Leading off with an editorial note: in an effort to comply with stylistic features being made available by our SBN Overlords, you will observe that the layout for WeekEnd HaloLinks is changing.In this first iteration, I am moving the section breaks over as sidebar elements. Second, I am amalgamating the miscellaneous features (Buy Stuff, Video Of the Week, futures) down in the Slap Hitting section. And I have created a definitive break for weekend beer celebrations, which will branch out into featured products. Doing this puts me on the same track with general SBN tools that are coming out and I can start adding these new things, such as Must Read hot links for important articles out on the Internet.
I have previewed the results numerous times to tune them for standard laptop/desktop devices (although I don't have an Apple version of those), and I have tested on an iPhone, Android phone,and iPad. I have tested on Safari, Chrome and FireFox. Internet Explorer has been left behind by SBN long ago, so no testing was done with that. Hopefully, you will see Fridays get a lot cleaner going forward. I know that it looks a lot less messy and less busy to me already. But if you have any comments or complaints, don't be shy!
- Location, Location, Location: Anaheim Mayor Tom Tait is such a giver. Apparently, Mayor Tom has decided to spend Anaheim citizen taxpayer money to help Arte learn what it would cost him to build a new stadium, wherever that may be. "Mayor Tom Tait added a curveball late Tuesday night by calling for a study examining how much it would cost team owner Arte Moreno to build a new ballpark for the Angels – whether it’s in Anaheim, Tustin, the Great Park in Irvine or just about anywhere else in Southern California." Now that's a sing of a good partner!
- Fregosi Watch: With Jeter-Fest (I had another phrase there, but this is a family site) finally in our rear view mirror, the Angels are now left with little to do to drum up interest other than remember that Jim Fregosi fellow. In a baby step, they posted a tweet showcasing Fregosi with Mike Trout. Well, a Fregosi wearing an Atlanta Braves shirt, anyway. Whatevs.
- Hector Santiago: Santiago feels bad. Real bad. Like, he shouldn't suck and stuff. And, unwritten rules and everything. " 'That's almost childish right there, walking off on him," Santiago said after a 9-2 loss at Angel Stadium on Wednesday night. "I apologized to him probably four times. I know I messed up. It had nothing to do with him. I wasn't mad at him. I know he's doing his job. It's nothing against him. I put a lot on myself right there. As soon as I saw that right arm go up, I knew I was out of it, and I was already kind of in a tough spot.' " Personally, I want to go back and ponder more on that whole Mike Scioscia doing his job concept. Say, for example, during the April 14th and April 20th games when Santiago was lifted with the games tied.
- 2014 Draft: Did one of the very top projected prospects in the 2014 draft just fall into LA Angels range? Jeff Hoffman, originally expected to go in the top 4, is now set for Tommy John surgery. Therefore, he is being re-slotted as a probable top 15. The Halos draft at...wait for it...#15. Consider that it's not that bad of a return to have a drafted pitcher reach the MLB level in just a couple of years anyway, and heaven knows we need pitchers, could we really get that lucky?
- Pitching Progress: I know it doesn't feel like it. One name in particular just jumps out and screams "BULLS@!#". But it is worth noting that (so far) the starting rotation is showing significant improvement over last year. To date, the entire staff ERA sits at 3.88 after 33 games. That's 7th in the AL and EVEN AFTER the recent 14-3 and 9-2 debacles. But, for the starters, they have surrendered 85 earned runs over 202 innings pitched. If I am doing my math right, that's a starting staff ERA of 3.49 (projecting out across thirty three complete 9-inning games at that rate of 85 earned runs for every 202 innings pitched). Last year after this many games, it was about 1.5 points higher.
- Deck chairs, meet Titanic: The Angels made some...er....major?..moves yesterday, ostensibly to bulk up the bullpen. They claimed Brooks Raley off of the waiver wire from the Twins, and DFA'd Buddy Boshers to make room. I know I'm excited. Aren't you? I mean, just stare at Raley's pro career to date and feel the awesome power. Ok, ok. That's not fair for Raley. He's more a minor league guy. so here. Now you're impressed fer shure. I wonder what the record is for largest number of different players to be on a single team roster in a single season? And is there a trophy for breaking it?
