Well, yesterday was real fun. A Day of CJ's. We got to watch Dan Haren blow through 4 innings while giving up only 3 hits against 0 walks and 0 runs...in the wrong uniform. Thank the stars that we had C.J. Wilson matching him almost stride for stride. The real fun started when we got to the bullpens. That's where it REALLY started. Our gas can was Dane De La Rosa, who lasted 2 outs, but gave up 2 hits, 2 walks, 4 runs all earned (on a grand slam), and added a wild pitch and a hit batter. Busy, busy guy, that De La Rosa. We entered the bottom of the 9th down 1-4. Andrew Romine walked, John Hester got on via HBP himself (more about all the HBP stuff later), and Don Mattingly turned the mound over to Chris Anderson, who then earned himself a front row seat on a 2-2 count to witness C.J Cron hit a 3-run homer and tie things up. Extra innings during Spring Training? Nah. Let's all just go home...
- Albert Pujols: Pujols is still pissed. Days after being questioned about his ability to match Mike Trout's production, he still can't shake the level of indignity he felt at the time. "Can you imagine someone saying that to me?" Pujols tells USA TODAY Sports in recalling the question from a reporter. "I felt like saying, 'Come on, are you serious? Are you really asking me that? Check out my numbers. I know what Mike Trout has done in his first two years is pretty special, but will you look at my numbers. I've been doing this for almost 14 years.' The only guy in baseball who can match the numbers I've put up is Barry Bonds, and someone is actually asking if I can put up numbers like Mike Trout? Are you freaking kidding me?" I actually do hope this lights a fire under his ass and we see some of the Pujols that Arte purchased a couple of years ago.
- Mike Trout: Gunned down yesterday trying for an inside the park homer. Methinks that had this been a regular season game Trout would have taken a much better line around second base and made it safely home (you have to study the video to get my point). Fun to watch, though. And we LAA fans can take comfort in the knowing that Expanded Instant Replay is not going to destroy the very fabric of baseball, since it is already proving to have not much of an impact on turning close calls our way any more than what we have experienced in the past. Give Sosh some credit for cleverness, though. He got out there onto the field and chatted up the umps and got them to review, and without costing himself his challenge. Turns out he got them thinking about the home plate collision/blocking rule instead, so they called the challenge on themselves.
- Sean Burnett: Word is out that Burnett, who has NOT suffered any setback in his recovery, is still a long shot for Opening Day. I imagine that this news might put a deep dent in the ticket resale market once word spreads. Just keep saying to yourselves: "pitching depth...pitching depth..pitching depth". And pretend not to hear any bad news about Dane De La Rosa.
- Readiness, Part 1: I know full well that we are still very early into Spring Training games. But, on the other hand, we are only about 3 weeks remaining in ST. In recent ST's I have sensed that our regulars are not getting regular time in game conditions leading into the regular season, and I wondered what this might have to do with the recent slow starts (if anything). But I never tracked it. This time I am going to track it. I'll try to remember to do this weekly, to see if anything comes of it. Here is where our regulars stand, in relation to everybody else in MLB Spring Training, ranked in order of actual at-bats so far:
|Player||AB's||Rank Among All MLB During ST (to date)|
|Chris Iannetta - C||8||tied for 469th|
|Albert Pujols - 1B||10||tied for 319th|
|Howie Kendrick - 2B||10||tied for 319th|
|David Freese - 3B||10||tied for 319th|
|Erick Aybar - SS||10||tied for 319th|
|Josh Hamilton - LF||0||(tied for dead last)|
|Mike Trout - CF||11||tied for 244th|
|Kole Calhoun - RF||14||tied for 85th
|Raul Ibanez - DH||10||tied for 319th|
- Season 2014, The First 12 Games: No pressure or anything, but I totally agree with this guy. Since we open 2014 against the Mariners, Astros and Mets, if we don't roll through our first 12 games we are lying to ourselves. "No discussion. No debate. No excuses. Just victories." Going further, if we use the magical jersey number of "27", those first 27 games takes the Halos through the end of April. Not only should they have rolled through the M's, Astros and Mets, but we will have also seen how they fare against legitimate contenders A's, Tigers, Nationals, Yankees and Indians.
