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WeekEnd HaloLinks: Opening Weekend in Anaheim!

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The Angels flock back to Anaheim to kick off the 2015 season at home, already alone atop the AL West and ready to fly another flag.

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Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

Ok, let me check. It might be around here somewhere. HH email? No. Private email? Uh-uh. Work email? Nada. IM? Text? Voicemail? Twitter? Insta? Vine? Reddit? Skype? FB? Youtube? Google+? Pinterest? LinkedIn? Yelp? Digg? MySpace? Prodigy? Compuserve? FAX? Mailbox? Nope. Not in any one of them either.

So, officially, I did not get the memo about changing up my Links on Fridays. Thus, you get the whole drink with one firehose. But now with fancy fresh graphic art I put together for the 2015 season! Click on, amigos!!

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GAME UPDATE: No game yesterday. That will tend to happen a lot on Thursdays.

So let's skip recaps and go right to the Weekend Opening Series:

KANSAS CITY ROYALS @ Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. Angels Stadium. Anaheim, CA.

Day Game Time Probable Pitchers TV
FRIDAY 7:05 PM PDT (TBA 0-0  0.00 ERA) versus Hector Santiago 0-0  0.00 ERA FSW
SATURDAY 6:05 PM PDT (TBA 0-0  0.00 ERA) versus Jered Weaver 0-1  6.00 ERA FS1
SUNDAY 12:35 PM PDT (TBA 0-0  0.00 ERA) versus C.J. Wilson 1-0  0.00 ERA FSW



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  • FUTURES: Some of you might be interested to learn, and keep tack of, where the top LA Angels prospects happen to be starting their 2015 campaigns. Others among you might just want to know who the Angels consider to be their top prospects. Well, let's down two birds with the same stone and let Teddy Cahill of MLB.com provide you with answers. The fun parts of the list is how numbers 11 and 26 (out of 30), Mssrs. Featherstone and Rucinski respectively, are starting out at the MLB level. Just goes to show that a LOT of variables come into play concerning how some level of talent will fit into an established roster, even when there are openings available.

  • GARRETT RICHARDS UPDATE: Richards was not Ryan-esque in his latest tune-up, but still dominant and on track for the rotation in a week or two. "...Richards worked seven innings, allowing two runs, in a minor league intrasquad game on Thursday in Arizona, perhaps the penultimate step before he returns to the Angels rotation...Richards gave up four hits, walked three and struck out 12, throwing 96 pitches." Look for Richards to show up just after next weekend.

  • PERFECTO: Mike Witt, who pitched a combined no-hitter (with Mark Langston, in 1990) and more importantly pitched a perfect game at the end of 1984 against the Rangers and a near-empty stadium in Texas (8,375 in attendance), will throw out the first pitch in tonight's Opening Ceremonies. That was, for the record, the first no-hitter ever thrown in Arlington, and the first (and still only) perfect game ever thrown by a Halo. Another factoid is that Witt needed only 94 pitches to finish off Texas. Only 4 other pitchers in history have thrown a perfecto using less times to the plate (Jim Bunning and Charlie Robertson with 90, David Cone with 88, and Addie Joss with 74). When you watch the final pitch, notice that the first baseman is Bobby Grich. In his 2044 games across 17 seasons, Grich stood in the field covering 1B in only 71 games.


  • MOUNT RUSHMORE: MLB is doing a fan vote allowing us all to vote for the 4 Top Players in Franchise History.  The main entry page to vote for any team is here.  The LA Angels voting page is here.  Voting for the Four Greatest Living Players (all teams) is here. You get to vote your own conscience, but I'll make mine public. For the time being, I stand with Chuck Finley, Jim Fregosi, Nolan Ryan and Tim Salmon.  That's painful, because it means I say no to Vlad Guerrero. I don't have a problem with a Garret Anderson or Brian Downing not making the Final Four, but Vlad is a cherished awesomeness all by himself, and it will be tough to not include him as one of my Four Horsemen if he ends up in the HoF, and as a Halo. But 4 is only 4. My REAL fear is what I am going to be forced to do a few years from now, when the still-young Mike Trout will climb that mountain and kick one of my heroes over the precipice. That day is going to be tough. Real tough. I already dread it. If it comes easy for you, you are a heartless bastard.

