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MondoLinks: Warming the PoppyCockles

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A Mike Scioscia rumor stirs up the baseball world. It’s not true, or is it?

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim v Cleveland Indians Photo by Ron Schwane/Getty Images

Hey guys, what’s new? Anything newsworthy happen over the weekend? Anything I should know about? Anything we should talk about?

Oh, hey, what’s this?...Something about Mike Scioscia? Well isn’t this a rich quarry of conversation-making?! Halos Heaven was clearly ‘Rosenthaled’ with the news that Sosh would be retiring at the end of his contract in a couple of weeks. All the fangs and daggers and tears and confetti and maudlin memories and fantastical predictions and expectations came crashing together Saturday night in a single 12-hour fart-fest of a thread..........It ended when Sosh was interviewed Sunday morning, denying it all and making ‘poppycock’ the viral word of the day.............

But, then, did Mike really deny anything? We know these LAA officials and how they prefer to not let anybody know what’s going on until well after it’s obvious. (See Mike Trout, below.) Losing control over this kind of earth-shattering news is a thing of their worst nightmares. So when he tells the media that “nothing has changed since October”, why does this necessarily mean a denial? What if October of 2017 comes and Mike has a sit-down with Billy Eppler and Arte Moreno and they all agree that Mike will complete his contract and retire and Moreno and Eppler have a year to create a plan of succession? Mike tells us all that “nothing has changed since October” and he is being totally honest, but intentionally private. Now he can wait until later this season to let his players and coaches know on his own terms, like he planned to do all along.

It’s possible. Maybe even likely. Maybe Rosenthal caught one of his Front Office sources saying a tad too much as the time gets closer. Then again, maybe not. Tommy Lasorda gave the Dodgers 21 seasons, and Walter Alston before him had a 23-year run. Sosh is only at 19. What’s another 5?

Besides, it’s not all about winning and losing. Just ask the Mets who, with the 4th-lowest win production of 2018, seem to be perfectly happy with their dugout leadership.

But here we are, back where we were on Friday. And folks can wax poetically about what might have been, or might yet be............Or start forecasting the replacement candidates............Or invent an entire story and come up with all kinds of motivations out of one unconfirmed rumor.............

Now-Within-Only-Six-Games-From-The-Bottom-HaloLinks:


A Little Bit Of Shohei Ohtani News

Shohei had one hell of a good time in Cleveland. On Friday he exploded. He was 4 for 5 with 2 home runs and 3 RBIs and 3 Runs Scored. I have to admit that I felt more than a shade of good that it was Mike Clevinger he was destroying. Clevinger, perhaps our stupidest recent trade away, has owned us. It’s good to put some fear back into his mind that he needs to reconsider having his way with our franchise from now on. Ohtani also went 2 for 4 with an RBI yesterday. ..........

A Little Bit Of Mike Trout News

Remember that news that Trout hurt his wrist on a slide, was day-to-day and would miss a game, but be back the next? You know, typical LAA medical news issued to us rubes for public consumption. Well, he didn’t play Thursday, which was expected. Then he didn’t play Friday, which was not unusual. Then he didn’t play Saturday. Then he didn’t play Sunday. That still qualifies as day-to-day, but that’s not what we were led to expect going into the weekend...........

Mike’s thumbs are still working, though............

A Little Bit Of Angels News

Coincidentally or not, Billy Eppler did make a couple of managerial moves over the weekend. The timing raised the specter that the organization was lining up for the future, as AAA manager Keith Johnson comes to town to work with Scioscia’s coaches, focusing on infielders, and Eric Chavez was named to take over the SLC Bees back at the AAA level. This puts Chavez in touch with a lot of youngsters on the verge of The Show, and very close to the coaching staff in Anaheim. And, of course, it puts Johnson in the LAA dugout, where he can school Andrelton Simmons on the finer points of defense...........

Tyler ‘Crystal’ Skaggs is back on the DL.............

