A Look At Vernon Wells and An Awesome 'Fro.  Halolink.

I don't know how you feel about it, but when Arte Moreno changed the name of the franchise from Anaheim Angels to Los Angeles Angels I was kind of pissed.  Having grown up in Anaheim, I felt I had a special connection to the Angels because they represented the city I lived in.  Now, after 7 years of Los Angeles, I've gotten used to it (just as Moreno probably figured we would) and it's no big deal...except for the stupid jokes.  WTF!  It's been seven years!  Here's an example where even the author admits how stupid they are and yet still does it.  I almost skipped the post just for the name-funmanship (probably not a word, but so what, I'm on a roll) in the first sentence: (Vernon Wells Not Off To Auspicious Start In LA - Beyond the Box Score)

The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, California - zip-code 92806* - traded Mike Napoli and Juan Rivera to the Blue Jays this past off-season in return for Vernon Wells. For this there was much derision, largely because Wells was still due $86 M from 2011 to 2014. The Jays were nice enough to throw a little cash into the deal, but it was a rounding error on the negative value the Angels were picking up.
* I don't think I'll ever tire of these jokes, though they are admittedly quite stupid.

Anyway, it's an interesting article once you get past the first paragraph.  This article (A scout's view of Vernon Wells - Los Angeles Times) is kind of old, but it points out some things most fans miss when watching a game:

Wells drew a walk in his first at-bat, Cecil pitching around him. In Wells' second at-bat, Cecil -– a nibbler who by then had thrown 47 pitches and whose 86 mph to 90 mph fastball cuts and sinks but is hardly imposing -- threw an 87 mph fastball that Wells fouled straight back. Near-misses of such pitches are signs of one of two things: bad timing or diminished bat speed. Sometimes both. An honest scout must conclude that Wells presently lacks the loose explosiveness that characterizes the swing of a top hitter. Based on this look, part of a 1-for-13 weekend against the Blue Jays that dropped Wells’ average to .100 -- his only hit was an opposite-field single to right -- the Angels have every right to be concerned.

This is the reason for the above photo: Fashion Ump: Coco Crisp brings back the Afro in Oakland -  Yahoo! Sports.  How awesome is that!  Here's why, "In a move that caused both teammates and baseball fans to frizz out with excitement, the Oakland Athletics outfielder took out his trademark braids on Thursday silly because his "head was itching."".


MORE LINKS AFTER THE BREAK...

Is Howie Kendrick This Year's Rickie Weeks? - Beyond the Box Score
Right now, Kendrick's succeeding because he's doing things he's never done before. Like taking walks with frequency, and hitting home runs more often than once every 15 games. His career walk rate and isolated power marks of 4.0% and .136 are being destroyed right now; he's at 11.5% and .341 in the very same metrics. Last season, he hit 10 home runs and had 28 walks in 158 games, both of which set or matched career-high levels. Right now, he's on pace for 57 home runs and 86 walks in the same number of games as last season.

Could this be the year we all know, I mean hoped, was coming?  The future batting champ may become the reigning batting champ!

Order for June draft released - CBSSports.com
Baseball has officially released the draft order for the upcoming 2011 first-year player draft in June. The Pirates hold the No. 1 overall pick, the first time since 2002 (when they disastrously chose Bryan Bullington over B.J. Upton, Zack Greinke, Prince Fielder and more). They're expected to choose between pitcher Gerritt Cole and third baseman Anthony Rendon, although other names could insert themselves into the conversation in the coming weeks.

The Angels have the 17th pick in the first round and then don't pick until the third round (104th pick).

Raising Aces: Jeremy Hellickson vs. Dan Haren - Baseball Daily Digest
Our first installment pits a cagey veteran against another rookie starter, as Dan Haren led the Angels into Tampa on April 6th to take on Jeremy Hellickson and the Rays.

Here's some really deep and interesting analysis.  So deep it makes me wonder if the author has time to enjoy the game.

The Definitive Sabermetric Guide to Managing - Beyond the Box Score
But this concept has not yet trickled down to the managerial ranks in any significant way. I contend that there are significant advantages to be had by MLB teams by having their managers act more "sabermetrically". And I am quite curious as to why general managers have not pushed their managers in this direction.

