Well that was fun. A week ago we had the Angels off on a road trip proclaimed by many of the local MSM as "make or break". Of course, we here on HH came to grips with reality weeks and weeks ago and knew this to be, in a word, stupid. There was never any "make" to be had. More appropriately, it was "remain brain dead and we start donating organs, or it's direct to nails in the coffin". And ALL of that happened. We started off brain dead, we began separating ourselves from accessible body parts while there was still time, and we came home in a coffin. I can almost imagine Jerry Dipoto taking the PA mic on the plane before it pushed back from John Wayne Airport and announcing that, unless they won every single game on the road trip, the plane would be coming back to the same gate a week later minus a few passengers. But what the hell...as long as there remains a few drops of excellent taste in the bottom of that beer glass, there remains a perfectly great reason to hold on to the handle! Take comfort in the knowledge that no other fans in all of baseball get to witness the daily amazement that are Mike Trout and Jered Weaver. Suck it, MLB!
You probably missed it, but the Angels actually won a real baseball game last night. They defeated another team also competing for reals at the MLB level, the Toronto Blue Jays, 8-2. This was all done with almost zero offensive output from Albert Pujols, Josh Hamilton and Mike Trout. For the most part, Mike Scioscia lined up Iannetta, Aybar and Trumbo with the SLC Bees and opened "Spring Training 2014!" a few months ahead of the rest of baseball. I almost expect Arte Moreno to get a warning call from Bud Selig about trying to get sneaky and starting next season early.
Something seems to either elude me, or MLB.com's William Boor. "Prior to the game, Scioscia said the new lineup 'will give us a good look early in the first inning and hopefully we get some big boys up there with guys on base and see what happens....The Angels got that good look in the first and when the "big boys" came up, they delivered.' " I would think that our "big boys" would be Trout, Pujols, Hamilton and Trumbo. In that first inning, that quartet went: out, disabled list, out, home run. Not tragic, but not exactly what might have been expected by that claim.
Our own Raadad has now completed the online publication of his Tribute Novel,
It's good to learn that at least one of us found something productive to do with our time during this waste of a Spring & Summer. Congrats, Raadad!
On To Angels Baseball!
- Albert Pujols: Many of you might have been hoping that Pujols finally wised up and cancelled the balance of this disastrous season in order to get healthy. Heck maybe even get any needed surgery well in advance of reporting dates in 2014. Well, it IS 2013, so there's still plenty of weeks worth of opportunity to disappoint. It turns out that Pujols does not REQUIRE surgery, therefore, Albert, ever the Iron Man, is not ruling out a return this season.
- Mike Trout: Prior to the season start, I got my copy of Baseball Prospectus 2013 in the mail, and I rushed to drool all over the forecasts concerning Trout. I, of course, was the dude who did the whole "Trout As Velociraptor" thing about how he was testing the fences, and learning. I was predicting that he was going to get even better. Imagine the magnitude of my disappointment to discover that those people who are much, much better with sliderules than I had posted, right there on page 556, a prediction of 4.1 WARP, good for only second best center fielder, behind Andrew McCutcheon's predicted 4.6 (FYI, that 4.1 WARP was to be 10th in all of baseball). His BA was predicted at .289, and his OBP and SLG not even in the top 20. I complained loudly. I wrote my emails. I was patted kindly on the head. LOL, who's cryin' now, BP?! Fangraphs has him at 6.7 already, leading all of MLB with 50 some odd games still to go. By the way, in case you missed it, the Fangraphs countdown to the most valuable trade chip in all of MLB ended this week, and Mike Trout was the hands-down winner at #1.
- Tommy Hanson: Just in time for his start tonight, Tommy Hanson has been studied and found to have his velocity back! And I mean back, as in way back before he joined the Halos. ''Perhaps in the off-season he can make the mechanical changes required to help him stay healthier. But for now, it looks like the Tommy Hanson of old is coming back. And that's good news."
