Moments, there are certain moments within the realm of time that can define our collective understanding of the universe; certain once-in-a-lifetime moments that passes by, and if we miss them, we may never see them again, since the condition of these moments cannot be duplicated with exact accuracy. This is why enjoying the essence of the moment is so important, much like a rare comet, it may be a few generations before we see any close resemblance again.
This comet’s name is Shohei Ohtani; he has made an unforgettable impact on the game of baseball. Ohtani is both a pitcher and a hitter; he has a batting average of .279 while allowing a batting average as a pitcher of .195. This is something that hasn’t been done in more than 100 years going back to Babe Ruth.
Shohei Ohtani is truly a two-way player, in an interview before the 2021 home run Derby on ESPN Baseball Tonight, Ohtani talked about the delicate balance between being a pitcher and the hitter he discussed how doing both provides a balance for him and allows him to become a better player. He expands the discussion by stating that he didn’t think he would be as good as a player if he wasn’t allowed to do both. It takes a special type of talent, discipline, and dedication to carefully mold what essentially is two crafts within the same sport, and not allow one side to overtake the other.
I often wonder, what it would be like to go to a baseball game and watch Jackie Robinson, Hank Aaron, Mickey Mantle, or Ted Williams. Some of my fellow Angels’ fans argue that Mike Trout is the best player in baseball of this generation, while I unequivocally agree; Shohei Ohtani is a different type of player. Ohtani is two players in one, his bat is just as valuable as he is on the pitching mound; a pitcher who leads all of Major League Baseball with 33 home runs. This is truly something to relish and enjoy.
It is important to enjoy these moments we as baseball fans are witnessing history, we will never know what it was like to watch the great players that I mention above play, however we do know what it’s like to watch Shohei Ohtani play. Rather than just simply dismissing him as an extraordinarily talented player it should not be lost on us as baseball fans how important his redefining impact is to the game we all love.
Years from now, when we are all grandparents and in some cases great-grandparents and we decide to watch a documentary of the defining moments in baseball history, when they get to the part about Shohei Ohtani we can say that we lived in that moment.
A passionate sports’ fan often follows their team with blind dedication, without judgment and undying fandom. This is the Angels 60th anniversary season and my 40th anniversary as an Angels’ fan. It’s due to this passion that one often forgets that sports are also a business. As such unpopular business decisions are made. As a fan I briefly forgot about that last week when the Angels released Albert Pujols from his 10 year contract.
I feel conflicted. Given all the Angels current injuries Albert Pujols services would have been beneficial to the team. On the other hand I understand the Angels decision to do so as they have young guns such as Jared Walsh and Shohei Ohtani. These are two players that I can think of specifically that need to be in the everyday lineup. Releasing Pujols allowed the Angels to proceed developing their young talent.
My brother and I mutually agreed back in 2011 that if the Angels did not win at least 4 to 5 World Series championships in 10 years, the Albert Pujols contract would be a failure. Pujols never lived up to his contract during his tenure with the Angels. There’s no humanly possible way any player no matter how great could have lived up to a $240 million contract. The release caught me off guard; after all we are talking about a future first ballot hall of famer. At the time of his release he was batting .125 and was no longer contributing to the team.
It took me a while to work through these feelings. Originally I was going to write about the end of his illustrious career and about his contribution to the game of baseball but this afternoon I found out that he had signed with the natural rivals, the Dodgers. This frankly perplexes me because all my baseball instincts told me he would sign with an American League team if he would sign a new contract at all. Why would Pujols ask for his release if he is stuck in a mere situation with the Dodgers? This doesn’t make sense to me. I understand his desire to play, but part of being a great player is knowing when your career is over. I don’t think Pujols has realized that. That inadvertently tarnishes his career.
He reminds me of Barry Bonds when he ended his contract with the San Francisco Giants. For about two years after his contract ended with the Giants, Bonds insisted he wasn’t retired and he was available to sign with another team. The Bonds situation mirrors what is happening with Pujols and I’m frankly surprised the Dodgers took a chance on him especially risking the defending champion chemistry that the Dodgers have.