This Date In Baseball History: 1871 - Cuban born Estaban Bellan becomes the first Hispanic player to appear in a major league game...........1943 - With the nation at war, rubber is in short supply. Therefore, baseball manufacturers have to alter their cement. The result is that, on this day, six home runs are hit. This compares to only nine home runs hit thus far in the seventy-two regular season games to date...........1961 - Jim Gentile, in a moment for the ages, becomes the first player to ever hit two grand slams in the same game in consecutive at-bats (and only the fourth ever to do this in the same game at all)...........1967 - Roger Maris, now in the National League with the STL Cardinals, hits his first home run. He is wearing his wearing uniform #9, the same as he wore in pinstripes, and he hits his homer on the 9th of May, into Section #9, and into Seat #9. He will hit a total of 9 HR's this season...........1979 - During the MLB Umpire Strike, minor league replacement umpire Dave Pallone (who will stick and remain an MLB umpire for ten seasons) ejects the entire STL Cardinal bench after the Cards protest a call by tossing equipment onto the field...........1984 - The White Sox and Brewers conclude an eight hour game as Harold Baines homers in the 25th inning of a game called the previous night due to curfew. Tom Seaver pitches that one inning on this day to earn himself a win, and then goes on to start and pitch eight an a third innings in the regularly scheduled game, getting the win in that one, too............1987 - Eddie Murray becomes the first player in history to hit a home run from both sides of the plate...in back-to-back games...........1995 -The Cleveland Indians score eight runs in their opening frame before even recording an out..........2001 - Randy Johnson fans twenty batters and fails to make the record books. This is because the game went extra innings (thusly NOT a nine-inning game) and Johnson was yanked before getting the chance to K his twenty first, which would have tied him with Tom Cheney for an extra-inning game.
- The New PED: You might have been paying close enough attention around baseball this year to notice an awful lot of pitchers submitting to Tommy John surgery (Hell, almost even a catcher?!). The word "epidemic" is being thrown around. And one of the very top prospects in the upcoming MLB draft was just diagnosed. The phenomenon is being blamed on how hard youth pitchers are being worked on their way through their teen years. Disturbing to learn, but it gets worse. Apparently, TJ is being looked upon as a form of magical competitive elixir, to the extent that high school juniors and even sophomores are being brought in for surgery. "More pitchers than ever require the surgery, and Andrews blames it on year-round pitching in youth baseball...Pitching is a violent, unnatural motion that requires months of rest, but youth baseball is played all year, especially in warmer states like California, Florida and Texas. Their elbow ligaments fray -- every pitcher has frayed ligaments -- but they never rest enough to heal. A healed ligament is a stronger ligament. One that never heals? It's a ticking time bomb.....More than ever, pitchers arrive in the big leagues with a time bomb in their elbow. Seventeen big-league pitchers have undergone Tommy John surgery since spring training, an unprecedented rate, but the most common patients who visit Dr. Andrews are high school kids. And their parents." I know that this is going to sound quaint and archaic, if not down right foreign, to many of you, but I can recall when playing baseball as a 15 year old kid was called "having fun" and "healthy recreation".
- Something to Read: If you are a lover of baseball history (as, obviously, I am), you should consider picking up this book. (I just ordered mine.) It's a look back at John Roseboro and Juan Marichal, the two men involved in one of the ugliest on-field incidents ever. Hardball Times does an interview with the author and the ending to this story turns out to be a complete surprise. Even in the interview, I was fascinated to learn the angle of how the Watts Riots had impacted Roseboro and how, at that very same time, the civil war in the Dominican Republic had been impacting Marichal.