- Alumnus Maicer Izturis: I just gotta do it. I always doted on Izzy. He was the one guy I would want at the plate for a much needed RBI. I know how facts defy my memory, but it is what it is. So it has to be mentioned in this Friday space that Izzy made his first appearance against the Angels last night, and his first appearance here not in red. So what with the blowout, it was somewhat nice to see that Izzy collected one of the Jays' harmless two RBI's in his one and only chance to drive in a baserunner from a scoring position. He also has not lost his knack for slick fielding.
Buy Stuff - Crazy-ass Baseball Finds On the Internet:
Friday, August 2 @ 7:05 PM, (FS-W / MLB.TV) Toronto Blue Jays @ LA Angels - Angel Stadium of Anaheim
[BIG BANG FRIDAY, FRIENDS AND FAMILY FUN PACK, TROUT FARM IN SECTION 101]
(RHP) 1-1 3.81 ERA versus (RHP) 4-2 5.15 ERA
Saturday, August 3 @ 6:05 PM, (FS-W / MLB.TV) Toronto Blue Jays @ LA Angels - Angel Stadium of Anaheim
[KIDS MIKE TROUT T-SHIRT, BIG A TAILGATE, FRIENDS AND FAMILY FUN PACK, TROUT FARM IN SECTION 101]
(RHP) 3-5 4.36 ERA versus (RHP) 5-5 2.84 ERA
Sunday, August 4 @ 12:35 PM, (FS-W / MLB.TV) Toronto Blue Jays @ LA Angels - Angel Stadium of Anaheim
[FAMILY SUNDAY, FRIENDS AND FAMILY FUN PACK, TROUT FARM IN SECTION 101]
(LHP) 7-7 4.27 ERA versus (LHP) 11-6 3.48 ERA
This Date In Baseball History: 1921 - The eight White Sox players accused of throwing the 1919 World Series are acquitted, and carried off on the shoulders of the jurors. Euphoria will last only a day, as Commissioner Landis will ignore the jury and ban them all for life. (Here is a little-known factoid: did you know that the Black Sox scandal was finally exposed during grand jury testimony into a potential Cubs-Phillies fix concerning their August 31, 1920 game? The Cubs, as it happens, are rumored to have thrown the 1918 WS versus the Red Sox.)..........1938 - Major League Baseball goes Krazy! In the first half of a twin bill between the Dodgers and Cardinals, MLB experiments with yellow baseballs. Apparently, the players liked them...........1939 - Hank Greenberg flies out to Joe DiMaggio. So what, you say? DiMaggio snagged that particular fly ball an incredible 455 feet from home plate...........1979 - Thurman Munson is killed while learning to become a pilot, when his plane crashes short of the runway...........1993 - New York fans let down their guard and show their ass-hatted selves, abusing the visiting Toronto Blue Jays with over-wrought jingoism..........1995 - Jimmy Reese is inducted in the Angels' Hall Of Fame...........2011 - Jered Weaver of the Angels is suspended for 6 games in the aftermath of the Detroit Tigers revealing themselves to be total crybabies.
Rounding Up The Major League News (what little there is to be found in between all the Biogenisis-PEDs-related stuff)...
- Josh Gibson: Rob Neyer went on a pilgrimage a while back, and discovered that one of the greatest baseball players ever, THE greatest in the minds of some, is being neglected. "But I will take this opportunity to suggest, once more, that the burghers in Cooperstown consider disinterring Hall of Famers whose graves are generally neglected or unloved, and moving them to well-kept grounds near the Hall of Fame itself." An idea worthy of contemplation.
- Chris Davis: The Davis "62 home runs in one season for the anti-PEDs record" took a serious nosedive this past week. In this homage, it's noted that "Now at 39 home runs with 53 games remaining, Davis is needing 23 home runs to overtake the once-fabled number 61. He’d need to hit a home run every 2.3 games. Assuming he gets four at-bats a game, that’s one home run every 9.2 at-bats. He’s currently averaging a home run every 10.05 at-bats." Deep sigh. I want me one of those.
