Friday HaloLinks: Angels & D'backs Alumni Weekend Edition

Whereas Mike Trout is Prometheus, bringing fire to the LA Angels of 2012, and Torii our Dark Knight Rising, and Weaver/Haren/Wilson/Williams/Richards are our Avengers, apparently Albert Pujols is working on becoming our Spiderman!

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Diamondbacks Come To Town: Spending some quality time with Juan Rivera and Bobby Abreu now behind them, the Angels Alumni Tour continues as the Arizona Diamondbacks come to town, bringing with them Joe Saunders. After laying down sweetly on behalf of the Texas Rangers and their decimated pitching staff during the first two games where they were outscored 1 - 9, the D'Backs stroll into town on the heels of a masterful shellacking of the Rangers, 11 - 3. On the surface it looks like the DBacks have been playing better of late. But that success has come against the same Colorado Rockies team that the Halos crushed, and the same Oaklnad A's team that everybody NOT named the LA Angels are crushing. So, by all rights, the Halos should have their way with Arizona this weekend. But we all know how those stories turn out and the squad seems to have misplaced their offense once again so I, for one, am buckling up for a roller coaster weekend. But, like, damn boys and girls! We are only 16 and 14 at home. Wouldn't this be a good time to make our home record right?

The better news is that the World Boxing Congress of Ice Capades has just concluded their season, and the World Wrestling Basketball Association is almost done. In only days, the sporting world will have shed the distractions that take media minutes away from Baseball and we can all settle into the deep end of the pool, having it to ourselves.

Fun Arizona Laws (some state wide, some peculiar to certain counties or cities): Hunting camels is prohibited..........Any misdemeanor committed while wearing a red mask is considered a felony..........Donkeys may not sleep in bathtubs..........You are not allowed to play cards in the street with a Native American..........No more than six girls may live in any house..........Anyone caught stealing soap must wash himself with it until it is all used up..........Wearing suspenders is prohibited..........It is illegal for anyone over the age of 18 to have less than one missing tooth showing when smiling..........Women may not wear pants..........Cars may not be driven in reverse.

Communication In The Information Age: Who would have thought it? Pujols explains in this LA Times article that in recent weeks (that timing not being accidental) the players themselves are now free to take the initiative and discuss with each other what the pitcher is doing that game. You know, strategizing and all that. Dealing with in-game tactics. Coaching, you could say.

Status Stat Of The Week: When dawn broke on April 28 the Halos were 6 and 14. 20 games spent into the 2012 season and 142 left to play. Since that time they are 28 and 16, which is .636 ball. If they keep up this current pace they would win 91 games in this latter span and 97 games overall.

When that same dawn broke for Texas on April 28, they were 15 and 5. Since that date they are 22 and 21 for an average of .511. If they keep this current pace they will have won a mere 73 games since April 27th, and will have won 88 games overall. That would put them 9 games back at season's end.

Now, presuming either win/loss track is folly, and assuming BOTH is for Lotto players. But it sure does make the Rangers slight lead in the current AL West standings seem rather meaningless, does it not?

Albert Pujols: Pujols continues to warm up, although still without his power stroke. Since June 5th he is batting .441/.474/.735 with 15 hits in 34 at bats.

Mark Trumbo: Don't let Mike Trout distract anybody, because Trumbo is hitting a smoldering .354 with 25 hits, 4 doubles, a triple, 8 HR's and 20 RBI since May 24th.

Ervin Santana: Mark Saxon is jumping on the bandwagon for dumping Santana from the rotation.

C. J. Wilson: Since may 17th, C.J. "Overrated" Wilson has a .93 ERA with a slash line against of only .167/.281/.214.

Brandon Wood and Tyler Chatwood in AAA: And both of these ex-Halos are struggling mightily. Chatwood has a 6.43 ERA and 1.786 WHIP and Wood, well, Wood. He's [not] hitting .250 with 44 K's against only 11 walks in 58 208 plate appearances. I bring these to you as a cautionary tale to temper one's enthusiasm for those yet proven.

Dodger Fans: For those of you who suffer with associations among fans of the LAD, especially those who think they have found their voice with the 2012 miracle success to date and spend all their time crowing about the Angels greatness being ancient history, know that with the last series victory over our northern cousins, the Halos have now won 11 of the last 15 games between them, including 7 of the last 9 in Chavez Latrine.

