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HumpLinks: Fare Thee Well, Mr. Knoop

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As Bobby Knoop retires, he takes with him one of my fondest childhood memories, and a life lesson.

Anaheim Angels v Texas Rangers

Autographs are truly a big deal for a lot of people. For me, even being a big baseball fan, autographs never did it. Not even from baseball players. If Mike Trout were to walk up to me right now with a pen and ask if he could scribble his name over all my stuff, I would rather shake his hand, offer to buy him a beer, and hope to chat instead. I have always been this way. I learned this about myself back when I was a pee wee ballplayer. My mom was busy selling ad space for the Little League program and had the moxie to go over to the brand new Angel Stadium and get the team to buy space. She took me along. There, I got to meet a lot of Front Office personnel, some of whom signed a baseball and gave it to me as the cute little punk tagging along wide-eyed. But then along comes THE Bobby Knoop in street clothes. When he walked up to us I was in awe. He smiled, shook hands, was cordial and engaging. I was blown away. The Fregosi/Knoop double-play combo was famous in the AL back then, and Knoop was the key as he was the 2B on the pivot throw. Totally under-appreciated in MLB history (well, history as recorded OUTSIDE of Anaheim). Knoop did like everybody else, grabbing a pen from my mom and signing one of my baseballs. It was at that moment that I first felt a tinge of embarrassment. I was happy to meet him, shake hands, even chat. Getting that autograph felt (to me) like an imposition. Even as a punk I didn’t like it. It turned out to be a life lesson. Now let’s slew forward from 1966 to 2019. Bobby Knoop has announced that he is retiring from baseball. There are lots of noble things being written about Knoop (Tim Mead has a series of niceties), but I think the greatest thing I can say is that I never heard or read anything about the man that did anything to lessen the class he demonstrated for me way back then. A lifetime well spent. Godspeed Mr. Knoop. May you enjoy a long life of being just a fellow fan. And I am still sorry about that autograph you felt I needed all those years ago.

Let us resume with Spring-Training-HaloLinks:


A Little Bit Of Angels News

Old man Peter Bourjos still runs very very fast..........

So is this Mike Trout guy, who gets all the way from 1st to home in just under 10 seconds?? That’s almost 60 yards while having to navigate 2 corners.....And, lest I get accused of overlooking things, Trout got to 1st base to begin with using that same blazing speed on an infield grounder. Just over 4 seconds by my timing. That’s why we have WAR, folks.........

On the younger side, FanGraphs publishes their Top 31 LAA Prospects list. Yeah. 31. Don’t want to leave out Daniel Procopio.........Thank heavens that Jo Adell dude finally learned to hit. Now, if only he could flash some of that Peter Bourjos power..........

Shohei Ohtani getting closer and closer...........

Forrest Snow, “The Most Interesting Man In The World” (Skipper Brad’s words, not mine.)..........

The Angels acknowledged the ongoing chats with Anaheim. But read the part at the bottom, where Arte Moreno makes deep points about family-oriented spaces and experiences. Personally, since my own rug rats are now fully grown and off the payroll, I am all for moving those kids to someplace where they can run back and forth between wherever they are hanging out, and their parents pocketbook for more money. Anything to get them to stop blocking my sight lines towards home plate as they race up and down the aisles.........

Yesterday marked the opening of the Los Angels Angels’ first Spring Training of 1961. Back when it was in nearby Palm Springs. If you read the caption, you will it dated 2/25 of 1961, which was a Saturday. And it says that “...camp officially opens with camera day Sunday...”, which would be 2/26. Yesterday..........Tracking the web tubes, my radar found this program from the 1962 ST. It would have been damned cool if the whole thing were published, and we could page through it!...........

Something to ponder: Baby Vlad will be undergoing to patently obvious, and clearly lied about, service time manipulation. Every person in baseball will say that this is unfortunate, but unsurprising. But you know what? Not EVERY person in baseball should be assuming that this is par for the course. Angels players and Angels fans shouldn’t. The Halos had a chance to manipulate Mike Trout, but didn’t. Some of it was related to Peter Bourjos getting injured, bringing Trout up in July of 2011. He burned 83 service days that season. Arte didn’t care. At that point there was not much that could be done to game Trout’s time in 2012 without being as brazen as the Kris Bryant/Ronald Acuna/Vlad Guerrero, Jr. affairs, so they brought him up after 40 games and just let him rock it. If Baby Vlad had chosen the Angels, and Jerry Dipoto not burned his capital on Little League home runs, it’s fair to say that Vladdie Junior would be taking over 3B in Anaheim before April...........


