joe Maddon’s comments:
..We visualize players batting and pitcher on the mound..we need to evaluate their minds
..I have added another layer of coaching…a Mental Coach
..I never guessed he had problems from all the times we talked baseball
..It is not a shortcoming in a person
..The world is very complicated
..There is no stigma to depression or mental illness
..Meditation..Resading..Conversation are the key
..What a player tells our Mental Coach will always be in confidence..not about the player..about the person.