Well, whadaya know? Has the late run of the Detroit Tigers run its course? Have their hot bats finally run out of kerosene and settled back into the 37 and 40 team of June? Lower than the mediocre with which they finished the regular season? 3 runs in 18 innings as they can no longer feast on the worthless New York Yankee pitching staff. Somebody, somewhere, has to be blaming the time off. Everyone else is probably pointing to home cooking and the Designated Hitter rule.
Just remember folks, once we got that craptastic start behind us and got up to speed, the LA Angels bats scored 21 runs against that same San Francisco Giants pitching staff in only three games. The gods of baseball conspired against us, forcing us to make a hash of our own destiny and keeping us out of these playoffs, which is fortunate indeed for these two assemblages of average.
Shut down by Madison Bumgarner? Wow.
- Mike Trout: Wins The Fielding Bible Award as Best Center Fielder in ALL of Major League Baseball for 2012. This is not to be taken lightly. It doesn't get a lot of discussion mostly because it doesn't involve a large number of subjective voters. It is more metric-based. Well, as metric-based as can be using today's poor quality of defensive measurements.
- More Trout: Take your pick - baseball writers who have seen their 4,000 games from the buffet line, or all 30 General Managers and Assistant General Managers, each of whom those baseball writers would kill learn from? Yeah, I thought so. You picked all the REAL experts, the GM's and Assistant GM's. Well, guess what? All those REAL experts, each and every one of them - all 30 of them - picked Mike Trout to their 2012 Sporting News AL All-Star team. Unanimously. The ONLY unanimous vote getter from either league. Detroit Tiger fans can take comfort in Miguel Cabrera being voted in by 20 of the 30.
- Final Trout: Bryan Gosnick over at Beyond The Boxscore introduces his first WARi results, his WAR index used to scale all three WAR methodologies into one master measure (his methodology is laid out here). And TA-DA!! - Mike Trout comes out on top. Well on top. "If you are surprised about Mike Trout being atop this leaderboard, you should not be. Each system has him at a higher level above replacement than anyone else in baseball, and it's not particularly close. After adjustments, every system has him at least two wins better than either Robinson Cano or Buster Posey. This is what happens when you are a phenomenal hitter, very good fielder, and the best baserunner in baseball."
- BONUS READ!: Miguel Cabrera is not even worthy of coming in 2nd in the AL MVP voting. Now imagine this: I arrived home from work on Thursday to find this week's Sports Illustrated waiting for me, which features Michael Rosenberg taking over on page 36 with a blast in favor of the dominating 2012 performance of Cabrera. "Cabrera's stretch run was more than a Triple Crown clincher. It was a man and his bat working to make a mockery of the sport." And the divide between emotional Old School and rational New School could not have been made more clear to me.
- Now this might really belong down in the Rumors recap, but I feel it warrants more commentary than merely documenting that the idea exists: the Texas Rangers are expected to have a chat with the Toronto Blue Jays about their new-found catching depth. The talent pipeline is firmly in place - (1) the Angels to (2) the Blue Jays to (3) the Rangers to (4) Free Agency. Which probably explains all the catchers that the Angels tabbed in the last draft. After all, they have three franchises to support!
- Bill James Online whips out their trusty slide rules, and declares Erick Aybar to be their 2012 Flat Bat Award winner as the finest bunter in the game. Aybar had previously won this very same title in years 2009 and 2010.
eBay Auction Of The Week: I wish this dude was auctioning off a complete set of these vintage 1966 Anaheim Stadium restaurant highball glasses, instead of just one. Note the inscribed date of April 14, 1966. That was BEFORE the Angels played their first game there on the 19th.
This Date In Baseball History (with interesting Game 6 echos): 1911 - The A's (Philadelphia Version) defeat the Giants (New York Version) in Game 6 of the World Series..........1940 - Hank Greenberg of the Detroit Tigers is named MVP, after switching positions to left field (72 years before Miguel Cabrera)..........1950 - The BBWA select Phil Rizzuto, he of the .324 BA, 7 HR's and 66 RBI's, as the AL MVP.........1960 - Baseball grants AL franchises to Washington DC and Los Angeles. The DC franchise was in response to Calvin Griffith moving the Senators to Minnesota and renaming them the Twins (fearing Congress doing something crazy such as revoking the anti-trust exemption out of spite). That DC franchise will one day move to Texas and become the Rangers, making room in DC for the eventual relocation of the Expos becoming today's Nationals. But that LA franchise that was granted was, of course, turned over to Gene Autry and is our LA Angels..........1985 - Umpire Don Denkinger makes his infamous blown call in the 9th inning of Game 6 that pushes Kansas City over St. Louis 2-1, where KC goes on to win Game 7 and their first World Series..........1996 - The Yankees finish off a 4 game run after spotting the Atlanta Braves a 2 game lead, taking Game 6 of the World Series and that year's title, and start a run of 4 titles in 5 years..........
..........2002: Game Friggin' Six. Nuf Said..........
2005 - Bobby Valentine becomes the first foreign manager to win the Japan Series, apparently qualifying him to later be a baseball analyst, which clearly earns him his gig managing the 2012 Boston Red Sox, which worked out very well for everybody not prone to wearing pink caps..........2010 - Jim Riggleman is informed that he will be returning as Nationals skipper for the 2011 season. But during that 2011 season, after his team rips off 11 wins over the previous 12 games, Riggleman quits because the Nats had yet to pick up his option for 2012. And, as we all know, in 2012 the Nats would win the NL East and get into the playoffs - without Riggleman.
