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MondoLinks: Happy 4th of July!

I'm back, but I'm not. Still on PTO, and still trying to shield my eyes from the recent Halos.

Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

It's the 4th of July. Time to blow stuff up and gorge on hot dogs. Like, I mean REALLY GORGE.

Technically, I am still on PTO so - and so should you! - so I will keep this brief and jump back in with both feet tomorrow. Maybe by then I will be over the whole Andrew Heaney debacle.

Have some Happy Birthday America Links:



The Upcoming Series:

Los Angeles Angels @ Tampa Bay Rays - Tropicana Field, St. Petersburg, FLA.

Day Game Time Probable Pitchers TV
MONDAY 10:10 AM PDT Nick Tropeano (3-2, 3.25 ERA)  vs. Matt Moore (4-5, 4.67 ERA) FS-W
TUESDAY 4:10 PM PDT Tim Lincecum (1-2, 6.75 ERA) vs. Jake Odorizzi (3-3, 3.91 ERA) FS-W
WEDNESDAY 4:10 AM PDT Jered Weaver (6-7, 5.51 ERA)  vs. Drew Smyly (2-9, 5.33 ERA) FS-W
THURSDAY 9:10 AM PDT Hector Santiago (5-4, 4.93 ERA) vs. Blake Snell (1-3, 3.86 ERA) FS-W

From the official team Game Notes:  "TAMPA BAY ON DECK: Halos have dropped four of last five meetings vs. TB and six of last eight overall but have won three of last four at The Trop…Clubs split 2015 series 3-3 (each team 2-1 on road)."


Everywhere In Baseball

Trop-ical: Do my eyes deceive me? Is the institution that is the LA Angels becoming more enlightened with age? Nick Tropeano was activated on June 24, sent to Salt Lake in favor of a veteran Jhoulys Chacin who had just shit the bed in 3 of his last 4 starts (that 4th start was not a Rembrandt, either), and Chacin promptly shit the bed yet again. In some other year (say, 2006 and Jeff Weaver), the Halo would have hung onto Chacin and kept running his sorry ass out there while Tropeano killed it in practice games. But THIS year (now that it way too late), Eppler and Mike Scioscia have flipped the switch and Chacin goes to the pen while Tropeano takes the mound today..........

Shoe Leather: Matt Shoemaker had a rough outing yesterday. But that doesn't take his name off the shelves in the trade market. Alden Gonzalez doesn't see Billy Eppler trading away Shoe, a cost-controlled starter (and he knows Arte's wallet reflexes as well as any observer). But that doesn't stop other observers from drooling..........On the ohter hand, Joe Smith, anyone? No? well, how about Hector Santiago?..........

Futures: The Angels parked their own ass into this particular corner. Well, at least, Jerry Dipoto did it. But with the signing over-budget of Roberto Baldoquin (still down there pretty deep in an empty system), the Halos cock-blocked themselves out of this year's market. We could make a case for this stupidity, but wouldn't be a better cause to argue about the longer-term evacuation of this particular talent pipeline? Look at this list. The Halos got exactly ONE prospect. 20 prospects came into the AL West, including the #5, #7, #11, #13, #24, #39, #40, #43 and #46 rated prospects. The Angels got one guy. Unranked. $150,000 bonus. Note to Arte: that sound coming out of your mis-used wallet is the closing of your competitive window..........

Cheaters: The Red Sox got pummeled for their attempts to cheat their way through the international signing pool limitations. I linked to this a while ago, but their behavior was predicted, then documented, then exposed and forcing MLB to wake the hell up, then investigated, and now punished. The result is pretty damned severe. Almost equal to the restrictions that Arte and his front office team have volunteered upon themselves...........

Ball Bitch: Zack Hample is a ball hawking asshat. His one mission in life is to wander the fields of America and snag as many game balls as possible away from normal fans randomly selected by the gods of fiortune into getting their singular lifetime memory. Handing any of those balls over to anybody else does not absolve Hample. It's second hand charity. Not the same. Deadspin called him out on this over the weekend when Hample went ballistic at the gall of normal fans to dare interrupt what he feels rightfully belongs to him. Hample tried to defend himself, but just cannot stop shoveling. Thus, this happened.  That's right. In his entitlement-driven zeal, Hample snagged himself access to a military family only special event and then conned a participant into thinking he was gifting a ball to a serviceman. When the 82nd Airborne chimes in, you (should) know you have made an ass of yourself..........

Toronto Troubles: Something odd is going on with the Blue Jays. Their skipper, John Gibbons, is on track to set all sorts of records for ejections this season. He has had a lot to complain about, and nobody seems to want to want to help the man. Take Friday's game, for example. The Blue Jays got incredibly hosed by plate umpire Vic Carapazza. I count 9 pitches from Cleveland's Josh Tomlin that were borderline or completely out of the zone.  This started out right off the top, in the first inning, with a very high called strike three to Josh Donaldson and then an extremely wide called strike three to Edwin Encarnacion. Encarnacion wasn't having any of it, and in his rage he got too close and bumped the ump. Bad move. Suspension. Oh, and by the way, John Gibbons was tossed too. Because Carapazza sucked so bad..........

Echoes in Silliness: Here we go again. Manny Machado, who is having a very fine season but, as admitted by the author, isn't leading the league in any particular category, must be the AL MVP of the first half of the season. Among the reasons? Because "The Orioles...sit 15 games above .500 and have a four-game lead in their division....while the Angels are 16 games below .500 and sit in the cellar in the West."..........


The Duffle Bag

Stuff. So much stuff....There is no way I can catch up with it all. I hope you people used your keyboards well last week. Baseball is pulling the bullshit card of "internship" (ie. below poverty-level compensation + unrealistic opportunity in exchange for real labor) to paper over their social/moral obligation to fund their own R&D............Mike Trout uses some of the gazillions he will earn to use the heavens and propose to his high school sweetheart..........MLB spruced up the ball failed at Fort Bragg, and our folks fine in uniform will benefit..........Collin Cowgill, a pretty talented guy, it appears. Just not at baseball, as we found out..........Stephen Strasburg had a no-hitter going, and was pulled. This ain't going to be one he regrets, though. He was already up to 109 pitches and had yet to make it out of the 7th inning..........Texas has a huge lead. They have been hotter than pistols. It's because they have been un-earthly clutch. Which means they will regress..........Score +1 for Eppler. He (too) passed on the chance to pay $23.5MM for a pitching prospect suffering with a 7.14 ERA and 1.61 WHIP - down at single A............Should we be worried about the Cubs? Wait. No. We're the Angels. the Cubs got nothing on us...........Nick Swisher, Ultimate Family Man. (Shhh. Don't let anybody admit that he is a well-past-his-day minor-leaguer and falling non-contributor any more. It blows the whole charm of the story.)..........I just wanna warn everybody. Disney, the ones who just purchased 1/3 of MLBAM - the MLBAM that owns streaming of Major League Baseball games - is the same Disney that owns ESPN. The ESPN that needs to find a way to prop up their failing sports hegemony............Why would the Player's Union lobby against one of their players having some extra fun at a fun event designed to generate fun for the fans of the players???????????


Mystery Graph

(Hmmm. What the hell was Friday? I built that nearly two weeks ago now. How the hell am I supposed to remember that? Oh yeah, I wrote it down. Stand by while I look it up...There it is..... Those were the Top 20 winning seasons for the LAA franchise. Good luck on this one.)