Buy Stuff - Crazy-ass
BaseballStuff On the Internet:
You probably never knew that your life was so empty because you did not wake up this morning to the aroma of your own automatic pancake making machine. We have one of those in my home. We call it "husband".
This Date In Baseball History: 1903 - the NY Giants trade their manager, Heine Smith, to the Tigers in exchange for a player that they immediately send away to the Phillies..........1923 - Kennesaw Landis, now Commissioner, rejects requests by the American Legion to stop holding baseball games during the mornings of Memorial Day (when Legionnaires would be busy walking in parades)..........1941 - Pee Wee Reese and Ducky medwick wear protective plastic inserts under their ball caps while batting, making for the first time any MLB player wears headgear. Both were hurt the previous season when getting beaned, spending significant time on the DL.........1955 - Ford Frick, Commission at the time, wants to legalize the spitball............2006 - Team USA makes it's debut in the WBC, defeating Mexico 2-0..........2008 - MLB, clearly starved for revenue, threatens to withhold grant money from the Cape Cod league unless the league starts purchasing products from MLB licensed vendors.
Great Moments in Baseball Statistical History
(My primary source for this series is the excellent book The Numbers Game: Baseball's Lifelong Fascination With Statistics, Alan Schwarz author, Thomas Dunne Books Publisher.)
Ethan Nathan Allen was a major league ballplayer in the early 20th century, playing center field for half a dozen team across twelve years. I don't want to sell Allen too short. He still owns the record for highest ever batting average at the University of Cincinnati (.475) and also owned a Masters Degree from Columbia. But it was after retiring as a player that Allen became famous.
Even as a player, Allen was fairly analytical. It was during this time that he came up with the idea of a game focused on baseball. Up to that point, such games were designed as rather random, using real players names only as a means of selling the games themselves. The results had little or no relation to the actual skill levels of the real players. This bugged Allen. He knew full well about the various possible outcomes of an at-bat, and that the different players realized different results in different proportions, based on their skill. Allen's great inspiration was to consider these possible outcomes as areas of a pie chart. by altering the areas of each outcome to match the true proportions realized by the actual player named on the pie chart.
Allen developed a proportional pie chart for various pro players of note, with each pie chart cut to fit over a spinner. By spinning the arrow, the outcome would very closely resemble the actual batting percentages and slugging results of the actual pro. And this close reality was an explosive difference, resulting in incredible sales. It changed the relationship between kids and baseball and the statistical difference between pro players. Forever.
The game is known as All-Star Baseball. It is one of the two best-selling baseball board games of the last century, and ranked as one of the 50 most important board games of all time. And ASB inspired generations of young, statistically minded, baseball fanatics. It remained a top-selling baseball game all the way up to the rise of video alternatives, and it's still quite easy to get your hands on one of them today.
(Fun postscript: after last week's Friday Links Stat focus on Sy Berger, I received an email of gratitude from a member of one of Berger's descendants, who had found us whilst browsing the Internet for his family name. This person was quite surprised and most appreciative that we here on HH are remembering the legacy of Sy.)
- GM Job Security: Grantland puts up an article backed by a few Baseball Prospectus researchers (one that has the dirty fingerprints of the LA Angels all over it, by the way), which dives into whys and wherefores of the recent job security of GMs throughout baseball. There are some pretty intriguing observations there behind why GM's are sticking around longer than in past years, summed up at the end with "The real question is whether the next GM hired should expect to last longer than the average GM hired two decades ago. Major league managers are hired to be fired, the saying goes, and the same observation has historically applied to GMs. But maybe we’ve entered an era in which some GMs are hired in the hopes that they’ll actually stick around."
