We're back! Welcome back to the normal WeekEnd HaloLinks. Mrs. Stirrups and I spent 12 days gallivanting around the northeast of America. There is no need to get into details when a summary is exhausting enough. 5000 miles flown, 600 miles driven, 6 states, 6 hotels, 8 cemeteries, 2 Ivy League campuses, 3 historical societies, 5 museums, 1000 photos taken, and all in 12 calendar days. Thus, little time to honor my full commitment to y'all on Fridays. To make it up to you, however, I submit one very nice photo of the lustful New England fall foliage (of which we experienced hour upon hour upon hour):
We had a blast, thankyouverymuch, with the highlights being a weekend spent with RubixQube, followed by this, this, this and this. The only miss on the whole trip was not realizing that we would end up smack dead-center in the middle of this.
And it was time well spent away from baseball, what with the Halos not in the World Series and very little happening around the hot stove. But those days are now behind us, and great stuff is a goin' on...so let's get back at it!
- SBN Awards: Right off the bat, make sure you visit the current series to nominate, then vote, on select events of the LAA 2014 season. Our winning choices will be pulled up the SBN heirarchy and qualify for the 2014 SBN MLB Award. You now have the opportunity to VOTE for Funniest LAA Moment, Most Regrettable Moment, and for Best Defensive Play. Future entries between now and November 14th will be Most Important Hit, Best Pitching Appearance, and (overall, not just the Halos) Top MLB Team for 2014. FYI, I am also tracking comments on Facebook to add to the voting...
- Silver Surfer: Trout Porn. It IS trophy season after all. Yesterday's trophy is yet another Silver Slugger award, gifted to the top offensive player at each position, in each League. This is Trouty's 3rd, and he should expect that his trophy case is gonna be pretty shiny with these things when all is said and done. Nice find by Alden, but Trout is only the 2nd player in MLB history to gather in 3 such awards in his first three full seasons. The other was Mike Piazza...........But while on the subject of Trout and awards, here is a fun deviation. We all know that Trout is one of the nominees for AL MVP. Again. And we all know that Trout is the probable winner. Finally. (Announced next Thursday at 3PM PST.) What might not be as well known here in more local circles is that Victor Martinez of the Detroit Tigers is also a nominee. Yes, THOSE Detroit Tigers. So, upon nomination, Bless You Boys put up a nice tribute. And the very first comment posted, without one single iota of irony, was a snarky comment that ends up admitting that Trout was even greater as a player in his previous two seasons, when (for some strange reason) he failed to win.
- Stupid Alert! Stupid Alert!: This just in on a Friday afternoon, but it is worth knowing that such idiocy still exists within the upper ranks of MSM baseball writers - even if you choose not to read the blog entry and become dumber for having read it. Tracy Ringolsby, a seriously competent incompetent baseball writer for decades now, has chosen to decide that (A) the MVP award should go to somebody whose team made it to the World Series ("This year, for example, the BBWAA announced the three finalists for the AL and NL MVPs, and none of the six players participated in the World Series."); and (B) the MVP award is for offensive production only ("A key is the word Valuable. It is not the Most Outstanding Player. It the Best Offensive Player."); and (C) he completely loses it altogether when he conflates the abilities of 27 other guys to contribute with the amount of contributions made by any single 1 player. ("The ultimate value in baseball is winning, and if the award is based on a player’s value the decision should rest on how valuable he was to his team’s success. Winning the World Series is the ultimate sign of a team’s success.") Somebody is real pissed Kershaw and Trout are going to get MVP Awards next week against his personal wishes.
- HowieMania: say what you will about the pros and cons concerning the wisdom of moving Kendrick this offseason, but there is a reason that a lot of people are saying a lot about such a thing. Check out this table, sorting the various columns as you will. Now click over and take a gander at this list. It cannot be denied that if any team out there is in dire need of an upgrade at 2B, their best option for that upgrade may currently reside in Anaheim. Hence the calls. Apparently, lots and lots of calls.