Passion can be a double edged sword. It can invoke loyalty, but it can also invoke ignorance. I don’t think Albert Pujols is ready to admit that his best days are behind him. This is only natural since any given person in any given career often does not want to leave a career they have dedicated their life to and has made them so happy. One must be careful that the very passion that drives them does not become a detriment to the industry that one loves so much. I strongly believe that although The Machine has unequivocally contributed to the game of baseball, it’s time for The Machine to shut down.
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Can you hear it? The zapping sound of transistors, the chaotic flow of electricity jumping from place to place, moment to moment, and instant to instant. Can you see it? The beautiful unpredictable chaos that each bolt of light creates, the lightning that can give life as quickly as it takes it. Can you feel the excited atoms around you? The atoms that make your hair stand up as one can feel them caressing your skin. The combination of this beautiful chaos leads one to an epiphany that one has voluntarily surrendered to the unpredictability which lies within the halo.
The Angels find themselves surrounded by the high-voltage contained within the halo. They are 8-5 alternating between a half of game and first place in the American League West. They have a slew of injuries, more than their fair share and yet they still find a way to be competitive this year. They have hit home runs in 11 of the 13 games played thus far. The Halos finished their first 10 games with a 7-3 mark, tied for the best start in franchise history. The red wave of electricity that they are riding allows them to contend in a competitive division.
Where will this gorgeous red electricity take them next? The electrical chaos is highly addictive within itself. I haven’t felt electricity surrounding this team since 2009; the energy of the offense, the unrelenting attitude of this entire team makes it a baseball season to look forward to.
Where will you be when this high-voltage halo decides to make you a part of it? Will you be prepared to ride the energy of the lightning, or will the bolt take control of you; will that be too much for you to handle? What position will you be in when it’s time once again to light up the halo?
Eight is a number that when flipped on its side represents infinity. Infinite possibilities, infinite outcomes, infinite actions, and infinite reactions; infinity is a good way to describe baseball, the unpredictability of baseball is what makes it beautiful; in one at bat there is an infinite number of things that can go right and an infinite number of things that can go wrong.
The number eight is turned out so far to be an important number for the Angels. In three of the six games played so far the Angels have come back from a deficit to win the game in the eighth inning. It’s as if the number eight gave the Angels infinite ways to come back and win games.
Something about the season feels different, perhaps it’s the 60th anniversary season, perhaps it’s that everyone on the roster is relatively healthy this year, perhaps it is that Shohei Ohtani is able to pitch without an issue adding an ace on the mound, and a power hitter in the batter’s box. It can also be the Angels improved bullpen that is finally able to keep the Halos in games and an improved pitching staff overall, here again it can be infinite factors.
Stellar performances by Shohei Ohtani, Mike Trout, Jared Walsh, Chris Rodriguez, among others also contribute to this renewed excitement around this team; or maybe it is just that baseball is beginning to normalize again. Whatever the underlying factors are, they have brought a unique kind of excitement within the Angels’ fan base it no longer feels like our team is repeating the same sequence of events that they have for the last seven years; it feels unique as if the Angels’ fan base itself is experiencing these infinite possibilities alongside the team.
I find it appropriate of these comebacks have come in the eighth inning, the number personifies these infinite emotions, excitement, and expectations. The infinite possibilities bring a flavor to the Angel games that once were missing for a very long time. A flavor that leaves just the perfect amount of desire for more that allows the fan base to savor each wonderful moment that the baseball season has brought us thus far.
The dawn of a new baseball season is approaching. This is the time of year where excitement is high, the anticipation of the sun rising on all 30 teams is hard to contain for all fans of baseball. One can feel the excitement in the air; the lively discussion between fans of rival teams, it is this time a year where everyone has a crystal ball that they hope will be one hundred percent accurate by the end of the season.
It is the 60th anniversary of the Angels franchise; I am old enough to remember the Angels 25th anniversary. For me, these milestones are very special. I come from a generation that remembers the Angels not always being competitive much less contenders. I’m glad to see that through the years that has changed.
For the Angels’ fan base, this anniversary brings extra excitement around the team; the Halos have gone back to the style of baseball that I personally love, speed, and base running pressure, I believe this is especially appropriate since it is, after all, the Angels’ diamond anniversary. A diamond is created from immense pressure; I find it appropriate that the style of play reflects the theme of the anniversary. The offense looks spectacular, the pitching although it has improved slightly, is still, in my opinion, this team’s weakest link. Hopefully, the base running pressure can offset an issue that the Angels have struggled to resolve over the years.
