Thanksgiving Day is in our rear view mirror, so Christmas Season is officially landing on the shores of our social experience like the Invasion at Normandy. One does 50 or so of these things and one knows what to expect. The trick is to seek the magic in the little things. The small moments. Let's start off slow and take it easy for the remainder of the weekend. Enjoy some pie. Enjoy a turkey sandwich. Enjoy some links.
- Black Friday: Feel like doing some shopping and saving some money today? It's in the air, so don't feel surprised. Anyway, the Angels open their doors bright and early for 2015 Season Ticket package deposits. Savings up to 30% off................By the way, Spring Training tickets go on sale next week.
- Joe Smith: Smith fights on against Huntington's Disease. We wrote about this earlier, and MLB.COM brings up Smith's story once again. Smith's mother suffers from the illness and, since this is an inherited condition, Smith himself may succumb after his playing days. It's worth noting that, should you feel so inclined as to offer some assistance during this holiday season, Smith and his fiancee Allie LaForce have put up the web site helpcurehd.com to raise funds for research.
- Playoffs? Playoffs!: In case you missed it, Josh Hamilton will receive $29,844.65 for his brilliant contributions in the ALDS. That, as it turns out, are the LAA shares out of the playoff pool.
This Date In Baseball History: 1950 - Walter O'Malley continues his housecleaning of the Brooklyn Dodgers. Already having canned GM Branch Rickey, O'Malley names PCL Oakland Oaks skipper Chuck Dressen as his new manager. Dressen will last only 3 seasons, being replaced in the 1954 campaign with Walter Alston..........1965 -Haywood Sullivan resigns as manager of the Kansas City Athletics to become Director of Player Personnel for the Boston Red Sox. Sullivan had been a catcher as recently as 1962, and became a minor league skipper in 1964. He was called up to take over at KC early in the 65 season, when he had started as a AAA manager for the Vancouver Mounties of the PCL. In the subsequent 12 years, though, Sullivan would become marginalized in the front office. He was politically astute enough to remain close to the Yawkeys and would be rewarded with a minority stake and the GM title. The Red Sox would plummet into a horrendous spell of bad personnel moves and accusations of racist policies, which would all culminate in Sullivan's loss of GM duties, whereby he would land on his feet as CEO/COO! Sullivan would not exorcised from Boston until 1993..........1972 - The Dodgers and Angels make THE blockbuster trade of the offseason, with the Angels obtaining Bobby Valentine, Frank Robinson, Bill Singer, billy Grabarkewitz and Mike Strahler, and sending back to downtown Andy Messersmith and Ken McMullen...........1974 - George Steinbrenner is suspended from baseball for two years after being convicted of making illegal contributions to Richard Nixon's Committee to RE-Elect the President...........2005 - Pete Rose is officially removed from consideration by the BBWAA for selection to the Baseball Hall of Fame, having consumed his 15-year ballot time limit. After being banned in 1989, the HoF Directors Committee determined that nobody who was listed as permanently ineligible by MLB could be considered for the Hall, and thus Rose was never named on a ballot..........2006 - Adam Kennedy sings as a Free Agent with the Cardinals, ending his tenure with the Angels. (Did you know that Adam Kennedy and Chone Figgins don't care much for one another?).........2011 - Less than a week after taking over formal ownership of the Houston Astros, Jim Crane cleans house and fires GM Ed Wade and team president Tal Smith.
Pacific Coast League History Nuggets
The building of Wrigley Field was entering the home stretch in August 1925. the steelwork, all 2,200 tons of it, was nearly complete. Work was progressing so rapidly that rather than waiting until 1926, it was decided the Angels would play the final the weeks of the 1925 season at the new stadium, which including land acquisition was esitmated to have a final cost approaching $1.3 million. William Wrigley was justifiably proud of his achievement, saying, " Our new ballpark is being constructed for the fans of Los Angeles. They have been so loyal and appreciative that I am more than pleased to give them what they want."
Los Angeles Times, August 17, 1925
"I loved pitching in Wrigley Field. When I went to L.A., I was just a kid, and Wrigley Field was by far the nicest park I had ever seen. And the weather in Southern California, before smog, was so nice. Although it was a hitter's park - if I hadn't been so young and naive, I would have though about that. Lots of players who go into a park that favors a hitter try to change their pitching, and try to pitch a different type of ball game. As I grew up, I did appreciate it was a hitter's park. There was an advantage to that: runs are cheaper, and if you're on a pretty good-hitting club, you win games 5-4, rather than 1-0. I did learn that if someone hit a pitch out of the ballpark, don't let it destroy you because you'll get it back. But try not to have the bases loaded when they hit it."
- CHARLES "RED" ADAMS - Los Angeles Angels
The Grand Minor League: An Oral History of the Old Pacific Coast League, pp. 26
Woodford press, Publisher-
- Christmas Lists: Free agent tracking at your fingertips, showing that some teams have picked up one or two of your favorites already. Yasmany Tomas just landed in Phoenix, for pretty cheap. Ernesto Frieri is off the boards, too. Bummer, that.
- Illegal Defense: WTF? Normally, I would ignore something like this, but the quote for outlawing the shift is coming from a baseball guy, not some inane pundit. Support of an "illegal defense" rule – or at least the consideration of it – is gaining some traction in baseball. Such a rule might stipulate, for instance, that you cannot have three infielders on one side of second base. A shortstop would be able to shift as far as directly behind second base on a lefthanded hitter, but no farther.
- Bad Contracts: Worst Free Agent Contracts of Every Team. Not the kind of thing you want to come in #1 at. But the alphabet can be a bitch, so the Angels lead off regardless.
Frankly, I am shocked - shocked I tell you! - that construction work in Chicago is running behind schedule and the bleachers in Wrigley Field will probably not be finished for the season opener..............You look at our payroll plans going into the future and think "ugh!", but you should look at some of the other guys...........Billy Butler said farewell to Kansas City fans with a full page ad in a printed document that fewer and fewer people bother to read.. Meanwhile, Pablo Sandoval also said farewell, this time to San Francisco fans, but using a tiny little format that hundreds of millions of people are accessing minute by minute............My house backs up to a park, and my wall would be an MLB-quality home run fence for he baseball field there should anybody manage to punch through the canary island pines. But it's quite common for people to gather on Thanksgiving mornings and play a game or two of baseball. So I don't know why finding out that people did this back in 1870 would be a big deal............San Francisco? "Baseball heaven"??? Oh, puhleeze.
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: BLACK FRIDAY Goose Island Event @ Beachwood BBQ in Seal Beach..........And another Goose Island event, the 2014 Bourbon County Stout Exclusive Release Party at St. Stephen's Green in Mountain View............
BEER BONUS QUIZ: True or False? The National League was once known as "The Beer and Whiskey League"?