We haven't talked about this for a couple of weeks, but with the update coming out of Atlanta this week, no news on the Angels stadium situation has the potential to be not very good news. In the Atlanta instance, first we have a team official letting it slip that they agreed with local public officials to keep the idea of moving the Braves secret so that they could get the negotiations done without intervention. (By the way, there is reason to believe that these local officials were information conduits to their privileged insider buddies as land surrounding the target parcel was bought up just before the announcement.) Now we have word that the public officials ram-rodded the legislation in such a way as to guarantee they got what they wanted without consent from the public they are supposed to represent. This is a new standard, and must have at least a modicum of appeal to Moreno-Carpino.
This topic should be a mandatory question by some beat reporter, every single day. And when they get the pat answer back of "nothing new, no update", they should report that to show the public that the officials are not engaging the citizens and fans in the process. In this case, silence is far from golden.
- Angels Split: Albert Pujols is forced to take a day off, so Erick Aybar steps in and goes 3 for 5, including pumping a 3-run jack to launch the Angels into a 7-5 win last night and taking a split from Seattle. Admit it, a split against the Mariners seems like a gross improvement, doesn't it? Turn the corner kind of stuff? Mike Trout was hot, going 3 for 3 with a walk and 2 RBI. But keep paying attention. Kole Calhoun and C.J. Cron went a combined 5 for 9 with 5 runs scored and a triple and 2 doubles. Who had THAT on their radar in April???
- Kole Calhoun: Calhoun sees his problem, and it's patience. Giving him the lead off role forces him to take a different approach with his plate appearances, and Calhoun predicted it would pay off. "It makes me take some pitches and really see the ball," Calhoun said before the game. "It gives me a chance to track the ball well and feel what a guy’s got instead of being a little too aggressive."
- Old Habits: Going through the play-by-play we can see the traditional hand of our skipper back at work. After Matt Shoemaker, Kevin Jepsen and Mike Morin worked the game through 7 innings and allowed but 3 runs, Mike Scioscia handed the mound over to Joe Smith for the 8th. Morin, of course, had just completed a clean 7th. So, of course, we need an 8th inning guy. We all need to be reminded that this person is Smith. Smith goes through the 8th with 2 K's against 1 hit. Enter the 9th. Not good enough as well. Let's go with Fernando Salas with that 7-3 lead. And Salas was REALLY not good enough. A walk, a strikeout, a home run, a lead now 7-5, and a short walk back to the dugout.
- Factoid: The "improving" Halos are 14-6 over their last 20 games. You might be amazed to learn that over THEIR most recent 20 games, the "slumping" Oakland A's have been...13-7.
- Mike Trout: The world can ashcan all those "What's Wrong With Mike Trout" articles. Trout now has a 10 game hitting streak in order and has batted .416 along the way. He has raised his BA 29 points and now stands at .291.
- Updates: LAT reports that Dane De La Rosa needs some more time to rehab, so we should not expect him soon. And R. J. Alvarez, who was shut down due to soreness, has checked out fine medically.
This Date In Baseball History: 1922 - Between games in a doubleheader showcasing the Cubs and the Cards, both franchises swap players Cliff Heathcote and Max Flack. The two exchange uniforms behind the scenes, and then go out and collect base hits for their new teams in the nightcap...........1925 - Between games of ANOTHER doubleheader (!), this time between the Pirates and Cardinals, Rogers Hornsby takes over the manager duties of the Cards from Branch Rickey...........1932 - After losing both ends of a doubleheader against the Indians, White Sox players accuse umpire George Moriarty of throwing calls to the Indians. Moriarty is an ex-player himself, having been a member of the White Sox. Moriarty challenges the White Sox to a fight and decks pitcher Mike Gaston with one punch. Bad move. Chicago manager Lew Fonseca and catchers Charlie Berry and Frank Grube take down Moriarty and beat the hell out of him...........1934 - Yankee Ben Chapman gets in the last word on a long-running feud with pitcher Earl Whitehill of the Washington Senators, by breaking up Whitehill's no-hitter in the bottom of the 9th. This feud had started the previous season when Whitehill and Chapman started a scrum between these same two teams in the dugout tunnels that delayed a game 20 minutes until police could intervene............1935 - Babe Ruth plays his final MLB game...........1943 - The All-American Girls Professional Baseball League plays their very first game...........1946 - Bama Rowell of the Boston Braves launches a crushing home run in Ebbetts Field, smacking dead on into the Bulova Clock and raining glass down into the stadium. Sound familiar? It should. This is supposed to be Bernard Malamud's inspiration behind the climactic moment in The Natural..........1970 - Fan voting for the All Star Game resumes..........1982 - Cal Ripken's consecutive game streak begins..........1986 - Barry Bonds debuts, going 0 for 5.
