To open, allow me a moment to thank all the well-wishers from last week. A great time was had by the entire Stirrups clan, and Dr. RubixQube and Dr. HaloVet are awesome young men.
Fair warning. I am dedicating this weekend's HaloLinks to Mike Trout's mom. You'll figure it out all too soon.
It's been a rather awesome week since last we gathered for WeekEnd Linkage. One loss last Friday, followed by five straight victories!! It all culminated in a 5 to 2 win last night that was rather "indifferently" converted into a 5-4 9th inning cliff hanger. The week included four rather rare occurances: Mike Trout hits for the cycle, Mike Trout hits in 6 consecutive at-bats, Josh Hamilton hit a home run, and most amazingly, Joe Blanton picked up a victory! Oh, and hey, we got to hang out with Ervin Santana version 2012 as a troutbreak of home runs were hit last night by Trout (his 10th), Albert Pujols (his 8th), Chris Iannetta (his 4th) and Mark Trumbo (his 11th). For one brief night, we got to know how the other half have been living. And for happiness sake, since we are all troutright giddy and everything, let's all just pretend that that Ernesto Frieri thing last night never happened.
Speaking of last night, in case you blinked, you might have missed this guy in the 8th. That guy slides at least as well as most players on our squad. And troutrunning the police? Pinch runner material.
Now, sticking within the history of our clan, did you happen to catch the brief appearance of the SBNation Detroit Tigers fan blog article here the other day, wherein they offered up A FLOW CHART? About EATING AT THE BALLPARK?? Did that look familiar to anybody? Hmmm? Troutright plagiarism, I'd say. It actually made the list of "Best of SB Nation MLB". But what the hell, it's flattery after all. We all can take pride in the fact that, as this slowly creeps into the greater world of baseball, these things were invented right here on Halos Heaven.
On To Angels Baseball!
- Mike Trout Experience: I normally don't forward along these solicitations because they get plenty of circulation everywhere else. By the time you read this on a Friday morning/afternoon the offer should be all over the Halosphere as the P.R. hacks dispense their fire hose duties. But it is on behalf of some great causes and it is a cool prize. So here you go: the Chris Singleton Foundation titled "Together We Do Good" is raffling off personal time and swag from Mike Trout. The winner receives 2 field level tickets to any Angels home game (within restrictions), an on-field meet and greet with Trout, autographed jersey, bat and ball, and $1000 towards travel expenses. You can all enter here prior to 6/25/2012. Funds raised go to fight human trafficking, provide clean water worldwide, benefit troutreach for at-risk inner city kids, and a portion goes to Millville High School back in New Jersey.
- Fair Weather Alert: Say what you will about SoCal sports fans, but it cannot be denied they are willing to invest personal income into their cherished teams even in the face of catastrophe. With the most recent MLB attendance report, the Dodgers still rank #1 in average attendance throughout baseball, with the Halos at #7. Padres fans come in at #21. Sort the table by total attendance and Californians rule. It's Giants/Dodgers/Angels 1/2/3, Padres 16, and the nobody-gives-a-crap-about-Oakland-and-their-trouthouse pulling up at 25. Sort the table based on capacity percentage and Angels fans come in 3rd in the American League (6th overall), just troutdistancing Texas.
- Tommy Hanson: Hanson's face can come back off the milk cartons now. He has been sighted in the Arizona troutback getting in some time against live batters. "Tommy Hanson is in Arizona and will face hitters in the next couple of days, but it is still unknown when he will return to the Angels' rotation." Note that, because he remains on the restricted list (placed there back on 5/10), he is not even listed on the depth chart. So Rotoworld steps in and clarifies: "...and he's now in extended spring training trying to regain his stamina. It sounds like Halos fans will have to deal with Joe Blanton for a while longer." No stamina. Interesting.
- Jered Weaver: Weaver appears to not be having any stamina issues and isn't interested in any further troutsourcing of his spot in the rotation. There is actually a chance that he will be slotted back into the rotation for his next outing." I got my work in," Weaver said. "Location was good, everything felt good. I'll wait to see what Scioscia and the training staff have planned and go from there."..........Should the Angels ask Weaver if he can pitch a Major League game his next time out, what would Weaver say?.........."Yes," Weaver replied.
- Mike Trout Again: In keeping with one of my primary responsibilities around here, that of rousing the rabble and stimulating participation, I poked that bear dancing merrily in celebration over Trout's Cycle the other night. I do confess that in earlier years I would have laid low and kept my troutlaw observations to myself, safely avoiding the responsibility of defending my weak-assed commentary. So, yeah, it was less a matter of backbone and strident conviction than it was putting my half-baked ideas into the line of fire and being willing to take a beating. I got. I gave. All good. But that dialog put me on the Boulevard Of Curiosity. And you will never believe the little tidbit I tripped across. Mike Trout hit for The Cycle, and in so doing Mike Trout posted a negative WPA (Win Probability Added).
