Yankee Weekend in New York. What could be better after the Frieri Fire Fail of Wednesday than to get a breather against one of our eternal patsies? (I wonder if "Old School" Scioscia would have called out "Pine Tar" Pineda?) And, of course, it's yet another time to contend with the supercilious Yankee Fan mentality. You know, like the other day when our fine pages were polluted by the posturing of one such jack-a-noob, Steven Goldman. (Go ahead and look up "supercilious" if you need to. Don't bother trying to look up "jack-a-noob".)
My favorite part of that piece, coming from an official SBNATION scribe, was this:
" In New York, some fans like to debate which players are 'True Yankees.' Derek Jeter is, Alex Rodriguez isn't, 2009 championship or not. As arbitrary and childish as the distinction sounds, what they're really trying to say is, 'This is a player that I allow myself to be emotionally invested in and this one' -- for whatever reason -- 'is not.' Does that discussion take place around the Angels? "
(Doing my best Andy of Mayberry impersonation here.) Why, golly, not at all! That thar is some fine basebally-type thinking to be pondered, right yonder! Those of us who have been participatin' in that whole going to a baseball game thingy might enjoy gettin' together and spinnin' a yarn or two talking 'bout baseball things. Maybe we could chew a spell on such and such a player? Or this and that? I say that would make for a fine evenin' on the porch, and we pro'lly would become mighty grateful to y'all Yankee fans for inspirin' us to consider such interestin' activities, such as conversation."
(P.S. - I expect good things on offense from Mike Trout on Saturday. Just sayin'.)
- Total Suckage: A quick jump over to mlb.com and peeking into Team Pitching stats reveals that their are exactly two teams in all of Major League Baseball with the very fewest saves converted - 2 - thus far this year. One of those teams is the Chicago Cubs. The other team is the LA Angels. Both team have had only 6 official game save opportunities. Compare that, for example, with the current leader in baseball, the Brewers. They are 11 out of 12. And their "closer" has converted 9 of those 11, out of 9 chances. Oh, yeah. Their "closer" is K-Rod. Rue this day, haters. Rue this day.
- Fields of Green: Tom Hoffarth is doing a baseball book anthology, and yesterday he hit up "Stars and Strikes: Baseball in America in the Bicentennial Summer of 1976". The Halos sucked that year, as he touches upon later in his review, so that is not the point of this link. Nope. It's better. Much, much, better: " It was March 21, 1976 when The Who played a concert at the Big A before 55,000 fans, the largest show on the band’s North American tour. The Angels’ season wouldn’t start until 2 1/2 weeks later against Oakland. Good thing there was all that time in between for some house keeping. 'A few days (after the concert), Angels groundskeepers discovered what turned out to be hundreds of marijuana plants growing robustly along the ballpark’s left-field line, and another lush patch in center field...These herbal invaders were presumably the result of pot seeds discarded during the concert, which were then inadvertently watered and fertilized by the ballpark’s grounds crew.' "
- Hector Santiago: I hate it when I read this. It turns out that Santiago had been pitching in his first starts with severe back pain. Perfect. No meaningful depth so a guy plays hurt, and it hurts the team. He hurt himself during the Dodgers series and he did not feel right again until his start this past Sunday. In between were 71 batters across 16 innings in three team losses where he tossed a cumulative ERA of 4.96. 19 hits, 12 walks and 11 runs. "It's been fine of late, so hopefully it doesn't come back, because back problems are the worst thing. Once you get a back problem, you're like shut down." Or not.
- Albert Pujols: This is awesome. Bill Shaikin of the LA Times decides that Albert's 500th home run is being somewhat ignored. Maybe he wants a parade in Anaheim already, or something. It's "a lack of fanfare". Oddly, the fact that Pujols was in Washington DC and his fans are far off in Anaheim and St. Louis seems to be eluding him. But that does not appear to be stopping Shaikin, as he goes off to discuss the matter with, ummm, Dodgers? Yeah. Vin Scully and Mark McGwire. Apparently there are no LAA front office types in his rolodex. At least he called up his buddy Mike DiGiovanna (according to the end credits) who is traveling with Albert to ask Pujols himself a thing or two about..oh...nope...just have DiGiovanna send over some press pool commentary. Nice job of journalism, right there. (By the way, with #500 now under his belt, the next milestone up for Pujols is #504, which would tie him with Eddie Murray.)
Buy Stuff - Crazy-ass Baseball Stuff On the Internet:
Ok. Not for sale. But it should be. Much better than cork.
This Date In Baseball History: 1933 - Quite a fun day! As the Phillies defeat the braves 7-1, Dick Bartell of the Phillies becomes the first player to smack 4 consecutive doubles in a regulation game. Nice, but.........rookie pitcher Russ Van Atta leads the Yankees to a win over the Senators by pitching a shutout AND going 4 for 4 (pre-DH, remember?). Very nice, BUT..........in that same Yankees/Sens game, Yankee outfielder Ben Chapman spikes Senators infielder Buddy Myer, resulting in a huge brawl and anti-semitic ugliness. Not only do both benches clear, but the fight spreads into the stands and more than 300 fans are also involved..............1952 - Rookie pitcher Hoyt Wilhem triples. Interesting. Even more so since he homered two days prior in his big league debut. Even more interesting in that Wilhelm will survive 21 season in pro baseball, and never hit another home run or triple again.............1970 - Detroit Tiger pitcher Earl Wilson strikes out to end the 7th inning. But Twins catcher Paul Ratliff drops the pitch, fails to tag Wilson, fails to throw to first base, and (instead) rolls the ball out to the pitchers mound and all the Twins trot to the dugout. Wilson takes off. He easily reaches first base, and took off for second. Nothing to slow him down, off to third he went. By this time left fielder Brant Alyea, jogging in, had reached the infield and realized what was going on. He raced to the mound and fumbled picking up the ball as Wilson screamed around third and headed home. Twins shortstop Leo Cardenas had dashed out from the dugout to home plate with his glove and Alyea finally picked up the ball and threw to home. Wilson stopped and tried to dash back to third, but Alyea had gotten over to the basepath and Wilson was caught in the pickle. The put-out is officially recorded as 7-6-7, but should be 2-7-6-7.............1976 - Ex-Marine reserve Rick Monday intercepts two men who made their way onto the field in order to burn the American flag...........
