Weekend HaloLinks: When The Big Three of Albert Pujols, Mike Trout & Josh Hamilton finally arrive to slay The Evil Empire!
WWMTD?: What Will Mike Trout Do? The running Spring Training idea that gets tossed out all too often is the easy prediction that Mike Trout will, er, regress. Hey scribe! That's a pretty stupid thing to hang your expertise upon, considering that baseball is a game of fail. Like, really? Your mastery of baseball leads you to believe that Trout will probably not match one of the single greatest seasons in baseball history?? Well, duh. But let me be the happy party to point out that you are finally paying proper homage to the daily performance that you either undersold or outright neglected while it was happening. You missed it, bub. You missed that bus, which is particularly sad when one considers that you are paid to be the bus driver.
Something that I recall bantering about last season was the idea that "regression" for Trout is still something yet to be defined. It's like Superman "regressing" down to merely being the World's Strongest Man. We don't yet know what "average" means for Trout.
On Wednesday, WiHalo linked to Alden Gonzalez over at MLB.com diving into the possibility that Trout mike actually IMPROVE over 2012 in 2013. This has been MY meme. Trout might be that rare Willie Mays kind of talent that can run off multiple 10+ WAR seasons. It does happen. And, given MORE games in which to play and given another year to develop stamina and given his propensity to learn and improve over time, over his first few seasons 10 WAR might BE his mean.
And Alden's article has inspired a second look at this same possibility, this time from Doug Mead over at Yahoo! Sports. I side with Billy Beane here: "Honestly," Beane said, "I'm worried he's going to be better. Seriously. And he's going to be up there an extra month. Yeah, I'm concerned he's going to be better, if that's possible."
On To Angels Baseball!
MikeEric Kay is Not OKay: It's clearly been a loooong winter for the LA Angels Team Spokesman, and has been too long away from the actual game play. So he parked his car in a wrong spot. And got clobbered. (Hat tip to highlandhalo for the name correction. My bad.)
- Mike Scioscia: Manager Milestone Watch is in play. Sosh is expected to surpass the legendary Harry Wright in wins, and also nab his 1,000th loss.
- Kohn!!: While Ryan Madson makes baby-step progress to get back onto the field in a month or two, Micheal Kohn might pitch this weekend after having THE SAME SURGERY at practically THE EXACT SAME DAY as Madson.
- Hank Conger: For my money, this might be the biggest story of the Spring. Most everything seems like it's a cake already mixed and in the oven, merely needing time to bake. That leaves Hank Conger as the most interesting wild card to follow. Getting onto the roster with a solid spot and a chance for solid production will say a lot about Conger, a lot more about Mike Scioscia (and his reputation as a mentor of catchers), and even something redeeming about our minor league system. But we drafted a ton of catchers in the last draft, so unless Conger breaks through this year and begins his MLB career for good, we are all going to be feeling some lasting disappointment of missed opportunity with Hank.
- Odds and Ends: Scott Downs likes it here with the Halos...and so does Kole Calhoun...while Mark Trumbo better like it THERE (tackling the DH role).
eBay Auction of the Week
Two weeks ago we had the 1991 Anaheim Angels Matchbox Panel Truck. I regret passing that one up. This week we have the companion collectibles for that missed opportunity, a 1996 California Angels Matchbox Delivery Truck and a 1997 Anaheim Angels (think Disney wings) Plymouth Prowler.
This Date In Baseball History: 1889 - International baseball takes a baby step as King Humbert of Italy (no known relation to Mike Scioscia) attends an exhibition game held near Rome between the Chicagos and the All-Americans..........2005 - One-time LA Angels broadcaster Jerry Coleman receives the Ford Frick Award for Excellence in Broadcasting..........2005 - Tom Umberg, representing the interests of Anaheim, introduces "Truth In Sports Advertising Act" legislation requiring all California State pro sports franchises to use a disclaimer if they are not playing the majority of their home games in the community being used in their team name..........2008 - Frankie Rodriguez loses his arbitration hearing, and STILL receives $10 million tying the all-time arbitration record.
Rounding Up The Major League News...
- Safety...Last?: Sometimes I can be so ashamed to be part of an older generation. Why is it that we totally suck when it comes to basic human, social and technological progress?? Joe Torre has grown quite ambivalent to the safety concerns of modern catchers. Well, hell, Joe says, back in HIS day when men were REAL men...yada yada yada. Yeah, Joe, back in your day, when there was no such thing as a 6'4", 240 pound, 5% body fat, 4.4 40 running backs capable of getting from 3rd to home in 3.2 seconds flat steamrolling right at your polyester protected ass. Sure, you had Boog Powell, but I could run up for a beer in the time it took him to get around the base path.
