Is it too early to start printing playoff tickets? Yeah, it probably is, but winning sure does change a person's attitude, doesn't it? I admit, going into the season I was skeptical of any Angel success and figured they were just a .500 team. They might still be a .500 team, but until a cold streak shows up, we may as well bask in the glory of first place. Like this (Electrifying, exhilarating Angels taking wing - angels.com):
With a 4-1 win over the Rangers, the Angels earned a series victory and took sole possession of first place in the American League West. It is too early to become overly excited about the standings, but it is not too early to notice the quality of this club.
The big questions are, "Are the Angels playing over their head? And can they continue to win?" Here's an interesting note, if the Angels, who many believe are just a .500 team, do play .500 baseball for the remainder of the season, will finish with a 84-78 record. Is that enough? If not, consider the return of Kendrys Morales to the lineup and Joel Pineiro to the rotation. Can those two provide the 6 additional wins to push this team into the 90-win range? The search for answers to these questions is going to make this season FUN.
Anyone want to see some rankings: MLB Power Rankings - Top 30 MLB Baseball Teams - FOX Sports
Yep, that's the Angels at #5.
MORE LINKS AFTER THE BREAK...
Here's something I've left out of the Halolinks only because I forgot, video highlights:
Welcome to the club, Vern. Nice to see ya.
Bourjos leaps to make the catch at the wall - MLB.com
Peter Bourjos makes a leaping catch to rob David Murphy of a hit, colliding with the wall in the center on the play
I've just recently noticed how often players will turn and watch the replay on the stadium's video board. I don't know why it took me so long to figure out what they were looking at after the play, but now that I have, how cool is that?! Instant gratification!
Mathis lays down the bunt to plate a run - MLB.com
Jeff Mathis' squeeze bunt plates Peter Bourjos from third as the hitter gets on base on an error in the top of the fifth
If we're to give Mathis shit for his weak play, we've got to give him credit when he does well. Nice bunt Jeff. Now have a seat.
Weaver goes the distance for his fifth win - MLB.com
Jered Weaver goes the distance against Texas, giving up one run and striking out eight to become the Majors' first five-game winner
No disrespect to Bourjos' catch, but I saved the best video for last. Jered Weaver. First to Five. In last night's game Weaver had 8 strikeouts. Here is the speed for each third strike: 80, 79, 90, 83, 75, 82, 79, and 91. A range of 75 to 91. In other words, the hitters have no idea what's coming at them.
Angels' Maicer Izturis fumes over 'fragile' tag - latimes.com
"Those are ignorant people who say that," Izturis said. "They don't know the game. I could play 140 games at 90%, 80%. But that's not the way I play. I play 100%."
I don't know if Izturis was mis-quoted or mis-spoke, but I take this to mean he doesn't play unless he's 100%. Which to me does sound like a "fragile" player. What would be better, 90% of Izurtis for 140 games, or no Izturis unless he's 100%?
Angels in Heaven - baseballmusings.com
This is another reason I love Mike Scioscia. The Angels played 18 games, and Weaver start five of them. He pitches ever fifth day instead of every fifth game.
This was noted by the Texas television crew last night that the Angels stay on a five-day rotation, not a five-pitcher rotation like many teams do (such as the Rangers). It probably doesn't make much of a difference if your Ace is slightly better than your #3 or #4 starter, but when your team has two dominating pitchers you want to get them out there as much as possible. The only concern is over-use, but we'll just have to have faith in the Halo coaching staff.
Some love from the four-letter network:
Brian Wilson goes viral with YouTube lip-syncer - USATODAY.com
Keenan Cahill, whose videos have gone viral many times over, teams up with Giants closer Brian Wilson -- as well San Francisco outfielder Cody Ross -- in his latest online adventure.
Obviously, winning builds success, but doesn't things like this video also build success at least to the community? Sure, it's a hokey video, but these are the things that endear a team to its fans. Cheap tickets? Yeah, great. But something more personal will last a lot longer than the idea of cheap tickets when building a fanbase. Something like this also works: Angels RBI League keeps teen’s dream alive - The Orange County Register
But after encouragement from his middle school coach Manny Cota, Gonzales discovered another baseball life in the RBI League funded by the ballclub of his big-league heroes. It's a league full of mismatched players who didn't fit one team but feel right at home now because of the home team. Gonzales became an Angel, playing two seasons of junior ball before finding a cozy place in the lineup, on the diamond and in the dugout this season in senior ball. With donations from the Angels Baseball Foundation, RBI provides players with the uniforms, equipment, a team to play on and a place to play. It teaches lessons in sportsmanship and character as well as hitting and fielding. It provides, in Gonzales' case, hope.
