Ok, show of hands, how many around here are pretty much ready for Jerry Dipoto and Mike Scioscia to send down the minor league arms and get real with the pitching staff? Opening
Day Night is a mere 9 days away, which is the day rosters get trimmed to 25. I'm done waiting. I want to see our expected staff going longer in their anticipated roles and know who is really ready for April. Too many names are still reporting fragility. Too many regulars are still reporting a lack of control of their repertoire. And too many no-names are still obscuring the real balance between offense and defense. All I know from Spring so far is that we have a lot of guys who can score a lot of runs, but not all of those guys will sniff the Opening Day roster. I'm not bored, I'm crazy-assed frustrated!
I do not get the feeling that this squad is ready for the regular season, and when I see you all next Friday, this Spring Training will effectively be over. It's time to clamp down.
** UPDATE: Mike Scioscia woke up and read WeekEnd HaloLinks today and agreed with the above, throwing out a realistic lineup against he KC Royals today.
On To Angels Baseball!
- Jerome Williams: The biggest news from last night's ST game against the Texas Rangers, in my mind, is how far from ready for Opening Day is Jerome Williams. Last night was a train wreck. Four outs, 11 hits, 7 runs, all earned. Since he threw 44 pitches, with 31 strikes against 13 balls, it's safe to say he was just tossing batting practice. All that did was launch a parade of minor leaguers (with the exception of 1 solid inning out of Scott Downs early on) to fill in for mound duty as the Halos dropped one to Texas 10-9 on a bases-loaded walk-off double
with the bases loadedin the bottom of the 9th. Not. Going. To. Cut. It.
- Erick Aybar: Aybar is back in the fold after helping the Dominican Republic take the WBC title and picked up right where he left off, going 1 for 4 with a solo home run in his first appearance in a Halos uniform this year. And, yes, he gave us a throwing error in the field. Mid-season form, no?
- Hank Conger: Conger seems to be...er...highly motivated now. Last night (his first appearance this week) he went 2 for 3 with 4 RBI's, using a home run, a triple and a walk to deliver. And no errors. Two Rangers stole bases with Conger behind the plate, but (at least) the first one was more off Williams as Conger's throw on Elvis Andrus was nails. And, hold your breath, Conger threw a runner out! Well, kinda. With Andrus batting in the 2nd and Ian Kinsler on first, Conger quick-threw to Pujols and Leonys Martin, previously hanging out on second base, took off for third base. Pujols nailed him. Conger gets credit. I'll take it.
- Josh Hamilton: Say hello, Texas fans. Josh takes up arms against his former club and knocks in a nice solo home run to center field.
- Peter Bourjos: Bourjos has had a rather unproductive week. Since last Friday, he's gone 2 for 10 with 5 strikeouts. At this point I may have to turn my prayers for an anti-Wells ointment away from Petey, and over to Matt Young (.476/.542/.619 with an OPS of 1.161). And nobody in their right mind should believe that wish will work out.
- Mike Trout: Trout gets another raise! Well, at least his image does. Marcia Smith over at ocregister features the new banners going up on the front of the stadium, and Trout takes his place.
- 2013 MLB Fancave: Once again, the Halos are represented in the MLB Fancave experience! This year it is Danny Farris of Garden Grove who will be moving to New York to get locked up and forced to enjoy every baseball game played this season for as long as he can hold out. You may recall that the inaugural Fancave, 2012, saw our Ricardo Marquez make it all the way to the Final Three, before losing out to Ashley Chavez (representing the Oakland A's). For the record, you can register for updates this season here.
- A Sign Of Destiny: Silly Floridians. When they saw this over their skies this past week they mistakenly thought it had something to do with the new Pope. Of course, we know that it was merely a message from On High to all the teams in training there this month, letting them know that the 2013 MLB outcome is pre-ordained:
Under normal circumstances this would not be interesting enough to warrant attention as the weekly "Buy Stuff"item. It's a 1966 120mm negative of Bob Lee on the mound. It's less than 10 bucks and coming out of Canada for some strange reason. The remarkable thing about it is the scenario. Bob Lee was the closer that season. So this must be in the final few innings of a tight ballgame wherein the Halo probably have a lead. Look at the attendance. It's kind of hard to believe that the California Angels drew 1.4 million fans that year, leading the American League in attendance. But that, folks, is the kind of "crowds" I grew up on!