Tonight, spring training comes home to Angel Stadium where the Angels will host the defending World Series Champions Los Angeles Dodgers. (As an Angels’ fan I feel the need to use mouthwash every time I say that. This is a product of the beautiful rivalry over the years.) If the Angels can remedy their pitching issues, I would love to see an Angels and Dodgers World Series.
I feel the excitement in the energy of the impending dawn; my skin anxiously awaits the revitalization of the baseball sun, the whistling of the baseball as it travels between the pitcher and the catcher. However before all this can happen we all will hear the two most beautiful words in the English language this time of year, “play ball!”.
Baseball is usually a 162 game marathon, this year, it was a 60 game Sprint. This unique baseball season brought a lot of uncertainty; the ability to finish the season was in question due to the impact the Coronavirus has had on the world. Baseball fans were unable to attend this year, changing the dynamic of how the game is played and consumed; changes that we all hope are not permanent so we can enjoy games next season.
Changes in The Baseball format gave the Angels the opportunity to make the postseason for the first time since 2014. I approached the season with plenty of optimism that the Angels would break their playoff drought. However even with a more friendly playoff format the Angels fell just short of the postseason. The Halos started the season 9-12; they finished the season 26-34, they did make a comeback, however it was too little, too late.
I have stated often the as a fan, I would rather see the Angels be eliminated while going down fighting than to have them be eliminated before or shortly after the midpoint of the season, this year is no exception. I am very proud of the team and the effort they put forth this year, they sorely need pitching, and I hope the front office invests in this glaring need that is been more than obvious for the last few years.
An elimination of the team that I love always hurts, however, this one stands out because the Angels were eliminated by the natural rival, the hated Los Angeles Dodgers with two games left in the season, they also have the best overall record in Major League Baseball which makes it something even more. Hopefully next year things get back to normal and the Angels not only compete, but content for a World Series title.
Although there was heartbreak the season, there were also a lot of bright spots, chief among them was Mike Trout taking over the all-time Angels home run record with 300 home runs, on Saturday, September 5, 2020; surpassing Tim Salmon (the Angels have good luck with fish) who previously held the record for roughly 2 decades with 299 home runs. Mike Trout now has 302 home runs in his career and I look forward to seeing them cementing is marked not only with the Angels, but the rest of Major League Baseball as well.
The Halos started making changes, the organization chose not to renew the contract of Angels’ General Manager Billy Eppler. He spent five years with the team and made an impact; he re-signed Mike Trout to a 10 year contract extension, adding 10 years to the remaining two years of his contract entering last season, virtually ensuring that Mike Trout remains with the Angels for the rest of his career.
I’m not going to reflect on the possibilities for next season until we get a little bit more into the off-season, this elimination stings, and it’s going to take me more than the usual time to get over this one; that may change, however for now that’s the way I feel.
The doors closed, they Halo has been temporarily turned off until the beginning of next season. A season with a new horizon, new possibilities, with the hopes of returning to the ballpark that we all miss and love; let’s get this pandemic under control so we can return home under the Halo.
Baseball is often referred to as a marathon not a sprint. In the shortened season everything has been turned on its head, this year with the 60 game season it is a sprint. I on the other hand, prefer to look at the season as a clock, with each game representing a minute on this clock.
After the first half an hour, (halfway through the season) the Angels are 9-21 and as of the time of the writing of this post, they are losing the 31st game 6-3 against the Houston Astros. What has gone wrong this season? Well, the answer is been the same for the last few years, pitching. It doesn’t really matter if one talks about the starting rotation or the bullpen; with the glaring exception of Dylan Bundy; the pitching staff as a whole is bad.
If the Halos plan to be active at the trade deadline which is August 31, they must invest in pitching for both the present and the future. It will be interesting to see how trades develop since minor league players are not active due to the corona virus pandemic. Minor league players have essentially lost a year of development since the minor leagues are not active; it has yet to be seen how all 30 major-league clubs are going to approach this certainly very unique circumstance that stems from this very unique season.
