The Dodgers managerial search got a little more interesting, with the club planning to interview former Angels All-Star a Darin Erstad for the vacant position, per Ken Rosenthal and Jon Heyman of CBS Sports.
Erstad, 41, last played in 2009, and has been managing the baseball team at the University of Nebraska, his alma mater, for the last four seasons. The Huskers have gone 139-97 (.589) in Erstad's four years at the helm, following three years of 82-80 (.506).
Nebraska made one NCAA Tournament appearance under Erstad, the 2014 Super Regional, its first such appearance since 2008.
Erstad played 11 of his 14 major league seasons with the Angels, also playing for the White Sox and Astros, hitting .282/.336/.407, a 93 OPS+, with 316 doubles and 124 home runs. He made two All-Star teams, peaking in 2000 with a 240-hit, .355/.409/.541 campaign with 39 doubles and 25 home runs.
He also won three Gold Glove Awards, two in center field and one at first base, the only player to win honors at both first base and in the outfield. Erstad's versatility didn't end there; he was also a punter while at Nebraksa, a starter on the Huskers' 1994 national championship team.
As a player, Erstad was lauded for his leadership abilities, so his foray into managing is no surprise.
Angels manager Mike Scioscia said this of Erstad when he was hired at Nebraska in 2011:
"Darin is going to be an incredible mentor, teacher and leader. His understanding and passion for the game will resonate with his players at the University of Nebraska. Darin will instill competitiveness in the program like no one else."
Scioscia said much of the same back in 2002, per USA Today:
"He does it by example," Angels manager Mike Scioscia says. "He goes out there every day, and you know that Ersty is going to be in every play. His head's going to be in every play, and he's got one thing on his mind when he's on the field, and that's to help the team win."
Peter Gammons at ESPN added this in August 2002:
"Darin Erstad," says manager Mike Scioscia, "isn't like anyone I've ever known."
Ross Newhan of the Los Angeles Times wrote about Erstad's leadership in March 2002:
Whatever tag people put on you is fine," Erstad said. "I don't sit there and say I'm the leader, but I'm not afraid to say anything. If something needs to be said, I'm not going to keep my mouth shut. You can't force it because you have to be yourself, but you do what you do and hope it's right."
Too many Angel seasons have dissolved in lethargy and apathy. Scioscia has the respect of the clubhouse, but Erstad believes there's need for leadership among the players.
"You have to police each other," he said. "You need everybody to keep check on everybody else. You need to take care of your own business, but nobody's perfect. Everybody needs a kick in the butt from time to time. The nice thing about our team is that not just one guy does that. We pick each other up from top to bottom. I mean, with guys like Garret and myself it's just a natural progression. You keep your mouth shut and go play when you're younger. The longer you play, the more you see and the more comfortable you are speaking your mind."
In October 2002, Mike DiGiovanna of the Times had more to say about Erstad's leadership:
"Darin Erstad is the real leader of this club," [David] Eckstein said. "He shows us how the game should be played. We look to him."
"From my first day in the organization, when I stepped in, you could tell Darin was the guy everyone looked up to here," Eckstein said. "He gives up his body on defense. He makes things happen on offense. If the pitcher is tough, he finds a way to get on base and create havoc, as he proved again tonight."
Nebraska beat reporter Sean Callahan reached Erstad to ask about the reports:
#Huskers baseball coach Darin Erstad told me "he's still processing all of this" and has "no comment" at this time about the Dodgers job.— Sean Callahan (@Sean_Callahan) October 30, 2015