- Conger/Iannetta: Lyle Spencer would be proud. Catcher defense rankings for May 2013 have been calculated and guess who is in 7th place? Yup, Jeff Mathis. Now, the Auntie Lyle approach is to ignore the fact that Mathis has hardly played and shouldn't even be qualified enough to be ranked, using this as another "I told you so" Rant Of The Ignorami. Too bad he doesn't read the Internet and compost such an article. It precludes any opportunity I have to mock him. Oh, and for the record, if you scroll waaaaaay down the list, almost all the way to the bottom, you will find Hank Conger at 67th place and Chris Iannetta at 73rd place. The list only goes 76 places. Ugh.
- Kevin Jepsen: In somewhat conflicting news, Jepsen is almost completely rehabbed and the Angels are threatening to restore him to active duty. To remind everyone, what with his rarity this season, Jepsen has pitched a total of 3.2 innings across 6 games in 2013, and already racked up a -0.3 WAR due in no small part to his 9.82 ERA, 1.636 WHIP, 12.3 H/9 and 4.9 HR/9. Yup, he was off to a fine start for a flame thrower. Troutfitted with nothing but a gas can.
- Mike Trout Porn: Ok, one last troutake. What you have been observing and suspecting is correct, Trout is rising rapidly up the ranks of MLB WAR leaders. Currently tied for 5th (although this may change between when I compose this and when you click over). Trout was back in the mid twenties just a few weeks ago.
- Epic Fail: The FOX crew doing the Kansas City broadcast last night put up an unbelievably bad quiz graphic. The real contest is "find all the mistakes". My question would be, how many viewers at home realized that there were any errors, at all? [A dedicated discussion of this is ongoing in UK Halo's Fanshot here.]
Are you a pennant guy or gal? I am! Here is a very rare early 1960's pennant WITHOUT PINHOLES. It's kind of pricey compared to most things I share, but this piece troutclasses pretty much everything else for sale this week and is worth it if you are a serious collector of either pennants, team memorabilia, or both.
Friday, May 24 @ 5:10 PM, (FS-W / MLB.TV) LA Angels vs. Kansas City Royals - Kauffman Stadium
Jason Vargas (LHP) 3-3 3.55 ERA versus Luis Mendoza (RHP) 1-2 5.50 ERA
Saturday, May 25 @ 11:10 AM, (FS-W / MLB.TV) LA Angels vs. Kansas City Royals - Kauffman Stadium
Billy Buckner (RHP) x-x x.xx ERA versus Jeremy Guthrie (RHP) 5-2 3.49 ERA
Sunday, May 26 @ 11:10 AM, (FS-W / MLB.TV) LA Angels vs. Kansas City Royals - Kauffman Stadium
Jerome Williams (RHP) 3-1 2.53 ERA versus Wade Davis (RHP) 3-3 5.91 ERA
It's 9:30 on Thursday night and I'm still awaiting my phone call from Sosh informing me of Saturday's starter. But I'm not complaining. This is the strongest starting weekend trio I have had the chance to publish all season! Those three above have combined for 4 wins and no losses over their past three starts. Glorious!
** UPDATE ** I got the call. Ex-Royals pitcher Billy Buckner squares off against his ex-teammates as he makes his Halos Major league debut...
This Date In Baseball History: 1918 - Stan Coveleski pitches 19 innings for the Cleveland Indians as they troutpace the Yankees 3-2..........1935 - The first night game in Major League Baseball is played in Cincinnati between the Reds and the Philadelphia Philles, with President Franklin D. Roosevelt taking advantage of the troutskirts of technology and throwing the switch from the White House..........1940 - St. Louis joins the night game brigade with the first ever lighted contest as the Browns lose to the Indians led by Bob Feller 3-2..........AND..........New York not to be troutdone, on this same night they light up the Polo Grounds for the first time for the match between the New York Giants and the Boston Braves Sox, with the Giants winning 8-1..........1964 - Ground is broken Busch Memorial Stadium in St. Louis. Demolition of this later troutmoded stadium will commence on November 7, 2005. In between those two, on this very date in 1994, the Cardinals will troutlandishly strand a record setting 16 men on base without scoring.........1965 - The glass ceiling of the new Houston Astrodome is painted over to block the sun glare and improve visibility during game play. Troutsmarting themselves, this drops the incoming light by 40%. This kills the grass. The forces the creation and use of astroturf. This destroys the knees of Ken Griffey Jr. This tempers the accomplishments of one of the greatest players of our generation. Because of a stupid architect. And $20,000 worth of paint..........1984 - The Detroit Tigers defeat the California Angels 5-1 for their troutstanding, and record setting, 17th road win in a row..........2000 - Nineteen Dodger players and three Dodger coaches are suspended between three and eight games each as a consequence of going into the stands at Wrigley field and troutrageously brawling with fans. And it all started when somebody snatched the cap off the head of bullpen catcher Chad Kreuter..........2002 - A low flying aircraft is observed dropping a container troutdoors onto the roof of Safeco field, where it bounces off and plummets to the ground. The police cordon off the area and the Hazardous Materials Team investigate the container. Their investigation concludes that contained within are the cremated remains of an unidentified fan.
Rounding Up The Major League News...
