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HumpLinks: 1/4/2017

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Ah. Me and my pickled liver have returned, safely and alive. In truth, I am in better shape than when I left. I once had a very nasty chest cold. My doctor took X-rays, fearing I might have contracted pneumonia. That was last Wednesday. Those were negative, and I was allowed to travel off to a long New Year's weekend in San Francisco. Today I am practically perfect in every way. What happened in the intervening week? Well...we checked into the Hotel Zeppelin and had a drink at their bar while waiting to join up with friends. Then, it was Pagan IdolLefty O'Doul's (three times), White ChapelThe Tonga RoomJohnny Foley's (twice) Smuggler's CoveTrad'r Sam (the oldest and longest running tiki bar in the world), Buena VistaForbidden Island (I highly recommend their namesake house specialty), 5 hours on a luxury yacht cruising the Bay for our New Year's Eve Party (great seats for the fireworks, by the way), Sears Fine Food, and several breakfasts at various Lori's Diner. Plus a few brief stops at the hotel bar, and Hardwater Bar, etc. Basically, except for breakfasts and museums (Cable CarSFMOMA, etc.), alcohol was consumed. Uber and Lyft make such a refreshment filled city life magical. And here we are. Sober and healthy and back in business. If only we could have made it to Trader Vic's and Forbes Island...We had time, but they are not all open 7 days a week so they cramped our style. And that is not to mention the airport/airplane enjoyments. Oh well, next trip....

And now to rejoin the community.

[Let's catch you up on the Links photo answers for those days I was living in a rum-induced San Francisco fog. Last week's HumpLinks was Gary DiSarcina about to tag out Dickie Thon, when Thon had moved over to the Brewers. HumpLinks was Claudell Washington. WeekEnd HaloLinks was Tony Armas. MondoLinks of this week was Johnny Ray. And yesterday's TuesdoLinks player was Dante Bichette.

Today's player is, as you should be able to tell from the uni, a more recent vintage of Halo. This ain't a throwback to before the time of most of you. BUT, the uni number is obscured so even DG should require enough seconds to figure it out that one of the rest of you might have a chance!]

Dig some Happy New Year Links:


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A Little Bit of Angels News

While I was away an odd thing happened. Rev pointed it out for me. None of my replacements picked it up, so we can provide the mockery now. One of the things that you and I are all participating in is the power of information freedom. The Internet is liberating information from the captivity of the Main Stream Media.It's not all good (TL;DR for here) But you can easily see how information freedom exposes the laziness and idiocy that has been the MSM all along. Consider this. Back on December 23rd the Angels singed Ben Revere, creating FOUR outfield slots on the roster (Trout + Calhoun + Maybin + Revere). And here, on 12/30, ONE FULL WEEK AFTER THE ANGELS HAD ALREADY SIGNED LEFT-HAND HITTING BEN REVERE, Miller presents us with Bullet point #2, "The Angels still need a backup outfielder, and they prefer to sign one who hits left-handed, so Coco Crisp and Angel Pagan make sense." This is just lazy-assed, write it in advance and not check a damned thing, mail it in and treat your readership like stupid fools unworthy of your time and effort bullshit. And it gets pasted on an MLB web site, kept there, not edited, not fact-checked. not updated. Nothing. Remember, if you or I were standing in the same room as Doug Miller, it would be Miller who would be the "expert" and get invited into the party. You and me are the ignorant rubes..........

Did you ever have one of those leaky bathroom faucets which, no matter how hard you tried to tighten the valve closed, would still slowly drip...drip...drip all night along keeping you awake, bugging the shit out of you? Sure you have. Even if you are lying about it, it's now true anyway. We Will Trade And Own Mike Trout For Ourselves is that slow dripping leaky faucet of an idea that simply will not go away...........

Everybody still has some needs. At least three. I'd hardly claim voctory ofr permanently solving OF/2B/3B, but if I had to put my stake in the ground right now I would say ROTATION DEPTH, ROTATION DEPTH, and ROTATION DEPTH..........

You know it's a pretty quiet winter with a pretty weak FA class of talent when the Angels can pick up a Ben Revere and Danny Espinosa and be declared one of the "winners" of the offseason. At the least, the author could have lumped into that how they accomplished all that and STILL dropped $40 million off the payroll.........By the way, MLB's Milestone Tracker Tool is here...........