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This Date In Baseball History: 1947 - On this date in 1947, while the Brooklyn Dodgers were in the middle of playing an exhibition game against their AAA farm club from Montreal, General Manager issues a brief little press release that signaled an event which would change America, forever: "The Brooklyn Dodgers today purchased the contract of Jackie Roosevelt Robinson from the Montreal Royals. He will report immediately."...........1962 - The Dodgers play the first ever regular season baseball game at Dodger Stadium. The Dodgers lose to the Reds 6-3 as Wally Post smacks the first-ever Dodger Stadium home run, a 3-run blast in the 7th off Johnny Podres...........1969 - Tommy Agee launches the longest-hit home run in the history of Shea Stadium, reaching high into the upper deck of the left field seats...........1976 - Andy Messersmith signs as a Free Agent with the BravesThis is important as the ex-Halo is THE dude who's case broke the Reserve Clause forever, making him #2 behind Curt Flood in the trailblazers of free agency...........1982 - Officials have to remove 500 tons of snow from Municipal Stadium so that 62,443 fans can show up in 38 degree weather with a wind chill factor dropping things to 17 degrees, just to see their hometown Cleveland Indians drop their season opener to the Rangers, 8-3. Cleveland has a problem with this. A lot...............1989 - Ken Griffey, Jr. , the youngest player in baseball, launches the first pitch he ever sees in his home stadium off of the White Sox's Eric King for a home run, celebrating his father's 39th birthday............2000 - To honor his father's 50th birthday, Ken Griffey, Jr. becomes the youngest player in history to reach 400 home runs as the Reds lose to the Rockies 7-5. (Today Ken Griffey, Sr. is 64, and "Junior" is 45.). And, yes, again, he does it during the Mariners Home Opener..............2007 - If 1982 wasn't bad enough, a snow storm hits Cleveland so hard that their home opener had to be played on the road, in Milwaukee, after 4 consecutive days of delay. The Indians won this time, defeating the Angels 7-6............RECAP - On this date, multiple stadiums made their debut. We had Dodger Stadium as we mentioned above (1962), but we also had Veterans Stadium in Philadelphia (1971), Royals Stadium (later Kauffman Stadium) in Kansas City (1973), and Arlington Stadium (1980).

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  • DAMN, ADAM NICE CATCH: Absolutely excellent. But...somewhere I have seen a play quite similar to this one. And in the same ballpark, too. With pretty much the same follow-up reaction from the other players. I wonder where..?


  • NICE FIELDING, FIELDER. NOT: Absolutely horrid. The Rangers must be pleased to have such an expensive one-tool, tool. (Well, Ok, maybe two tools.) Let this serve as evidence that we are far from having any corner on the market for albatrosses.


  • BEND WITH YOUR KNEES!: Keep watching this video. Keep watching...Adrian Beltre finds that he really needs to get under the looping curveballs from A's reliever Evan Scribner. His first attempt has everybody in stitches. His next attempt has everybody in awe.


  • REST, FROM RECREATION: It seems rather counter-intuitive that healthy adults need a break spending their days sitting through events that are (a) originally intended to be recreational, and (b) currently under the microscope for droning on and on too long considering the amount of action that actually takes place. I mean, how hard can it be to stand out there for a few hours in right field, plus take 12 hacks with a wooden stick? And the world's best athletes need a respite from THAT? Well, apparently, that answer is yes. But it remains all anecdotal. "There's no study that concretely correlates fatigue with a decrease in performance or injury in baseball position players. Nor is there one that can tell a manager whether his star at 80 percent is better than one of his replacements at 100 percent. But logic says that if a player is tired, he won't play as well and may be at a higher risk of getting hurt."...Ok, so we got that. There is no proof or analysis that confirms how difficult it is to play too many games. But that doesn't stop the intuition: "The plan, across baseball, is to reduce fatigue to increase performance, in every way possible. Players are wearing heart-rate monitors to measure fatigue. Teams are counting trips on and off the field, trips around the bases, walks to and from the batter's box and adding them to a player's total workload. They're hiring sleep specialists, nutritionists and chefs, and changing flight schedules to fly the day of the game instead of overnight." It just goes to show that there is more going on playing Major League Baseball than meets the eyes. Even eyes that have witnessed 4,000 games.


  • Baseball Biz: Wait. This can't be right. Baseball is supposed to be dying, right? So how come ESPN experienced record viewership numbers for Opening Week of MLB 2015?? "Oddly enough, the most-watched game of Monday wasn’t Blue Jays-Yankees, Mets-Nationals, or Giants-Diamondbacks…it was Indians-Astros. The 7 PM game was the lone contest to take place across baseball in the timeslot, and drew 1.1 million viewers for ESPN, which is strong considering that the end of the game went up against the NCAA Championship Game between Duke and Wisconsin." So, like, MLB was able to put up one of the lamest regular season match-ups, in a prime time TV viewing slot, against the NCAA Men's Championship game, and still draw over a million pairs of eyeballs? I'll take that...........Meanwhile, MLBAM experienced "...60 million live and on-demand streams accessed through MLB.com, the MLB At Bat app, MLB.TV and various MLB social media accounts. That’s an increase of 60% from last year....In addition, the MLB At Bat app was accessed 9.1 million times on Monday which is up almost 40% from 2014."