Canned the Angels turn the season around in the remaining 30 minutes? There has been no indication that they will be able to, unless by some miracle the pitching staff vastly improves to complement an offense that’s trying to keep this team afloat.
As a lifelong Angels’ fan I am beginning to get the same feelings that were all too familiar as a little boy, I’m a fan of a team that doesn’t really do much year in, and year out; always having talented players but not much team cohesion. There is 29 minutes remaining on the clock, it is my hope that the Halos show some signs of life this season.
140 days, United States Presidents traditionally get evaluated by the United States media in the first 100. days. A baby finishes its first trimester and is 18 days into his/hers second trimester. 20 weeks, that’s how long I’ve been personally affected by the corona virus pandemic; by now, I probably would have attended maybe 10 home games. This pandemic has changed life as we know it. Hopefully we can get back to some semblance of normality soon. However, we must all work together by wearing our masks and keeping proper distance from each other in order to end this soon.
For someone like myself, who loves sports and views them as a healthy barometer of our society it’s been especially hard. I have missed seeing the faces that I usually see when I go to the ballpark, friends, who complain about how the team that we love is not doing as well as the team should be given the talent that they have; friends, no matter how bad the team is doing their faith and their loyalty is unwavering. The same friends that swear every year that the team will find a way to not only make the playoffs, but also win the World Series.
Baseball, it is probably one of the most beautiful words in the English language, where my friends and I can cheer together as one, one voice, one mind, and one goal. The Angels are 1-2, I’m hoping for a series split tomorrow against the Oakland Athletics.
Rather than write an analytical post, today, I rather reflect on the beauty of baseball, and discuss some of my memories that help me appreciate how happy I am that the game I love is back. This 60 game Sprint, as the sports’ media has dubbed it, will have the spotlight as soon as I write my reflections of the first series.
I find it appropriate that the Angels have opened the first series of the abbreviated season against the Athletics in Oakland, as I have mentioned numerous times in previous posts before, the Athletics along with the Dodgers are the two teams that I love to hate, the Athletics as a division rival, and the Dodgers as the natural rival.
The Athletics and the Angels have a history, whose story cannot be told without first explaining what each team means to each other. Since 2002, both teams have mutually beaten each other by a difference of two runs or less 173 times; from 2002 to 2009 the Athletics or the Angels won the American League West championship, and again for a brief period between 2012 and 2014 with neither team claiming and American League West title since then. I myself had the pleasure of watching the Angels clinch a title on Oakland’s home-field both in 2004 and in 2005, Oakland is also where I met current Angels’ owner, Arturo Moreno. (Arte Moreno) I still remember the brief conversation that I had with him fondly. It is one of the highlights of my Angels’ fandom.
What makes Oakland so special? Well, I lived in the bay area for 12 years, and although I was seldom interested in Oakland Athletics baseball as a whole, I did try to make it whenever the Angels came in as the visiting team. The Oakland Coliseum is a part of Major League Baseball history, up until 2019 it was the last shared facility between Major League Baseball and the National Football League, before the Oakland Raiders moved to Las Vegas after the 2019 season.
Who can forget Roy Steele, the Athletics public address announcer since 1968, as a visiting fan I loved to hear his voice, when he would announce the Angels lineup it would be a very somber, matter-of-fact tone, almost as if he had a disdain for announcing any visiting team. In contrast to the deep cheerful voice that he would use in announcing the Athletics. He was one of the great voices of baseball. Roy Steele, was to the Oakland Athletics and the West Coast what Bob Sheppard was to the New York Yankees and the East Coast. Great voices that probably could be imitated but never duplicated. I’ve heard many derogatory terms when referring to the Oakland Coliseum from other people, in reality the Oakland Coliseum is one of the crown jewels of baseball and in my humble opinion, if people can’t see that, then they don’t understand what the Oakland Coliseum and its history means to baseball.
This is what makes the Angels/Athletics rivalry so special therefore this is why it was especially important for Major League Baseball to start the season with such pageantry and tradition between the last remaining founding members of the American League West. This is what makes baseball so beautiful and so important to help us through this pandemic. If only for a moment, this rivalry helps both fan bases appreciate the beauty of the game that we all love.