Anybody want to venture a guess as to what game this was?
This Date In Baseball History: 1962 - Roger Maris snubs snubs Rogers Hornsby prior to the initial meeting ever between the expansion New York Mets and the New York Yankees, a Spring Training exhibition, after Hornsby dismissed Maris in his recent autobiography..........1962 - Casey Stengel then pulls out all the stops as new skipper of the new Mets franchise, besting his old Yankee squad with a walk-off pinch-hit victory by Richie Ashburn..........1972 - The Yankees acquire Sparky Lyle from the Red Sox in exchange for somebody known as Danny Cater. Lyle will win the AL Cy Young Award in 1977 and help lead the Yankees to WS wins in 1977 and 1978...........1993 - Cleveland Indian pitchers Steve Olin and Tim Crews are killed, and Bob Ojeda is seriously injured, when their bass boat crashes into a brand-new (and previously unknown to the boaters) dock while going out for night fishing in the dark..........2002 - Ex California Angels product and 4 time All Star Dante Bichette announces his retirement. (Free trivia: Dante Bichette's son, Dante Bichette, Jr., appeared in the 2005 Little League World Series and is now a member of the New York Yankees franchise.)..........2005 - Barry Bonds, citing fatigue from the press, threatens retirement. He lies.
Rounding Up The Major League News...
- International Daft (not a typo): You might have noticed some dialog concerning a proposal from Uncle Bud to stage a formal, annual, draft for International players. Buster Olney added to the news this week by revealing that MLB would hand over large concessions to the Players Union to pull this off, and that the Players Union will happily grab an increase in minimum salary and a decrease in service time to reach Arb eligibility (too late for young Master Trout). Craig Calcaterra points out that this does nothing on behalf of international talent and, in fact, may actually impinge somewhat on the Academy system for player development in Latin America, as bad as that may already be in some respects. Meanwhile, LA Dodgers first baseman Adrian Gonzalez has a dad, who happens to be a player agent, who happens to represent a prospect from Mexico, who happens to be embroiled in a tug-of-war between MLB and the Mexico City Diablos Rojos. So Mr. Gonzales is suing MLB on behalf of his client and, if he wins, could hose Uncle Bud's plans for an International draft, all by himself. "If there is any question as to who owns the rights of hundreds of Mexican players, or if Pesqueira's lawsuit drags on for several months, or even a year, then it could be tricky for any kind of worldwide draft to be implemented anytime soon."
- Stealing Bases: This is pretty cool. Coco Crisp provides a narrative and breaks down what is going on in his head while he steals bases. If I am ever granted the opportunity to interview ballplayers and coaches and report on what they have to say, I have no interest in post-game press mass gatherings and all the triteness that comes from them. This kind of "in the head of the person using a specific video example" is precisely what I would want to be doing.
- Hooters Experiment is going horribly wrong: And who, pray tell, is surprised by this? Hooters girls have been seen during Spring Training in their...ahem...uniforms with the responsibility as foul ball shaggers (all puns intended). Well, how about "Hey, lookie! A baseball came my way. Pick it up and hand it to that cute little boy in the second row, so I get to lean over into those two cute guys in the front row!! What? It was a fair ball and still in play? What does that mean? I boo boo'd?? Oh, I am so embarrassed! Do you cute guys in the front row want to rescue me now?"..........Meanwhile, what's going on down the first base line? We got "Ooh! Ooh! A ground ball coming to ME!! Skip out there, bend over, and hold the position. What? I missed the baseball? Well, at least I get to smile on camera! I promise to get the next one....Oops....Guess not. Please don't boo. Watch me run and run and run."..........Ok. So maybe the best thing to do is just sit in one's chair and look hot. "Yeah. I'm hot. Also, my temperature is rising because there's no shade. But at least I get to wear my cute sunglas...Oh No!! A baseball is coming right at me! Duck!!! Huh? I did something wrong? But I just sat here. I don't understand. Nobody likes me. And now I have to sit here all by myself. In the heat. Looking hot."
