Friday, June 22, 2007

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Angels play the Milwaukee Indians!

Watching this game reminds me of watching the Angels play the Indians or the Brewers about 15 years ago.

There's about 3,000 people at the park.

Ah, nostalgia...

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Hudlerism #2

Yeah, the Angels are off to an awesome start! But I'd rather take this opportunity to point out another stupid thing Rex Hudler said about five minutes ago:

"You put John Lackey, Escobar, Ervin Santana, Bartolo Colon and Jered Weaver as your five-man rotation, call the cops man!"

Now, I could be the prick here and remark on how having a good rotation hardly necessitates a 911 call, and Anaheim PD would probably get pissed off having to write a report about a good pitching rotation, and after Rex got caught a few years back with a few controlled substances in his suitcase at an airport, I'd think he'd want as little as possible to do with the police, but I won't.

Instead, I'm going to point out that the statement is just stupid. Had he said "book your World Series tickets" or something along those lines, where it makes SENSE, I have no problem with this statement.

But Rex Hudler is a moron, and I shouldn't expect him to use a euphemism that is coherent and linear.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Hudlerism #1

I don't think I've ever hidden my hatred of Rex Hudler, but it's during the season when I have to listen to this shell of a "color commentator" and his clever nicknames (usually made by putting a "y" at the end of a player's name! Chris Berman look out!) that I wear this hatred on my sleeve and my deadly sin becomes ENVY due to Dodgers fans having Vin Scully...

So, starting here, every time this hack says something stupid or unprofessional, I'm posting it here. Number 1 is from last night's game:

"Figgy's gonna have to take a chill pill for a few weeks."

Can you in your wildest dreams imagine Joe Buck or Vin Scully saying that?

Didn't think so.

And the season starts on a great note!

Nothing like coming out with a win, is there?

Sure, we have 161 more games to go. But if last night was any indication of the direction this team will take this summer, it's gonna be a fun 161.

I've never been a huge John Lackey fan, mainly because I think all he's missing for greatness is a sports psychologist. When things are going well, John Lackey is among the best in baseball. When he gets in trouble, he tends to panic.

Last night, though, Lackey got in trouble early and often, but kept his head. Evenin the two-error third inning when he had to throw 20 extra pitches, he stayed mentally tough and threw good pitches (just ask Sammy Sosa.) If John Lackey looks like this all year, that's one less thing we have to worry about.

The other is Gary Matthews Jr. After last night, I don't care if he sinks offensively back to his 2005 level. The man has a golden glove, and may well be on his way to a Gold Glove in center field this season. (Okay, so he had an error. That catch in the first inning was the highlight of the game!) Were it not for his glove in center, this probably would not have been a win.

161 games to go, and I'm looking forward to each and every one!

Monday, April 02, 2007

Opening Day!

Can you smell the peanuts?

Only 6 hours 45 minutes until gametime!

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

A-Rod (Yet Again) adds fuel to the fire once again by suggesting a move bringing A-Rod to the Angels.

I'm a little bit tired of these. Sure, I bought into the hype back in November. But now I just wish they'd trade him or leave the poor bastard alone.

As I've said before, the A-Rod situation in New York is lose/lose for him.

Especially when you compound that with the "leadership" of Derek Jeter, whose tenure as Captain has made Custer look good as a General.

The Freeway (World) Series

Tom Verducci. For reasons I'm sure you'll quickly understand, this man is my favorite person on the planet today.

I really could think of no finer World Series. I'm sure that opinion would be echoed by a majority of the people within a 100 mile radius of me.

The rest of the country would be bored to suicide, though.

But I don't live in the rest of the country. I live in Orange County.

So, let's go Angels and Dodgers! The last preseason games of the year will be a Freeway Series, let's have the final games of the postseason be one as well!

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Wow, has it really been a month?

No better way to lose what few readers I have than not post, but unfortunately my personal life has been a series of crises since early December, and that means that posting in a stupid baseball blog takes a backseat to everything else.

