Well, the slow baseball week is finally over. For you, the reader, it's all exciting and stuff because today is baseball! and everything. But for me, sitting here and getting ready for this column, it's still slow and dull. So forgive me for meandering, what with such little material to work with. So let me just add my own, now plenty outdated and always puerile, whine. I submit to you an anecdote and a question.
The Anecdote: I am driving home from work on Tuesday, listening to the All Star game. Mike Trout has come up to the plate with his second at-bat of the game. During this at-bat, we will briefly hear that Mike led off the game with a first pitch shot past first base for a double. And we will hear that Mike will fly out to Carlos Beltran playing in right field. But during the entire time the ESPN radio broadcast will welcome in Yankees radio broadcaster John Sterling, who will be asked about the 2013 Yankees' success, the greatness of Mariano Rivera' Farewell Tour, and - David Freaking Robertson!!!
The Question: Now, Mike Trout did not distinguish himself in this particular game. He took advantage of a nervous and youthful starting pitcher and jumped on a nice, fat, 97mph opening fastball down the heart of the plate. Nothing more. (I mean, really, Trout merely doubled, while Prince Frikkin' Fielder TRIPLED!) But...if Major League Baseball imposes upon us the modern day circus known as The All Star Game...so that fans of all teams have a chance to celebrate their own heroes and bear witness to the greatest players of other teams...then why does MLB allow the messengers of their event to turn our focus away from their circus and onto a NON starter who is NOT an All Star on a team that is NOT playing and has absolutely NOTHING TO DO with this, or perhaps any other EVER All Star Game???
ESPN is staffed by New Englanders. Many New Englanders are Yankee fans. Ergo, many ESPN staffers are Yankee fans. And ESPN Yankee fan staffers like to promote the object of their affection even when it means that the fans of other stars - real stars - can go eff themselves. And no apologist of ESPN's market research department is going to convince anyone that the baseball world cares more about David Robertson than it does about any player even approximating the talent of a Mike Trout. We already know all of this. By now it's practically a birthright. So why doesn't MLB know to pro-actively intervene? Anyway...
On To Angels Baseball!
(Of course, with only 1 Los Angeles Angel of Anaheim working this week and THAT whole story came with its own 5,000 news stories, new news is kinda light this Friday.)
- Tommy Hanson: Hanson's return is right around the corner. We could see him next week. The linked SBNation article talks about his rehab start last night as being a key test. I can update that article by letting y'all know that Hanson nabbed 6 K's and yielded 2 runs across 3 1/3 innings. He threw 59 pitches and gave up 3 hits.
- Peter Bourjos: It looks like Bourjos' 2013 is slowly becoming a lost cause. His latest X-rays have showed no progress to his wrist fracture after three weeks. As th article points out, Bourjos has only plyed 40 games to date in 2013.
- Jason Vargas / Sean Burnett: These guys are not likely to return until August. According to MLB Trade Rumors, that guts their chances of being trade bait.
Buy Stuff - Crazy-ass Baseball Find On the Internet:
I don't know what strikes me as more odd: that there exists such a device as to brand your hot dogs after your favorite team, or that is the kind of thing that would only fans whose "favorite team" is the Red Sox, the Phillies, or the Cubs?
Friday, July 19 @ 7:05 PM, (FS-W / MLB.TV) Oakland A's vs. LA Angels - Angels Stadium, Anaheim
[BIG BANG FRIDAY, FRIENDS & FAMILY FUN PACK, TROUT FARM IN SECTION 101]
(RHP) 8-6 3.68 ERA versus (RHP) 3-5 3.63 ERA
Saturday, July 20 @ 6:05 PM, (FS-W / MLB.TV) Oakland A's vs. LA Angels - Angels Stadium, Anaheim
[POSTGAME CONCERT W/ BILLY CURRINGTON, FRIENDS & FAMILY FUN PACK, TROUT FARM IN SECTION 101]
(RHP) 6-2 4.28 ERA versus (LHP) 9-6 3.37 ERA
Sunday, July 21 @ 12:35 PM, (FS-W / MLB.TV) Oakland A's vs. LA Angels - Angels Stadium, Anaheim
[SEASON TICKET HOLDER PHOTO DAY, FAMILY SUNDAY, FRIENDS & FAMILY FUN PACK, TROUT FARM IN SECTION 101]
(RHP) 12-3 2.70 ERA versus (RHP) 5-5 4.60 ERA
This Date In Baseball History: 1909 - Neal Ball of the Cleveland Naps (named after Nap Lajoie, but better known today as the Indians) executes the first ever unassisted triple play..........1910 - Cy Young goes 11 innings to defeat the Washington Senators (today's Minnesota twins) 5-4 and earn his 500th career victory. Recall it was just last Friday that we celebrated the date of his 300th. He will finish up his career this season, ending with 511..........1911 - Walter Carlisle, playing for our very own local Vernon Tigers of the PCL, completes an unassisted triple play of his own. Impressive, sure, but it is also the only known instance of an unassisted triple play executed by a center fielder. Carlisle is a former circus acrobat..........1946 - Umpire goes crazy! Umpire Red Jones ejects 14 players from the White Sox bench for razzing him from the dugout. Legend would go on that the real culprit was a ventriloquist in the stands..........Notable Debuts the coincided on this date: 1936 - Bob Feller makes his debut..........1960 - Juan Marichal makes his debut (against a Phillies team being managed by Gene Mauch)..........1964 - Luis Tiant makes his debut..........1966 - Astroturf makes its debut as the exclusive field surface. It was initially installed in the Astrodome earlier this same year in the infield only.