Angels Related eBay Find: Custom made Albert Pujols Lego Minifigurine, #5 and all! I am not making this up. These people make custom Lego minifigures. "Our custom minifigs are made completely of 100% genuine Lego parts with only custom decals added." This is mandatory if you are the proud owner of this handmade model of a California Mission Angels Stadium! And, yeah, I am calling this out in a block quote to make sure you all see these two links!!!

MORE NEWS AND VIEWS OF THE REST OF THE BASEBALL WORLD AFTER THE JUMP....

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FRIDAY

Arizona Diamondbacks vs. LA Angels @ Angels Stadium - 7:05 PM Start (FS-W)

Trevor Cahill (R) 4-5 3.36 vs. Dan Haren (R) 4-6 3.73

BIG BANG FRIDAY

SATURDAY

Arizona Diamondbacks vs. LA Angels @ Angels Stadium - 7:05 PM Start (FS-W)

Joe Saunders (L) 4-4 3.48 vs. Ervin Santana (R) 3-7 5.74

POST GAME CONCERT: CHRIS CAGLE

SUNDAY

Arizona Diamondbacks vs. LA Angels @ Angels Stadium - 12:35 PM Start (FS-W)

Ian Kennedy (R) 5-6 4.32 vs.Garrett Richards (R) 1-0 1.38

FAMILY SUNDAY

FATHER'S DAY OVEN MITT & POT HOLDER

Here we go. Can there be any other story than the obvious, as "Dan Haren Faces His Former Team For The First Time!"?? Oh, yeah, there can! That would be "Joe Saunders Faces His Former Team For The First Time!"

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This Day In Baseball: 1938 - Johnny Van Der Meer pitches his second consecutive no hitter in the first game ever played in Brooklyn........1940 - Harry Danning of the NY Giants gets an inside-the-park home run on a fly ball after the ball gets stuck in the Eddie Grant Memorial in the outfield of The Polo Grounds..........1951 - Buzzie Bavasi of the Brooklyn Dodgers makes his first ever trade. He will retire from baseball in 1984 as an Angel executive, most notorious for allowing Nolan Ryan to walk and then gifting us Bill Bavasi, his son..........1963 - Juan Marichal of the San Francisco Giants no-hits the Houston Colt .45's, grabbing the first no-hit game for the franchise since moving to the West Coast..........1964 - Lou Brock is traded to the St. Louis Cardinals in what is often cited as one of the most lobsided trades in history..........1968 - The Philadelphia Phillies fire manager Gene Mauch. 13 years later Mauch would take the helm of the California Angels and bring his infamy for pitching decisions and collapses with him..........1976 - The Pittsburgh Pirates vs. Houston Astros game, scheduled for the indoors of the Astrodome, is called due to rain when the intense storm outside prevents the umpiring crew from reaching the stadium..........1999 - Jim Abbott, pitching for the Milwaukee Brewers, gets his first base hit of his Major League Career..........2005 - The Yankees announce plans for their new stadium, the same one they shall whine about not being able to fill in 2012 while blaming Stub Hub.

Sky Is Blue, Water Is Wet: And nobody likes A. J. Pierzynski. Close attention to detail will reveal that it is Joba Chamberlain who other players rank as Most Overrated. C.J. Wilson should demand a recount.

When I Retire, I Can Become A Handyman: Rays bullpen phone breaks down. They are going to pay somebody some pretty good money to spend a couple of hours and fix the phone connection between the dugout and the bullpen in that $500 million stadium. If I were that party getting that job, my first response would be to ask why they don't simply use their cellphones?

Still Living Life Well: Bill Murray cuts loose during rain delay. While far from a perfect human being, Murray still has moments to show grown-ups how to spend our hours while still above ground.

