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HumpLinks: One month to go!

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Exactly one month from today will be the Angels first game of Spring Training! So close now!!

Todd Warshaw/Getty Images

So excited!! Exactly one month from today will be the opening game of 2017 Spring Training, a noon Saturday game against the Brewers. I have waited soooo long to type that into one of these.

In honor of yesterday's announcement of Academy Awards nominations (which is a really big deal in the part of the world where Angel Stadium resides, so deal with it), I have a quiz. Quick. How many baseball movies do you think have received any sort of nominations for an Academy Award? And how many Oscars of any kind have baseball movies won? Hint: the answer to both questions is greater than 0, but less than 10. Link to answer far, far below.

But on your journey there, wade through some Links:


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A Little Bit (more) of Angels News

Ok. Deal officially done. Luis Valbuena is on board for 2017/2018..........According to none other than Billy Eppler, Valbuena is targeted to be 1B..........Which will come in handy, since it might be that Albert Pujols will not be ready for Opening Day. That's just one of those stories that writes itself every January. It should come in some form of post-holiday jingle or something........Jeff Fletcher of the OCR now has the Angels within $12MM of the cap. You can see his work here............

Darin Erstad and Troy Percival are facing off against one another. February 17 through 19 they will be coaching Nebraska University and University of California, Riverside in a 3-game series. Best of all, it will be in Tempe!..........

Cannon fodder alert: Welcome Eric Young, Jr. to a minor league deal with an invite to ST...........

Angels off-season report card = B+. We have turned the oil tanker at sea. The media no longer pummels us for sport...........

It may not end well for us. Again. But we might have the most fun of all fans this year if the AL West really does turn out to be the best.............

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Everywhere In Baseball

When I retire, I want to be John Axford's neighbor. Any guy who digs film like this guy is a good guy to hang about with. Especially now that the 2017 Academy Awards nominees have been announced. We will DEFINITELY be getting back to these, with a guessing contest of our own. I especially like Axford's deliciously accurate snark: "The Academy and Hollywood love things about themselves. So it could definitely go that way." That's a knife that cuts so much deeper coming from a guy capable of such excellent prediction results..........

MLB announced a brand new crew to take on Diversity and Inclusion. As I have referenced over the last couple of years, MLB has been falling far behind in this respect and MLB discovered last year that the previous D&I committee was nothing more than cronyism. So, great. MLB fired the last group and they have announced a new leadership team. At the top is Billy Bean, the former MLB outfielder who came out a few years after retiring...........

Excellent food for thought, and something to keep bookmarked. Our love for statistics has us focused on a trend away from power, and toward OBP, defense and speed. Maybe being masked by that trend is an underlying reality that youth is served by this trend, and youth comes cost controlled. ie.: cheap. The players, and their leadership, don't seem to be paying attention carefully, having just zoomed through the latest CBA without worrying about their base. So, stop me when you have heard this before. Baseball now has a trend concentrating more and more of the income wealth into a smaller and smaller percentage of the player population, and the players are consistently voting in favor of a system that is geared towards rewarding the elite at the expense of their own interests...........

A brutal report from Pedro Martinez claims that passers-by came upon Yordano Ventura immediately after the crash, and robbed him while he was still alive versus getting him connected with medical relief. Unverified, but Pedro is a fairly respectable kind of guy with a reputation to protect...........

Awesome mashup of a couple of Stirrups' cultural touchstones: Leo Durocher (baseball) and The Herman Munster. I know I must have seen it but I have long forgotten. So I gotta watch that one..........

Oh, wow. I'm going to leave this here and hop that it doesn't get lost. There is just so much beautiful science and information laden in this article about "Pitch Columns" that it's hard for not to just deconstruct the whole thing into an entire series. Just the footnotes alone make for hours of research and learning. I am coming back to this many times this season. At least once a week some discussion pops up in a baseball game that needs the information collected in this article in order to explain what's really going on...........


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Trade Winds

Bummer to be a Jay Bruce. He's probably a nice person, and he is much better at the baseball than me. He's only 30, so he should still have some productive years left. The guy, an outfielder, was the Cincinnati Reds' All-Star for last season (somebody had to be). But Bruce was infamously traded to the Mets right after the ASG for prospects as part of the Reds rebuilding project. The Mets just spent the winter dangling him as trade bait, making no secret about it. But no other team wanted him or, at least, not for the price that the Mets were charging. So Bruce has been told he will have to stick around and the Mets will be forced to use him as their the everyday NYM right fielder. It must be good to feel loved..........


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The Duffle Bag

The Giants have a bat-flip aficionado in their grasp now, for all of baseball to enjoy. But have no fear, we got one too. It's just that our Luis Valbuena does his on simple base hits. (h/t reddit).........If my bride were to have wanted a wedding cake in the shape of Miller Park, I probably would have canceled the nuptials. Then again, I ain't a Brewers fan, so there's that...........The Indians are very good a social media trolling. 100 million retweets? That poor kid is gonna die having lived nothing but a twitter life...........(Also thanks to redditTed Williams bunting to beat the shift..........Oh dang. Spooky. Yordano Ventura was the starting pitcher in Andy Marte's final MLB career game...........

OT: All these years we had it all wrong, because we were not paying attention. The Death Star Trench is NOT the deep equatorial groove that is the second main feature of the battleship...........

Oscar Answers: go here...........


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Halo-Oppo-ly

(On a 2-week hiatus while I deal with a teensy bit of travel time)

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