Rounding Up The Major League News...
- History: Here is an awesome distraction. Gizmodo posts a brief retrospective focusing on primary objects of our favored sport: the baseball, the glove and the bat. I very much want to sit down and chat with the dude or dudette whose brain came up with the notion that "a scythe-like bat was...thought to improve the spin and height of the ball".
- Second Half: Everybody's doing it. It's so popular during the All Star break. Everybody is doing some piece about "the second half of the season". Silly for an enterprise swimming deep in the ocean of numbers. We are, actually, at the 60% mark. there is only 40% of the season left. Anyway, in Grant Brisbee's Baseball Nation "second half" article, he makes Five Bold Predictions. I love how he looked back at how he did in 2012, when Prediction #1 was that "Mike Trout comes down to earth". He admits to being stupid. of course, a lot of folks (including Baseball Prospectus) immediately turned around and said the very same thing for 2013. Anyway, Grant gets funny for this season, then gets real. And my favorite: "The Tigers don't make the playoffs".
- Stupid: You know it's a slow news cycle when the flagship radio station of the San Francisco Giants is dishing rumors that the Giants are shopping Tim Lincecum, the guy who nailed down the middle relief role in a championship run of 2012, and then just pitched a no-hitter a few days ago.
- Rumors: One thing that IS now highly topical, we can all start paying attention to trade rumors. Sure, we are claiming to be sitting on the sidelines and 2013 is rapidly becoming meaningless to us anyway, but with the pressure off we can have some fun watching the panic and the leveraging done by other teams this trade season.
- Attendance: Yahoo! Sports does a countdown photo post of the 15 emptiest stadiums in MLB. Number 11 is Citi Field, which is pretty fun what with the All Star game just held there. I know what you are thinking: "Oakland A's!" Well, chillax. Oakland comes in at merely #8. So, yeah, it gets worse. Oddly, several of these places house serious contenders this season.
- Big Data: This is what I do for a living. I link you to Big Data and Baseball simply to give you a glimpse of what your future looks like as all information about all things living or otherwise become resources for all decision making. I hate to be the one who tells you this, but if you pay real close attention to the stuff that loads when you visit Halos Heaven (the small print in the lower left when your page is loading), you will see evidence of tiny little applets that are loading into your computer memory to track what you are doing. And all of that stuff goes back to folks who load it all up in giant databases and sell it to other people who are aggregating all those giant databases into Big Data and learning new things about previously hidden relationships and using that insight to drive what is is that they do.
Video Of The Week
(Because, just like Jeff Mathis, Vernone "Knucklehead" Wells never gets old)
(Trouble viewing the video? Direct link here.)
Baseball players used to be such fashionistas! Who knew?..........Fashionista AND animal lover? Go Nap Lajoie!..........In honor of the Minnesota Twins coming to town on Monday, check out a day in the life of Target Field..........Jerry Seinfeld, of all people, is surprised to discover the New Yorkers can be rude asshats...........Some day we are going to get a new stadium. Will be about baseball, or will it be Downtown Disney part 2?..........Bullshit. I *love* Bugs Bunny. But, yes, I did like David Eckstein more than I do like Albert Pujols.........Let's bust a major can of reality tv whoop ass on Uncle Bud and offer up an obstacle course laden Inside the Park Home Run Derby next year!..........This kind of makes The Rally Monkey look pretty stale...........So, if we want to liven things up with The Monkey, there is this!
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...
It's a rather fruity weekend, folks. Not a lot of events dedicated to beer, so for those unable to hit the Saturday lineup below, you might want to check out the Marysville Peach Festival, or the Santa Paula Citrus Festival, or the San Clemente Ocean Festival. I'm sure a brew or two could be found there.
Saturday: Up and down the coast today, folks. Let's start up in San Jose, which is pretty safe because we have learned that they take their beer fests pretty seriously up north. Original Gravity, the locale for many events listed on these pages, is holding their 1 Year Anniversary..........In Thousand Oaks, at Draughts Restaurant & Bar (another happening joint), Coronado Brewing is doing a Tap Takeover and featuring Master Brewer Ryan Brooks..........then, southern-most, in San Diego, the Embarcadero Marina Park North will be celebrating the San Diego Heroes Brew Festival. Don't think firefighters, police, troops type of heroes here, ladies & gents. Think Comic Superheroes. Should be fun!!