May 2011

Lack of Power Is Causing the Golden Halo to Flicker

[ updated May 30, 2011 9:38 PM ]

The American League West has the distinction of having all four of their teams lead in that category over the lowest team Earned Run Average in all of Major League Baseball number one through number four. The starting rotation for each of these teams is nothing to sneeze at. The offense however, at least for the Angels is a different story.

 

Over the last few days Angels’ broadcasters and fans alike, have been highlighting the lack of Angels’ offense. And I can’t really say I disagree even with the offense of explosion that allowed them to defeat the Kansas City Royals by a final score of 10-8 today, I would have to say that the increase in offensive production is more due to the weather conditions of today’s game rather than a sudden discovery of an offensive groove.

 

I am not for a minute taking away the Home Runs launched by Mark Trumbo, Peter Bourjos or the two Home Runs by Torii Hunter, who also was able to score his 1000th Run Batted in of his career. The Angels lack power not because they don’t have it, but because they haven’t discovered how to use it properly. Power in the lineup is something that develops naturally over time, it’s something that naturally happens. If one swings for the fences in every at-bat of eventually that player is going to over extend themselves and become tired and ineffective. Even with the signing of Russell Branyan who was designated for assignment by the Arizona Diamondbacks but Angels total resolve the power outage at the Halo power plant.

Angels’ fans have pointed out on Angel talk that the Angels or in need of making a major trade or transaction, some callers were asking for reasonable trades, while some proposals by fans border on the ridiculous. I would venture to say these are fantasy owners that know nothing about the game of baseball.

 

Although I tend to agree that the Angels need power why not look for the answer within the organization? For example somebody like Mike Trout? Some would argue that he is not ready for the big leagues, I would argue on the other hand, that he is, keeping him in the minor leagues for two long may have a detrimental effect on his career, Brandon Wood is a prime example that I believe that the Angels kept Wood in the minor leagues too long and that may have hindered his development. Wood was eventually designated for assignment about a month ago.

 

There is a lot of money coming off Angels’ payroll next year perhaps they will be able to re-sign Jared Weaver to a long-term contract and keep their spectacular starting pitching rotation intact, and possibly pursue a power bat.

 

I think the issue is that a lot of Angels’ fans want to win now and don’t really see or care about their long-term welfare of this fabulous organization. I think it is best determine the direction that this team is going before we start talking about who were going to sign or trade for.

 

It’s still a long season and we all have yet to see where the Angels end up. I will tell you this much we are in a much better position this year than at the same point last season. Last year everything was falling apart, the Angels were free-falling in the standings and every facet of the game went wrong. Today all we have to complain about is the lack of power and lack of performance of some pictures in the bullpen. Like I said before, the power will naturally come, although we are lacking power we are still in the mix to contend for the American League West title. At this point in the season as an Angels’ fan what more can one ask for?

 

 

-ICE

The Angels 50th Anniversary, the Year of the Golden Halo

In previous entries I have alluded to the Angels celebrating their 50th anniversary as a franchise. However, I realized that a blog entry should be dedicated exclusively to how the Angels are celebrating this wonderful milestone in their history.

 

In addition to big bang Friday which has been a long standing tradition at Angel Stadium for at least the last decade may be even more; the Angels have added “flashback Fridays,” where they Angels will wear a uniform that reflects a certain era that celebrates the history of the team during every Friday home game. The past two Fridays the Angels have worn a uniform from the 1980s. Uniforms from the 1960s, 1970s, and 1990s will also be displayed during  flashback Fridays.

 

 The following dates are when their respective uniforms will be worn:

The 1980s:

 

April 8, 2011

April 22, 2011

May 6, 2011

 

The 1970s:

September 2, 2011

September 23, 2011

 

The 1990s

July 8, 2011

August 5, 2011

August 19, 2011

 

I realize this is only a partial list, in the event that a more extensive and detailed list becomes available I will update this blog as soon as that happens.

