Friday HaloLinks: Rockin' Cleveland Edition

"Let's see...Eckstein, Erstad, Salmon, Anderson...oops. (Sigh)...this shit used to be so easy."

Somewhere the soul of George Steinbrenner mocks us fans of the LA Angels of Anaheim. Say what you will about George, but it cannot be denied that he would go to any length to make sure that he put the best possible product out onto the field, and that that product always knew that they were responsible for performing up to the highest expectations everygoddamnedableday. Nothing was untouchable. Nothing was sacrosanct. Not Hall Of Fame players. Not Hall Of Fame Managers. And if all you wanted out of your baseball team were sweet beer prices, well, you could go to hell. The bottom line for the franchise was spelled W - I - N. Wouldn't it feel refreshing to have somebody - anybody - in this organization stand up, show some backbone, and fight for the hopes and desires of us fans with the passion that George could muster???

THE USUAL FRIDAY BOATLOAD OF LINKAGE COMES AFTER THE BREAK...

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FRIDAY

LA Angels vs. Cleveland Indians @ Cleveland - 4:05 PM Start (FOX Sports West)

Jered Weaver (R) 3-0 2.43 vs. Justin Masterson (R) 0-2 ?6.65

SATURDAY

LA Angels vs. Cleveland Indians @ Cleveland - 10:05 AM Start (FOX)

Dan Haren (R) 0-1 4.07 vs. Jeanmar Gomez (R) 1-0 1.93

SUNDAY

LA Angels vs. Cleveland Indians @ Cleveland - 10:05 AM Start (FOX Sports West)

Ervin Santana (R) 0-4 7.23 vs. Derek Lowe (R) 3-1 3.00

  • From MLB.COM: "The ball is moving a lot and we're really close. We're not trying to pick the corners, but we seem to be right there and just missing. We're just really close. It's nothing way out -- nothing crazy. It's just something that's happened." No. That's not Mike Scioscia. That is Justin Masterson. The Disease of Missing Expectations is running rampant these days. Meanwhile, Shin-Soo Choo - the Indian's own Weaver Killer (.440 against) is unlikely to get back into the lineup for a Friday start against Weave, upping the chance for tonight being Weaver's no-hitter. (True confession: last Saturday morning Rev sent out a call for help with the post-game thread. I smelled a Perfect Game, and made a jab at Rev for passing up the chance to report on the event. I got the stupendously rare event absolutely correct, but got the pitcher absolutely wrong!)

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Yes, we need somebody within the organization to stand up for us and represent. Somebody needs to do that which we are powerless to do ourselves. And somebody needs to demonstrate to us, the faithful, that our care is not misplaced and is not ill used. If it is even remotely possible that anybody employed by Arte is reading this, we fans demand attention, it is our right and we have earned it. Represent!

But for you, the faithful, I remind you of my words just a couple of weeks ago:

"Over the course of the next few months we will have times of greatness and times of calamity. We will see moments of individual glory and moments of abject failure. We might win in bunches and we might lose in bunches. We will have individuals contending for the highest honors and others pulling the team towards an early grave. There will be ups and downs. Some times will be loud and some times will be quiet. Let us not be calm. Let us allow ourselves the rights as fans to rise and fall with the prospects of the season..."

These are the days where we cull from our midst the chaff. Are you a fanatic or are you a flavor-of-the-month? Pink hats can get the hell out of my way, because the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim are my team. And this is far from over!!

There is this old B SciFi movie from the 1970's titled Capricorn One. James Brolin, American astronaut on his way to Mars is struggling across the southwest desert being pursued by Men In Black (don't ask). Beaten, parched, and exhausted, he finds himself confronted by a massive mesa. It is a sheer rock wall climbing to the sky and he is armed with nothing but his bare hands. Going back is not an option. Staring at the rock face, taking a deep breath, he quietly assures himself, "Piece of cake." And here, too, is where we stand.