Luis Valbuena got DFA’d over the weekend. You knew that, I am certain. But in your happy state you probably didn’t think through the sequence of events that will take place next. Valbuena is currently playing so bad, and he is still owed the pro-rated residual of his $8 million PLUS a $500K buyout (to prevent another $8.5 million commit for next year). Valbuena will make it through waivers. Eppler and Sosh will want to keep him on stand-by, just in case, and Luis will land in SLC. One phone call away............

The Halos are not winning very much, but there are still moments of hard play. Kole Calhoun busts out a triple...........Eric Young, Jr. doubles off Jose Ramirez with a heads up play.............Felix Pena with the strong start that we needed last week. If he had flipped those starts the Halos would have split his games instead of losing both............

On the other hand, Deck McGuire. Nothing else needs to be said............Oh, and Oliver Drake? The guy we shipped off to Toronto? He was moved to the Twins now. That makes his 5th team in this one season alone, an MLB record..............


Everywhere In Baseball

See there, New York? You could have purchased some bullpen help while you had the chance. What, did you get greedy with Eppler?...........How’s that working out for you?............

Oh crap. Here we go again. Baseball ain’t fair if the Yankees AND Red Sox don’t get to have extended trips through the playoffs every season. We already added a second Wild Card to make this more probable. But that is no longer enough...........

Is this allowed? A pitcher for the Houston Astros is suffering an ouchie?............One of their key position players hits the DL while their other key position player on the DL is not yet quite back? I could have swore that the injury gods had already ruled on this............

Speaking of Houston, the Astros are still trying to dig their moral compass back out of the toilet by issuing an extremely lengthy public statement working to justify why they went and brought Roberto Osuna on board. The antagonists are having none of it, parsing every sentence in the statement............

Jacob DeGrom is dominating everybody. But DeGrom is REALLY dominating feable pitchers’ attempts to swing a bat against him so badly that there is no historical precedent. But you go, National League fans. That level of futility is all about “strategy”...............

The Cubs took a beating from the Padres yesterday. The game did not end well, and the Cubs were pretty pissy about it. Yeah, that last pitch called for a strike was pretty bad. But the plate ump was Angel Fernandez, so bad calls were being made all damned day. And the Cub’s Jon Lester, for one, sure as hell was a beneficiary.............And that is not to mention their getting an Instant Replay break - TWICE - on the adventures of Javy Baez baserunning............

Baseball is undergoing the transformation into the weird. We have “The Make-Believe Pitcher”, we have all the proof we need that the National League is long overdue for the DH, and we have exaggerated shifts (thanks, reddit) and a run towards positionless baseball............

Baseball in Taiwan doesn’t need any Rob Manfred meddling................

Rick Ankiel refuses to let his MLB dreams die. If this next attempt doesn’t work out, maybe he can coach?............

Excellent. The Nats booted Shawn Kelley to the curb. That curb that defines the gutter that is Oakland. Kelley, if you recall, is the victim of an unwritten rule of the unknown book of Front Office rules. The rule violated was that the relief pitcher shall not show frustration in front of the paying fans even though his skipper fails to protect him from two knuckleheaded umpires who are getting on his case and giving him exactly opposite barks. Kelley is having a fairly good season out of the pen. And now he has 9 shots at the Halos as the season winds down.............

MLB might be so focused on their image that they edit out any joke that might make any small bit of fun about Rob Manfred. But they have no problem still pimping the PEDs-powered Manny Ramirez and David Ortiz as they busted the Angels in the 2007 AL-ROI-DS...........


The Duffle Bag

The Astros social media maven is picking the wrong fight by going after Dodger home attendance...........I think Yu Darvish is telling us all that he is ready to chat with ARod anytime about ARod’s accusations.............You go, there, Twins Ball Boy!..............Not that they needed him as they crushed the Yankees over the weekend, but the Red Sox got only 3 games out of Ian Kinsler before Kinsler out himself on the DL. Just taking the Halo Curse to beantown.............Man, you should see what the Gate 1 entrance to Angels stadium looked like 100 years ago. It didn’t look much like Fenway. It looked more like this...........Mariners fans..............Matt Harvey flipping the bird at his old team, the Mets............Carlos Gomez with the Neymar Flop...........Chicago Padres fans are the best.............