Wow. Quite a busy weekend since the Friday Links, yes? It all began last Friday, right at noon eastern time, when MLB announced that their arbitrator had taken a look at BCA/JDA rules between players and ownership, reviewed Josh Hamilton's actions, and realized that Hambone had done exactly what the legions of lawyers for both sides had mandated he do when in his situation. And the arbitrator cuffed Commissioner Manfred to the sideline.
By the time the news broke onto the Internet, it was 12:06 eastern, and LanaBanana won the top prize in our guessing game. Lana, with her pick of noon eastern on Friday, nailed it. By the time most of you get around to this, she will have received her top prize of a $150 gift card to the Angels team store. Congrats, LanaBanana! have fun with your prize!!
Speaking of Hamilton, I am not on the same page as you all. I tend to think that, based only on the available information, fans and the Angels are reacting wrongly. If you read the details of the JDA that apply here, in order for Hamilton to avoid suspension he is not avoiding accountability. His level of accountability is already extremely high, and he met the obligations of those rules down to the last paragraph. He messed up and had to face up, and he did. We fans and MLB are just stunned at the result of those rules. But apparently nobody reacting now were at the negotiating table when those rules were written, else we would understand original intent and be asking if that intent has been satisfied, instead of measuring against any current mandate. There must have been a reason back then for that language and that process. And, further, the JDA is a part of the overall CBA. You know, the same CBA that allows the Angels and Cubs to pocket a Mike Trout or Kris Bryant down in the minors for a few weeks and snag an extra year of service before being obligated to start forking over that first $20 million. Those "loopholes" work both ways.
But, that said, I tend to agree with this guy. There must be more going on here of which we do not know. Something is amiss, because the reactions coming out of Anaheim are highly charged, and highly unusual. Out of character unusual. Beyond previous experience. If nothing else is going on I will be disagreeing with most of you, and in a big way. And I will write up my position and post it and let you all take your shots. But until then I am suspicious, Something doesn't smell right. Something tells me that we need to wait for something else to come out. And if that something else is as bad as the aroma suggests, I will be agreeing with your position after all, even if it is not for any reason close to what is being written on these pages over the past few days. And I am not the only one quizzical about all this.
Anyway, here we are. Opening Day, what must be the lowest-scoring baseball day of the entire season. So enjoy some links before diving into REAL FRIGGIN' BASEBALL, BECAUSE IT IS BACK!!! Welcome to the MLB 2015 Season. Or, as they say in New York: Year 1 Anno Dereki
Elsewhere in the Heavens of Anaheim:
The roster is (almost) set. I say "almost" because, of course, we have Garrett Richards rejoining the 25-man here in a couple of weeks. That will force a roster decision on the pitching staff, so somebody is enjoying a nice sniff of Big League Baseball. Josh Hamilton and Cory Rasmus will pop back onto the scene down the line and force lineup decisions then, too. Oh, and don't forget...somewhere out there is still the young Tyler Skaggs who will be eager to wedge himself back into the starting rotation NEXT season..........And the results? Johnny Giavotella won the battle at second base, rookies Taylor Featherstone and Drew Rucinski nabbed surprise spots, and Efren Navarro snatched the final bench seat.
Andrew Heaney was one important cog in our future plans who ended up working himself down to more AAA work. His spring fell short of his hopes, but anybody who fails to admit that his Friday outing against the Dodgers was not promising is just being stubborn. Heaney went 5 1/3 innings of no-hit ball against one of the National League's favored teams, walking only 3.
Speaking of the Dodgers, let's not overlook the fact that the Angels went undefeated in the annual Freeway Series, outscoring the LADs 15 to 8, out-hitting them 26 to 18 and out-homering them 3 to none, including an Albert Pujols grand slam.
Ok. Here is a freebie: Opening Day Trout Porn. "If you assume a pretty normal aging curve, but start it at 25 instead of 30, Trout still winds up around 100 WAR before he turns 35. Of course there are so many things that can happen between now and then, but it speaks to what he's already done as a professional. Not only has Trout ruined prospects for us forever, he's essentially built the biggest Hall of Fame cushion in quite some time. If he stays healthy, it's going to be one heck of a decade."
OPENING DAY GAME: Here you go, fans! Game One is against the Mariners starting at 1PM on FSW. This is a great way to open things, as a large contingent expects Seattle to win the AL West as the Angels take a Wild Card, win the ALCS by defeating the Angels, and lose in the World Series to the Nationals.
Here you go, a couple of things from over at CBS Sports. First up is one dude's list of the best promos this season coming from every team. We got a blanket. Big whoop............And then, of baseball really is dying, it's because we are eating ourselves into an early grave. I am having a coronary just looking at the photos of these ball-park "food" styled items. I cannot believe that some of this stuff is actually intended to be placed in one's mouth, chewed significantly, given one's best effort to swallow, and then try to survive the entire digestive process that ensues.
It's already been 46 years since Washington D.C. saw an All-Star game, but the 2018 game will go to the Nationals. This is the game that the Orioles desparately wanted (and probably would have gotten had they not gotten into a lawsuit over regional TV rights with the Nats and MLB). For the sake of comparison, Anaheim has seen THREE ASG's over the past 48 years. San Diego will have seen THREE before the Nats host. And California as a state will have hosted NINE. (For the record, Chicago, Pittsburgh, and Cincinnati have hosted three ASG's in that window, as well.)
MLB Officially opened the 2015 season last night in Chicago (the Cards won 3-0) and, no, the bleachers are still far from being finished and re-opened. Apparently, the men's bathrooms are not ready either, with claims of waits up to an hour. But, hey, at least the new Jumbotron is working! Priorities!
True story: I flew up to San Jose last week for a business excursion. Coming home, after arriving at the airport, I was screened for my photo ID and boarding pass, and then sent through the TSA checkpoint. Basically, the process was "leave all your attire in place, put everything inside your carry-on bag, run the bag through the X-ray machine and stroll through the body scanner". It was, like, 1985 all over again! No removal of electronics or toiletry fluids. No removal of belts or shoes or watches or rings. Just go. I was shocked. In truth, entering the domestic air transportation system was a lot easier than attending a game at Dodger Stadium!!
MISC: Jamie Moyer got stuck on a roller coaster at Disneyland California Adventure. It took forever for him to complete the journey, so now he knows what the baseball felt like when he was pitching.............Preseason picks, picks and more picks. And Mike Trout is the leader for 2015 AL MVP.............Awful Announcing gives us their Top 10 Media Questions for baseball 2015..............Wow. The merry-go-round that has been this off-season down in San Diego continues to spin right up to Opening Day, as they traded with the Braves to add Craig Kimbrel and Melvin (nee "BJ") Upton to their roster...........Bud Selig still wants to rule baseball, at least the part about Pete Rose.
And, finally, to send you all off to your own special Opening Day, eyespy gifts us with the snazziest First Pitch performance ever. Watch World Order kick ass and imagine a whole new world of possibilities.