They're back! Angels in Tempe Today

Moved From the Diaries Thanks to rbrianc

There's not much comparable in the baseball season than the first day of spring practice. I was there with a contingent of Angel Nation when they hit the field this morning (since there were only 5 or 6 of us there, maybe we are more of Angel Clan or Angel Tribe). It was a little bit cool, but still a sunny day in the desert. This is the 3rd year in a row I've been there on Day 1 and each year I keep thinking about Alpha and Omega - Day 1 and visualizing the end of it all - hoisting the trophy in October.

By coincidence of life, I've pretty much lived where the Angels have S.T.; I grew up in Palm Springs and remember Clyde Wright razzing me, Jimmie's fungos, Nolan and Frank before he became Great, Joe Torre as an announcer, Chili mentoring a young Devo, Dick Enberg making promos, and tons of other stuff. Then I got a job out here in '95. The Angels preceded me by a couple of years. I envy those of you in the shadow of the Big A - but I can't complain.

The pitchers and catchers all did the basic drills across three diamonds as expected. Good news is Jered put on some weight. Good news is Magic put on some weight. Good news is Nick A. put on some weight and seemed more comfortable now with the big boys. Good news is Bart .... was there, he doesn't need to put on any weight, it looked like he did - but he was throwing long toss - but that's good. Hector looked like part of the team, one of the big guns - last year he was the new kid. And Lackey looked like the Man. The staff resolves around him.

Yeah, Mickey's a brunette now - he's got that Elvis thing going. If you were the hitting coach of our offense, you'd probably dye your hair too hoping no one recognized you. Arte was there, fan friendly as ever. Bill was there, with that "I know what i'm doing" confidence - I trust Bill.

Good to see Justin Speier and Darren Oliver- the new guys are always the friendliest, along with the coaches. I heard Speier razzing the "Dodgers" - Alfredo Griffin in particular cuz obviously he was a Giant fan back in the day.

This generation's Jimmie Reese is Preston Gomez - he's been there on the bench the last few years, the wise old man. He sits and watches - everyone wants to talk to the man. Bill Lachemann was there as usual - I wish Marcel was too.

The Highlights:

First the Man with the Scowl is back in the desert in Angel Red!! yes, my Highlander Homie, #40, Troy Percival!! Righteous!

Second, one of the two position players that showed up, #35, Casey Kotchman (Reggie Willits was the other). Casey hit four balls out of the park - and i came home with all four of them. Cha! (Napoli hit one too that i picked up for 5 total). His swing looked as sweet as ever. Nobody else came close to hammering the ball like he did, not that there was much competition there today. I thought Nap would go yard a bunch, but he didn't - Mathis hit as good as he did.

Well, enough of my humble words - here's link to the pictures, exclusive to HH and 6-4-2. enjoy.

L I N K -to- P H O T O _ G A L L E R Y

(UPDATE: Thanks again to Brian)

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