Because let's get real about the hole still being dug (presuming the digging stops this weekend): If you assume that the Rangers continue to win at their current rate for the time being, even if the Angels run off a 30 game winning streak, the Halos would STILL be 3 games back.

So buckle up, people, it's gonna be a bumpy ride.

This date in baseball: In 1918, the Brooklyn Dodgers won their first game of the season, after going 0 for 9 and defining the Major League record for opening futility..........In 1972, the Padres pull the quick trigger and fire Preston Gomez, who had been the only manager of the expansion franchise to that point. The Pads were merely 4 - 7...........In 2002, Derek Lowe, who we will see on Sunday, pitches the first no-hitter at Fenway park in 37 years..........In 1961, the Los Angeles Angels play their very first home game, losing to the Minnesota Twins at Wrigley Field 4-2. Ty Cobb himself threw out the ceremonial first pitch, It would be the final time Ty Cobb would visit a big league baseball field...........In 1982, Reggie Jackson leads the California Angels back into Yankee Stadium and Trumps Steinbrenner's decision not to renew his contract by adding a home run to the Angels' 3-1 victory..........In 1983 both Fred Lynn and Darrel Sconiers hit grand slams in the same game as the Angels rout the Tigers 13-3.

More on that foul ball kept by the adults while the brat bawled uncontrollably: Lookie here! We got ourselves a baseball-related flowchart on Deadspin!! Invented by yours truly and introduced to the sporting world here on HH, we can claim full ownership of this concept. Speaking of which, I need to drum up a new one for Sosh...

A Baseball Benchmark: We fans carry a shorter fuse (have you noticed?), but Mark Saxon reminds us that those people who get paid to do this for a living tend to give players 100 AB's before they come to any conclusions on the season. And Saxon is figuring Dipoto is gonna start gettin' busy in May.

For all you people insisting that Scioscia has got to go: From Yahoo! Sports. Be careful what you wish for. The Red Sox's Bobby Valentine filed the wrong lineup for yesterday's game. How? He fat-fingered his cell phone and got the opposing pitcher wrong. Yeah, Bobby Valentine was doing his game prep and research on his cell phone. You just can't make this shit up.

Say Hello to Our Old Friend Casey Kotchman: Kotch is with the Indians these days. And he carries with him into the 2012 season the genetic heritage that is the LAA. In simple terms, so far he is sucking at the plate. "You can't really control results," Kotchman said. "You control the effort you're putting in with your preparation, and you accept the stuff that comes from it. Stuff will turn around over 162 games." Mike Scioscia counldn't have said it any better himself.

As if things couldn't get any more depressing: MLB released the 2012 All-Star Ballot. And every single baseball fan on planet Earth is going to be able to stamp their vote of approval for Mark Trumbo as the LAA third baseman. Do you think Mike Scioscia is going to punch that ticket on his ballot? As for the rest of us, doesn't the mere thought of an All-Star ballot just plant a solid kick in the gonads of every Halo fan all of a sudden?

Lyle Spencer: Just. Cannot. Admit. Fail. " Toronto is very happy with Mathis. Drabek benefitting immensely. Finding himself." For the rest of baseball, we all see that the Blue Jays have a guy who plays only once every 4th game, and whom the Jays refuse to slot in ahead of another guy who is hitting a humiliating .196. Must be a reason, I would gather. And if my research is correct, he has caught only two one of Drabek's 4 starts, anyway. But, yeah, you go Lyle.

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A reminder of why we hate Boston fans, and why we pray we are a more enlightened sports community than hockey fans..........Could be worse. Reagins could have shown up on time..........For all you self-made experts who spend time rendering opinions of every detail in a prospect's swing mechanics, I BEG YOU to break down this guy..........WTF? LaMarr Hoyt is back??? Yeah. I agree. Creepy..........Am I a bad person for the Jim Abbott submission in this series of product gags?...........

And now, the obligatory moment we take out of our day, each Friday, for beer.

"…there is only one game at the heart of America and that is baseball, and only one beverage to be found sloshing at the depths of our national soul and that is beer."
-Peter Richmond

Finally...

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