This time next week, we're going to be knee deep in pitchers and catchers reporting for duty in Tempe. Go ahead and do some clapping/celebrating, or pump your fist into the air a few times. I'll wait.
Done? Ok, good. It really is a great time of year. The Winter will be slowly turning into a hazy, vexatious memory that will easily be swiped from our memories and replaced with actual sights and sounds from the game, lucky ones will be seeing our 2016 40 man(and then some) do their best to keep their baseball careers plugging away on the TV, and even luckier folks will have escaped their day-to-day and made it out to Arizona to see it unfold in person. Groovy days, indeed, but until then, we're still in countdown mode. In the meantime, though, we have Valentine's Day weekend on tap, a time when love is in the air, and for many of us, the timing couldn't be more perfect because it's a tiny bit more of free time and energy to lavish on our loved ones before Angels baseball begins to consume the majority of our time(for me, at least...your Angels-fueled household argument mileage may vary). With that, let's unleash a little Valentines Week edition of Mailbag Mayhem!
Questions were a little light this time around, but it's to be expected when we're increasingly finding it hard to come up with things that need to be said about the team as it stands right now. That's why these guys need to get to playing games, ASAP, for cryin' out loud!!! Anyway...Here. We. Go.
@halosheaven *insert left fielder question here*— Casey wall (@CaseyisaWall) February 11, 2016
(Insert stock LF acquisition answer here)
Jay Dieguez asks: If one attends a game and goes early enough can one get autographs or pictures?
You will have a good shot, yes. But it's no guarantee. I've never been an autograph hound, but i've been to games early enough for batting practice and the usual throng of kids(and some adults) are all gathered near either dugout.So it's definitely doable. Wish I had more specifics other than "go early and stand around" but I'm willing to bet we have a reader who is more experienced in the autograph game that will give some better details in the comments.
Casey Petersen asks: I can go to spring training with either a couple buddies or my 3 year old daughter. Each trip will be vastly different, and each offers its own positives and negatives. Guide me, oh wise Mayhem.
Hmmm....I would base this on a few things, I reckon. Like, do you want to party, too? Or are you over that scene and just want some nice R&R and a lot of baseball? Have you been to Spring Training with either before? Because if you've been with the boys, but never your daughter, then maybe do something new and cruise with the lil one. Something that sticks out to me is her age, though. I'm not a parent, so maybe I have no idea what i'm talking about, but a few days in the desert sun watching baseball with a 3 year old seems like it might be a little too much for her to handle. Final answer: give your daughter another year at least, before taking the Spring Training trek, and make this year an insane last hurrah with your dudes. Make it count, Casey. DO get crazy and have TOO much fun. DON'T go to jail. Those are my only commands. And be safe, bro!
Drew Kinnison asks: Are we going to suck in spring training as bad as our regular season will be? Let me answer my own question. Yes.
Wow, that one was easy! Thanks, Drew! I disagree, though, for what it's worth.
Steven Garrison asks: Do you think the angels will be better then what the experts say?
Honestly? Yes. I totally do. I've mentioned a few times in the past few weeks already, but I think the rotation will be dope, the defense has been upgraded with Simba, LF can't get any worse than last year, and the bullpen should be decent with maybe some rad surprises, like Victor Alcantara showing up and looking studly. I think they finish 2nd in the AL West and fight for a Wild Card spot.
Brian Kwan asks: Realistically, and be honest, will the Angels go deep into the post season?
The last question sort of leads into this one. While I think they'll be better than what most experts are predicting, it's hard for me to say that they'll go deep. If they can get into the Wild Card spot like i'm hoping, and they can win the play-in game, then all of a sudden all bets are off. Playoffs...crapshoot...etc. There are some good looking teams right now, however...I feel like i'm already being too much of a homer by hoping for wild card, so saying they'll make a deep run might be pushing that homerism into hilariously wrong territory.
Scott DeFilippo asks: Does this dress make my ass look big?
Naw, I dig it. Turn around, do a twirl.
Yep, it works for you.
Jim Kidder asks: What is the root cause of the Angels' Farm System performance - and so, where do the resources need to go to fix the farm system? Talent evaluation? Talent acquisition? Talent development? Baseball philosophy? Management philosophy?
It's tough to lay it out better than Turk's Teeth recently, so i'll just copypasta what he said here:
They haven’t had a first round pick better than #15 since 2004.
They forfeited their 2008, 2012 and 2013 first round picks.
They forfeited their 2011 and 2012 second round picks.
They traded away nine of their top 3 round selections since 2008 to other teams.
They have invested less in international talent than almost every other big market team.
They let their Latin American program go dark for multiple years because Moreno was pissed at the scout ‘skimming’ rumors, and fired almost everyone.
They did not sign Matt Harvey in 2007 because Arte thought he wanted too much money (<$2M).
Because of Moreno’s pennypinching, Bane expended a number of early picks in 2010 on fringey prep players who would be cheap signs.
The totally predictable bust of those prep signs led Dipoto to go whole hog on college players and senior signs with low ceilings to fill out a barren farm.
Jesse Aquino asks: Dunkin Donuts or Randy's?
Never been to Randy's. Been a long time since i've been to Dunkin Donuts. So it's kinda hard to say, Jesse. Right now, for fancy pants hipster donuts I like Zombee Donuts in Fullerton. For regular ol' donut shop(but still tasty) type donuts, you can find me at a Ms. Donuts location. Hope that helps!
Phil Arguelles asks: I know the Angels don't WANT to spend $$$ on another bat or a legit left fielder but is there still a chance they might? I can't understand why they wouldn't surround Trout and Pujols with another big bat while pujols can still put up the big numbers.. we need to take advantage of THESE 2 future hall of famers in the same line up as long as we can.
Dang...almost got away without a legit LF/free agent question. Sorry, Phil. Ain't happenin' breh. No way, no day.
So that's it and that's all, folks! Tomorrow is Friday and then you have the whole weekend with your significant other to have fun...if you live in an apartment or condo with shared walls, though, just remember your neighbors can probably hear you so take a break every couple hours or so, for their benefit. If you're rolling Lonely Hearts Club style this weekend, don't trip. Valentine's can be fun for all, just gotta know the right place to look. If all else fails, i'll play Metal Gear Solid: Phantom Pain with you online. Free of charge.
Before I go, here's one for the romantics, by Jason Isbell. Feel free to use this on Sunday morning to wake bae up. It's one of the tear-jerkiest songs I've ever heard, but it also makes me immediately think of my gf, whom I love very much. This is "our song" and i'm going to dedicate this edition of Mailbag Mayhem to her, even though she'll never read this. Love you, hunny bunny. (I can hear you guys mimicking barfing sounds from here, stop!)