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MondoLinks: Baseball is Back!

The 2016 regular season kicks off tonight. The first chords in what will be the rhythm of summer.

Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports

The sounds of baseball are never more glorious than when they are made with purpose. The leaden thud of a fastball to the catcher's mitt when the walk back to the dugout is not educational, but shameful. The crack of the bat when hits matter. The sound of footfalls on the base paths when, like that ephemeral butterfly in China, a single out be the tipping point of an entire season when the hope of playoffs were crushed.

We lost these sounds last November. But they are now back.  So welcome back baseball. My old friend.

And remember, the Halos are going to win 70 games. And they are going to lose 70 games. It's what happens in those other 22 that will make the difference.

Call up your friends. Grab a beer. Settle in. And share some Links:



Things to watch out for in 2016

Jered Weaver currently sits tied for 2nd in franchise victories, sitting at 138 along with Nolan Ryan. Thus, if Jered has a decent enough season to pick up at least one win, he will settle into second place overall. That would be well behind Chuck Finley's top mark of 165 which will remain safe for some time.

If Weaver has a significantly better season than just a single win, he could risk rising into second place overall for career bWAR among all pitchers. Right now he is third with 36.7 and Nolan Ryan is second with 40.2. See Weave needs to eke out another 3.6 more bWAR form the bottom of that tank of his to take second place. Since he is 15.5 bWAR behind Chuck Finley's franchise leading 52.2 (which will be destroyed by Trout sometime in 2017), there is little chance now of Weaver elevating himself much further.



The Upcoming Series:

Chicago Cubs @ Los Angeles Angels - Angels Stadium, Anaheim, CA.

Day Game Time Probable Pitchers TV
MONDAY 7:05 PM PDT Jake Arrieta (0-0, 0.00 ERA) vs. Garrett Richards (0-0, 0.00 ERA) ESPN2
TUESDAY 7:05 PM PDT Jon Lester (0-0, 0.00 ERA) vs. Andrew Heaney (0-0, 0.00 ERA) Nobody?

From the official team Game Notes: CUBS ON DECK: "The Halos will square off with the Chicago Cubs on Opening Angel Stadium…Marks the Angels second Opening Day interleague game and just the fourth interleague Opening Day game in Major League history...Angels defeated Reds (3-1 score, 13 inn.) at Great American Ball Park in first ever interleague Opening Day game on April 1, 2013...Since 2004, Angels are 9-3 on Opening Day, but have lost the opener each of last two seasons after winning a franchise record five straight Opening Day games from 2009-13."

The eyes of the baseball world are on the Cubs right now and expectations are monumental. Sorry Joe Maddon, but this would be a great time to remind everyone that we are still talking about the Cubs.


Everywhere In Baseball

50. And Still Kickin': Angels Stadium turns 50 years of age this month. The OC Register gives us a summation of the situuation. I would tend to point out that those first 50 years are the biggest factor, because the toll taken on the structure itself is going to force the hands of everyone and prevent the principals from defaulting back to the status quo merely because they cannot negotiate their way to anything else..........

Kids Know Best: We're calling it now. Mets versus Angels in the 2016 World Series? How do we know this? Because of the wisdom of small children, and their fancy for team mascots...........

Yo Knows Slo: My boy Yeonis Cespedes kicked off his season in spectacular fashion. I don't doubt that we will have our own misadventures out in left field, too, but New Yorkers are surely not going to live down stuff like that...............

Wall-Ease: the Rockies keep trying to make things "fair" for pitchers. This year they have raised some parts of the home run fence. Before I start wondering who decides what constitutes "fair" for a pitcher, why don't they simply move Denver to a lower altitude? Maybe to someplace outside of Colorado? That would seem to be the only lasting solution here............

Family Ties: Ben Verlander found himself with a chance to face off against his brother Justin, and took him long in glorious fashion. A family legend is born and a story will live forever...........

Water Tight: The Pirates once had a chance to build a stadium right over the Monongahela River. That would have been too super cool, provided they figured out how to use moving water as a structural foundation..............

Dudette Rules: This is awesome. Guy tries to dis woman on sports knowledge because female. Woman totally schools guy back into his cave..............

Busted: A.J. Pollock, considered a dark horse to win NL MVP this year, busted up his elbow with a practice game slide (and one of the final ST games at that), and is now lost for most - if not all - of the season, requiring surgery to repair his arm............

Batty: Steve McCatty recalls a time when he responded to a challenge by his manager Billy Martin to find a way to protest the DH/no DH setup between leagues. So, in a Spring Practice game, McCatty stepped to the plate with a 15-inch souvenir bat...........

Flipping Out: Commissioner Manfred is on the side of joyous baseball. Old farts can rest easy in the knowledge that the Commissioner's Office has no power of the Unwritten Rulebook...........

Sports Biz: After dropping their shorts to try and discount their way into the hearts of other carriers, and failing, Time-Warner Cable has surrendered on their hopes to sell their SportsNet LA package. Now they wait for Charter to take them over and let their Charter overlords try and repackage anything for sale. This means that TWC is stuck losing $100 million per year on content they can only serve up to 1.8 million households. Thusly, TWC is paying about $55 bucks annually to somebody for every one of their customers as a penalty for overreaching on the draw of the Dodgers...........Oops. It looks like Facebook is pulling out of the bidding war for streaming of NFL games. Truly sad outcome, only because it means that the NFL was almost able to partner up with one of the wealthiest businesses in the modern age, to get their content into the hands of modern consumers, but lost that chance because the NFL wanted to hold on to their old-school methods of raising revenue by selling broadcast commercial slots. I link to this story even though it's not baseball because it gives us a clue into the mindset of the decision-makers that run sports leagues today. Still unable to see their own future...........