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Victor Rojas won’t spend nights during the upcoming baseball season behind a desk in the Angels’ broadcast booth, calling games alongside his Fox Sports West colleagues as he did the last 11 years. But he won’t be leaving the sport.
Rojas stepped away from the Angels last week to take the job of president and general manager of the Frisco Roughriders, the Texas Rangers’ double-A team based near where Rojas and his family reside in the Dallas-Fort Worth metro area. He announced the move a few days after making known his departure from the Angels.
In his first news conference as the minor league team’s top baseball operations executive, Rojas said Tuesday that he had intended to return to his play-by-play duties for the 2021 season as recently as late last month. But after falling short in his attempt to make the jump from the broadcast booth to the Angels’ front office in the wake of general manager Billy Eppler’s dismissal, Rojas left himself open to the potential of some day running his own team.
He didn’t know the opportunity would arrive so soon. Rojas said he would not have felt uncomfortable returning to work with the Angels after spelling out to President John Carpino and senior advisor Bill Stoneman possible solutions to address the team’s deficiencies.
“I’ve always tried to do [my job] with class and dignity, without really crushing anybody, per se, but getting my point across,” said Rojas, a former player and the son of former longtime infielder and Angels manager Cookie Rojas. “I think the fan bases, in general, are a lot smarter today than they've ever been. They have information and access to it that's rather readily available to them, that they never really had. So I went into my business saying, ‘I wasn’t gonna cheat anybody. I’m not gonna lie to you.’
“I had no problems in the interview process saying what I was saying. Because really, honestly, what I said, it was factual and things that need to happen within the organization. … Nobody ever said anything to me [like], ‘I wish you wouldn't have said that,’ or, ‘You might regret that.’ Not one thing."
Rojas, 52, spent the months that followed his October interview with the Angels discussing the possibility of joining the Roughriders’ executive group before negotiations ramped up after the new year.
Accepting the job with the Roughriders came easy. Rojas realized during the sport’s shutdown last spring that he had missed spending quality time with his family year-round after nearly 20 years as a broadcaster. He yearned to be home “at least close to a full-time basis.”
The new position will allow him both the flexibility to be near his wife, Kim, who was diagnosed with Graves’ disease and thyroid cancer in 2019, and the opportunity to pursue a career he had not envisioned for himself until the Angels considered him a serious candidate for the opening that went to Perry Minasian.
“As I've gotten older, as my wife's health issues came out, priorities change,” he said. “Your mind-set changes. Things that drive you change. And I thought that if I was ever going to try something, that [the Angels’ opening] would have been the opportunity. As I've said a couple of times already, it was, it was the perfect storm. An organization I've known for a long time, I played there, my dad managed there, I've been there 11 years. It was just like this perfect thing at the right time to try it. I had a great opportunity. I loved my interview. I love that I didn’t regret one thing that I said or that I forgot to say something."
This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.