 

 

 

As if flashback Fridays were not enough, the Angels are also inviting Angels’ alumni to throw out the ceremonial first pitch before all 81 home games. Here is the complete list:

 

Scheduled to throw out the first pitch are*:

Date Day Opponent First Pitch

4/8

Fri.

Toronto

Eli Grba – (1961-1963)

4/9

Sat.

Toronto

Albie Pearson – (1961-1966)

4/10

Sun.

Toronto

Bob Lee – (1964-1966)

4/11

Mon.

Cleveland

Mark Langston – (1990-1997)

4/12

Tue.

Cleveland

Jim Fregosi (1961-1971, 1978-1981)

4/13

Wed.

Cleveland

Roger Repoz – (1967-1972)

4/21

Thu.

Boston

Troy Percival – (1995-2004)

4/22

Fri.

Boston

Rod Carew – (1979-1985)

4/23

Sat.

Boston

Chuck Finley – (1986-1999)

4/24

Sun.

Boston

Bob Boone – (1982-1988)

4/25

Mon.

Oakland

Rex Hudler – (1994-1996, 1999-2009)

4/26

Tue.

Oakland

Moose Stubing (1967, 1985-1990)

4/27

Wed.

Oakland

Bill Stoneman (VP & GM 1999-2007, Player 1974)

5/6

Fri.

Cleveland

Tim Salmon – (1992-2006)

5/7

Sat.

Cleveland

Shigetoshi Hasegawa – (1997-2001)

5/8

Sun.

Cleveland

Bengie Molina – (1998-2005)

5/9

Mon.

Chicago

Scott Lewis – (1990-1994)

5/10

Tue.

Chicago

Rance Mulliniks – (1977-1979)

5/11

Wed.

Chicago

Chris Knapp – (1978-1980)

5/20

Fri.

Atlanta

Scott Shields – (2001-2009)

5/21

Sat.

Atlanta

Wally Joyner – (1986-1991, 2001)

5/22

Sun.

Atlanta

Don Sutton – (1985-1987)

5/23

Mon.

Oakland

Tony Phillips – (1995, 1997)

5/24

Tue.

Oakland

Ike Hampton – (1975-1979)

5/25

Wed.

Oakland

Donnie Hill – (1990-1991)

5/26

Thu.

Oakland

Jay Johnstone – (1966-1970)

6/3

Fri.

New York

Mike Witt – (1981-1990)

6/4

Sat.

New York

Dean Chance – (1961-1966)

6/5

Sun.

New York

Jim Abbott – (1989-1992, 1995-1996)

6/6

Mon.

Tampa Bay

Rick Reichardt – (1964-1970)

6/7

Tue.

Tampa Bay

George Hendrick – (1985-1988, 1998-1999)

6/8

Wed.

Tampa Bay

John Candelaria – (1985-1987)

6/10

Fri.

Kansas City

Bob McClure – (1989-1991)

6/11

Sat.

Kansas City

TBA

6/12

Sun.

Kansas City

Mark Gubicza – (1997)

6/27

Mon.

Washington

Dave Frost – (1978-1981)

6/28

Tue.

Washington

Dan Ardell – (1961)

6/29

Wed.

Washington

Mike Fitzgerald – (1992)

7/1

Fri.

Los Angeles

Fernando Valenzuela – to Scioscia – (1991)

7/2

Sat.

Los Angeles

Garret Anderson – (1994-2008)

7/3

Sun.

Los Angeles

Clyde Wright – (1966-1973)

7/4

Mon.

Detroit

Scott Spiezio – (2000-2003)

7/5

Tue.

Detroit

Fred Martinez – (1980-1981)

7/6

Wed.

Detroit

TBA

7/7

Thu.

Seattle

Don Aase – (1978-1982, 1984)

7/8

Fri.

Seattle

Jim Edmonds – (1993-1999)

7/9

Sat.

Seattle

Willie Fraser – (1986-1990)

7/10

Sun.

