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WeekEnd HaloLinks: Trout, Pujols open book on 2nd half

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The second half comes with a whole new book of pages to be turned. And the first page contains the answer to this question: was that new-found fire-breathing monster of an offense merely a chimera?

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Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

That first half of the 2015 season is disappearing in our rearview mirror faster than Pluto is now shrinking away from New Horizons. Ahead lies a vast cloud of invisible obstacles threatening from all directions. And command and control of the ability to alter our trajectory is a long, long way off.

The good news is that all that lies ahead are the heavens themselves. And nothing knows how to reap the grandeur of the heavens better than Angels.

The links of the universe are ours...

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Angels Baseball

The Upcoming Series:

Boston Rod Sex @ Los Angeles Angels - Angels Stadium, Seattle, CA.

Day Game Time Probable Pitchers TV
FRIDAY 7:05 PM PDT Wade Miley (8-8, 4.80 ERA) versus C.J. Wilson (7-7, 3.83 ERA) FSW
SATURDAY 6:05 PM PDT Rick Porcello (5-9, 5.90 ERA) versus Garrett Richards (9-6, 3.53 ERA) FSW, MLBN
SUNDAY 6:05 PM PDT Eduardo Rodriguez (5-2, 3.59 ERA) versus Hector Santiago (6-4, 2.33 ERA) ESPN
MONDAY 7:05 PM PDT TBA vs. TBA FSW

From the official team Game Notes: "RED SOX ON DECK: Sox lead 2015 season series 2-1…Angels are 17-7 in last 24 G vs. BoSox (6-3 in last 9 at home)…Halos’ 19-inning, 5-4 win at Angel Stadium on Aug. 9, 2014 was longest MLB game (in terms of innings) in 2014 (matched by Toronto/Detroit the next day)…Matched longest time of game in Angel history (6:32)…Since 2012, Trout is batting .351 (34/97) vs. Boston."

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Power Up: The Angels continue to climb up the Power Rankings throughout MLB, now sitting just outside the Top 5 at #6 over at FOX Sports and USA Today, then #7 at ESPN, and right at #5 on CBS Sports. They are further down at #8 with Sports Illustrated and #9 at MLB. "Five games out heading into the Fourth of July and the division leader at the All-Star break? Get outta here." Please let this not be a mirage............

Jered Weaver: Weaver pitched a simulated game yesterday, and will do one more early next week before being slotted back into the rotation, so the rotation shakeup should be deferred til at least next weekend...........

Huston Street: In that same Weaver article, Street is quoted as saying he could be good to return as early as tomorrow if his workout today off a mound goes well...........

Gone Batty: While some insist that the Angels need to consider the pitching products on the trade market now (no, really, it's out there), the team itself is rumored to be remaining totally focused on a power bat. But sellers are asking too much, so Stoneman needs to wait them out. If Stoneman does pull the trigger, we can all chalk up the lost talent against the negative side of the ledger that Josh Hamilton carries as a burden.........

FootyBall: One of the newer chatter topics in the SoCal sports world these days is the notion of an NFL team relocating to LA, using Angels Stadium in Anaheim as their temporary home stadium until a new stadium could be stolen from the public built by the NFL. It turns out that such a notion might not be the most workable idea. The City of Anaheim is deferring to Arte, and why would Arte do that?? "In a statement, the city left the decision to the Angels. 'With Angel Stadium of Anaheim, the city defers to Angels Baseball on the management of activities within the stadium, in accordance with the city’s lease agreement,' the statement said." The other players are thinning out. The Rose Bowl pulled out of bidding entirely, leaving the Coliseum, Dodger Stadium and StubHub Center as the only other options. I have it on deep, deep, very deep authority, however, that there is something cool brewing with the Coliseum that would put a major ink in those plans..........

Jerry Dipoto: Dipoto surfaced on the MLB Network Radio Channel on SiriusXM yesterday. He is still taking the high road: "Sometimes it requires difficult decisions for the greater good. I don’t want to sound holier than thou, but this one, for the greater good, made the most sense. There were just certain things we weren’t going to be able to get beyond. … There were certain things that weren’t going to work with the way they were set up. Without getting into opening closets and digging up bones, that’s the best way to keep it." Read the link, it's short enough. He also made sure that the transition was solid considering the timing of his departure. And he opens up with what we already know, that the market this year is flush with pitchers (which few teams seem to need) and rare with bats (which few teams wish to part with yet), so it's a seller's market and prices will be high..........

Irish Heritage: Tonight fans in attendance will be forced to carry off one of these. It's all in honor of Irish Heritage Day, which recognizes the sinking by Nazi U-boats of the RMS Carpathia off the coast of Ireland, an incident that happened on this date in 1918. This symbolizes the end of the Irish Era of Hegemony that began back in May of 1911 when the HMS Titanic was launched from its berth - in Belfast, Ireland. The Carpathia, of course, was the ship that came to the rescue of the survivors of the sinking of the Titanic...........Not really. Most of that is true, but not all of it. Except for that hat. That, unfortunately, is very real............

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Elsewhere in Baseball

Asterisks Shall Abound: It is now being rumored that in the next round of Collective Bargaining, one thing that will be up for serious discussion will be to revert back to a 154-game schedule. Now, let's all take a deep breath here and relax. We should all understand that each side will enter negotiations with new planks to be bargained over, and some of those planks will be serious and others will be there merely to be conceded in order to gain something back. And of those to be conceded, some will be conceded easily and others will not be conceded without getting back something of tangible merit. Perhaps the 154-game idea is one of those things that is moving up the food chain of things to be conceded. But that is still asking every owner to surrender 4 home games worth of revenue. Sure, these guys are billionaires. And, sure, these guys are making serious bank off of baseball. But a lot of that bank comes out of equity that won't be realized until they sell, and a lot of the annual profit margins come during the back half of the season, not from Opening Day forward. 4 games lopped off the back 41 of each season is a 10% haircut. I wouldn't cave to that one if I were an owner...........

