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TuesdoLinks: It’s Almost Tempe Time

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LAA Pitchers and Catchers report in exactly TWO weeks!

Angels v Red Sox Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

Our long national nightmare is nearly over. The cold, lonely, boring nights with frosty blinks of daylight in between are coming to an end. Baseball is nearly back. In exactly two weeks, pitchers and catchers report in Tempe, AZ.

Truly. Baseball. Is. Nearly. Back.

Onward with the Stirrups Grand Promotional Overhaul Plan —

IDEA #4, WEDNESDAYS: Wednesdays can be odd. This year we have 11 night starts and 1 afternoon ‘business special’. Of the night games, three are 5:07 starts and one is a 6:07 start. I raise this because in Southern California, it’s tough enough to get to a stadium on time when the game starts at 7PM. Rush hour for the north-bound Newport Beach per-caps crowd starts getting tough by 1:30 in the afternoon. And Wednesdays are the lightest-attended games of the week. So we have to mix it up here.

It’s a good day for the Halos to do the traditional kinds of stuff, such as special giveaways for honorees. This year’s Ohtani RoY shirt is a good example. So I’ll give them that.

But what about mixing it up, especially since Angels Stadium is not sitting int he middle of some food and entertainment complex? I say that the Wednesdays are reserved for cultural celebrations. Lots of teams do this with great fun and flair, if not overwhelming success. I say we get the former, and I want to add something to get the latter, too.

My plan would be to have a celebration of various ethnic communities, cycling around the globe. We do have some surprising ethnic mix in OC, but when you add in LA county we match up with anywhere. For the 11 dates, we would have a day for Polynesia, Asia, Middle East, Australia, European, Africa, North America, Central America, South America, Far East (India continent), and the Arctic. This isn’t so much about giveaways as it is about cultural celebration. Giveaways could be an option, and if so I would propose national flag Halo ball caps. I think people would be kind of proud to be flying their Japanese rising sun LAA cap, for example. Kind of a “show your thing”.

But the big key event would be a takeover of areas outside the park, where a special cultural food fair would act as a public tailgate party. And who doesn’t want to have a cool Ethiopian pre-game dinner and watch the sun set while washing it down with a Three Horse Beer from Madagascar while listening and watching ancient tribal pageantry? We also could have items in the team store that aligns with that culture being celebrated that week, and music videos between innings from nations of the region being celebrated. Wednesdays become a people’s event, one that includes a ballgame later on. Wednesdays are World Night.

We got a page full of Getting-The-Itch-For-Tempe-HaloLinks:


A Little Bit Of Angels News

Billy Eppler is still happy to be sitting right where he is at. So we can stop all this silly talk about getting guy “x” or guy “y”. (By the way, everything that Billy did is tracked here.) But in that interview we get more of the common MLB speak of the season: “But shorter-term deals work in a variety of ways -- they keep you flexible and they keep you open to doing things both during the season and in succeeding seasons.” Um. They also FORCE you to have to do things in succeeding seasons, because you constantly have holes to fill. I would counter that there is some value to the kind of flexibility that comes from know that one of your positions is set for an extended period of time, especially one that is in demand. It let’s you work on what you need instead of also having to work to restore what you just lost. And, doing things during the season? I am interested to learn what those are. Historically it would seem that teams are willing to deal with you in-season if they can pick up a contract-controlled guy. everybody else is a ‘rental’. What with all these 1-year deals, practically every guy worth moving in-season is now a ‘rental’. How does that help “flexibility”?.........

But how about this? The Angels count as one of the biggest Free Agency winners this off-season. What’s just as important in that article, though, comes right after the chart which shows off Eppler. It’s the part where LAA getting Free Agents does do much to bring the Astros back to the pack .........

Not a link. Just throwing this out there. Do we have any readers in the Ventura area? A little birdie told me that Trout and Calhoun (and maybe others) have a tendency to hit a gym up there and workout together in the run-up to ST. I saw photos from last year with my own eyeballs as proof. It would be advisable for you to go hunting. Please do not share results on these pages and blow it for them, that gym, and yourself. Just putting it out there as a reward for you if you are local, and curious enough............


Everywhere In Baseball

For the centennial year of his birth, MLB is going to be Jackie Robinson all year long. Heck, maybe even for draft day, too!...........

Last season all the LAA pitchers combined for 87 Wild Pitches. Good for third-most in MLB. Cubs pitcher Kyle Hendricks has not thrown a Wild Pitch since 2016..........

I could point you to the original source, but maybe only one of you can read it. or I could walk you backwards to the Insta link, which would be simpler to put into Google Translate in order to figure out what is going on. But then that would be 5 clicks too many. instead, let’s just take you to the reddit page which explains everything in brief, and in English. Pretty interesting. I did not know that mounds in Japan were normally kept soft..........

Ex-MLB pitcher Micah Bowie is in real bad medical shape, and losing ground. And nobody wants to help. Not even the Players’ Union to which he belonged is going to help, citing the fact that he falls 20 days short in service time. That would be the same union that wanted service time exemptions when they filed grievances on behalf of Kris Bryant and Ronald Acuna...........