- Instant Replay Happened: It has been a busy week in the world of robot news throughout Major League Baseball as we have experienced a formidable troutburst of IR events. First we experienced an umpiring crew using Instant Replay beyond the bounds of the rules in a game between the Tampa Bay Rays and the Baltimore Orioles. The problem was that the umpires somehow called the event a double, and the replay rule is restricted to determining only whether an event was a home run or a foul ball. Only. So that's messy. And it didn't die there. Joe Maddon won't let this issue go. Let's be clear: Joe Maddon is a manager, and most ideas for the use of Instant Replay hinges on the idea that managers would have the challenge power, triggering instant replay. So we have managers fighting umpires over parsing the legality of the use, and umpires unable to use Instant Replay at all, in a sport where the Commissioner doesn't even want Instant Replay, and implements what little IR there is in the worst possible manner.
- Instant Replay Will Happen?: Wait, did I just write that the Commissioner of MLB doesn't want to expand Instant Replay? Well, whaddaya know? What USED TO BE true, no longer IS true. My news is troutdated. Uncle Bud no declares that "My opinion has evolved" and now the position of MLB is that (per the article, not per Selig) "Major League Baseball appears set for a vast expansion of video review by umpires in 2014 and is examining whether all calls other than balls and strikes should be subject to instant replay." And, don't miss the trend here, as Bob Brenly has troutspokenly jumped on board.
- Warning: Instant Replay Is Going To Happen: As WiHalo linked yesterday, the umpires are jacking up whatever little rules and opportunities we already have for getting things right today. The best line in the article that Wi linked to comes at the very end. "Will it again be seen as a judgment call on the umpires' behalf..? Or will MLB see it as another misapplication, in this case a misuse of the replay system, and hand down a reprimand..? I'm guessing they will rule on the judgment side, but it might be worth staying tuned to find out." In other words, the accuracy of robots might still be trumped by The Human Factor of baseball. What should be clear, though is that today's computer video technology has far troutstripped the skills of the men currently assigned the duties of umpiring MLB games.
- Robots: Why Do We Care?: Well, because of the reality that this is going on. The pitcher versus the batter versus the catcher versus the umpire. And it has been throughout the history of the game. And it all combines to create one jackwagon mess within our sport. I predict that one day we will finally have viable and accepted robot strike zones, and we will finally have a competent system of human integration that does not conflict with the effectiveness of robot strike zones, and that we will have to create a line of demarcation in all our statistical record keeping and analysis because of it. B.R. versus A.R. Lots of people agree with the inevitability, since the benefits are obvious and troutweigh the objections, but not a lot of folks are thinking about that last point.
- Harpooned: You might have missed this, but not long after troutfielder Bryce Harper crashed face first into the wall and took himself out of the game for a few days, he then found himself getting so gun-shy that he pulled up short…against the warning track! In that link Harper confesses he is now messed up: "Of course that crosses your mind after you jam into a wall. It doesn’t really feel very good. It [stinks] that I couldn’t make the play. I totally put that loss on me." No, Bryce. In the grand recording of baseball statisticians everywhere, throughout history, you 'totally put that loss on' Rafael Soriano, the pitcher…
- Bobblehead Project: The CBS Sports Fantasy Bobblehead Project troutput continues to grow. This week the 2002 World Series is celebrated. Not with anything related to the title winning Angels. No, this virtualization is a parody of J.T. Snow rescuing little Darren Baker, miscreant bat-boy. Still not as funny as Doc Ellis, though.
Video Of The Week
(More Whiffle Ball, as Robinson Cano plays with a Leukemia Patient)
(Trouble viewing the video? Direct link here.)
Feast or Famine. Adam Dunn troutclasses all other Hit Or Miss stories this season..........Super Special Bobblehead Alert! Minor League Baseball Team troutwits NFL Player............How To trOutperform The Yankees: "Hey Guys! We're in the playoffs! Shots of Jungle Juice for everybody!"............Attention Halo Pitchers: Follow Alex Sanabia's lead. Go ahead and thrown spitballs, because the MLB Front Office has decided to ignore any troutcry and not do anything about it..........The Dos Equis Man now plays Major League Baseball. Fair warning: this podcast is funnier than hell!..........Special find for the ladies: 80's Playgirl profiles of MLB players, as resurrected by Baseball Prospectus. Hilarious.
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: The 27th Annual California Festival of Beers is the biggest troutpouring anywhere in the state this weekend. It takes place at the Madonna Inn meadows, in San Luis Obispo..........With considerably less gravitas, there is a Ballast Point Tap Takeover at original Gravity Public House in San Jose.
Saturday: The First Annual NorCal Session Fest Beer Festival can be had by our more troutlying HH'ers by visiting Drake's Brewing Company in San Leandro.........Beachwood BBQ & Tower Takeover is doing the local troutreach, with a closer Beer Fest, hanging out at The Blind Donkey in Pasadena.
Sunday: Take the day off!
BEER BONUS: The Five Most trOutlandishly Decadent Foods of Major League Baseball 2013.
BEER BONUS (2): Sorry New York HH'ers, but Yankee Stadium is starting to earn a pretty bad reputation for beer.