This is the next installment in our ongoing series of getting to know the powers-that-be here at Halos Heaven, we present you with interviews of the bloggers and site monitors and top contributors who make this place so enjoyable.
The spotlight today is on SEAN SMITH, aka "CHONE" Smith, aka "rallymonkey5", most notable in the baseball world as the father of the CHONE player projection model. Prior to the 2011 season, Sean was hired as a consultant to a major league team (it was not the Angels, nor was it a direct competitor of the Angels, but he insisted I not ask him anything beyond that) and that has curtailed his posting around these parts due to the exclusivity of the deal. He did once tell me that he noticed specific changes to casino betting lines on teams would occur regularly after he published his annual CHONE numbers. They are amazing in their accuracy. When you see a post here from rallymonkey5 or a post on Baseball Primer from AROM, or if he ever revives his own All The Way blog, you'd be advised to make like that old E.F. Hutton commercial... Suffice to say, a conversation with Sean will expand your baseball consciousness. He lives in Maryland and may be the biggest Angels fan in that whole state of not the whole east coast.
WHO WAS THE FIRST ANGELS PLAYER YOU DECIDED WAS "YOUR GUY" ?
Brian Downing. I started following baseball in general in 1981 and by 1982 had found the Angels as my favorite team. Downing played the game harder than anyone else. He was the most unique leadoff hitter in the game – 28 homeruns and only 2 steals. Even at age 11, and not yet knowing how important his walk total was (he had 86), I knew that he was effective. He could do the same thing with one swing that Rickey Henderson, Lonnie Smith and Tim Raines could do with a single, 20 pickoff throws to first, steals of second and third, and coming home on a sac fly. Different styles, but the all scored plenty of runs. With Reggie Jackson, Doug DeCinces, Don Baylor, Fred Lynn and Bobby Grich it’s not like the Angels missed his power in the middle of the lineup.
WHO IS YOUR FAVORITE CURRENT ANGEL AND WHY?
Peter Bourjos. He’s just incredibly fun to watch. He’s a few steps faster than the typical great fielding center fielders out there. He doesn’t really know how to hit or steal bases yet, but has the talent to succeed and it’s fun watching him continue to learn as the season progresses. My daughter, age 3, likes him best as well. The other day she told me her favorite Angels were Peter Bourjos and Mikey Napoli. That made me very happy and sad at the same time.
WHICH SIDE OF THE "STATS VS CHEMISTRY" DEBATE ARE YOU ON AND WHY?
If I have to pick a side, I’ll go with stats. Good team chemistry is a byproduct of winning. Lose enough games and the chemistry isn’t going to be very good. If stats are used correctly they will identify players who do the most to impact the truly important stats – runs scored and allowed, wins and losses. What happens when you take a player who isn’t that good at playing baseball but has a reputation as a great chemistry guy, and try to turn around a bad team with him? Worst case is you lose a lot of games and the chemistry still sucks. The hopelessness of the situation frustrates the player, who might have been a good chemistry guy as a role player on a better team, and now he’s part of the problem. Best case scenario is you get what the Orioles got with Kevin Millar - you still finish last but have a little bit more fun with the season than you would have otherwise. To actually win games you need talent. Talent leads to good stats and good chemistry.
PICK A SONG FOR THE ANGELS TO REPLACE BUTTERCUP WITH?
Monkey Business by Skid Row. If it was up to me I’d like something heavy. But also fits in with getting the Rally Monkey up on the screen.
IF YOU WERE IN CHARGE OF THE ANGELS SUMMER CONCERT SERIES, NAME THE PERFORMER YOU BREAK THE BANK TO GET.
Elvis Presley. Sure, he’d be 76 years old right now, but getting the King to come out of hiding after faking his death, live from Angel stadium would be a serious draw. Sure. It’s a longshot but if I had a billion dollars I’d at least give it a thought.
SAY SOMETHING BALLSY / CONTROVERSIAL FOR US TO REMEMBER YOU BY...
Nolan Ryan, step aside. You too, Chuck Finley. Jered Weaver is the best pitcher in Angels history.