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WeekEnd HaloLinks: Angels open the road in Baltimore

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Truly. With peace in Baltimore, let's play baseball.

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Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

If "Thursday" is derived from "Thor's Day", and that is how we got "Thor'sLinks", shouldn't that mean that today should be FrodoLinks?

Moving on, I admit to being a Hawaiian shirt guy. i would prefer to be a vintage hound, chasing after those rare rayon beauties from the 1930's and 1940's, but they didn't make human males 6'4" tall back then and 99% of all finds are Small and Medium, with the occasional Large. They don't fit. But I still get distracted easily when I see something in that vein ("squirrel!"). So when Tommy Bahama (not considered authentic by shirt snobs) releases a new MLB collection, I at least have to take a look. And, as an Angels fan, I can only be pissed at Arte for failing to promote and market the franchise sufficiently that we might get a top-shelf product design. Like the Giants, and Yankees, and DodgersThe Angels are relegated to the back pages, where the web site won't even work well enough to let you see the full product. I do like the "Caught Looking" concept, though. Oh well, still a few weeks from Father's Day. I have time to shop...meanwhile, enjoy some Links:


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  • Mike Trout: It's what we fans have been crying for all along. When Mike Trout stops taking all those first strikes, granting pitchers an easy opening edge and reducing his actual at-bat to only 2 strikes, he probably would strike out less often. Well, here in 2015, it appears as though this concept has finally taken root with young Master Trout. Angels' Mike Trout strikes out less by swinging more. "This year, Trout has significantly boosted the number of first pitches he swings at (10.6 percent to 18.1 percent), significantly decreased the percentage of called strikes against him (35.9 percent to 26.4 percent), and done it while making more contact (78.1 percent to 80.3 percent.)"

  • More Trout: While ESPN talking heads spend some between commercials for ESPN, discussing which player will have the Brighter future: [Bryce] Harper, Trout or [Kris] Bryant? Unsurprising, since Trout is the modern benchmark for phenoms. Anyway, during the 3rd minute the panel puts up a table that reminds us of just how brilliant of a career we are watching. Through their Age-23 season, in the modern era, who are the top 5 most productive players in history (as measured in bWAR)?
1905 - 1910 Ty Cobb 36.0
1939 - 1942 Ted Williams 34.2
1926 - 1932 Mel Ott 31.4
2011 - 2015 Mike Trout 30.8
1989 - 1993 Ken Griffey, Jr. 30.1

  • This chart notes that Trout still has 128 games left in his age-23 season. So, yeah, Mike Trout should end up at the very top of this chart by August. Not even Ty Cobb fans ever saw a career start like we get to witness, nearly every day...........And now, while on the subject, go over and help promote the idea of National Mike Trout Appreciation Day.


  • Strategic Pitching Progress: There is some serious improvement going on as pertains to pitching talent throughout the entire franchise, and it is all for the better. When Jerry Dipoto came on board, he immediately took charge of pitching up and down the organization; from drafting and trades, through coaching and training and development. "When I first got here and we had our first organizational meeting in the winter of 2011," general manager Jerry Dipoto said, "we really started pounding our coaches and rovers and Minor League managers that this was what we were going to be about. We were going to control the strike zone, we were going to command counts, we were going to find pitchers that could attack the strike zone and we were going to find hitters that could get into hitters' counts." And it is all paying off, seriously. "The Angels' Minor League affiliates currently lead the industry in strikeout-to-walk ratio."

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  • Science, baby! Hey, it's Friday. There was no game yesterday to hash over and the office is slow. So take a break from your routine and learn more about the use of radar guns in baseball. Where they came from, in particular, is a fascinating story. I admit that I had never known the name and background of Danny Litwhiler, the Thomas Edison of baseball.

  • Oh, gee. We're so sorry. Sure, our umpires did what our umpires have always done - fail to get into proper position and blow a call on the field of play. But we are really sorry that our super-duper high-tech never-supposed-to-fail backup plan of having some secretive dude that you have never heard of and will never meet, who is hiding in a cave in New York, and who is clearly of a generation not raised on seeing the world through the prism of video screens, then totally effed up the obvious video review and upheld the bogus call. Yeah, that was not supposed to happen. And we're sorry that it took 4 minutes to get that call wrong, even while the Jumbotron was showing the true result pretty clearly to all the fans in the stadium. Our bad. Uh, and yeah. One last thing. Sorry for having tossed your game manager because he the cajones to call B.S. on our stupidity.

  • Pitching Mound Moments: there are two ways to deal with mound mistakes that are sure to get attention. One, you could get so frustrated that you shout expletives at your failure and teach all the kids sitting behind the dugout a new word or two to take home that night.  Or, two, you can just go flopping all over the mound itself like some dying rubber albatross.  Either way works well for an HH linkage as far as I'm concerned.

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This Date In Baseball History: 1862 - The Union Grounds opens in Williamsburg as the new home Eckfords. This is the very first baseball field to be totally enclosed with a fence, forcing fans to pay to view games...........1912 - Ty Cobb jumps into the stands at Hilltop Park in New York to beat the crap out of a fan who had been heckling him hard. The fan was in a wheelchair. He also had only one hand, and that without all the fingers. Other fans tried to intervene but fellow Tigers players went into the stands and warded off interlopers with baseball bats............1941 -Joe DiMaggio begins his 56-game hitting streak. I'll see you all on July 17th when we celebrate the date that his streak comes to an end..........1961 - George Steinbrenner, owner of the American basketball Leagues Cleveland Pipers, hires John Mclendon, Jr. as his head coach. This makes Mclendon the first permanent black head coach of any team, in any major pro sport, in America. He will quit half-way through his inaugural season due to front office meddling. Surprising to read that, isn't it?............1968 - With the Braves moving to Atlanta, which had moved after the 1965 season, the White Sox decide to play 9 home games in Milwaukee to fill the void. On this date they will lose the first of those games, falling to the Angels 4-2. The ChiSox draw so well - especially compared to how they draw in Chicago - that rumors intensify that they will move to Wisconsin, permanently.  But Milwaukee will regain a team when the expansion Pilots relocate immediately following their inaugural season, abandoning Seattle and becoming the Brewers............1973 - Nolan Ryan throws his first career no-hitter. He will throw his second one two months later.............1991 - The Red Sox and White Sox play the longest 9-inning game to date, excluding interrupted games, lasting 4 hours and 11 minutes. The Red Sox would beat their own record in 2006 when they will lose to the Yankees in 4 hours and 45 minutes (still the record)...........2006 - For the first time in history, teams play a double-header that runs day-night, home-away, and across state lines. The Sioux Falls South Dakota Canaries split with the Sioux City Iowa Explorers.