But, as usual, it could always be worth. For example, I could be Gary Matthews, Jr.

It's been easy to criticize Arte Moreno this offseason. His failure to deliver on his "something big" promise showed how much of a rookie owner he is. But, even with that, it's impossible to turn on Arte because of what he has made this franchise in the last four years. He's turned this franchise from a second-rate club on par with the Montreal Expos and the Tampa Bay Devil Rays into one of the most respectable and admired teams in the league.

And, as is obvious with this whole Gary Matthews Jr. business, he cares about the team, its image, and its fans.

This article at shows a portrait of an owner that should be the envy of every other team in Major League Baseball. His vociferous pursuit of information in Gary Matthews, Jr.'s HGH scandal is the type of action owners should have been taking toward performance enhancing drugs years ago.

I understand Matthews' reluctance to talk. But this is not a court of law; it's a court of public opinion. And while taking the 5th may be a way to operate in the legal system, it ain't gonna work with the 45,000 fans whose asses sit in the seats at Angel Stadium.

The truth will set you free, Gary. We can be quite forgiving, if you only tell the truth.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Mark your calendars

A long, cold winter is nearly over. In a mere four days, the Angels pitchers & catchers will be reporting to camp in Tempe , Arizona. Five days later they will be followed by the rest of the team.

It's been tough this last month or so trying to come up with reasons to write in this blog, so I just stopped. along with family issues, it's just been tough to write with nearly nothing happening this winter. I started this blog hoping for something big, as Arte Moreno promised. Instead, we landed Gary Matthews Jr. and not much else.

So we head into spring under a cloud of doubt. Our pitching is fine, but our offense is as weak as last season.

And if we can't score runs, we can't make the playoffs.

We'll start to see how wrong or right I am in about four days...

Thursday, January 11, 2007

7 Day DL

Sorry about the lack of posting. I'm not doing a stellar job at keeping my one or two readers, I know. I've been down with the flu the last week or so, including an trip to the emergency room on Tuesday, where I became the proud recipient of 3 liters of saline IV's.

So, I suppose it's a good thing that it's still a month or so before the first players start showing up at camp. It'll give me time to recover!

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Happy New Year!

I've been fighting a particularly nasty cold the last week, and considering that I have to muster up the energy to change the channel with the remote control, working up the desire to post in my blog during the longest stretch of non-news we'll have during this year has been tough. But I wanted to wish each and every one of you a sterling 2007, and (since you're reading this, it's probably a safe bet you'd want this), may it cap off with the Angels winning the last game of MLB baseball played this year, whether it be game 4, 5, 6, or 7 of the World Series.

On another note, my friend Minorpoet over at kowinkydinks was recently in Boston and, while on top of the Prudential building, snapped the below photo of Fenway park just for yours truly!
Having friends is cool!

Sunday, December 31, 2006

Happy New Year!

Just remember, while it may only be a change of calendar and another winter day, it's one day closer to April!

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Angels Sign Hillenbrand!

The Angels sign Shea Hillenbrand to a 1-year contract.

Considering I've pretty much blown my wad on posting today, I'm struggling to come up with any deep insight into this signing, other than I think it's pretty damn good.

While Shea Hillenbrand has been hit or miss in his career, signing him to a 1-year contract pretty much ensures that we're going to get his best, as he'll be a free agent again next year and is certainly going to want to have good numbers for that contract.

And, as he can play 1st or 3rd base, this gives us a lot more solidity in the infield. While he's not the huge bat Arte promised us, this is another step toward bringing the offense up to where it needs to be.

So, welcome to the Angels, Shea! Come to play, come to win, and we'll love you here!

Merry Christmas, Now We're Screwed

Don't you just hate it when fate comes along and bites you in the ass? Well, that's exactly the Christmas present that the Baseball Gods gave us this year: In our stockings, something to worry about.