As an Orange County native, I am privileged to have a baseball team to call my own, when I was a child I remember passing by Angel Stadium and being absolutely awestruck at the engineering marvel that it was, and still is. As a child, one doesn’t see the stadium as an adult. All one sees as a child is a big building where baseball players play baseball. A child doesn’t really understand the connections a team may have to its community, city, or fan base; they don’t really understand the identity that a city may have with a certain team and how that team represents that particular city to the rest of the world.
That’s what Angel Stadium is for Orange County, a world representative of Orange County’s identity, culture, and location. Orange County is not Los Angeles and it is not San Diego, we stand on our own. This is why it was important to Angels’ fans like me that the Angels stay in Anaheim and not move to Los Angeles or Long Beach. Angel Stadium is the heartbeat of the Orange County baseball fan, simply because we are not Los Angeles, and moving the Angels to Los Angeles would have meant living in the Dodgers shadow from that point on.
The Angels agreed to stay in Anaheim through the 2050 season. As part of the agreement, the Angels will buy Angel Stadium for 325,000,000 dollars. It was quite a Christmas gift for Angels’ fans like me. I’m glad they are staying, however I am concerned. Angel Stadium will no longer be city the property, which means that Stadium security will no longer be the responsibility of the Anaheim Police Department and it will be more than likely the responsibility of a private security firm. How is that going to change the fan experience for Angels’ fans and visitors? This will inevitably delay the response of police officers during an emergency since they will no longer be on site as part of stadium security.
These particular questions don’t take away from the excitement that I feel knowing that I will be a senior citizen before the Angels talk about moving again, it is a great feeling to know that my team is staying home; right where it is, and right where it should be.
The Angels have also been very active this off-season, signing third baseman, Anthony Rendon to a seven-year contract, clearly the Angels want to add power to the offensive lineup, I just hope it’s not the cost of pitching which they unequivocally need.
I am ecstatic that the Angels are staying home where they belong, I look forward to becoming an old man and taking my grandchildren, maybe even my great-grandchildren to a ballgame at the same site where that awestruck child filled with wonder looked at the big building where his favorite baseball players played. The Halo is charged, now, it’s time for it to shine.
When one selects a hobby/interest it is because they feel a deep connection to the subject matter that one has selected, this especially holds true when it comes to sports; sometimes fans don’t really pick a team, they inherit it from a grandfather and/or father, and in some cases from a mother and/or grandmother. My father’s philosophy on successful teams is a very simple one, one that I also subscribe to; both fans and players have to “feel the jersey” in other words in order to be successful you have to be completely balanced and dedicated to your team and craft. There have been many instances where a player as good as they may be, really don’t feel the jersey.
Joe Maddon definitely feels the jersey, he has been involved with the Angels’ organization in some capacity or another since 1975 until 2005, even while he was away from the Angels he had a Halo in his heart. Joe Maddon was on the Angels’ managerial staff as a bench coach when the Angels won the World Series in 2002, when he was a manager of the Chicago Cubs, in a touching tribute to his father, he wore the Disney era Angels baseball cap that once belonged to his late father. Who never saw him win the World Series; a touching and proud moment both for Maddon and the Angels’ fan base.
Maddon signed a three-year contract with the Angels, I personally wish it was a four-year contract, given the issues that the Angels currently have, I think an extra year is appropriate especially given that an even number of years would allow the team to better evaluate his performance.
I am very excited that a family member has come back home to the Angels organization, he has a proven pedigree that will help the Halos be successful, however, the Angels must go after a few solid pitchers. Gerrit Cole is the obvious first choice, and we mustn’t forget about Shohei Ohtani who hopefully will be able to pitch full-time and help rebuild the starting rotation.
I love their acquisition of Joe Maddon as the Angels’ manager, I believe he will steer this team in the right direction. The Angels are about to do something very special with the guidance of Halo Joe.
“We’re nasty”, apparently that was Tyler Skaggs’ favorite phrase. The Halos were indeed “nasty” last night by combining for a no-hitter. I mentioned in my previous entry that my brother and I had tickets for last night’s game, together we were able to partake in history something that we will share the rest of our lives.
