If you’ve ever wondered who ranks third the line of succession behind an MLB manager, the Los Angeles Angels are having the kind of season that can give us our answer.
And that answer is “catching coach.”
Specifically, the Angels are turning to catching coach Bill Hasselman to helm their clubhouse on Sunday and Tuesday after manager Joe Maddon’s firing and suspensions for interim manager Phil Nevin and acting interim manager Ray Montgomery. So he’s their temporary acting interim manager, or interim interim interim manager.
The Angels got to this point by firing Maddon in June amid a 14-game losing streak, promoting Nevin from third base coach to interim manager, then watching Nevin and Montgomery, their bench coach, get suspended for their roles in the ugly brawl with the Seattle Mariners. Nevin received 10 games while Montgomery got two.
Nevin remains suspended, while Montgomery was allowed to serve his suspension on Sunday and Tuesday, leaving the Angels to figure out what to do for those dates. Both games are on the road, the first against the Houston Astros and the second against the Miami Marlins.
It has been that kind of season for the Angels, who have fallen from a hot start to a 37-41 record despite strong seasons from Mike Trout and Shohei Ohtani.
Haselman played as a catcher for 13 seasons in the majors from 1990 to 2003, with stops at the Texas Rangers, Boston Red Sox, Mariners and Detroit Tigers. His only major league coaching experience before this season came with the Boston Red Sox directly after his retirement; since then, he had worked for more than a decade and a half in the minors.
The Angels hired Haselman to replace Jose Molina as their catching coach in January. Six months later, he’ll be exchanging lineup cards. It’s a nice story, though let’s be real, a not-insignificant number of people are going to be quietly hoping he gets ejected so we can find out who’s fifth in the line of succession.