- More than a Game: This is excellent. As part of Civil Rights Game weekend, a Roundtable Group sat down to discuss the impact that racial integration within baseball has had on society as a whole. "Baseball was more than a game," Green (ed. - one of the Little Rock Nine) said. "My experience in Little Rock, that first day with the troops out front barring our entrance, I thought to myself, 'What would Jackie Robinson do?' It was breaking through that fear. That's what baseball represented to me. Once you thought about what Jackie Robinson was going to do, that crowd, those troops, the government -- all of that -- didn't matter." What I would offer is that racial integration of the prime sports league in America, because of the role that such an enterprise plays within any culture, forced the citizenry of this country to bring their dialog - and their opinions - out of the closet and into the light of day. We are far from perfect, but we are far from where we were before baseball joined the effort.
- Chavez Latrine: This is pretty interesting. To me, at least. As you most certainly know, the people who beat Brain Stow nearly to death in the Dodger Stadium parking lot are in prison. Now the civil trial proceedings are beginning between Stow and the Dodgers and Frank McCourt. Craig Calcaterra at Hardball Talk (a former practicing attorney himself) covers it a little bit, and he focuses on some of the questions put to prospective jurors. They were asked, among other things "...how many times they have been to Dodgers or Giants games and whether they ever had a negative experience at Dodger Stadium." It is my honest opinion that this kind of open-ended question could most often be answered yes, and not just about Dodger Stadium. I have read occasional posts even here on HH about somebody having some kind of negative experience at Angel Stadium. It happens.Obnoxious fans of visiting teams. Over-zealous ushers or security. Hell, even long concession lines and poor parking congestion. It does happen. Unfair question. Tighten it up, solicitors.
- Sabre School: Are you the type who really wants to dive deeper into this whole sabremetrics information ocean taking over the sport of baseball? Fear not, my friend, here is a free online coursewhere you can join more than 13,000 other like-minded fiends. It is Sabremetrics 101, with no prerequisites. Good luck!
- Fighting Back Against Tommy John Epidemic: I have linked to Dr. James Andrews, the leading TJ surgeon in America. The Good Doctor has announced that he is teaming up with Dr. Kevin Wilk (his PT colleague) to produce an iOS app designed to educate and consult with young pitchers on how to control and schedule their work routines and reduce the liabilities of incurring TJ problems in the first place. "The app also includes a preseason preparation guide and pregame warm-up routine, including video instruction of various throwing exercises from Wilk. In addition to recommending specific exercises, Wilk offers tips to avoid common mistakes. Perhaps one of the most practical sections of the app is the pitch counter and rest calculator. The pitch counter can be used to track how many pitches are thrown during a game and throughout the season." Maybe a little late overall, but let's hope it has an immediate impact and prevents such silliness as some high school kid throwing 194 pitches.
Don't click here if you don't have 20 minutes to lose right now. It's an awesome graphic of 30 ceremonial first pitches............An internet meme, turned to baseball. And all I can do is wonder why no Jeter!?!..........Speaking of Jeter, it's his final season...so...like...ALL STAR GAME OMG GOTTA BE THERE LEGEND YANKEE ALL TIME BEST!!!...........Women finally making an MLB squad. What would it really take?..........You probably missed it, but yesterday was the 4 year anniversary of Kendrys Morales Walk Off Celebration Turned Catastrophe..........Wild pitches, bitches!............It's only baseball. You gotta keep a sense of humor...........Peter Bourjos demonstrating why you do NOT slide headfirst into any base............The most amazing plays always seem to come from somebody showing some amazing hustle. And so it is with Jose Bautista, throwing out Billy Butler at first base, from right field!
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: Seek out Barrel Republic in San Diego for Goose Island Specialty Tap Attack (this actually started in OB Noodle House; Bar 1502 on Wednesday night, and will proceed to Bub's Dive Bar on Saturday).
Sunday: Waves of Grain Beer Festival is happening at the Shade Hotel in Manhattan Beach.
BEER BONUS: Nice Catch there, Mr. Beer Vendor. Enjoy thy gift from Dan Haren!