Blah Blah Blah Intro... Here are the twelve great moments of the 2012 season for the Angels, I could probably do a Bottom Twelve but y'all are good at griping, so have at it...
#12 - Angels trade three prospects to Brewers for Zack
It did not exactly work out, but after years of Bill Stoneman never trading anything and Tony Reagins reeling in Vernon Kazmir, the best available pitcher was added to the team without subtracting from any core. Zack Greinke pitched great and might have re-signed with us if the team had different priorities in November. But the elation over the trade affirmed a confidence in this front office that we never had for Yorba Linda Tony and his lopsided Bentley.
#11 - Mickey Hatcher Fired
Throw the fans some red meat and put Papa Scioscia in the hot seat at the same time, win-win.
#10 - Dipoto Acquires a Closer
The fact that Ernesto Frieri is under team control thru 2016 makes this a little better than a dozen starts by Zack the Billionaire. Jerry Dipoto traded Alexi Amarista to the Padres for the Nasty Colombian. He turned out to have a few major flaws in serving up fat fastballs to fastball hitters, but the notion that the team was changing flat tires while still wheeling close to the leaders was uplifting.
#9 - Angels Draft a College Arm with First Pick
Taking the opposite approach of Eddie "high risk-high reward" Bane, scouting director Ric Wison took pitcher R.J. Alvarez out of Florida Atlantic College. This guy is polished and will be in Anaheim by next season, unlike so many projects out in our minor league system.
Take the 3 ER performance of his August 7 relief appearance for the Low-A Cedar Rapid Kernels off the board and here is what you have: a 21-year old who struck 19 batters in 12 IP allowing no earned runs. Did we draft any college quarterbacks this year?
#8 - Trumbo in the HR Derby
He didn't win but it was awesome getting national attention.
#7 - July 31: Halos Within Three
This is as close as they would get. The August 1 game would be the worst-managed game of Mike Scioscia's career and any fizz in the soda pop had popped.
But the team went into Arlington five back and won the first two games. The next two losses left them right where they were when they began, and each was winnable in its own way, so the magic moment where play had ended for the day and the team was only three games back was a short, sweet elixir for repeated disappointments.
#6 - July 8: Frieri sets 26.1 IP scoreless streak
After being acquired from the Padres for Alexi Amarista, you can forgive the fans for thinking Ernesto Frieri was the savior, as he tossed 26.1 scoreless innings before allowing a run. Sure, he balanced that goodness with mediocrity but up through July 8 it was like visiting Lourdes and jumping up out of a wheelchair for the Anaheim faithful.
#5 - Four Angels make the All Star team
Weaver, Trout, Trumbo and C.J. Wilson made our presence felt in Kansas City.
#4 - June 8: Torii to the Two Hole
Just as Angels fans were about to bury him, a slumping Tori Hunter was placed into the two-spot in the Angels lineup, in between Trout and Pujols. He responded with the best season of his career and leveraged it into $26 Million from the Tigers. Happy Trails, Torii.
#3 - April 28: Trout Promoted
Bobby Abreu was released after 27 plate appearances to make way for Mike Trout, who changed the way the Angels franchise thought about the future.
#2 - May 2: Weaver No-Hitter
He did it in front of the hometown faithful, friends and family. A special night in Anaheim and a needed victory to help right a sinking ship.
#1 - June 27: THE CATCH
With one out in the bpttom of the first inning, J.J. Hardy sent a Jered Weaver fastball over the centerfield wall. As out as it was it was an out ...because Mike Trout caught the ball and brought it back into the yard.
A run would score to tie the game and a man was on second when Matt Wieters grounded out to end the inning. But the superior highlight reel catch of the decade boosted the Angels to then win 13-1.
I've seen a lot of baseball. The Angels have been blessed with great Centerfielders. Jim Edmonds, Darin Erstad, Devon White and prior to May 2, the man I believed was the best I ever saw, Gary Pettis.
But I never saw anything quite like the catch. Maybe in 27 years in the Summer of Trout's inauguration into the Hall of Fame, some young Angel will do something more fantastic with a leap and a glove. Let's hope we all live that long to see it and then to go "nah, you kids never saw Mike Trout, the day he made the catch was the day heaven opened up in Centerfield and allowed some laws of physics to be defied."