- Speaking of Front Offices: You probably already know that the Moreno Regime has been incredibly cold-blooded in terms of Front Office personnel. Glassy-eyed interns willing to be in the baseball biz at whatever cost are always going to be a lot cheaper than experienced veterans, relative skill levels be damned. It's simple economics, "...millions of people have dreamed about working for an MLB team, and there are only 30 possible employers...". That quote comes directly out of this article on Baseball Prospectus, looking hard at the overall value of a Front Office hiring, and interestingly when contrasted to the value of that dollar on players on the roster. "As an unrealistic but theoretically possible example of this potential market inefficiency, consider a team that is deciding whether to spend $7 million on one or more players in a free agent market similar to the 2013 incarnation or on its front office. The expected returns from spending $7 million on free agent players would be one win....Or perhaps the team could hire the 100 best available or aspiring front office employees at the well-above-market salary of $70,000 per year. Would the collective fruits of their observations, research, and manpower be worth more than one win over the course of a 162-game season? If so, that represents an important inefficiency in the baseball labor market: The cost of a win is cheaper when it comes from an executive than when it comes from a player. That would mean that an extra dollar is better spent on the front office than on the field itself."
- Ballpark Concessions: The Minor League Team Whitecaps in Michigan are holding a fan poll opening up their concessions to the item that the fans want to enjoy most. How novel. Asking the customer what it is that they might want to actually buy? If only the folks running the ballpark in Anaheim were that inspired. My guess is that there are some pretty good ideas around Halos Heaven, if anybody cared to ask. So I'll ask: what would you REALLY get up out of your seat, wait in line, and spend your coin on - food & beverage wise - that you cannot already get at the stadium? Variations of something already being served are perfectly acceptable (for example, we all should know that the stuff they actually sell and serve does not really qualify as pizza).
- HBP: How many of you sit out there watching a tight game, late innings, knowing that we need a baserunner real bad to extend the batting order, only to groan uncontrollably as you watch the current batter flail wildly out of the way of an inside pitch in order to avoid being hit? Yeah, me too. Well, as it happens, somebody (actually, Ryan Zimmerman up at the mothership) has been paying attention to the rising rates of HBP occuring via all the other MLB teams, and the impact of such events on offensive stats. Our rival's new not-so-secret weapon, Shin-Soo Choo, is particularly adept at suckering umpires into granting him first base by getting hit. By the way, if you read the article and see the table of the top 5 HBP teams from last season, and wonder where the Halos slot in there, know that the Halos HBP/PA percentage was a paltry .0077.
- R.I.P Frank Jobe: Dr. Frank Jobe passed away Thursday at the age of 88. Here is the LAT obituary. Jobe revolutionized baseball forever via his creation of tendon transplants to repair overused pitching arms, thus extending careers everywhere. You know this process due to his initial patient for this process, Tommy John. "As of 2013, more than 1,000 Major League Baseball players — most of them pitchers — had undergone the Tommy John procedure, the popular term for ulnar collateral ligament reconstruction." This list includes our own C.J. Wilson. On the Mt. Rushmore of sports medicine, Frank Jobe takes his position right alongside our own Lewis Yocum.
Video Of The Week
(C'mon. you KNOW this is the bestest Halo Highlight Since last Friday morning!!)
(Having troubling viewing the video? Click here.)
Ian Kinsler's douche-a-tudiness continues to spiral out of control. Josh Hamilton is probably off the hook in Arlington any more..........."Mr. Johnny-Come-Lately-Torii-Hunter, Ty Cobb was my grandpa. I knew Ty Cobb. And you are no Ty Cobb!"...........Are you one of those people who always wondered why they never got an invitation to the retirement presser of Manny Ramirez? Well, that's because Manny has decided that he is not retired...........LAA sloppiness. Insufficient staffing oversight comes from insufficient staffing, perhaps? (Hint: the painted dugout apostrophe is upside down)..........This needs to be amped up to a meme, so we can forever shut down the silliness of "Keys To The Game"..........
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: Sacramento Beer Week continues...........The Copper Door in Santa Ana is hosting their second night of a Ballast Point Tap Takeover, along with an UnEARTH Music Hub Concert............Beltramo's in Menlo Park will be doing Feel The Funk: Beers with Brett beer tasting event (actually better info is here).
Saturday: Sacramento Beer Week concludes...........Hangar 24 out of Redlands is doing a Brewmaster Dinner down in Escondido at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park, in the Hunte Nairobi Pavilion.
Sunday: Ciro's Pizzeria & Beerhouse in Pacific beach, San Diego way, will be doing a Bourbon County Beer Pairing Dinner.
Stay safe, everyone!