It hasn't been very widely reported (because it's not like this happened to David Ortiz or anything), but Juan Rivera broke his damn leg playing winter ball. That's right. Winter ball.

Just a few weeks after we read about the Cubs not allowing Soriano to play, Juan Rivera goes out there and shows us why. And with a break like that, there's no way he's going to be 100% by April.

So, where does that leave us? Keeping in mind that the Chinese use the same word for 'crisis' that they do for 'opportunity' (yes, I stole that from a movie, so not only am I unoriginal, but it may be wrong too), this is the perfect excuse for Stoneman and Arte to pull of that "something big" move that they've been talking about all year.

Now would be a great time to make a move that would have been impossible just a few days ago. Right now, we could make that trade for Manny Ramirez. We could sign Sammy Sosa and not worry about where to put him. We could let go of a pitcher to bring in a bat in the outfield, and we have every reason to do it.

This is very disappointing. I enjoyed watching Rivera mature into a major league hitter last year, and was looking forward to him in the outfield or DHing this year. But, fate works in her own way, and now that outfield is a lot thinner until he recovers.

So let's go, Stoneman! This is an opportunity, and we fans expect you to use it!

Friday, December 22, 2006

Arte's Foot-In-Mouth Disease

This year is going to be a benchmark in Arte Moreno's tenure as owner of the Angels. Since he took over the reigns from (cough) Disney, we fans have looked to him as a kind of savior of our franchise, a man who was a fan first, a man who wanted to truly cement the foundations of a consistently winning team in Orange County. A man who, though he may bee a billionaire, is one of us.

We've followed his leadership, and through him we've begun to believe. It's truly an exciting time to be an Angels fan, whether you've been here your whole life or have just caught on to how great it truly is to watch baseball in Anaheim with the 2002 World Series. Sure, we have just that one moment of past glory, but unlike other teams whose winning legacy only haunts them (Yankees) or whose recent World Series wins have negated decades of disappointment (White Sox, Red Sox), that first one was, for us, just a launching point. Seven games that proved to us that yes, we can experience the highest highs with our team, too.

With that, 2006 was (to me, at least) a great season. Not in terms of on-field success, as it certainly did suck to watch the playoffs this year and see three California teams competing for the ultimate prize and the Angels were NOT among them. It was great because missing the playoffs showed the true mettle of the current crop of Angels fans.

We collectively said "Well, we wish we'd have made it, but it was a great season nonetheless. We'll get 'em next year!"

And it's that attitude that makes me love Southern California fans all the more. I am very guilty of having an elitist attitude as an Angels fan. I get pissed when I think back to the lean years, back to the time when you'd see more of the opposing team's jerseys in the stands than you would of our own. I get pissed when I realize that the same people who came to the ballpark in 2001 to root against the Angels were there in 2002 rooting FOR them. I put myself on a pedestal, I break my arm patting myself on the back, I get awfully lonely up on that cross I put myself on when I talk about myself as a lifelong fan and look down at those who only came when the Angels started winning.

But then I realize that fandom is never an avenue to elitism. Sports and religion have a lot in common. They both require a great deal of faith. They both require absolute love of something you have no control over. And what enlightens you will not necessarily enlighten others.

So now I look at the newer fans not as "fair weather" but as new converts, men, women and children who have finally come into the light. And sure, many of them will fall by the wayside once again if the Angels do not continue winning, much as many people new to religion fall to the side when God does not answer their prayers. But for many of them, the 2002 World Series was a moment of supreme enlightenment, a moment that made them feel the spirit, and they are now hooked for life.

It doesn't matter if they've only been here for five seasons (or less). All that matters is that they feel the same way I do about this ball club.

Arte Moreno inherited a great team and a brand-new fan base when he bought this team. Yes, "brand-new" each of us, as even those who remember seeing games at Wrigley Field in LA or Dodger Stadium (or "Chavez Ravine" as they called it during Angels home games) were "born again" by the World Series win in 2002, erasing the cursed history of a losing team as well as putting each and every fan on a new, level playing field.

