Here we are one year later, re-reading the Fire Mike Scioscia chapter of The History of the Los Angeles Angels one more time. And the comments, reviews and predictions for how it ends are all the same as last year. I guess it's the "fan" thing to do, but I have been here far too many times before and until somebody comes up with something fresh, such as having Arte Moreno being the party to conduct the team meeting and focus players towards contributing at the level of their abilities while they still have the chance to keep people from getting fired, I am just going to remain in my corner and go back to my daydreams of Wally Backman. I have no idea if the outcome would be any different, but I can guarantee the journey would be far more interesting!
If I had to guess, however, it would be that Arte will take a page from the Scioscia Book Of Eventual Outcomes, to be found in the Chapter "Kevin Jepsen", and just keep running Sosh out there until things normalize. (Arte would, or course, be avoiding the "Alberto Callaspo" sections, where cautious and preemptive substitutions are considered prudent.)
Meanwhile, as a service to all those standing too near the cliff, let me remind you that the LA Angels are the only team in baseball to be facing three consecutive 2012 playoff teams to start this season. It's not like our pals in Halo unis have had a cakewalk opening here (cough-cough-Atlanta Braves-cough).
OT: I have invented a new driving game this past week. The rules are simple: while driving and listening to your favorite radio entertainment, at any random moment press your AM 710 preset and count how long it takes until you hear the word "Lakers". (I apologize to the non-SoCal HH'ers for not being able to play. But then, not having to listen to 710AM is its own reward.) Only count the time spent listening to actual content (talk, music, news, callers). The goal is to reach the highest estimated number of minutes before 710 faults. If you have passengers, should you drop into 710 and land during commercial time, you must immediately return to your original station and forfeit your turn. Turns go clockwise around the car. Otherwise, if you are alone, you are playing solitaire. My best time this week is about 1 minute, 15 seconds. My worst was, I swear, 0 seconds! I call this new game, "ESPNLA-curse" (I know you see what I did there).
On To Angels Baseball!
- Angels Stadium Is Run By Dicks: Now there is a lede sure to prevent me from ever getting any kind of media invite from the franchise. But truth is as truth does. This is the kind of thing that, should it end up receiving enough public attention, will result in some FO public relations hack claiming the whole thing as "an unfortunate misunderstanding" and "not in line with team policy", which will result in some kind of memo AND free tickets which are, essentially, the same in principal as offering a child a free ice cream cone to salve the tears. "At the top of the 7th inning, security comes over and asks the 3 of us to get up. We are so confused; we haven't even stood up, except to go to the bathroom, or get food or a drink, since the usher incident [4th inning, when they got shushed for standing to cheer on Mark Trumbo with the bases loaded - Stirrups]...They took our licenses and wrote down our information and told us if we went back to our seats we'd be ARRESTED. WHAT? FOR WHAT?...He didn't offer much of an explanation except that the usher who originally talked to us three innings ago wanted us gone. He didn't like that Tara went to guest relations...yet he was the one who told her to go to guest relations. Essentially, we got kicked out of the Home Opener for a team we've both been going to see since we were kids, for cheering on Mark Trumbo." So an usher gets pissy for being reported, and invokes the Anaheim City Police Department to enforce his pissiness. I reject, in advance, whatever it is that any of you desperately wish to invent for "the other side" of this issue.
- How to Cool Off a Hot Halo Team: Yeah, no need to worry about any hot Halo team. If only we had one of them. Anyway, I know it's still three days away, but the Angels are set to play Monday on Target field in Minnesota, and the entire stadium was blanketed in snow as recently as yesterday. How fast does Peter Bourjos run in long underwear?
- Panic! At The Discombobulated: Bill Shaikin of The LA Times says it, so it must be true. Moving Mike Trout to the #2 slot is an indication of panic!! ZOMG!!! What lesser humans than LAT reporters take away from this, however, is that this inadvertently "removes the possibility of Scioscia sac bunting to move him over". Silver linings and glasses half full, and all that.
- Howie Kendrick: One Halo that remains hot is Howie. He is 12 for 34 counting only the regular season, putting him at .343 / .410 / .514 / .925. Be advised that even this lone bright spot in the early campaign has seen better. In 2008 his line was .469 / .500 / .625 / 1.125...and he would finish that season .306 / .333 / .421 / .754.