- Cluster Luck: With the season, and the playoffs, now over, let's dive into the subject of "cluster luck". There are times when teams go on streaks. In 2014, the most notable of those streaks from our (LAA) perspective were (1) the Oakland run of horrendous results, (2) the Angels hot streak from August 9th through September 13th (when they went 26 and 7, with 2 4-game winning streaks, a 6-game winning streak, and then a 10-game winning streak), and (3) the Kansas City Royals run to Game 7 of the World Series. Streaks like these happen when enough players on the same team realize a greater degree of success at the same time. When success like that happens together it is "clustered". Since such things are random occurrences, the phenomenon is known as cluster luck, At the end of the day, some teams will have overall results which depend more on cluster luck than actual talent levels and expectations. For others, the reverse is true. So how did the Halos fare in 2014? Luckier than some, more talented than others. Of all the teams that made the playoffs the Angels depended more on talent than cluster luck than Baltimore, Oakland and Kansas City, but they were more dependent on cluster luck (thanks to that huge win streak) than all the other teams. The team that relied the heaviest on cluster luck was Baltimore, and the team that relied heaviest on the basic averages of inherent talent was the Pirates. Of course, half the teams based their results more in one direction than the other half. And the Angels ended up grouped towards the overall middle of the league with the other playoff teams Nats, Cards, Giants, Tigers and Dodgers. The outliers on the "talent" end of the spectrum were the Pirates, and the outliers on the "lucky" end of the spectrum were the Orioles, A's and Royals.
This Date In Baseball History: 1963 - 17 years after Jackie Robinson breaks the color barrier for black players in MLB at all, Yankees catcher Elston Howard is named AL MVP. He becomes the first black player in history to win the award............1964 - The Braves, who had moved from Boston to Milwaukee just 13 years previously, receive permission to move again, this time to Atlanta. And, oh, what a brouhaha that created!............1973 - The New Jersey Division on Civil Rights rules in favor of girls being allowed to participate in Little League Baseball............1995 - MLB signs an agreement with Fox Broadcasting to televise Saturday Afternoon Baseball, which will present regional games during the regular season. This is what we know today as Major League Baseball "Game Of The Week"......... 2002 - Mike Scioscia is announced by the BBWAA as AL Manager of the Year...........2005 - Future LA Angels closer Huston Street, then closer for the Oakland A's, wins the AL Rookie of the Year award...........2013 - Rick Renteria is named Manager of the Chicago Cubs. Less than 365 days later, Renteria is fired in favor of ex-Angels coach Joe Maddon.
History Bonus, LA Wrigley Field. Everyone knows that Brooklyn Dodgers visionary Walter O'Malley devised the bold and brilliant idea to move the Dodgers franchise to the West Coast and expand Major League Baseball across the continent, bringing the Giants to California with him. Bully for the National League! Except, though, that is not quite accurate. As you will find as you read this retrospective, a full 16 years earlier than that the president of the St. Louis Browns, Don Barnes, lobbied to move his team to 16-year old Wrigley Field in Los Angeles. The Angels were to move over to Long Beach. This was not, in truth, the very first time that an MLB move to LA was discussed, but this time it did go to an actual vote within the League. This also, for those with keen memories, will not be the last time the notion of the Angels playing in Long Beach is considered. Don Barnes had a problem, however. Two days prior to the AL vote the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, creating a state of emergency all along the West Coast. Anyway, 13 years later the Browns would move. But they would land in Baltimore, and become the Orioles.
- Free Agency: Let's keep this simple, shall we? Why try to keep track of all the players dropping into the market when others will do the work for you? For instance, Yahoo does a pretty fine job all by themselves. And, of course, MLB Trade Rumors is especially vigilant. But for those who prefer to inhabit the counting houses of baseball, Jeff Sullivan at Fangraphs tees up a table begging for Excel abuse.