I find it appropriate that I’m writing this entry on what would’ve been Tyler Skaggs 28th birthday. This may sound cliché, but there was something different about last night. My brother hit traffic on his way home from work and we were not able to leave to the stadium as early as we normally do, so we missed all the pre-game tributes that the Angels’ organization had planned for Skaggs; as such, we were both unaware of everything that was going on at first. The Angels decided to wear the alternate red jersey which Skaggs was fond of, the Angels organization was granted special permission by Major League Baseball to wear Tyler Skaggs’ complete jersey, with both his last name and jersey number. It showed a touching tribute of unity amongst the team. After all, they did lose an individual whom the entire team considered a family member and they certainly acted that way both on and off the field. The first inning finally concluded and the Angels were ahead 7-0 on their way to a complete rout of the Seattle Mariners which ended 13-0, both scores coincidentally reflect his birthday, 7/13 as Mike Trout pointed out in an interview.
As a closing tribute to Skaggs the entire team left their number 45 jerseys on the pitcher’s mound at the conclusion of the game, much like fans had left their tributes such as posters, baseball caps, flowers, and candles on the pitcher’s mound of the field replica located just in front of the home plate gate at Angel Stadium.
As a fan, the atmosphere was electric, the roar of the crowd, the strength, passion, and dedication that was evident in each of the players’ mannerisms. The fusion of these different factors made it very special; it felt much more electric than a playoff game. For the first time in a long time all these factors were mixed together into one entity, and energy that if I attempt to describe with words, no matter how eloquent, I simply wouldn’t do it justice. Let me suffice to say that I am ecstatic that I was able to share that type of experience with my brother.
While I agree that the 11th no-hitter in the Angels’ franchise history is very special, it was the circumstances surrounding the no-hitter that made the experience unique, and will never be duplicated again. As I mentioned before, I have supported this team for over 30 years, and yesterday’s moment was one of the most bittersweet and memorable moments I will cherish for the rest of my life. I am only one of the 43,140 Angels’ fans at Angel Stadium that will share this experience together for the rest of our collective lives. Yes, “we’re nasty” and that nastiness was showcased in the Halo no-hitter from heaven. Rest in paradise, Tyler Skaggs 45.
I have supported the Angels as a fan for over 30 years. I had the privilege to grow up in the shadow of Angel Stadium. In that time, I have seen the organization go through its ups and downs both on and off the field. Unfortunately, this has also included tragic events for the organization, including the passing of Nick Adenhart and now, Tyler Skaggs.
His passing yesterday of course was sudden and unexpected. At first, I thought it was a cruel joke. I was poring over statistics on the Angels’ Facebook page and verifying the Angels’ lineup for Sunday in preparation for an unrelated entry when the Angels statement on his passing was posted. Since I thought it was a hack at first, I went to cross-reference the news through other sources. There was nothing on the Angels’ official page, nothing on ESPN, and no other references posted the news. Deep inside, I was holding out hope that it was a hacker. Unfortunately, that possible alternative was dispelled from my mind about 10 minutes later when the news started spreading. I am heartbroken. It’s only a few months later after the 10th anniversary of Nick Adenhart’s passing.
Tyler Skaggs was on his way to being the ace of the rotation. The Angels have not had a solid ace since Jered Weaver was in his prime. Skaggs was drafted by the Angels in 2009, the same year of Adenhart’s passing. He worked his way through the minor leagues, and he was traded to the Arizona Diamondbacks before Skaggs could make is major league debut with the Angels for Dan Haren. He was traded back to the Angels a few years later as a result of the multiple contract debacles of Josh Hamilton, C. J. Wilson, and Vernon Wells. Skaggs rejoined the Angels when he was exchanged for Mark Trumbo.
My brother and I have tickets for the first game when the Halos come back home to Angel Stadium after this current road trip. As part of the Angels pregame rituals, they show a video of Angels’ history with the song “Calling All the Angels” and introduce their starting lineup with the song “Spirit in the Sky.” For the rest of the season and beyond both songs will have a different meaning for the organization, the players, and the Angels’ fans just like they did 10 years ago.
Tyler Skaggs was a phenomenal athlete, however, sometimes we forget that they are people first. Baseball players are just people playing a children’s game. Today, I want to honor Tyler Skaggs the person rather the athlete. Tyler, rest in paradise.