Seattle

Bryan Harvey – (1987-1992)

7/19

Tue.

Texas

Nolan Ryan – (1972-1979)

7/20

Wed.

Texas

Gary Pettis – (1982-1987)

7/21

Thu.

Texas

Kirk McCaskill – (1985-1991)

8/2

Tue.

Minnesota

Bert Blyleven – (1989-1992)

8/3

Wed.

Minnesota

Doug DeCinces – (1982-1987)

8/4

Thu.

Minnesota

Ron Jackson – (1975-1978, 1982-84)

8/5

Fri.

Seattle

Frank Tanana – (1973-1980)

8/6

Sat.

Seattle

Fred Lynn – (1981-1984)

8/7

Sun.

Seattle

Geoff Zahn -(1981-1985)

8/15

Mon.

Texas

Brian Downing – (1978-90)

8/16

Tue.

Texas

Buck Rodgers – (1961-1969, 1991-1994)

8/17

Wed.

Texas

Gary DiSarcina – (1989-2001)

8/18

Thu.

Texas

Bobby Knoop – (1964-1969, 1979-1996)

8/19

Fri.

Baltimore

Jarrod Washburn – (1998-2005)

8/20

Sat.

Baltimore

Bobby Grich – (1977-1986)

8/21

Sun.

Baltimore

Darin Erstad – (1996-2006)

8/23

Tue.

Chicago

Jim Anderson – (1978-1979)

8/24

Wed.

Chicago

Rudy Meoli – (1971, 1973-1975)

9/2

Fri.

Minnesota

Brendan Donnelly – (2002-2006)

9/3

Sat.

Minnesota

Dick Schofield – (1983-92, 1996)

9/4

Sun.

Minnesota

Rob Wilfong – (1982-1986)

9/5

Mon.

Seattle

Ken Forsch – (1981-1986)

9/6

Tue.

Seattle

Jeff DaVanon – (2001-2005) & Jerry DaVanon – (1973)

9/7

Wed.

Seattle

Dave Winfield – (1990-1991)

9/9

Fri.

New York

Reggie Jackson – (1982-1986)

9/10

Sat.

New York

Mick Keller – (1982)

9/11

Sun.

New York

TBA

9/23

Fri.

Oakland

Rick Burleson – (1981-1986)

9/24

Sat.

Oakland

Joe Rudi – (1977-1980)

9/25

Sun.

Oakland

Bill Stoneman – (1974, 1999-2008)

9/26

Mon.

Texas

Jim Eppard – (1987-1989)

9/27

Tue.

Texas

TBA

9/28

Wed.

Texas

Tom Satriano – (1961-1969)

*Subject to change without notice

 

The Angels will also use a special 50th anniversary commemorative baseballs during all home games for the entire season.

 

The Angels have a lot to look forward to this season, hopefully we can add another World Series Championship this year to magnify the beauty of the 50th anniversary celebration go Angels!

 

-ICE

Angels 50th Anniversary Red Hat, Check; Angels Red Authentic Jersey, Check; Red Sox, Not so Much

I’ve been a fan of the Angels for about 29 years, I have gone to numerous games but never in my lifetime could I ever imagine that a home game would ever feel like a road game. Yesterday I attended my first Angels’ game versus the Boston Red Sox ever, it really felt like a road game rather than a home game. I often wonder how many Red Sox’ fans were actually from Boston or had ties to Boston? To that burning question I decided to do some investigating, I approached five Boston Red Sox’ fans that were around my seating area last night. In casual conversation, I progressively built up to the question, “what ties you to the Red Sox? Are you or your family from Boston?” Not surprisingly, four out of the five people that I had conversations with said they were born and raised in the Los Angeles metropolitan area; they had no ties to Boston whatsoever, they hadn’t even thought about going to visit Boston, nor had they ever been to Boston. The one person that was, had a thick Bostonian accent and moved to Southern California because of a job opportunity. I realize that my small investigation yesterday is a very small sample and would never hold up as a legitimate scientific experiment.

