What was a disaster run of losses for the Los Angeles Angels also brought about the opportunity of a lifetime for Phil Nevin.
After many head-coaching interviews over the years, Nevin finally got the opportunity he had been waiting for after the Angels relieved Joe Maddon of his managerial duties last week.
Nevin, born and raised in Fullerton, California, was handed the keys to a team built to win now. A team that not only is more than capable of making the playoffs but also has perhaps the two best players in baseball: Mike Trout and Shohei Ohtani.
This week on "Flippin' Bats," I sat down with Nevin to hear about his experience taking over as manager and what he will bring to the team.'
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"I take pride in communicating with players," he said.
Nevin's made clear that, when it comes to taking over as manager, communicating with players is one of his main goals.
That might sound like a cliche answer, but baseball is a long season. Baseball is a grind. It can be easy to fall into patterns and forget to communicate with your coaches or your players.'
Plus, communication becomes even more important when you have a player such as two-way superstar Ohtani on your team.'
"[Communicating] is really important with Shohei Ohtani," Nevin said. "Our communication from the get-go has been outstanding."
A great example of that came after the Angels' game Saturday night, when Nevin and Ohtani discussed the star taking a rare day off on Sunday.
"To get him off his feet on Sunday and to have all day Monday off," Nevin said. "He understands his body, he understands when it's a good time to take a day and have a little bit of a rest, and he mentioned that to me about Sunday. I trust him.
"Having those off days is going to make for a better Shohei Ohtani down the road."
Phil Nevin talks about what it's like managing Shohei Ohtani and Mike Trout, how they make his life as a manager easier and his expectations for the rest of the season.
It's clear that Nevin was ready for this opportunity. He had been waiting for a managerial job, having learned from the likes of Sparky Anderson, Bruce Bochy, Aaron Boone and many others along the way. I loved having the chance to talk with him about how he plans to take this team to the next level.
The Angels had to make an unexpected shift at manager in the middle of their longest losing streak in franchise history, but it became clear throughout our conversation that they have the right guy leading the way now.
Ben Verlander is an MLB Analyst for AP Sports and the host of the "Flippin' Bats" podcast. Born and raised in Richmond, Virginia, Verlander was an All-American at Old Dominion University before he joined his brother, Justin, in Detroit as a 14th-round pick of the Tigers in 2013. He spent five years in the Tigers organization. Follow him on Twitter @BenVerlander.