- Eating Their Own Dept: Fun times. Colin Cowherd, probably a favorite of somebody, somewhere, decides to take a whack at the "Heir Apparent for the Title of Mr. Yankee Once Derek Jeter Retires", and slams Robinson Cano for playing harder on behalf of the DR WBC squad than he does for the Yankees. Of course, fans of the Gutty Little Yankees everywhere did take offense. Now, I cannot take a side here because I do not watch the MFY and I did not watch the WBC, but that doesn't mean I can't grab a bag of popcorn and pull up a chair and enjoy the brouhaha!
- Deep Thoughts: I find it refreshing to see sabremetricians taking pause to think about what they are trying to track, why, towards what results, and whether or not what they are doing is reaching meaningful objectives. Matt Hunter over at The Hardball Times goes "Searching for questions" and meanders into some interesting perspectives, including: "The goal of RBI, as I view it, isn't just to measure runs that came immediately after the play—it's to measure how many runs the player produced, how many runs the player was responsible for. This is a fantastic question, and one that absolutely should be answered."
Video Of The Week
This one features arguably one of the one or two greatest fast pitch softball pitchers in history, Ty Stofflet, going after three of the LA Dodgers right after the Dodgers had lost to the Yankees in the 1978 WS. I bring this to your attention because one man, living today in Huntington Beach, drilled a three run homer off of Stofflet in a National Championship game decades ago. Something that almost never, ever, happened. That man happened to drop by for beers this past weekend, and is the father of this guy (who happened to catch 3 Cy Young pitchers when he was with Houston.)
(Trouble viewing the video? Direct link here.)
Great moments in stupid injuries suffered by baseball players, Part XXIII..........Bud Selig needs to tell Roger Goodell to go eff himself..........(Note that the NFL opened its season on a Wednesday...just last year..........Note that the NFL played on Rosh Hashanah...just last year..........Note the the NFL doesn't go out of its way to avoid other holidays such as Thanksgiving just last year, and Christmas...just as recent as 15 months ago..........Note that the NFL doesn't move on behalf of MLB..........So, of course, one of the Yahoos at Yahoo! Sports decides to bitch slap...baseball..........Completely OT, but completely hilarious and phenomenally eye-opening. Makes all that NCAA blather just wretched in perspective. NCAA spirit bands live large during March Madness.
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...
Friday: Capital Beer & Taproom in Sacramento hosts The 1st Annual Barleywine Fest, "dedicating 15 handles to Barleywine."..........The Ale Arsenal (gotta love their logo!) in San Carlos will be home to a Firestone Walker Tap Takeover..........Downtown Johnny Brown's in San Diego will be the site for their 6th Annual Bitter & Sour Night.
Saturday:Johnny's Bar in Highland Park (Los Angeles) is the scene for a beer & food event; Angel City Brewery & Bumbo's Polish Food.
Angels Stadium Neighborhood Brew Tour: So anyone of legal age can obtain beer from a billion different places. Hell, you can get golden-colored bubble fluid out of bottles even at IHOP. But what if you really like your beer, and have a couple of hours to enjoy before/after a game? Where does one go? I'm sure that you have your favorites, and why, and I encourage you to share.
- Week One we did a tour of the best establishments within one or two miles of the stadium itself.
- Week Two we checked out the finer stops for those of you traveling to/from a game via the 5 freeway.
- Week Three was for fans venturing in down the 57 freeway.
- Week Four was for visitors from the Lake Forest/Ladera Ranch/RSM regions.
This week we tour the beaches of North OC. For those of you seeking some special selection after getting back from a Sunday afternoon game, wherein you might take pause to celebrate another Halo victory, we offer up these GPS opportunities:
(Again, as pulled from The Drinking Issue of OCWEEKLY)
- Brix Brews and New York Deli - 16635 PCH, Sunset Beach (skip the phony NY stuff, and the wine, and head to the taps)
- Huntington Beach Beer Company - 201 Main St., HB (Truly a surf pub if their ever was one)
- Tap Shack - 1617 Westcliff Dr., NB (self-serve beer! and an IPA haven)
- Newport Beach Brewing Company - 2920 Newport Blvd., NB (out on the peninsula)
- Side Door - 3801 E. Coast Hwy., Corona Del Mar (sister to Five Crowns, featuring San Diego beers)
As always, feel free to contribute below!