Jay Jaffe whips out his crystal ball and walks through the upcoming HoF classes. Humorously, he finds the best chance of a Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens getting elected to be with the 2021 vote, since the 2021 newcomer class is, in his words, “...the weakest one for newcomers since 2012.” It’s the class that has Torii Hunter and Dan Haren at the top. Sorry, guys. It’s not me. I just link to stuff.........

The problem here, as I see it, is that the very definition of young players hitting a lot of home runs very early means that we are dealing with not a lot of data. For example, the Aaron Judge used to open the article is seeing his home run rate decline as he gets more At Bats. his peak rate was .36 HR’s per game through his first 100 games, and that has been slowly sliding down ever since. He stands now at .2967 HR’s per game after 294 games. That is still formidable. Hank Aaron’s career was .2289 HR’s per game so the article’s main point still holds. But we need to see these kids over more time to see what their sustained rate will end up becoming..........

Alex Bregman better hope that the Astros do NOT become a dynasty. Because that would mean that all their current young talent will not be getting paid and forcing Houston to deal them away for a fresh influx of other, cheaper, players. Or, they WILL be getting paid, but with other franchises. Something that might also involve Bregman..........

Baseball in the cold of April. It could happen again this year..........

The funniest thing about baseball is the power of traditionalists. At my age, I am supposed to be one of those. I ain’t. Not by a long shot. I love my baseball history, but I remain wide open to the new-fangled whatchamacallit anythings, whether those be stats or rules or strategies or haircuts or whatev. It doesn’t mean that I agree that something is better merely because it is different, but I remain open to the possibility until it proves otherwise. And, oh boy, has baseball sure changed in my lifetime. It will in yours, too. I guarantee it............

Venezuela is a mess. I can recall just a few years ago how it was being touted as a great place to be considered for retirement. What a tragedy it has become, quickly. Now it’s so bad that not even baseball wants to help out. The Caribbean Series is being moved to Panama. Rod Carew Stadium, as a matter of fact. (How cool must it be for a country to name their national baseball stadium after you??)..........

Jarrod Saltalamacchia finally retires, and the alphabet throws a good-bye party...........


Hot Stove

Adam Jones, gold glove winner and greatest center fielder of our time Adam Jones, might be going back to the tanking Baltimore Orioles after all. So, what, all those managers who pumped up his credentials went into hiding as soon as they were asked to pony up some money for his services?...........

Spotrac now shows that MLB franchises have just crossed the $1 billion mark in net-new monies committed to 2018-2019 Free Agents. And that is without the HarpChado deals............

Justin Wilson is on board with Justin Verlander, seeing a problem with lots of teams not caring to try and win (Rob Manfred’s spin be damned). But here is a thought; if the main problem comes from teams willing to wait out the players in order to drive down the contract prices, that would be because the franchises feel as though they have the players stuck between deal or no deal. If thee guys were able to start taking their 1-year contracts to Japan or Korea, MLB Front Offices would immediately assume some level of risk that does not exist now...........

Oh, please please stop with this nonsense. Jose Reyes is 35 years old, hit .189 last year and prduced -0.8 bWAR. Why would anybody waste a roster spot on that, when they can waste that spot on somebody who might need time to grow into their MLB career? Reyes should not be considered a Free Agent, counting towards some horrible tally of unsigned guys. He should be considered retired, unless some team brings him out of retirement by mistake..........

2016. The last great spending hurrah?..........

I can remember when practically the whole world thought that Adrian Beltre was a true talent, but mercurial and tending to be the poster boy for pimping numbers in his walk year. We missed our chance to get him, and he signed with the Rangers. That probably cost us a couple of Division titles. And guess who comps most closely to Adrian Beltre at age 25? Manny Machado. There are a lot of people turning their backs on a Machado option these days. When Beltre was 35 he was a 6.7 bWAR player, and MVP candidate, and all his doubters from a decade prior were hiding under rocks..........

The Rangers are almost tanking? Not-quite-tanking, maybe. Like ‘jeeping’. They signed reliever Shawn Kelley for $2.5 million. Oh, yeah, it’s the 1-year deal. But it’s $2.5 million for a team trying to reboot. That’s like 1 12 Blake Parkers, who was signed by the Twins, and the Twins are not tanking..................


The Duffle Bag

Hmmm. Last week I linked to the news that MLB dropped all support for Panasonic devices. This weeks they are dropping access to all archived games prior to 2018. This is an ungood trend for subscribers...........MLB puttin’ shit on the Phillies..........Cool find, reddit researcher! In the earliest of days of pro baseball the color of one’s uniform denoted what position in the field that you played..........Congrats to Sandy Alderson, now cancer-free............MLB’s 150-year anniversary patch has escaped. It’s right about where I would be putting that player’s 2018 All-Star patch if I were baseball king..........Taunting. It’s reserved for winners..........Speaking of taunting, Yasiel Puig has some very brave friends..........