Dusty Baker, Cool Again?: I do confess to liking Dusty Baker a lot as a player back in his Dodger days. His times as a manager have mostly made me happy because he is a guaranteed FAIL and he never shows up in a Halo uniform. But, of course, in the most recent years he had dropped off my radar and my last memories of him was as something of a douche. But then I read how he and Derek Lowe are getting into it and all of a sudden I adore the man once again. You have to give him credit. He does not back down on the issue. he does not hide the facts away from the public. "I told (Mat Latos) to buzz him and make him uncomfortable. That's what happened. Nobody hit him. Then he hit our guy" followed by "It wasn't to say I didn't have anything to do with it. It was to say: Don't mess with me or my team. That's what that means. He better learn sign language". It's totally fresh to read him admit to what he is doing and how is he holding a line. That kind of response is the precise benchmark for why we fans are always so frustrated with canned cliches out of everybody else. So if I hate the canned cliches, I gotta love me some Dusty today.

Individual Greatness in Baseball is a Team Sport: It takes a village to make a hero in baseball. Wednesday we saw a perfecto by the Giants' Matt Cain AND a near no-hitter by the Mets' R.A. Dickey. I found it kind of odd how fast I read some comments concerning the great game called behind the plate by . Especially since I jumped over to watch the last couple of outs and saw a rather large zone being called. Pitch #3 to Jason Castro was a lot worse in reality than the data shows, and even Mrs. Stirrups made a comment about how low it was, which is pretty remarkable. You can view the whole game pitch details for yourself here. I count at least 7 pitches that were balls being called for strikes in just what Pitch f/x can find, and I know that this system is incomplete. Meanwhile, in the Mets game, New York fans are all over Rays' scorekeeper Bill Matthews for his call in the first inning on a B.J.Upton hit up the third base line that David Wright failed to field. You can see the play here. I agree with Mets fans (the the team, which appealed the scorekeeper ruling to the front office, which happens a lot, by the way) that if Wright snatches the ball cleanly he has Upton out at first. (Or, more appropriately for all you Little Leaguers out there, Wright had plenty of time to use his damned glove and avoid all this mess!) But I also agree with Matthews that this play is called a hit as the benefit of doubt typically goes to the runner getting a hit rather than punish the fielder with an error. The point here is that a lot of stuff has to go the right way for any player to achieve singular greatness. Reflexively, most baseball fans choose to ignore all that as noise.

Not Quite OT: If this were not so cool that I want to play with it myself, I would call this the most hilarious way to spend $75,000 in technology, time and effort to accomplish nearly nothing. This was going on in McCovey Cove early in the game between the Giants and Astros Wednesday afternoon. The amount of engineering required to expend that amount of energy and go nowhere far, nor fast, nor even high enough to see a baseball game that could be seen sitting down for a mere $17 ticket is stupendous. But at least this guy looks more cool doing all that than anybody not named James Bond!


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Five great places to go and waste your employer's Friday morning...

1. Vintage Base Ball Association (You, too can be a player of the game of base ball. And get your own uni here.)

2. A Graphical History of Baseball (Charting the production, as trends over time)

3. "The Father Of Baseball" (Not everything at baseball-reference.com is about players and teams. This is a great place to start learning about the birth of stats. Yes, they go back a long, long way!)

4. A Survey of the history of stats (Leading up how the A's began to use OBP, and then hired Billy Beane and taught OBP to him.)

5. Hit Tracker (A fun place to chart out Mark Trumbo! Sorry that ESPN has purchased the site, but it is what it is...)

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Chicken bones, monkey entrails, and Mayan calendars: Matt Cain nearly loses his perfect game because Brandon Belt has the audacity to sit down in the wrong place..........Vlad Guerrero still looking for one last shot to play on an MLB field: And the Detroit Tigers are apparently one of his possible suitors...........Mike Port, Still Crazy After All These Years: The one-time GM of the Angels, one-time Red Sox GM, one-time MLB VP of Umpiring goes on a crazy-assed tirade against technology..........Where Are They Now?: From Jeff Miller at the OCRegister...Dallas McPherson is in The Chicago White Sox minor league system, at AAA and - brace yourself - on the DL.

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:

Arizona is a hot place. It is also a Rocky Mountain state. Both of these are fine drivers for the Culture Of Beer. So it's not surprising to find that there is an Arizona Craft Brewer's Guild, and they have a pretty snappy website. Too bad not much goes on, according to that same website. Not to mention that they seem to get some kind of "craft" kick out of chains (Rockbottom? BJ's? Really?). I guess that not much has changed since the late 70's when I lived there, and high falutin' was drinking Henry Weinhard's.

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