On Wednesday afternoon, while driving home, I turned on my car radio and, like good HH'ers everywhere, it was defaulted to Arte's station. Since the game had long concluded, instead of any warmup show I crashed head-on into Roger Lodge and his Halo Honks and Duck Quacks and Klown Kars and immediately reached to change stations. I thought, "Why the hell not?", and clicked over to ESPN LA. And there, after careening off of Roger Lodge, my sports soul flipped over the embankment of sanity and went pinwheeling deep into the Crevasse of Max Kellerman Idiocy.
I caught Kellerman lambasting Angels fans over our ignorance of the greatness of baseball in general, and Mike Trout in particular. Paraphrasing, we got this message from Max: "What’s wrong with Angels fans? They don’t deserve Mike Trout. They don’t support their team and they are ignoring the amazing performance of the greatest player in all of baseball. There’s absolutely no buzz about him. At all!" For those of you who are not too familiar with the SoCal sports scene, this is the same Max Kellerman who spent literally (and I do mean that word in the literal sense) the entirety of Trout's rookie explosion onto the baseball scene instead tracking every move, and non-move, of the NBA's Dwight Howard. Day after day, hour after hour, home theft after home run theft, all the way back to the time of "What will Howard do??" So, yeah Max, there is a reason that you are missing Mike Trout buzz. Nincompoop.
In fairness to the show overall, Kellerman's co-hosts went directly at him over and over with most of those obvious mistakes within his attempt at a tirade. It's not his schtick to be convinced, however. I gave up so I don't know how things broke from there. Click.
By the way, before I move on to baseball meat, here is a completely Off Topic but incredibly cool GIF, showing the global Internet traffic across one 24 hour period. I do trip over some cool things in my hunt for stories for you all, and this one just demanded to be shared. A little macro-economic point for those of you young enough to still be alive when this will have an impact your older selves directly: take particular note as to what is going on in Brazil...
On To Angels Baseball!
Surprise! Here during our final series of the season, we are reminded of the extra fun and games we have been fortunate enough to enjoy nearly all season long: piddly hits wrapped around wasted baserunners capped off by crappy relief pitching in order to result in some mammoth celebration conducted by players wearing the wrong uniform. Angels fall victim to familiar script in Arlington; Kohn allows fourth straight walk-off loss to Rangers. We aren't really going anywhere, so no tears remain for me to whine about this at all. On the other hand, welcome back Mark Trumbo: "...the Angels tied it in the seventh on a leadoff triple by Calhoun and a single by Trumbo, giving him a career-high 100 RBIs. Trumbo entered Thursday on an 0-for-24 slump -- the longest active streak in the Majors -- relegating him to the No. 7 spot in the lineup, and finished 3-for-4 with four hard line drives." And, yeah, Mark Trumbo is Tougher Than You.
J.B. Shuck: OMG. Shuck left the game last night with a sprained ankle, surely ruining his 2013 ROY chances. After all, no voter wants to support any player who will have tailed off so severely over the last 3 games when a playoff slot was at stake! (Don't worry, Shuck was checked and is well enough to carry on.)
- State Of The Union: This is all pretty stale now, what with Mike tailing off so badly. I cannot think of any serious Trout supporter who remains committed to whatever slim rationale that existed for Trout as MVP in 2013. But, what the hey, columnists get paid for columns. In this article titled Angels finish another lost season in spite of Mike Trout's greatness, ignore the Mike Trout stuff. It's very little and very obvious and very well known already. But there are some real gems having nothing to do about Trout in that article. Like this one..."The Angels didn't play well again, and only a capable past four weeks keeps them just short of total humiliation, though there's a reasonable argument otherwise. The Angels didn't play a single important game this season, same as last season"...and this one..."And, frankly, little has gone on here for the better part of four years...that should soothe Moreno. Either the people working for Moreno aren't good enough at their jobs, or he's not very good at his". Yup. Pretty much sums everything up in two simple little phrases.