Know hope. One guy, clearly the most common type of us who does not have mastery of WAR, is confused why he rates so highly when the most accessible of his stats don't show him overpowering the field. But he is open-minded enough to know it, and take the time and effort to ask and learn. And the best answer comes right back from a Yankees fan, admirably envious of us, showing that Trout's greatness is because he does EVERYTHING WELL, and does it all well CONSISTENTLY............

Follow the math. Exit Velocity drove the power surge among a certain set of successful hitters last season, but Danny Espinosa moving to Anaheim is going to burn that surge into a net-negative..........

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Everywhere In Baseball

Milestones to watch in 2017, include the chance for Mike Trout to hit 200 home runs before turning 26, and Frankie Rodriguez to reach 450 Saves. No, Trout has no chance to best the all-time record of Mel Ott and his 25 years, 144 days as noted in the linked article. For Trout, 25 years and 144 days of age came and went as of December 29th, 2016. And for Frankie, he currently sits at 430 Saves, with only Lee Smith (478), Trevor Hoffman (601) and Mariano Rivera (652) ahead of him. I still stand my opinion years and years ago that had he stuck with the Angels and Mike Scioscia, he would own the MLB career mark for Saves already.........

For the next few years, anyway, it doesn't look like billionaires are going to get free money for business playgrounds out of the pockets of taxpayers of Missouri, at least. If only other Governors, Supervisors, Council Members, Mayors, etc. would become as enlightened............

The good news here is that the Rangers have been the luckiest team in baseball, and that luck has to run out eventually. Kind of like it did last year in the playoffs, when their incredible luck with winning 1-run games ran completely off the cliff. The bad news is that Red Sox are an AL Champ favorite, and they have gotten that way by being the MOST unlucky, which also has to come to an end..........

A pretty good question here: which player will have the biggest bounce back in 2017: Bryce Harper, Jason Heyward, Andrew McCutcheon or Yasiel Puig?..........Also in the article, at #7, they ask who will be the next great shortstop. That question bugs me. What? Since Andrelton Simmons is now on the west coast, do we no longer have a great shortstop to pay attention to and need to find another??..........

The Hall of Fame overlooked team includes, of course, our own Bobby Grich. Of course, it's based on JAWS and too may people are still raising the barricades against WAR...........

The Legend of Vlad is growing, probably in proportion to the surprising number of voters who might accidentally make him a first-ballot HoF'er..........

We all need to follow Noah Syndergaard. Or get him into a Hal uni. Then we can do both............

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Trade Winds

The Giants are sniffing around the god of Korean bat-flippers, Jae-gyun Hwang..........

Jose Bautista might be taking that 3-month Qualifying Offer vacation from Major League Baseball. You know, the same one that Kendrys Morales and Stephen Drew took back in 2014..........That is, of course, unless the Phillies do something very Philly of them. Something that Philly fans don't think too likely..........

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The Duffle Bag

The first baby born in the Chicago area is named, appropriately, Wrigley Rose Dalbey...........Hunter Pence and Hot Yoga = bad mix...........Pirates infielder Jung Ho Kang and his DUI issues are about to cost him his slot on Korea's WBC roster.............Oh crap. Yu Darvish, right-handed ace, is capable of throwing curves and sliders LEFT-HANDED............That's one of the great things about freedom of speech. Curt Schilling is free to speak his mind, and everyone else is free to come to their own conclusions about Curt Schilling............Here I am not liking how they force-fit pro football games into a baseball stadium. Doing these hockey games doesn't bug me, mostly because they won't do these in a place like Angel Stadium............If you have the first pick in your fantasy draft, you pick Mike Trout. From there, all kinds of things are possible...........Make note of this name. Travis Sawchik. FanGraphs has added him to their illustrious inventory of brainpower............When today's carriers and providers get into all their financial pissing contests, all it does is accelerate tomorrow's cord-cutting delivery markets..........Yeah, it's over Cubs fans. You are among the hated now...........

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Halo-Oppo-ly

My 2016-2017 Winter Project: Monopoly for the Rest of Us. You, too, get to try your hand as Arte Moreno-bags. We begin with the properties.


Ok, we're back. We finish off the Yellow players with our long-overlooked should-be All-Star:

MP-21-Bobby-Grich

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