- Amy K. Nelson of SBNation tracks down the mysterious Marlins fan that keeps showing up behind home plate at AT&T Park on national TV. And, wouldn't you know it, he is getting those choice seats from some Giants season ticket holder via StubHub. World Series tickets. Right behind home plate. Your team. And you sell them away on StubHub. Anyway, back to The Guy In Orange. It turns out that this guy gets around. Read the whole article and start looking for him. He is this decade's Rollen Stewart, The Rainbow Man. (It wouldn't hurt to read all about The Rainbow Man, either!)
- Here is how you blame Media Bias: The ratings for Game 1 was a record low. Why? Well, probably because it features a bunch of people that nobody knows about. Beyond Verlander, Cabrera and Fielder, how many Tigers could the average baseball fan even name? What Giants name would come first to mind? Barry Zito? And how is it that the average baseball fan has missed out on the stories behind the Detroit Tigers and the San Francisco Giants that led them throughout the entirety of the 2012 season and into the World Series, to the extent that most fans have no points of interest with which to connect? I'll tell you why: because of all that time spent by the MSM focusing on Bobby Valentine taking the Boston Red Sox to nowhere. Or the annual Ozzie Guillen Train Wreck. Or the Miracle Season of Derek Jeter. Shit like that. Over and over and over ad nauseum.
- And this is how the MSM spends it's time during the World Series: by whining over how it is that their personal favorites don't make it into the WS often enough.
- Strange. I had not realized that Melky Cabrera was now eligible to play in the 2012 World Series. But he is. Yahoo! Sports' Jeff Passan drops some interesting tidbits on his way to revealing how Cabrera is being left behind by what might be the one team in all of baseball to be taking any anti-PEDs stance. "For years, Barry Bonds made Lance Armstrong look like a lightweight, and nobody here did anything. On the Giants' playoff roster today is Guillermo Mota, one of the only two-time offenders of baseball's drug policy, and they're happy to use him in relief." Methinks the Giants clubhouse is going to be thinking a little differently about all this once they hit Detroit and need to identify a productive DH.
- Here's one out of the blue: The Sydney Morning Herald claims that MLB is in talks with private promoters to have the LA Dodgers (see what I did there?) open the 2014 season in...AUSTRALIA! Since Australia is on the other side of The International Date Line, I wonder what Uncle Bud would claim as the official date of Opening Day?
- Ok, a tip of the hat to Deadspin for this find. You know those ATT Uverse commercials which feature some 9 year old kid whining to those 5 year olds about how good they have it with that wireless receiver which lets kids these days enjoy their TV anywhere? Of course, they are making a product feature point by mocking something real from our technology past. For you youngsters, just how serious that challenge used to be is fantastically represented by the following:
(What I brought back last night from my latest jaunt in my DeLorean...)
US West Champ SoCal Angels Head to Pretoria for World Series
Northern Hemi Champs to face Kenyan Kings in ultimate showdown, seeking first ever repeat
After sweeping Shanghai Tigers in three straight shutouts, Skipper Borje Salming XXIV leads his champ cherubs into the Lion's den, representing the hopes of fans from Taiwan to Tripoli in defense of their title won 4 years ago now....
(A roundup of this week's LA Angels-related rumors and transactions...)
- On the one had it now looks like the Angels are unlikely to re-sign Torii Hunter. Not surprisingly, in my mind. If you look up news activity for Hunter you will find folks in nearly every major market pondering the thought of signing Hunter to upgrade their outfield production, so you know that bidding pressure will be high this off-season. Meanwhile, we need to focus on bullpen arms. Chalk this up as one more unfortunate outcome of Vernon Wells. Too many outfielders already, and too many dollars in that direction to be flexible.
- On the other hand, directly from the mouth of Jerry Dipoto the team has NOT made any such decision to not re-sign Torii. Don't you wish that history would have shown that merely because the GM says something, we could all take that declaration to the bank?
- Jeremy Moore was demoted outright to the minor leagues.
- The Angels are not expected to chase Shohei Otani. Which might be good, considering the financial impact MLB has put on going 15% over the $2.99 million international bonus threshold.
- MLB Trade Rumors takes a stab at the arbitration values for Kevin Jepsen, Jerome Williams, Alberto Callaspo and Kendrys Morales.
- The Angels are expected to buy out the contracts of Dan Haren and Ervin Santana.
- Finally, for anyone living under a rock this past week, Bobby Wilson is gone. And he dropped some less-than-positive things behind on his way out the door.
(Quick hits of interesting stuff that sit out on the fringe of our baseball emporium...)
Bud Selig, I have read the Bible and learned about King Solomon. I know all about King Solomon. And you, sir, are no Solomon..........Sports gambling is a fool's folly, because insider money makes it all rigged..........Admittedly, Mariano Rivera has been spectacular throughout his career, so it does need to be reported that may now be over..........The life of ex-Cub Mark Grace is spiraling out of control..........Dale Murphy recognizes that he should have stayed away from the gym when he played..........
And now, being the full service weekend linkage institution that we are, here is the obligatory moment we take out of each Friday for beer:
The good news is that there is absolutely nothing to miss tonight (Friday) due to the lateness in finding out what the weekend beer schedule will look like. And that is because the bad news is that there ARE NO Friday events in California. Nor are there any Sunday events, I am sorry to say. But for those of you who have some free time Saturday, and are looking for ways to deal with your thirst, we have a Saturday lineup of: a Ballast Point Brewing Co. Tasting at Whole Foods Market in Newport Beach. Up in Buellton there is the Bruegala Buellton at Riverview Park (I know Beullton well enough to wonder what "river" lies there to "view"). In Thousand Oaks, at Draught's, there will be the Hangar 24 Tap Takeover. Pizza Port in San Clemente is hosting the Pizza Port Hoptoberfest. And, finally, back in San Marcos again we have the Sublime Ale House 1st Anniversary Celebration.
Have a safe weekend, everybody!