Could laptops become standard equipment in the dugout in the near future?

Alberto Callaspo off to a solid start in 2011 campaign - angels.com
In his first 31 games with the club, Callaspo did just that, hitting .339 (39-for-115) with four doubles and a home run. But a nagging wrist injury quickly derailed his hot start with the Halos, and Callaspo struggled through the final month of the 2010 season, posting a .140 batting average and a .187 on-base percentage, as the Angels faded from the playoff picture.

Anyone know what happened to Lyle Spencer?  I haven't seen an article from him in a while.  The post above is from some other guy.

Report: MLB leaning toward extra replay for 2012 season -  FOX Sports
Major League Baseball is leaning toward expanding replay for the 2012 season to include trapped balls and fair-or-foul rulings down the lines, a person familiar with the talks tells The Associated Press.

About frickin' time.

Giants' Tim Lincecum contributes $25,000 to beaten fan - USATODAY.com
"This was a senseless act of violence,'' Lincecum said, "and I wanted to help out Mr. Stow and his family. It's also close to me because not only is Mr. Stow a Giants fan, but I have family and friends who are firefighters, police officers and paramedics and this honors their service to the community.

Tim Lincecum is more awesome than awesome itself.  He's quickly becoming one of my favorite non-Angel players.

Mission Viejo man tries to reclaim baseball career  - The Orange County Register
"It's a huge gamble," said Boatright, 27, who got his spikes in the baseball door in February, signing a $700-a-month contract to play right field for the Calgary Vipers of the independent, professional North American Baseball League.

Right around the same age I had the same feeling.  I hadn't played organized baseball in over 10 years and wanted another chance to see what I could do.  The only problem was, I wasn't any good in the first place and I spent the next 13 years making an ass out of myself on the field.  But hey, I had fun.  Anyway, this story is pretty cool and I hope this guy accomplishes his dream...or at least has fun.

Woman has shocking claim against Yanks - FOX Sports
She was first taken to an aid station in the stadium, before being treated at the emergency room at Lincoln Hospital. She said as recently as Wednesday that she was still suffering from headaches, memory loss, tingling and post-traumatic stress disorder. Walton has hired attorneys Matthew Blit and Les Levine, who plan to file a $2 million suit against the Yankees and the Hard Rock Cafe.

$2,000,000!  I hope she's really hurt.  Not that I wish anything bad upon people, but this sounds like a scam to me.  Tingling and post-traumatic stress disorder?  Give me a break.

Don Sutton and The Toad - Bugs & Cranks
It’s eight o’clock at night and the boy’s given me trouble all afternoon—wouldn’t nap, wouldn’t eat, wouldn’t pay attention to any one toy for more than about eleven seconds—and the Braves are down 5-0 in the bottom of the third in the middle of the second week of a slow-starting season, and still I’m happy, in the piece of me that’s awake or aware enough to be, because baseball is on my radio, because baseball is back.

Something a little light-hearted.

April 15 - BR Bullpen
Events, births and deaths that occurred on April 15.
1918 - The American League season opens with Babe Ruth pitching a four-hit 7 - 1 victory over the Philadelphia Athletics. Boston Red Sox manager Ed Barrow will start Ruth's conversion to slugger later that season by working him into 72 games in the outfield and at first base.
1947 - 28-year-old Jackie Robinson makes a historic debut for the Brooklyn Dodgers, becoming the first African-American to play major league baseball in the 20th century. Robinson goes 0 for 3 in his debut, but scores the deciding run in a 5 - 3 victory over the Boston Braves at Ebbets Field. He handles 11 chances at first base, a new position for him. Coach Clyde Sukeforth, interim manager and the man credited with first scouting Robinson, guides the Dodgers to two victories before stepping down. Robinson is the first black player to appear in the majors since 1884.
1972 - Reggie Jackson sports a mustache as the Oakland Athletics top the Minnesota Twins, 4 - 3, in 11 innings. Jackson is the first major league player with facial hair since Frenchy Bordagaray in 1936. Jackson starts a trend with Oakland, as owner Charlie Finley eventually encourages all of his players to grow mustaches. By the end of the season, the Athletics will become known as the "Mustache Gang".

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