 

I honestly don’t get it. I genuinely believe that we were actually outnumbered by the bandwagon Boston fans last night. After talking to an usher, who is a good friend of mine, he stated that it’s even worse when the New York Yankees come to town. How can a East Coast team out number a team on the West Coast in their home venue?

 

To the credit of Los Angeles Dodgers’ fans, at least they are only 35 miles north of Angel Stadium most of them either make the trip to Anaheim or are Dodgers’ fans that live in Orange County, most with the rich family tradition that stems back to the Fernando Valenzuela years, and when we play the Dodgers it has a rich playoff like atmosphere, it always feels evenly split never does one go outnumbered. It is a genuine and fun game because for the most part this stadium is full of genuine fans from both sides that have followed their beloved teams for as long as they can remember. I did not get that feeling from the game last night, it felt synthetic, manufactured, and not genuine.

 

I do not understand the bandwagon concept.  I cannot fathom cheering for a team that I do not feel I have ties to or a strong connection. Good or bad, winners or losers, I will always be an Angels’ fan. I feel the same about Angels’ bandwagon fans that have followed the team since 2002 but don’t know any of the Halos’ history prior to that. I remember what it’s like to not make the playoffs, I remember what it’s like to finish 41 games out of first place, I remember what it’s like to be the source of everyone’s baseball jokes, I remember what it’s like to have a Disney movie “Angels in the Outfield” poke fun at the team that one dearly loves. I remember what it’s like to be one strike away from their first American League pennant and then lose it all to these same Red Sox.

 

I will always have a healthy respect for those fans that have ties with the city that a certain major league team represents. Regardless of whether they were transplanted, their family has ties to that particular city, whether they still reside there or they have childhood memories of living in that city and watching the games as small children with the people they love. Those fans I will always respect, and they will always be welcomed into Halo Heaven, also known as Angel Stadium. Bandwagon fans, not so much.

 

-ICE

The Angels’ Bats Will No Longer Include Ones Made of Wood

The Angels crushed the Texas Rangers tonight 15 runs 4, the Angels have tied the Rangers for first place in the American League West. The Angels plan to activate Erick Aybar from the disabled list Wednesday, the Halos have finally designated infielder Brandon Wood for assignment effectively ending his tenure with the Angels. If he goes unclaimed by the other major league teams then you will have the option to accept the minor league assignment offered by the Angels, or decline and effectively become a free agent. I sincerely wish Brandon well, perhaps a change of scenery might help his career. He just never seemed to be comfortable in Anaheim, I don’t know whether that was due to the Angels’ system, their philosophy, or something else.

 

I am relatively happy with the move it’s something that needed to be done, I’ve questioned the Angels insistence on making them part of the team since last season, I suggested in one of my earlier entries that the Angels would have been better off to include them in one of the trade packages in order to get some value for him, or at the very least some cash considerations. I sincerely wish the situation would have played out differently but unfortunately for Brandon and the Angels it was not meant to be. Brandon Wood was a first-round pick by the Angels in 2003, he had huge potential but never really lived up to the expectation of the fans and the organization. I wish Brandon Wood the best. Go Angels!

 

-ICE

Hunger for a World Series Championship Is Reborn in the Hungry Halos

What a difference a year makes, the Angels don’t look like the team they were a year ago, they look very hungry, non-complacent and ready to reclaim what’s rightfully theirs; the American League West championship. Maybe this is exactly what he needed, being a three-time defending American League West champions may have caused them to get a little too comfortable in that position. They were lacking the drive and the hunger to succeed last year.

 

Maybe it was the bullpen as everyone remembers the Angels collapse started with the bullpen last year. That translated into offensive fatigue add to that the injury to Kendrys Morales in early May, and one has a recipe for disaster.