- Bobby Knoop: The LA Angels lie now tied with the Chicago White Sox at the bottom of the American League with most team errors to date, but owns the overall worst fielding percentage all to themselves. It is expected that the team would score a lot of runs (HASN'T happened). It is suspected that the pitching staff would surrender innumerable runs (HAS happened). It was never suspected that the fielding would suck. Since Bobby Knoop is the closest thing we have to a fielding coach, we should expect Halo Fan Logic to somewhere launch a Fire Knoop campaign any day now.
Hows about a real, live, game worn jersey? 1970's vintage. #20, but the year is torn off so there is no telling the actual player-owner. But this real thing is cheaper than the modern imitations!
Friday, April 12 @ 7:05 PM, (FSW / MLB.TV) Houston Astros vs. LA Angels - Angels Stadium, Anaheim
[BIG BANG FRIDAY]
Bud Norris (RHP) 1-1 3.18 ERA versus Tommy Hanson (RHP) 1-0 4.50 ERA
I guarantee fireworks some time this evening. They might even happen before the final out! And fickle Halo fans everywhere will think the worst is behind us.
Saturday, April 13 @ 6:05 PM, (FS-W / MLB.TV) Houston Astros vs. LA Angels - Angels Stadium, Anaheim
[MIKE TROUT BOBBLEHEAD GIVEAWAY]
Garrett "The Savior" Richards (RHP) 0-0 2.08 ERA versus Lucas Harrell (RHP) 0-2 7.84 ERA
Is it just me? Or does it appear to you, too, as if somebody parked Joe Saunders' head on the Mike Trout bobblehead?? Maybe it's just that Joe Saunders looks like every bobblehead made these days.
Sunday, April 13 @ 12:35 PM, (FS-W / MLB.TV) Houston Astros vs. LA Angels - Angels Stadium, Anaheim
[$4 UPPER VIEW TICKETS]
Philip Humber (RHP) 0-2 3.09 ERA versus C.J. Wilson (LHP) 0-0 5.25 ERA
Over/under for total runs in this game needs to be around 15.
This Date In the History of Shiny New Digs Baseball: 1909 - Shibe park opens. Later to be named Connie Mack Stadium, is home to the Philadelphia Athletics for the next 46 years. The A's will crush the Boston Red Sox 8 - 1, but the real story was the fans mobbing the new ballpark..........1955 - The newly arrived
Philadelphia Kansas City Athletics play their first game in Kansas City's Municipal Stadium, where they defeat the Detroit Tigers 6 - 2..........1960 - Vice President Richard Nixon tosses out the ceremonial first pitch to inaugurate San Francisco's Candlestick Park, and the Giants defeat the Cincinnati Reds 3 - 1. In a rather inauspicious twist full of political irony, the umpires (!!) protest during the third inning, after finding the poles for both the Left and the Right, intended to denote foul, are actually fair..........1965 - The very first Major League Baseball game played indoors takes place in the newly minted Houston Astrodome, and the Houston Astros take shelter from any offense, getting shut out by the Philadelphia Phillies 2 - 0..........1966 - The Milwaukee Braves fall prey to the trap set by the City of Atlanta, which built the Fulton County Stadium (then known as Atlanta Stadium) to attract an MLB team. The Braves move, and open the stadium with a 2 - 3 loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates. This eventually leads to the Brewers, which leads to the discovery of Bud Selig, which leads to our current Commissioner. Damn You Atlanta!!!.........2003 - Fenway Park tears down the net atop The Green Monster and replaces it with fan seating, who get a bird's eye view of Pedro Martinez giving up 10 runs in less than 5 innings as the Baltimore Orioles clobber the Boston Red Sox 13 - 6..........2004 - A statue of Richie Asburn adorns the new Citizen's Bank Park in Philadelphia, as the Phillies lose to the Cincinnati Reds 1 - 4..........2010 - The Minnesota Twins christen Target Field with a win over the Red Sox, 5-2.
Rounding Up The Major League News...
- Minnesota Twins: Since This Date In History was focused on new ballparks, allow us to slew forward to modern times and continue our theme for a little while longer. We will begin with Target Field in Minneapolis. You may have missed this, but the Twins tried to charge a premium fee for early entry into the stadium in order to watch batting practice! As noted by MSNBC Sports, the Houston Astros already do this (and get away with it). Apparently, it took less than 6 calendar hours before the easily predictable outcry blasted its way through the thick skulls of the Twins FO, forcing them to retract and blaming "...a lack of internal communication". Yeah, as in "Our boss communicated to us that we needed to do something stupid, in the hopes that nobody would communicate back to us that we are all asshats. And that failed." The outfall of this, now, is that it has drawn attention to the whole idea of privileged access to a venue that was funded with public money, partially in response to the threat of MLB contraction and eliminating the entire franchise.