- Jerry Dipoto: Hmmm. I think that this Dipoto guy may be on to something. "Really what we need," Dipoto added, "is organizational starting pitching. We need starting-pitching depth; we need options from within. We need young, controllable starting pitching. Essentially guys that when something goes wrong at the Major League level -- inevitably an injury will occur, somebody's going to struggle for a period of time -- guys that can step in and guys that you can build toward. It's gold in the game."..........then again, maybe he is not: "[Blanton's] on our roster," Dipoto said. "Obviously, he did not have a good year, but he's had success at the Major League level. He had a rough year, but we're not deep enough on the pitching mound to not consider every option. He has been a good Major League pitcher before. There are no promises. He's not in our rotation now. We'll have to make a determination."
- Arte Moreno: In that same article above, Alden Gonzalez channels what must be pretty common Front Office chit-chat as he goes well into the problems with payroll and the challenge of staying under the Luxury Tax. "The Collective Balance Tax threshold will increase from $178 million to $189 million in 2014, buying the Angels a little extra wiggle room. But since the CBT payroll is calculated based on the average annual value of contracts for every player on the 40-man roster -- plus benefits -- they'll enter the offseason dangerously close to that figure, particularly because of the back-loaded nature of deals for Albert Pujols and Josh Hamilton." But if Arte Moreno always dreamed of owning the Yankees before settling with the Angels, here is his George Steinbrenner Moment. It's Arte's call alone whether to stay under the cap or not. This is not some Natural Law. No bolts of lightning are going to come down from Mount Olympus and smite him for mocking Loria, god of Cheapo. Arte is the one who effed up here, so Arte still has the chance to punish himself, eat his own wallet, and bite into that gargantuan TV contract while it still pays dividends. Staying under the cap is not reason enough, for example, to trade away a Trumbo for hope, merely to avoid Trumbo's arb impact.
- Bobby Grich: Grich made it back into the news again, but you still have to dig a little. Well, a lot. Fangraphs went into Writer’s View: The Best Players Not in the Hall of Fame. So Joe Posnanskli jumps in with his take, and Grich pops up at #19. The writers of Fangraphs leave Grich of their lists entirely, and Posnanski brings him in at 19. And yet, Posnanski opens his Grich review with the following sentence: "At this point, I’m pretty sure Bobby Grich is the most underrated player in baseball history, and I’m not even sure who is in second place." Any place that values Red Schoendienst over Bobby Grich is seriously messed up.
- Miracles: I want to go back to last Sunday, when the Angels/Mariners finale was interrupted by a swarm of bees. There is something incredible that was not, IMHO, played up sufficiently. A major reason that the delay was shortened well below what it could have been was because in the stands was an Angel fan who is a beekeeper. A beekeeper! How many of those can there be in Orange County? And what are the odds that one of those few would be at that particular game? And, just as important, how was it that there were more beekeepers present than liability lawyers, who surely would have prevented the franchise from allowing a fan to wander out onto the grass of the stadium! Anyway, this kind of miracle reminds me of a documentary I once saw on The History Channel, back when they showed documentaries. This couple was out hiking deep in the wilderness and the male slipped and fell into a river, causing a small landslide. He ended up on his back with a boulder pinning him underwater. Destined for a tragic ending, no? No. By some miraculous coincidence, some eastern European man was also in that same deep wilderness and happened upon the couple immediately, with the woman frantic, of course. Fortunately, the stranger had been trained and certified IN UNDERWATER CPR!!! Who knew that such a thing even existed, much less having one of the 5 people on the planet trained in it within 3 minutes walking distance anywhere on earth from the one person who would ever need that kind of rescue?!? I'm telling you all, if that History Documentary was staged, it can only mean that the Angels fan was the very guy who turned loose those bees before he entered the stadium. Tin foil hats for all!!!
Buy Stuff - Crazy-ass Baseball Finds On the Internet:
Here, as we crush the last juices out of what remains of our 2013 dreams, and with the notion of the existing stadium potentially being renovated or demolished altogether now being discussed by all pertinent parties, I conclude the season with this potential acquisition: A mens tie...printed with the images of all the demolished major league baseball stadiums throughout history. Potentially out of date in the next 5 years.