- Robots: I am on the record as not being a fan of using robots to judge the strike zone. Not yet. Maybe some day. But not yet. However, here is cannon fodder for those in favor. Official Confirmation of the Role of Pitch-Receiving. Bascially, we learn that at least one Major League umpire knows that he needs the catcher to frame the pitch in order for the ump to make his decision about balls and strikes. "I think [the umpire] was just asking [the catcher] to give him more of a chance. When it comes to a pitch on the border, it seems like umpires are conservative, with 'ball' as the default unless they’re given good reason to go the other way. Maybe this is simply because a walk is four balls and a strikeout is three strikes. Maybe something else. [The umpire] wanted [the catcher] to hold the spot, so he could make a better decision. And so what we have is an umpire telling a catcher, look, what happens is at least partially dependent on how you handle the end of the flight of the baseball." In other words, the umpire is admitting that he needs help re-imaging the pitch in his mind, and will allow the catcher to provide that help knowing full well that the catcher is biased. There is some serious physics behind all this, and some serious physiology, and some serious science concerning the human brain. None of these are dealt with in the article, though. Until they are, somewhere, I remain on my side of the fence.
- Cable Rights Fail, Part 26: Yup, Time Warner Cable is still sucking eggs when it comes to strong-arming other carriers into funding their mega-check to Magic Johnson & Friends. But wait, there is an apology coming! "We are sorry that more fans don't have access to SportsNet LA." Yeah, I'll just bet you are. And I adore this non-answer: "What happens if no one blinks and 70 percent of Southland households are blacked out of Dodgers' telecasts for the entire season, or even two seasons? We can't predict the timing, but negotiations are active with providers. We will continue to work tirelessly to get it carried across the region." In other words, "Eff You for staring at our train wreck".
So, what were saying here is...Mike Butcher is a genius??
..........As Jim linked yesterday, MLB/MLBAM joined hips with Apple and had a slew of baseball podcasts pulled from iTunes on Wednesday. Well, it's always refreshing to read the legal opinion of a trained legal mind instead of talking heads wagging their fingers. Yeah, MLB/MLBAM/Apple are all asshats here.
.........So lightning struck near Tropicana Field yesterday, causing a power outage and delaying the game. I went to watch the video since I was curious how a lightning strike could impact an indoor facility. Then I remembered. Duh. It's an indoor facility.
..........Wouldn't it be great if Nolan Arenado were to get a hit in another 32 straight games and we could erase TWO Yankee memes from baseball in the same season (Greatest Shortstop Evah and Joe Dimaggio)?.
.........This kid has "Future J.B. Shuck" written all over him.
..........MLB Bat Flip Watch has become so stupid. Just do a bat flip after everything and let's all get over it.
............I played Little League on a landfill in Orange and that place has always had an issue with stuff coming to the surface, but that was nothing like this!!!.
............I smell a government cover up. Because, you know, ALIENS!
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: A Night Of German Beers is being held at Steingarten LA............In San Diego, at Fifty Seven Degrees, BeerNerdz are putting on a Green Flash blind taste challenge.
Saturday: Ok, let's stick with San Diego to lead off our Saturday options. AleSmith Brewing Company is doing a Brandy Barrel Aged Old Numbskull & Barrel Aged Speedway Stout Release Party...........Moving up the freeway to Anaheim, just around the corner from the stadium at The Phoenix Club, The Bruery is holding their 6th Anniversary Party..........Keep heading north up the 101 and land in San Luis Obispo, and park your vehicle outside of the Frog and Beach Pub so that you can indulge in IPA Fest 2014.............Then rumble up to the far north and land in Turlock. Locate the Stanislaus County Fairgrounds and kick your feet up for The Central Valley Brewfest.
Sunday: For those who are seeking the perfect Mother's Day event, we have two! Wander over to Mountain View and drop in at Artisan Wine Depot and partake a little in a Lost Abbey Tasting.............A Central Coast stop completes our state circuit with The 3rd Annual West Coast Beer Tour stop at Hot Shots Family Entertainment Center in Pismo Beach.
BEER BONUS: I pass this along as an advisory only. I suggest some care in your own personal experimentation.