- WAR Mongering: The Great Sam Miller (so you probably guess where I stand on this one...) wrote his piece propping up sabremetrics in general and WAR in specific. Angelsownredsux linked to it and brought it to our attention. But lots of folks read this piece. Including, unfortunately, Michael Hurley of CBS Sports. And somebody titled his rebuttal "Time For Baseball's WAR Supporters to Tone Down Their Arrogance". (So you probably guess where HE stands.) That, my friends, is not even the worst of it. Craig Calceterra of Hardball Talk subsequently goes right after the newfound idiot from the Village of Determined Ignorance, specifically his equating WAR to racial segregation.
- Passages: I regret to inform you all that the recent trend concerning the deaths in the world baseball family continues. This past week it was another female pioneer, Sophie Kurys of the All American Girls Pro Baseball League. "Kurys' mark of 201 steals - in 203 attempts - was recognized in a recent exhibit by the Hall of Fame. Cincinnati Reds prospect Billy Hamilton set the minor league mark last year with 155. Rickey Henderson holds the modern major league record with 130." 201 out of 203?? Lady, that's CRAZY TALK!
- Bobblehead Mania??: Followers of Weekend Links know by now that I have a special place on my shelf for the bizzaro bobblehead ideas. I thought I was breaking some new ground last week by soliciting weird ideas from you all. Well, I am delighted to report that there are no original thoughts anymore, and CBS Sports is taking suggestions and rendering them!!!
Video Of The Week
Imagine if Limey brought his blokes to America to see their first game of baseball. This is what they would report. It's kind of handy, considering how it has been since we needed to know all this stuff:
(Trouble viewing the video? Direct link here.)
Gargantuanly Obscure Factoids Posted On Scoreboards, so of course Jeff Mathis makes the cut.........."The Next Knuckler" concluded last night, and Booty wins. No, not THIS Booty. This Booty. So, like, duh..........Ok, yeah, I love my Legos, so I gotta link to this series............If you are less than 50, this might not mean much to you, but Joe Garagiola finally retired. Damned funny, and more capable with a mic than any color commentator since, he taught me to laugh at baseball...........Mark Buehrle to his family, at the US/Canada border after a log, log drive from Florida: "Look, wife, and look kids, I love you guys a lot, but if I can't take my dog NONE OF YOU ARE COMING WITH ME!"
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, Saturday & Sunday: Folks up near Sacramento might want to plug the Pyramid Alehouse into your smartphone. They host events all weekend beginning with a Discord Release tasting on Friday, followed by an Irish Red Release tasting event on Saturday, and concluding with a Wheat Lager Release tasting event on Sunday
Saturday: Meanwhile, out in Riverside we SoCals can find the IEBC 4th Anniversary Beer & Food Festival at the Inland Empire Brewing Company.
Angels Stadium Neighborhood Brew Tour: So anyone of legal age can obtain beer from a billion different places. Hell, you can get golden-colored bubble fluid out of bottles even at IHOP. But what if you really like your beer, and have a couple of hours to enjoy before/after a game? Where does one go? I'm sure that you have your favorites, and why, and I encourage you to share. For my part, let's start at home plate and circle out a couple of miles at a time and see what/where is ranked or reviewed well? Hopefully, each week leading up to Opening Day we will get further and further out. Here are some notable places right in the immediate vicinity, as pulled from The Drinking Issue of OCWEEKLY. These are all great places to meet up and extend your trip to Anaheim. I definitely suggest that you file away these links for future reference:
- Noble Ale Works - 1621 S. Sinclair St, Anaheim (200 yards due north of the stadium in the biz park across Katella from Hooters)
- Hollingshead Deli - 368 S. Main St., Orange (about 1 mile southeast of the stadium, as the crow flies)
- Old Orange Brewing Co. - 1444 N. Batavia, Orange (about 1.5 miles northeast of the stadium)
- Haven Gastropub - 190 S. Glassell St., Orange (about 2 miles east/southeast of the stadium)
- Valiant Brewing Company - 2294 N Batavia, Orange (about 2 miles northeast of the stadium)
- Anaheim Brewery - 336 S. Anaheim Blvd. Anaheim (about 2.5 miles northwest, in older Anaheim)
And, certainly, there are many amongst you who are fans of the usual and customary such as The Catch (their website sux, so you are on your own there), or JT Schmid's, or The District Lounge, Tilted Kilt, or even O'Hara's Pub, etc. Feel free to contribute below!