Friday, September 27 @ 5:05 PM, (FS-W / MLB.TV) LA Angels @- Rangers Ballpark - Arlington
(LHP) 17-7 3.36 ERA versus (RHP) 7-4 2.93 ERA
Saturday, September 28 @ 5:05 PM, (MLB.TV Only) LA Angels @- Rangers Ballpark - Arlington
(RHP) 7-7 4.09 ERA versus (LHP) 10-9 3.33 ERA
Sunday, September 29 @ 12:05 PM, (FS-W / MLB.TV) LA Angels @- Rangers Ballpark - Arlington
versus (RHP) 13-9 2.82 ERA
Rangers Ballpark in Arlington. You will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy. We must be cautious. Even if all we have to look to in these remaining few games is the crushing of dreams amongst the the bandwagon minions of the Rangers, that is more than awesome enough for me. And more than satisfying in this final edition of our "WEEKEND SERIES" Chapter of 2013 Links.
This Date In Baseball History: 1905 - Bill Deneen of the then Boston Pilgrims throws a no hitter against the White Sox. four years later he will retire, and immediately become a Major league umpire. He will become the only person in history to both throw a no-hitter, and to call one from behind the plate AND the first person to play in a World Series and Umpire in one...........1920 - The Philadelphia North American newspaper publishes an article quoting gambler Bill Maharg as stating that he and ex-pro player Billy Burns offered eight Chicago White Sox $100,000 to throw the 1919 World Series..........1936 - Walter Alston gets in his one and only game as a Major Leaguer, going 0 for 1 at the plate and 1 for 2 in the field (1 error) with the Cards. Somehow that was long enough to earn the nickname of "Smokey", and a Hall Of Fame career as manager of the Dodgers, pulling in 7 NL pennants and 2 WS titles..........1923 - Lou Gehrig hits the first home run of his career..........1938 - Lou Gehrig hits the last home run of his career..........1951 - Bill Sharman (yes, THAT Bill Sharman) after recently being a late season call-up from the minors, is ejected with 14 other players sitting in the bullpen for arguing a close play at home. Thus Sharman will become the only Major League Baseball player to ever be ejected from a game, without ever playing in a game..........1954 - Willie Mays is one of the very first guests on the very first ever broadcast of The Tonight Show, then being hosted by Steve Allen..........1959 - Sparky Anderson participates in his final game of his very short career as a player, going 0 for 3 with 1 caught stealing..........1961 - Bob Sprout goes 4 innings, giving up 4 hits and 2 runs in a no-decision for the new Los Angeles Angels playing at home at Wrigley Field in front of 1,717 fans. It will be the only Major League appearance of Sprout's career.........1973 - Nolan Ryan of the California Angels breaks the single season strikeout record with 383..........2000 - Darin Erstad breaks the Major League record for RBI's from the leadoff spot, with his 99th coming against the A's.
Rounding Up The Major League News
- Tragic: near the end of the Dodgers/Giants game on Wednesday evening, Dodger fan Jonathan Denver had left the game and entered a nearby bar with his father, brother and two other people while still wearing Dodger colors. There he became entangled in an altercation with two male Giants fans. In the mix, Denver was fatally stabbed. In a Shakespearean twist of fate, Denver's father is a security officer...for Dodger Stadium. And this game was the first of three during the last week of the season that the Giants franchise had designated as a fundraiser for Brian Stow. The police have quickly arrested a prime suspect. Rest In Peace, fellow baseball fan.
- Bobbled: The Yankees totally messed up on their Mariano Rivera bobble head giveaway. "This experience has been a total catastrophe. The utter lack of organization and information from the Yankees to their fans and employees. All of the Yankee employees have no idea what's going on." Total chaos, near riots, super long lines (unless you were sitting in The Legends seating, where Yankee execs personally hand delivered your missing bobble head). Even better, I found one blogger who posted "I heard more than a few of them tell people they were welcome to cancel their season tickets if they were unhappy". Nice. It turns out that they shipped via rail, which broke down, then via truck, which broke down. Somebody should tell them about these newfangled shipping companies. Anyway, after all that MFY fan whining, here is the final outcome.