- Lobbying Against You: With the mid-term elections behind us, you might be curious to learn who it was that was spending a little coin trying to buy some influence on behalf of broadcast monopolistic behavior and prevent you from enjoying your favorite sports franchise. That would be the NFL...and...MLB. "Again, compared to what both leagues take in from their media rights, this is the average person giving a $1 tip for a $10 diner bill. However, it is notable to whom the leagues are giving their money. Major League Baseball has spent over $600,000 in this political campaign. Of that amount, $17,000 went to Massachusetts Senator Edward Markey. Why is that significant? Well, Markey once chaired a House committee which oversaw broadcast, cable and satellite TV and MLB certainly has an interest in the industry owning a network and depending on television to distribute its games." So, that's pretty nice, isn't it? You pay MLB.com to try and watch the Angels as you wish. MLB takes a penny out of your dollar and gives it to a politician who will help MLB legislate away your ability to watch the Angels as you wish. And the MLB has a Political Action Committee right there on K Street working hard to make sure that happens.
- Demographics: Slightly OT, slightly not. It all depends on how I spin this. If you go to ESRI.com and use their Zip Lookup tool, you can learn a great deal about the kinds of things that are of interest to anyone looking to sell expensive entertainment packages to the surrounding communities. For example (and ignoring the entire concept of "surrounding communities"), just look at the zip code for Angel Stadium (92802). Extremely high population density, below average median income, trending younger, and more akin to the "Urban Village" type of community with an "Internal Marketplace" lifestyle (ESRI's subjective language, not mine). Compare with the rumored alternate site for a new ballpark in the Tustin Legacy neighborhood (92782). Significantly higher average income, only slightly older, half the population density, and classified more as "Enterprising Professionals" style and "Professional Pride" lifestyle. It would be very cool to use a tool such as this to aggregate all zip codes within some mileage range of any location, but this is not that tool. But if you play around with it, and are willing to do some of your own tabulations, you can learn a lot about what might be driving discussions in the LAA Front Office these days.
- The X-Factor: Go ahead, laugh it up, fuzzball. But here, at a recent Ted Talks, Angela Lee Duckworth finds that the main predictor of success is...grit. "In education the one thing we know how to measure best is I.Q. But what if doing well in school, and life, depends on much more than your ability to learn quickly and easily...In all those very different contexts, one characteristic emerged as a significant predictor of success. And it wasn't social intelligence, it wasn't good looks, physical health, and it wasn't I.Q. It was grit." And doesn't that just ring the hell out of that particular sabr bell? That which is easiest to measure (say, for example, event-based stats) is valued, and that which is not easy to measure (or, as Duckworth states, unrelated, or even inversely related, to measures of talent) - "grit" - is mocked and laughed away.
The Halo pitchers are really going to miss this guy...........Meanwhile, the shit-eating grin on this kid's face reveals that he knows that someday the entire world of baseball will be his............Joe Maddon now represents the Cubs, so the Cubs' logo now needs to represent Joe Maddon..........A short history of the worst MLB stadium ever. Home of the shortest-lived MLB team ever...........Paul Molitor, now Twins Manager, was once ejected from a game for cursing at an umpire. And, rarely, you can now buy his official ejection report..........This would be fun. The Rays come to town next June, and Raul Ibanez could possibly be their skipper..........Babe Ruth, bad-ass in a time before humans learned how to suffer concussions...........Big Papi takes yet another loss in Anaheim............Relive the bottom of the 9th of Game 7 in this past World Series, video game style............How do you beat the MLB drug test? Don't cross the streams!..........It turns out, there IS a way to defeat the marine layer..........
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: San Diego Beer Week kicks off last night and hits full speed today!............One special event is the 2014 Rare Beer Breakfast at Stone Brewing Company...............Big night at Beachwood BBQ in Long Beach, with a Beer & Food event featuring Cantillon, De Molen, Drie Fonteinen and Hill Farmstead............
Saturday: More San Diego Beer Week hoopla..........Alosta Brewing in Covina is throwing a charity 1st Year Anniversary bash.............The Bistro in Hayward is ground zero for The 9th Annual West Coast Barrel Aged Beer Festival............Bevmo's Holiday Beer Fest SF kicks it in gear up at Fort Mason in San Francisco...........CRAFTED at The Port of Los Angeles in San Pedro is battling back with The Festival 2014: Los Angeles Edition, with a huge assortment for tasty buds. By the way, since this festival is in San Pedro, you might want to get an early start by observing Veterans Day at USS Iowa............Wine Affairs in San Jose will host a Dogfish head Ancient Ales tasting/release.