- Miami Marlins: Not to be outdone by the Twins, we still have Jeffrey Loria. Let's spend some time laughing at what might be the only franchise currently occupying any floor above us in the 2013 Tower of Mockery...........The Marlins have a tight grip on their finances! Not only do they save a few bucks on stadium music, ("...There will be no organist, at least initially...")..........Now that they are past Opening Game, the crowd size has become hilariously small..........But tiny attendance numbers are not going to prevent Loria and thugs from kicking out any of those few fans who have the temerity to complain..........So at least one fan has found a way to take Loria's copyrighted image and protest on the streets..........
- New York Yankees: Finally, we have New York: Land Of Fiscal Obscenities Both On and Off Wall Street. Here is something I am sure that nobody could have ever, EVER!, predicted: the City of New York and the New York Yankees totally cluster-eff the public finances behind the concept of the parking garage for the new ballpark. "Bronx Parking Development LLC failed to make a $6.9 million payment due April 1 on more than $237 million in tax-exempt bonds arranged by the Bloomberg administration back in 2007. The group...thus fell into one of the biggest defaults of a New York City-sponsored bond in decades. That failure ramps up the pressure on City Hall to avoid an embarrassing full-blown bankruptcy by reaching some kind of deal for the company’s bondholders to take a hit on their holdings. After all, Mayor Bloomberg originally signed off on a new 9,000-space garage system, something the Yankees demanded before agreeing to build a new stadium."
- Your Annual Jackie Robinson Moment: What with "42" how hitting theaters near you, MLB has decided to create a task force to study the decline of American born black players in Major League Baseball. They also published an article that debunks the colloquial magnitude of the issue. The common reference point for the high-water mark for African American MLB players is ~27% back in the 1970's. But SABRE member Mark Armour, after "exhaustive research", finds that the true high water mark was closer to 18-19%. This would mean that the total drop off to the current 8.5% as of Opening Day is closer to a 10% drop rather than a 20% drop. Of course, it does need to be stated that Mark Armour's day job is writing software for the EPA, and we all know about how well those guys predict city/highway MPG numbers. Meanwhile, the US Census data published in 2009 show the percentage of African Americans in the general population at 11%. 11% versus 8.5%...so what's the problem again?
- SABRE: I always applaud the efforts of the SABRE folk to make honest assessments of the quality of their tools. Here is an example of GIPGO (Garbage IN Potentially Garbage OUT, playing with an old computer term). Basically, the admission is that the inability to properly quantify the actual batted balls leads to a less-than-accurate determination of the quality of the hitter's turn at bat. I would add, personally, that the proper analysis will also need to include true charts on fielders and defense.
Video Of The Week
(Upon Request: Wiffleball Cy Young Winner Torches Dodger Hitter)
(Trouble viewing the video? Direct link here.)
Baseball: More dangerous than bullfighting? Check out the injury data already for 2013!............Here is one of those jokes that writes itself. Terry Francona gets lost walking to his own home stadium. Three times..........The fateful gods of justice have, in turn, invoked immortal vengeance upon the Yankee franchise, as their old ticketing phone number, for which they are most well-known, was surrendered and has become a live sex chat line..........in closing, do you want to have the chance to say something special concerning your opinion of the Baseball Hall Of Fame? Today is your lucky day, as the United States Government is now begging you to take your best shot!..........Baseball has an overabundance of rules, so wouldn't be nice if they bothered to use them?
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: Pre-Tax Beer Tasting is happening at Four Points Sheraton at LAX in Los Angeles.
Saturday: The Santa Fe Springs Swap Meet is adding a Craft Beer Festival to the usual and customary underground oddities to be found at such venues..........the founders of the OC Brew Ha Ha are launching a new gig, the GRAY CLOUD Craft Beer & Cigar Pairings with Bill Sayak, at the Arroyo Trabuco Golf Club in Mission Viejo.
Friday, Saturday and Sunday: Ciro's Pizzeria and Beerhouse is throwing a weekend series of social events, starting with Stone Brewing Cellar Night on Friday, then Rough Draft Brewing Tap Takeover/Keep The Glass Night on Saturday, and finishing up with Widmer Brothers Reserve - Kill Devil Release Party on Sunday.
This Week's Beer Bonus: Twenty-four Things You Did NOT Know About Beer!
This Week's Beer Bonus(2): Major League Baseball's most expensive beer list. God Bless West Coast American League Baseball!