- Mo Rivera: I hate the MF Yankees. So moments like this reek of over-played melodramatic self-importance. But Mariano Rivera is, by EVERY account, really a great guy. And he absolutely has been historically effective in the oft-dismissed role of Closer. Anybody who doubts that the BBWA will not vote him into the MLB HoF on the very first ballot is an idiot. The only suspense will be the name of the single asshat who decides to be the one to ensure that Rivera is not unanimous. So, when the Yankees then turn around and do this, it's pretty easy for me to set aside my bile and relish an absolutely incredible moment. The number 42 walked off a Major League baseball field for the final time, ever, and that number could not have picked a more classy guy, or in a more classy way. Yeah, Mariano Rivera made me overcome my hatred for the MF Yankees. For almost 5 whole minutes. But I'm all better now.
- Trolling for Dollars: David Shoenfield decides to fill out his weekly assignment by trolling pretty much half the fans in the American League. He does this by putting up a series where he MVPees all over the hopes and dreams of nearly every faction of interested parties. He makes a case for Josh Donaldson, which requires taking potshots at Miguel Cabrera and Mike Trout. He makes a case for Trout, taking shots at Cabrera. On and on, making a case for Cabrera, and then Cano, and then Davis. Read them only if you promise not to get too sensitive concerning silly things like logic and selective facts and such.
- Fortunes: In a tale yet unfolding, one which impacts the Halos inasmuch as it represents one missed opportunity, yet another reason to pull for the Halos this weekend is that it helps set up a potential future for Terry Francona to lead the Cleveland Indians back into Fenway Park to destroy the hopes of Red Sox Nation and all their bearded women. "Francona has been the perfect manager for the situation, bringing a sense of professionalism, confidence and calmness to an organization that needed all three. The Indians have a better roster than they've had the last few years, but they're also better prepared to take advantage of it." Deep sigh.
- One More Year: Like that recurring nightmare where behind every door is yet one more door to be opened, Bud Selig has announced that, yes, he will retire...after one more season. And then 4 more months. "Look, I’ve told everybody that I’ve got another 16, 17 months to go and I’ve got obviously lots of things I want to do and will do," Selig said to SI.com earlier this month. "But I am convinced — I think it’s Jan. 24, 2015 that is the actual date — that I will be done. I believe that and I think everybody now understands that I will be done." The scary part is that Selig is committing to actually do stuff. really? Such as help the A's get out of their "pit"? Institute a proper instant replay system? Or kick Jeff Loria out of Baseball? No. Probably not. But what we can be certain of is Selig creating yet another committee to find his replacement. That committee will, as usual, do nothing for way too long and miss all the rational deadlines. And then they will vote unanimously to retain Bud Selig.
Video Of The Week
(Grandma snags foul ball with her glove! Wait...grandma goes to games with a glove???)
(Trouble viewing the video? Direct link here.)
It's about time somebody called this. For once, the umpires are taking a stand IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION. The batter has to make an attempt to avoid the pitch, not lean into the dang thing...........This guy reminds us that getting to second base is precisely what one aspires to do during a baseball game. Thank you FOX Sports!.........So Rev helped all of you celebrate the firing of Aramark. What didn't get mentioned is that this is because your Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim are working harder every day to become a subsidiary of The New York Yankees..........Tim Brown. Writer. Clearly in denial as to the existence of The Boston Red Sox..........How about that!? 1995 is no longer the even the greatest choke in MLB history. And has dropped off the list altogether. Thank you Dusty Baker. Thank you Nelson Cruz..........If a Robinson Cano ends up commanding $305 million, which owner is it who is soon going to be handing over the ownership of his entire franchise to Mike Trout?
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...
Saturday: The Roseburg Shopping Center parking lot in Modesto is putting on Oktoberfest 2013 - Fundraiser for Maya Rose's Children's Fund...........Don't forget: LA Beer Week. Here is The Saturday Event Listing...........And LA County Fair.
Future Forecasts: Still gifted to us by Ladybug:
The Ultimate Beerfest OC on October 19th at the OC Fairgrounds. Again, Living Social..........
BEER BONUS: There's No Rye In BaseBull Beer