- Baseball Fan Map: Here is a fun diversion. the New York Times is hosting a map of the US, broken down zip code by zip code, and detailing the top three team affiliations of those people who care to define their favorite MLB team on their Facebook page. Now, before you all go totally wonky on this, remember that skew. (1) Individual people who have regular Internet access, (2) of those, people who own a Facebook page, (3) of those, who care about baseball enough to declare a favorite team, (4) of those, who actually DO declare a favorite team, (5) of those, whether or not such a declaration has anything to do with attendance, viewership, listener-ship, merch purchases, merch wearing, etc. Ok. Now go have fun.
UPDATE: eyespy adds that he finds two observations to be interesting. First, why are there not a higher percentage of Halo fans immediately around the stadium and, second, why aren't the Angels even in the Top 3 in Westlake Village? I might point out that while the Angels are claimed by 56% living in their own zip code, the Dodgers claim only 58%. Further, look at the zip codes for and around Oakland's own stadium! Also, I notice that Cambria heights, NY still has a couple of Dodger hold outs, while Hollis, NY has a few ancient Giants fans still alive!
- Whiffs: This is something I haven't seen before. Not paying close enough attention, I guess. It's Swing Late or Whiffing measurements over at Fangraphs. In simple terms, can the player hit fastballs? Sure, it's early and they will be doing this throughout the season so we can follow along. But the early numbers are still interesting. Worst of the qualifiers? Our own Ian Stewart. The Upton family is sucking, as is Hizzoner Derek Jeter. Miguel Cabrera isn't doing so good. But you know who has been pretty good at hitting fastballs? Mike Trout (duh) and...Hank Conger. Do you know who has been much better? Chris Iannetta! And do you know who has been even better still? Kole Calhoun and Erick Aybar. And third best. Who do think is third best? Yep, you guessed right. Of course it is J.B. Shuck. Yeah. This is a list I just gotta pay attention to!!!
- Buckle Up: Here we go. Now that the Red Sox have narced on Michael Pineda for pine tar, the spotlight is on all pitchers, everywhere. Including the infamously greasy Clay Buchholz and Jon Lester and his mysterious green alien glow goo, both of the Red Sox.
Video Of The Week
(You have seen Pujols' 500th. Now witness his 1st.)
(Having troubling viewing the video? Click here.)
Remember, this is MLB. And, remember, it's MLB umpires. And more MLB umpires in the Instant Replay Headquarters. So of course they completely screw up a pitch count, even with an official 4 minute chance to do a complete video review...........Doc Ellis. You just gotta love the guy..........Speaking of Docs, Doc Gooden, who would know more about this sort of stuff than you, me, or Yankee apologists, calls BS on the innocence of pine tar as used by a MLB pitcher..........The bloom is off the Jean Segura rose, for all you armchair GM's staring into rear view mirrors..........Priceless idea: children's coloring book of great baseball fights..........For those of us who are worried that Mike tROUT is off to a slow start (not really, as he is tracking for a +13 bWAR, probably unsustainable), take comfort in the fact that our nemesis, Miguel Cabrera, is having a horror show to date in April of 2014..........Too perfect for words: Wrigley's 100th birthday cake ends up in a dumpster, uneaten...........Some people learn well from the masters, and safely at a distance. Darren Oliver got himself a job just like Tony Reagins, except without all the fail............Sports movie grosses, charted out...........Cut to the chase, the highest paid manager in all of 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: Head to South Gate and find Hops and Barley Alehouse, where they are celebrating a Dogfish Head 120 Minute IPA Release..........Lost and Found Beer Garden in Oakland is established for barrel aged Funky Jewbelation beer tasting and release...........If you are a country music fan, the Stagecoach Music Festival kicks off out in Indio...........Spring Fest in Redondo Beach is in full swing.
Saturday: Pyramid Alehouse in Berkeley is the site for a charity event, Ales for Autism Summer Beer Release Party..........Closer to home, in San Clemente, land your puss at Left Coast Brewing Company for San Clemente Micro-Brew Fest 4th Annual..........Even closer to home, Muckenthaler Center in Fullerton is doing a beer & food event, Bootlegger's 6th Anniversary Celebration............Stagecoach Music Festival continues...........Spring Fest in Redondo Beach...........Encinitas Street Fair today and tomorrow.
Sunday: Artisan Wine Depot in Mountain View is putting on a Sierra Nevada Brewing Company Tasting............Stagecoach Music Festival concludes...........Spring Fest in Redondo Beach...........Encinitas Street Fair.
Stay safe, everyone...