This is how not to build a fanbase:
The Dodgers, Bud Selig and Frank McCourt: Bill Plaschke column - latimes.com
A club that once used profits to purchase ice cream for employees after victories was being run by an owner who used that money on everything from lavish mansions to fancy haircuts. A club that once employed nine Hall of Famers was being run by an owner whose payroll included his children and a Russian physicist hired to channel positive energy. The more the McCourts took care of themselves, the more they ignored the fans, allowing the stadium to decay to the point where there is graffiti in bathrooms and endless lines at concession stands. In an attempt to attract younger fans, their loudspeakers played music that celebrated violence, their video board featured rules explanations from Snoop Dogg, and when I asked Jamie McCourt about the appropriateness of it all, she just shrugged and giggled.
This unexpected Dodgers takeover is shockingly good news - latimes.com
Hours later the Dodgers released a statement from McCourt, the former guy in control concluding: "It is hard to understand the commissioner's action today.' Everyone is entitled to their opinion — even McCourt. Oh, and nice knowing you.
Los Angeles Dodgers Owners Frank and Jamie McCourt -- Investigated and Audited by IRS - TMZ.com
Sources tell TMZ ... the IRS investigation was triggered by a number of disclosures surrounding the McCourt divorce. In particular, IRS agents are interested in the fact that the McCourts took $145 million from the team and paid no taxes (certain court documents place the figure at around $105 million, but we're told it's actually $145 mil). The IRS is also interested in the fact that the McCourt children have drawn a salary from the team but performed no apparent services to justify the payout.
If you are an Angels fan you should get down on your knees every night and thank God the Disney Corporation didn't sell the Angels to this...this...idiot and his ding-bat wife. I can't imagine how awful it must be for Dodger fans. I realize it's very easy to say, "Ha-ha", but this is just a bad situation for all baseball fans. I've disagreed with much of what Bud Selig has done, but this time he's doing the right thing. Regarding the TMZ above article about the IRS...I realize the source is TMZ, but I have wondered why hasn't the IRS gotten involved in this sooner? Seriously, six-figure salaries to their kids for doing nothing? What a bunch of fricking assholes.
Wood can find redemption - rallymonkeys
He hit when he played shortstop. His one stretch with the Angels where he played consistently good baseball came late in the 2008 season when Erick Aybar and Maicer Izturis were down, and Wood was the shortstop by default for a month. He was excellent defensively – good hands and range, strong arm, fine instincts – and hit in the .250 range, occasionally showing his stunning power. A confident Wood, at shortstop, has the ability to be a force. I truly believe that.
Some thoughts on Brandon Wood - ESPN Los Angeles
I can only think of two explanations for why the Angels stubbornly held on to Wood even as his role got smaller and smaller. The first is that club officials didn't want to admit to a mistake (a first-round draft pick, plus the expense of signing and developing him). The other is that they simply liked him too much on a personal level to give him away.
Good luck BWood.
Colon pitched into the seventh inning to earn his first win in two years and the Yankees beat the Toronto Blue Jays 6-2 on Wednesday night. "It's very special for me," Colon said through a translator. "The shoes that I wore today, I'm going to keep them as a memory."
I wonder what he does with his shoes when nothing happens? New shoes everyday? I need more information! Oh, and by the way...you're still fat.
April 21 - BR Bullpen
Events, births and deaths that occurred on April 21.
2000 - The Anaheim Angels down the Tampa Bay Devil Rays 9 - 6. Mo Vaughn and Tim Salmon hit back-to-back home runs for Anaheim in the fourth inning, then repeat the feat in the ninth. Troy Glaus also homers in those same two innings, marking the first time in major league history that three players homer in the same inning twice in the same game. The three players with two home runs in the game ties another major league record.
1963 - Ken Caminiti, infielder; All-Star (d. 2004)