  • More Baseball Biz: Over time, the SportsNet LA-TWC-Dish-DirectTV-ATT-Dodgers stalemate continues to fester, and the battle wounds begin to wear. This past week, with the launch of a new season and the hot start of Adrian Gonzalez, leaks and cracks are starting to show in everyone's armor. For example, The LA Daily News actually went and published an article promoting the notion of using UnBlockUs and Unlocator to proxy one's streams from MLBAM and run local games through one's PlayStation. * chink * goes the TWC chest plate.   On the other hand, Tom Hoffarth, who used to write for Daily News, and does sports media stuff as his focus, just capitulated (most reluctantly) and made the switch from DirectTV to TWC in order to regain access to the dominant issue in LA sports for the next 6 months. In his case it's his job, but his reasoning includes emotions that are wearing more and more folks down. * crack * goes the AT&T helmet.

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The Good Ol' US of A, Kings of Victimhood. A trio of ex-employees are suing the Nationals for religious discrimination. As 7th-day Adventists, they observe from sundown Fridays through sundown Saturdays. You know, pretty much every home stand. Perfect for wanting to be a part-time stadium usher...........Inspired by a co-worker who plucked ducats to the second game up in Seattle while traveling on business, I went and looked for myself. Yep, their equivalent of "Diamond Club" seats run in the range of $50. Not bad. Not bad at all................Bert Blyleven, who lives in a place that does this to hide it's own ugly, got bored during a delay and spent some quality time dumping on the city of Detroit..............This is fantastic!  Only 5 days into the new season, MLB has sent out at least 10 warnings to players about slow pace of play.  But they sent them via snail mail..........I wonder if one of those to be receiving their letter next week is Carlos Gomez?..........Speaking of high tech, when the bullpen phones didn't work for Buck Showalter at Tropicana Field, he went out and bought walkie-talkies............Sorry, but this pun is unavoidable for likes of someone such as me. New Commissioner Rob Manfred officially has balls..........Yeah. Really. Why DO baseball managers still wear a uniform???..........Just for the record, to get it out there and onto the modern Intertubes, the Angels actually DO have a fight song. I state this because it seems to have been forgotten..........Kinda cool, these 21-year old novelty can coin banks, in pristine condition, feature the complete AL team lineup, including our own California Angels. Since coins aren't worth much of anything anymore, maybe you can use them for your hobbies..........NOT in pristine shape, but so the hell what(!?), is this one of the earliest ever LA ANGELS BOBBLEHEAD!!!...........It's now proven. Theo "Oops!" Epstein can't hold a candle to the skills of Jerry Dipoto...........Billy Hamilton stole second base. No big deal, He should be doing a lot of that this season. I wonder, though, how many times he will steal second base ON A PITCHOUT!!..........As an Angels fan, I am entitled to hate on the A's. That declared, this Mark Canha kid trolling the press with Bull Durham quotes is mighty awesome.

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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: From the Barrel Beer Festival at Santa Margarita Ranch in Santa Margarita (not all you Orange County provincials: this is NOT RSM)............Weird Beer Weekend release & tasting at City Tavern in Los Angeles (Takes place Frid/Sat/Sun).

Saturday: 2nd Annual Sacramento Ball Sack & Beer Fest at Wake Island Watersports in Pleasant Grove...........Country & Craft Beer Festival in Bakersfield, at Central Park At Mill Creek............Green Flash / Alpine Tap Takeover at Blue Palms Brewhouse in Los Angeles...........OC Brews & Bites Music Festival, a charity beer and food event, at Anaheim Packing District parking lot in Anaheim...........Sacramento Turn Verein Bockbierfest at Sacramento Turn Verein in Sancramento.............Rock Star Beer Festival at Hard Rock Cafe in San Diego..........Weird Beer Weekend release & tasting at City Tavern in Los Angeles (Takes place Frid/Sat/Sun).

Sunday: Brushes & Brews social gathering at Urbn St. Brewing Company in El Cajon............Weird Beer Weekend release & tasting at City Tavern in Los Angeles (Takes place Frid/Sat/Sun).

Stay safe, everyone!