Home Field Advantage: A lot of hay is made concerning the World Series home field advantage being tied to the outcome of an exhibition game. I, personally, think it is a perfectly serviceable thing to do. Even an exhibition game is thunderously pointless and shallow if pitchers just groove fat fastballs to favorite sons. Something has to be there to at least try to keep the contestants honest. Otherwise they should just host a parade and be done with it. So we use home field advantage. So what? So, practically nothing, it turns out. "Going from the current format to an old-school approach that alternates home-field by league every year, the pre-series odds would have shifted by an average of +/- 1.4 percentage points each year over the past 12 seasons. Home-field itself would have been different seven times in this alternate universe, though it probably wouldn’t have made much difference to the outcomes of most series. Twice in 12 years (2005 and 2013), the margin between the teams was slim enough that swapping home-field would have changed which team was favored."..........

Integrated Baseball: 10 years before Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier in American professional sports, James Bonner broke the color barrier in the Japanese Baseball League (the league did not reorganize into Nippon Professional Baseball until 1949). "...the tale of how a black American baseball player from the Deep South ended up a big shot in Japan in 1936 is bigger than Jimmy Bonner. It's a little-known story of friendship and mutual aid between Japanese-American and black baseball players at a time when both groups were shut out of organized baseball. It sprang up in California in the pre-war years..." This is a lost piece of important baseball lore, and it's a good way to spend a cup of coffee before games begin again.

Baseball Biz: Is the ESPN Cord Cutting Narrative Overblown? Buried in the middle of this review of cause and effect, and predicting market economics of cable packages, is this little tidbit, something I have been chirping for a couple of years now (bold mine): "How will the market react if cord-cutting stays on this trajectory? The industry will continue to evolve. The costs of the cable bundle will go down. The Comcasts of the world will start charging more for Internet service in response to the growing amount of content streaming, shifting their business model to better capitalize on the dynamics of the market. Some cable programming will vanish or migrate online. More programming will go straight to Netflix and other streaming services. ESPN will almost certainly start putting out over-the-top packages to matches the preferences of younger consumers." Yup. Victory shall be short-lived, because the cord is never actually, you know, "cut"..........

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This Date In Baseball History: 1912 - International Baseball: While in Stockholm for the Summer Olympics, a group of American athletes cobble together a baseball team and play an exhibition match against the Swedish Vesteras Baseball Club. The Americans win, 13-3. The Americans also scrapped together a team to play Finland and won that one 6-3. On that team, along with some of the same players from the squad that bested Sweden, is one Jim Thorpe (not the guy with the arrow, but the guy second from left in the back, right next to the guy with the arrow)........1914 - Pirates pitcher Babe Adams pitches all 21 innings in a contest versus the Giants and does not issue a single walk. He does, however, issue a 2-run walk-off homer to Larry Doyle, concluding the longest game ever played without a pitcher surrendering a base on balls.............1934 - In the seventh inning while leading a 3-1 game, Lon Warneke of the Cubs loads the bases in order to face opposing pitcher Roy Parmalee. Parmalee smacks a grand slam and the Cubs end up losing to the Giants 5-3............1936 - Carl Hubbell of the New York Giants will pitch today, and fetch a win against the Pirates 6-0. Hubbell will not lose a game until May 31, 1937. He will start 27 games in that time, and will go 24-0 up to that next loss..........1941 - NYY Joe Dimaggio's 56-game hitting streak comes to an end in Cleveland...........1947 - Hank Thompson takes the field for the St. Louis Browns, becoming only the second black player in the American League. Larry Doby had broken the AL color barrier with the Cleveland Indians just a couple of weeks prior..........1954 - The Dodgers include Jim Gilliam, Jackie Robinson, Sandy Amoros, Roy Campanella and Don Newcombe in their starting lineup, marking the first time that an MLB franchise fields a team with the majority being comprised of black players...........1957 - Kansas City A's owner Arnold Johnson lies before Congress when testifying that he was not favoring the Yankees by trading his best players only to them, and in lopsided deals. This almost cost MLB their anti-trust exemption..........1964 - Subscription Television broadcasts a game in Los Angeles between the Cubs and Dodgers, becoming the very first ever pay-per-view baseball game..........1978 - The Yankees suspend Reggie Jackson 5 days without pay when Billy Martin goes ballistic after Jackson striking out while bunting, after being instructed to hit away. The tension between Martin, Jackson and owner George Steinbrenner was so intense that when Jackson returns Martin will be quoted saying "One's a born liar; the other's convicted." Martin will be fired that same day............1978 - "Doc" Medich, a medical student in the off-season, rushes into the stands prior to the start of a game and administers CPR to a 61-year old man suffering a heart attack. Medich continues to do this until paramedics arrive, saving the man's life..........1993 - Frank Tanana, at this time now with the Metsgives up a home run to Barry Bonds. This is important because back in 1976 Tanana gave up a home run to Hank Aaron when Aaron was finishing up his career with the Brewers and Tanana was pitching for the Angels. This makes Tanana the only other pitcher in history, along with Rick Reuschel, to serve up a gopher ball to those two particular players.