With that, Moreno has had a good grace period as owner, a great three-year honeymoon that included two Western Division Championships since his first full season as owner in 2004 and a damn fine run this season.

But, the honeymoon may finally be over, and if it is, it's due to that dreaded "foot in mouth" disease.

His promise of "something big" this offseason had us all titillated, all full of wonder and hope for 2007 as, unlike most every other sports franchise on the face of the planet, we have not yet learned to loathe and mistrust our owner. We got into the A-Rod fever, following every at-bat in the playoffs, reading every tabloid rumor about his relationship with the Yankees, and the Yankees relationship with him. We kept hoping that the talk coming from the Yankees was just a smokescreen, and that soon enough we'd bid adieu to Ervin Santana, Chone Figgins, and a prospect in order to have #3 (not that blasphemous #13 he wears in New York) at third base and protecting Vladamir Guerrero in Anaheim next year. We followed the bidding first for Aramis Ramirez, then Alfonso Soriano, each time getting taken by surprise when they signed with the Cubs.

We clapped politely when we signed Gary Matthews, Jr, but we knew he wasn't filling the desperate need for power hitting.

We knew he wasn't something big.

And now chances are we aren't going to see anything near what we were expecting from that comment. We are, undoubtedly, a stronger team than we were a few months ago. We've solidified our bullpen, making one of the best pitching staffs in baseball even better. Matthews has filled out a need for defense in Center Field.

But the need for a power hitter, something big, still looms.

And if we miss the playoffs again this year, you bet that statement is going to come back and bite Arte in the ass. Not only will it be played in headlines across the country, but it will run through the heads of every Angels fan as they watch four other American League teams battle it out in the playoffs next October.

Make no mistake, it will be a disappointing season if the Angels do not make the playoffs. God forbid, if they don't, fans will start to look to Arte Moreno with a jaded eye, with the beginnings of mistrust that permeate all other fan-owner relationships.

So, with that, how does Arte Moreno recover? The first, obviously, is to make that huge move. Trade for A-Rod or Ryan Howard or Albert Pujols. Yeah, I know, that ain't gonna happen. But somebody in the tier down from them, a player of the value of Aramis Ramirez or Alfonso Soriano. That'd do fine, as long as we don't get screwed in the trade.

But that is becoming increasingly unlikely. So, what else to do? Well, if a big acquisition doesn't happen, Moreno is going to have to "hang a lantern" on his problem, apologize to the fans for not coming through then spend all season making fun of himself for saying it. Already he has offered refunds to season ticket holders, but to me that seems a bit defensive. He just needs to remind us that he's going to constantly work to improve our team. (And lowering concession prices a bit as a peace offering wouldn't hurt, either.)

But, my friends, there is a third option. One that combines the two. At this point, an option he has is to follow the example of the A's in 2006. Give a former superstar a chance with a small contract with incentives. And right now, there's a perfect one on the market.

That's right, Sammy Sosa. I know that, were I to have scores of readers, I'd probably get lambasted for this suggestion. Yes, I'm aware of his past. Yes, I'm aware of his abysmal 2005 season. To make it clear, I have full knowledge of the baggage he'll bring with him.

But with that, he's shown he is serious about coming back. And, with that baggage behind him, we can get him on the cheap, just like the A's did with Frank Thomas last year. We're a contender every year, and Sammy has never been on a champion, so it shouldn't be tough to sign him to a 1-year, incentive-laden contract.

It's a gamble, but if we're paying him a base salary of near what Thomas was paid last year, then we're out a very small amount if he's a bust. If he has a comeback season like Thomas did, Arte Moreno and Bill Stoneman will look like geniuses.