Everywhere In Baseball

Hmmm. The Angels are not on MLB’s official Top 10 Farm System list?..........

Yu Darvish is back?...........

Todd Frazier, getting old..........Young guys are getting old, too..........

25 sluggers or 25 Gold Glovers...what’s your call? Mike Trout has never won a Gold Glove. ‘nuff said..........

It looks like MLB is going to push off the use of a pitch clock until 2020, at least. This must be due to a lot of pressure coming from the MLBPA. Too bad. Because somewhere out there is a modern day A.J. Pierzynski who is going to try pulling this “icing the pitcher” trick. And they will do it at the most critical time of a most critical game. Maybe a playoff game..........

Jon Lester is really NOT that old (he just turned 35), but he is already grooming his lawn and turning an evil eye towards the clouds overhead. He really dislikes potential changes to his traditional game..........Masahiro Tanaka is another pitcher who hates being on a clock. I smell a trend here. Maybe there is something to this, after all?.........Lester could retire early, buy himself a team in The Athletic League, and cause all kinds of trouble for MLB and their new-fangled rules experiments..........

Ok, this is certainly something to think about. Francisco Liriano informs that he got showered with contract offers. But “they all came the same week, seven on them on the same day, and they were all were minor league deals, pretty much the same money.” That’s a hard one to explain away..........

Say what you will about the rise or fall of one sport versus another, but in my lifetime only the sport of baseball can mesmerize a nation as any one individual goes on a major streak of success. I saw both of these scoreless innings streaks live, and I recall the way they both ended up dominating sports news, even bleeding into regular news. The same with Pete Rose’s hitting streak. One way to add to the understanding of how important these can be would be to dig into how each of these (both the 2 scoreless innings streaks AND the hitting streak) had their moments of intense controversy that was highly debated at a national level for quite a while...........

10 points of credit go to the Marlins. You cannot bond together 25 guys if they can’t communicate while playing Fortnite..........

Manny Machado willing to move back to 3B and clear a path for Fernando Tatis............

Jerry Dipoto found time between making trades to get his health back...........

Blood proves thicker than Yankee-lovin’ water..........

If you had a unique window to line yourself up to pick in the top half of the draft, and still make the playoffs, would you take it? Even if it meant gaming your franchise just a tad?...........

The Cincinnati Reds show you how to rebuild on the fly when you DO HAVE great young talent around which to build, and DO NOT have huge sunk payroll costs to bog you down..........


Hot Stove

This has been a very good week for you, Scott Boras. First Manny Machado signed before he and Bryce Harper were forced to pull a trigger elsewhere. This gave you a very sweet bar of $30M AAV that you could easily leap over with your proven salesmanship. And it put the Phillies on notice that they were in for serious money......Then the Dodgers showed up. Sure, they aren’t offering the years but they have the wallet and the Phillies know it. Having that photo-op of a Brinks truck rolling up to their facilities immediately afterward was just negotiating gold....Having that truck roll up on the OTHER contender that is battling the Phillies, the Giants, is simply hilarious. I wouldn’t be surprised if that was those trucks were both empty, and both rented by you, Mr. Boras....But then it started to rain money. Still before you had to close a deal anywhere, the Rockies signed Nolan Arenado to a mega-deal extension. We’re talking $32.5M AAV. A new Numero Uno on the block. And guess what the Phillies know about Bryce Harper: until Mike Trout signs, you have the Phillies expecting to make Harper THE Numero Uno. The Arenado deal impacts A LOT of players and teams, certainly, but none more so that your client and the Phillies, right here and right now. The vaults are being opened and all the loot shoveled out for your counting. For some teams, they are even down to scrounging donuts.....Yes, Mr. Boras, it has been a very good week. Even your Public Relations outlet is celebrating. He is even helping you close the deal now........Now, all you have to do is convince your own client..........And do it quick, before some random rock band screws everything up for you..........

Add Didi Gregorious and Dellin Betances to the stable of youngsters that the Yankees are looking to lock up early..........

Logan Forsythe got a contract out of the Rangers..........

The Cardinals are joining the lockup frenzy and extending Miles Mikolas..........And also signing Matt Wieters, who “used to be an All-Star”!.............


The Duffle Bag

Because the Reds know good dogs.........(h/t reddit) Fun Factoid in Minnesota..........Why would a guy who is no longer of any importance in MLB be the spokesperson for how things are going to work out with the MLBPA?..........Shitty Baserunning + Shitty Pickoff Throw + Shitty Throw From Centerfielder + Shitty Slide = Bank Shot Baseball Highlight of the Day...........