So the Angels and Albert Pujols both got to 500 on the same night. Depending on who you ask, you're most likely to get two different answers to the question, "Which one is more important?" Pujols would tell you that the personal records are nice, but he plays to win titles, and getting to .500 is just the first step towards becoming a winning team, while most Angel fans are probably a little jaded and could use some good news. Sure, getting to .500 is good news, but since the club hasn't been over that magic mark in almost 13 months, it's one of those, "wake me when we get there" moments. Hopefully, tomorrow's Halolinks headline will be "Angels are a winning team", but in the meantime, here's your "Angels aren't a losing team" Halolinks:
- He put a charge into that one: Los Angeles Angels at Washington Nationals - April 22, 2014 - MLB.com. "The 500th home run, that pitch was supposed to be low and away," Jordan said. "I guess I tried too hard to get it there. We did three consecutive fastballs there. I was really trying to get that ball where I wanted it, and left it over the middle of the plate."
- There are seven years left on Pujols' Angels contract, and at 34 years-old, we might be talking about 600 home runs before he retires: Pujols calls his shots before joining 500 Club - The Orange County Register. "Pujols, at 34 years, 96 days, is the third youngest to hit his 500th homer, trailing only Alex Rodriguez (32 years, 8 days) and Jimmie Foxx (32, 338)." By the way, pretty classy of the Washington crowd to give Pujols a standing ovation considering he just beat up on their team.
- Here's an interesting quote from Tyler Skaggs: Skaggs' fine outing overshadowed by Pujols' big night - The Orange County Register. "Skaggs allowed the first four batters to reach base in the third inning, but he got a double-play ball and a strikeout, escaping with just two runs scoring. "I stepped off the mound and took a deep breath and got through it," Skaggs said. Skaggs said he began throwing more two-seam fastballs after that, and he did not give up another hit." We've talked a little bit before about "slowing the game down", and that's what Skaggs did in that situation. This is something some pitchers never learn, and it's good to see he's maturing into the type of pitcher who thinks before he throws.
- As mentioned above, the Angels haven't seen a winning record since the first game of the 2013 season, but with a win today, the club will move to 11-10 on the year. However, to get to that mark they have to get past a very good pitcher in Gio Gonzalez: Los Angeles Angels at Washington Nationals - April 23, 2014 - MLB.com. "Going for the Angels, who have taken the first two of a three-game set, will be ace Jered Weaver. Going for the Nationals, losers of four of their last six, will be left-hander Gio Gonzalez. Gonzalez has pretty much cruised through the early portion of this season, winning three of his first four starts while posting a 2.88 ERA, and going at least six full innings every time he's taken the ball. His last time out, the 28-year-old held the Cardinals to one run in seven innings, striking out seven and walking just one."
- Here's the lucky guy who caught Pujols' home run ball. Isn't it pretty cool that an Angels' fan caught it? Angels fan beats odds to get Albert Pujols' 500th home run ball - latimes.com. "I've been an Angels fan for 20 years, and I had no intentions other than to give the ball to Albert," Sherrill said. "They gave me this cool hat and made it sound like more stuff might come later, but I'll be happy with anything they give me."
Pujols with the guy who caught 499 (left) and 500 (right). pic.twitter.com/mg7Ltet1Ek— Alden Gonzalez (@Alden_Gonzalez) April 23, 2014
Angels fan Tom Sherrill at right place to grab Albert Pujols' 500th - angels.com
Gordon saw the ball come straight at him and tried to cradle it, but it smacked him in the stomach and bounced away. While Gordon took a tumble and was left with a welt at the point of impact and some cuts and bruises, the ball ended up right there for Sherrill. He snatched it up and raised his arms over his head in celebration. But as it turned out, the story came with a happy ending for all involved. Gordon and his sons still got to go down to the Angels' clubhouse after the game, where they met Pujols for photos and autographs.
- The Cardinals are classy: Albert Pujols' milestone homer brings smiles to Cardinals - angels.com. "It's awesome," Matt Holliday said. "Incredible. I'm really happy for him. He's swinging the bat like the Albert I know, and it looks like he's having fun."
- Here's some fascinating facts about Pujols' career...so far: Appreciating Albert Pujols - ESPN Los Angeles. "So the moral of this story remains the same. Lots of men have hit baseballs over many, many fences. Only the greatest hitters who ever lived have been the all-around offensive forces that Albert Pujols has been. And that's a fact." The Angels' slugger is compared to Babe Ruth, Ted Williams, and Jimmie Foxx...not bad company. Here are some cool graphics: Los Angeles Angels slugger Albert Pujols hits 500th home run - ESPN The Magazine
- In other news, the Angels aren't the only team in the division who can lose games in the ninth: MLB Recap - Texas Rangers at Oakland Athletics - Apr 22, 2014 - CBSSports.com. "Luke Gregerson (0-1) took the loss after blowing his third save opportunity. He gave up two runs on three hits. Gregerson appeared to have pitched out of trouble when he threw out pinch-hitter Mitch Moreland at the plate on a safety squeeze by Leonys Martin for the second out." With the Oakland loss and the Angels' win, the Halos are 3 games out of first. Of course, no one is really looking at the standings yet, it's way too early to be scoreboard watching. Especially since the real, meaningful games don't start until next month, or June...or August.
- I thought this was funny: Typical Yankees Fan - Bugs & Cranks. Finally, I dropped the hammer. "You can talk all the shit you want if you can answer me one, single question." I spout. "OK, what?" the bartender counters cockily. "I will accept two answers, but it has to be one or the other." "Alright." "Who replaced Robinson Cano at second base for the Yanks?"
- Remember a couple of seasons ago when that lady ripped the ball out of that little girl's hand? Here's the hockey equivalent: Man Swoops In To Try And Take Max Pacioretty's Hockey Stick From Kid. "Max Pacioretty was trying to give his hockey stick to a little Habs fan after tonight's game when in comes this jabroni to gank it. But judging from everyone around the guy strongly suggesting that he hand the stick to its intended owner, the heist seemed to have been foiled."