Of course, there's the whole steroids issue. I personally think it's a non-issue. Even if he was more juiced than a Welch's factory, there's no way he's stupid enough to still be on it, especially after he watched his teammate Rafael Palmiero destroy his legacy with a positive test in 2005. If Sosa fails a doping test, it's 100% on him, and he knows that.

Sure, people will be reluctant to embrace him. But if he comes to Anaheim, does some duty at DH, a bit in the outfield, and maybe some at first base, and hits 30 or so home runs, he could be exactly what we need.

Besides, it would be really neat to see somebody hit a big milestone home run, like Sosa's 600th, in "The Big A."

This isn't the answer to Arte's "something big" promise. But it could pull his ass out of the fire for making that comment, and it's a very low-risk proposition for the Angels.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Things To Do While Waiting For April

“Listen to Tommy with a candle burning and you will see your entire future…”

Anita Miller, Almost Famous

Sorry about the lack of updates, but the holidays and my father's illness are keeping me away, as well as a lack of any baseball news. I'll catch up to the world when I can!


Sunday, December 17, 2006

A Long Delay, A Hard Goodbye

As I've mentioned in previous posts, I'm no fan of bloggers who apologize to their non-existent readers for long delays in posting. But, as I know I am one of this century's biggest hypocrites, I am going to apologize for a long delay in posting. It's been quite a tough week here for me and my family, as my father has been very ill and we had to check him into the hospital on Friday.

One of the reasons I have such ample opportunity to pursue a blog project like this is because I am, for lack of a better term, unemployed. That is, I have no job that brings income and the ability it gives to partake in American capitalism that comes with said employment. However, I do in fact have a job. My father is a paralyzed veteran, and has been in a wheelchair without use of the lower half of his body for more than 40 years. And I live at home and take care of him.

With him sick, as he's been for a few weeks, I lose interest in everything that normally occupies my downtime. With him in the hospital, while I gain a bit of personal freedom, I lose my sense of purpose.

He's OK, and should be home in a few weeks, but his lifestyle is going to have to drastically change. For the first time, his blood test results showed poor function of his liver. Considering that in the past five years he's developed a painkiller addiction like he's competing with Rush Limbaugh, I'm frankly surprised that it's taken this long.

With that, my sob story is over, and onto a bit of sad (if ultimately good) news.

God Speed, Brendan Donnelly
The ranks of the 2002 Championship team continue to thin, as this week the Angels traded Brendan Donnelly to the Red Sox for Phil Seibel, a local boy from Cypress High School and a left-handed reliever. And while it sucks to see Brendan Donnelly go, it is damn good to have a lefty in the bullpen.

There's a moment in recent Angels history which haunts every die-hard, obsessive Angels fan, though nobody outside Orange County remembers it. While everybody remembers the 2004 ALCS, where the Red Sox came back from a 3-0 deficit to spank the Yankees into the biggest choke in playoff history and went on to sweep the World Series from the St. Louis Cardinals, very few remember the 3-0 sweep the Red Sox handed the Angels in the ALDS.

And even fewer remember the way it ended.

In extra innings, David Ortiz came to the plate in Anaheim. Wanting to play the odds, Mike Scioscia wanted to bring in a left-handed reliever to pitch to the lefty Ortiz, which, considering how clutch Ortiz has been, was a smart managing move.

The problem?

The Angels had no left-handed relievers.

Not a one.

So, Scioscia brought in the only lefty he did have. Starter Jarrod Washburn.

Who promptly threw one pitch. Which Ortiz belted over the right-field wall.

So, needless to say, while our pitching has only gotten better since the 2002 World Series, our lack of lefties in the bullpen has been an Achilles heel to us for many a year. And while Siebel is a prospect (a 28-year-old prospect, but a prospect nonetheless), it's nice to have a southpaw when needed.

So, while I'll miss Brendan Donnelly and wish him luck, I think this was a smart move. Let's all cross our fingers, knock on wood, and pray that I'm right.