- Oops: See? It is NOT impossible for MLB managers to be total knuckleheads. It's not our imagination. Mariners manager Robby Thompson pulled a major bonehead last night, one that I have never heard of before. Walking to the mound to pull Tom Wilhelmsen, the Seattle Skipper pointed to his bullpen with the wrong arm, forcing him to use Yoervis Medina when he really wanted to use Oliver Perez. Once that call was made, it was irreversible. Perez then allowed the next three Red Sox runs to score.
- Stan Lee: Alright, the one last non-PED story from around baseball worthy of posting here. It almost makes me wish I were a Giants fan. Almost. Next week you can go to a real baseball game, see a real baseball team play, get all the food you can eat, hang out on the field, get a pretty cool comic book styled superhero print that is Giants themed, and meet Stan effing Lee in effing person!!! Beats the hell out of "rally wigs".
Video Of The Week
(Since the minions of DCMA have decided that you don't get to see Yasiel Puig play hackey sack with a baseball and Cristian Rinaldo, I give you this. Fair warning, guys, the downside to dating a modern woman is that they know damned good and well that you don't drop a home run ball sent directly into your hands!)
(Trouble viewing the video? Direct link here.)
Not one of Boston's premier moments but who, really, is surprised..........Upon hearing the news that A-Rod might be banished for life, our very own Caseys Kiss of Death immediately went off on a tirade. It turns out that CKOD is really Buck Showalter..........Speaking of which, the latest update to the A-Rod saga is that talks have broken down, which is that more interesting path that leads to the Dark Side..........We did not totally get shut out this past week. We won something. We made a list of trade deadline winners!..........Thank you, Baseball Writers Of America, each and every one of you..........I hate the Red Sox, but even I have to admire this amazing chart. I just wish it had happened against Jonathan Papelbon........Now here's a kid who knows the true value of 17 bucks in today's economy. 17 bucks being the going rate for a real MLB baseball.
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: Redwood City (lovely place, actually) is the home to Harry's Hoffbrau, where there shall be an Allagash FV13 & wild beers on draft tasting/release event...........Ciro's Pizzeria and Beerhouse, on the other end of California in San Diego, is doing something rather pompously titled "Cigar City Brewing/Widmer Brothers Brewing Gentlemen's Club Night". Don't be fooled. "Gentlemen's Club" is a beer brewed by Widmer Bros. Brewing. And, truth be told, Widner Bros/ does these all over the place.........Back up in the San Jose area, Original Gravity House is conducting a Green Flash versus Ballast point face off.
Saturday: Downtown LA is the place to be, LOT 613 at 613 Imperial, for the Annual Beer & Crab Festival. Don't be fooled, Lot 613 is not some vacant parking lot. It's between 6th and 7th streets, near what is kindly called "the river". Also, this Beer & Crab thing is not an LA gig (really, LA & crabs???). It's kind of a promotional tour stop.........Closer to the stadium, at Chapman University in Orange there will be a beer seminar "Brewing a Beer Buzz: The Secrets of Successful Beer Branding". Sounds like some insight to the wild-ass beer naming competition going on across the lands. It's billed as "an educational event", but it is hosted by The Bizability Group, which is a consulting firm for startups..........Enegren Brewing is throwing themselves a 2-year birthday bash in Moorpark..........And anybody toodling around the Sierra's on holiday this weekend might wander over to Mammoth Lakes and drop into Sam's Woodsite, where you will partake in the Home Run event of the entire weekend: Mammoth Festival of Beers and Bluesapalooza!!
Sunday: A couple of cutie pie ways to wind down your weekend are happening to the south. the Inaugural North Pacific Beach ("PB" to the locals) Sip 'N Stroll sounds promising, but is billed as "family friendly". it's an effort to get PB'er to spend their money "hyper-locally". For us outsiders, though, it is a beer tasting of 3 beers per $10 ticket!..........And, finally, Stone Brewing Company, at their newish Stone Farms facility, is doing an Herb Walk. That's not the name of some random brewmaster. Its literally a walk. Through herbs. The idea being to learn how they are used in the crafting of finer beers. But you get to taste select beers only available at the farm, and carry off a satchel of fresh herbs to boot!