 

Not making the playoffs last year seemed to really affect the Angels by reinstalling hunger for success, they kept veterans that were the leaders of the club last year such as Torii Hunter, Jared Weaver, Dan Haren, and infused some youth into the team, such as Hank Conger, Mark Trumbo, and Jordan Walden. The perfect mix of leadership and youth seems to be paying off. It is this mixture of talent that has allowed the Angels to put together a five game winning streak while at the same time mollifying the great start by the Texas Rangers.

 

As of yesterday they were both tied for first place in the American League West, the Angels lost 7 runs to 1; everybody who follows baseball knows that teams are going to win some, and they’re going to lose some. What concerns me at this point is not the win loss record because I strongly believe that the Rangers can and will be beat, I wonder to the condition of our starting rotation, he’ll fit their reorganization of bullpen seem to work and offense seems to have found their groove without Kendrys Morales. The starting rotation however will need work, which Joel Piñeiro out with an injury, the Angels are unable at this point to really assess what the starting rotation will look like. I hope they both are able to play very soon.

 

It is very intriguing how the Angels have managed to construct the beginnings of a catcher controversy between Hank Conger and Jeff Mathis, according to an article in the Los Angeles Times a few days ago Mathis requested a closed-door meeting with Angels’ manager Mike Scioscia regarding his playing time, I fail to see the controversy, Hank Conger is a young, hungry, enthusiastic, power hitter that is ready to help the Angels on both the offensive and defensive side of the ball. Mathis on the other hand, has been a sub . 200 hitter, in his career granted, he is an above average defensive catcher, but Conger is equal to Mathis on the defensive side, and is clearly better on the offensive side. Jeff Mathis is a good backup catcher, he has had an opportunity to prove himself the last few years, he hasn’t, so it’s time to make room for someone I can do the job for this team.

 

The Angels having no glaring holes at this point, but they do need to address certain small issue before they become good eye problems. Overall, the Angels were a far cry from the team they were last year. I believe that they will do great things; although it is a long shot I do believe with a few tweaks in the problem areas this team has the talent to win the World Series. Go Angels!

 

-ICE

Will the Angels’ Bullpen be a “Royal” Pain This Season?

Opening day, the crack of the bat, the smell of the grass, and the pop of a baseball snapping against a leather glove. Three games into the season, and the Angels are already 1-2. It is still extremely early. So to say that doomsday is coming is a little rash. However, for those that remember 2010 the Angels’ collapse began with the bullpen, granted I realize that the Angels have started the season with four players on the disabled list which two of them are pitchers; Joel Piñeiro  a starter, and Scott Downs a reliever. Regardless of who is on the disabled list, the Angels bullpen should be able to hold a lead given to them by stellar performances by the starting pitchers. In the opening game, Jared Weaver was spectacular and the bullpen was able to do its job on that particular day, since then it’s been the Angels’ bullpen who have blown relatively easy mathematical victories the last two games. First, a walk off home run given up by Michael Kohn yesterday, and then today the run given up by Kevin Jepsen which gave the Kansas City Royals the victory five runs to four.

It is becoming apparent that the Angels are faced with uncertainty in the bullpen this season. Will the bullpen be able to hold leads that a much improved Angel offense provides? Will the bullpen be able to help the starting rotation’s record accurately reflect how good the starting rotation will be this season? Who will be the Angels’ closer? Fernando Rodney? Who has looked pretty shaky so far this season, Michael Kohn? Jordan Walden? Rich Thompson? Hisanori Takahashi? Jason Bulger? I realize it’s still very early in the season, in Mike Scioscia is still trying to put the team together, however, with the exception of Walden and Takashi I haven’t seen anybody in the Angels bullpen that can reassure me that the game is ours.

The question thus becomes can the bullpen get it together before our stellar rotation or our hot bats and our Gold glove outfield defense cools off? Torii Hunter has recovered his power, much of that has to do with the acquisition of Vernon Wells both guys have me excited mutually on the offensive and defensive side of the ball. I feel that if we can get our bullpen to work right we should be able to contend for an American League West title this year if not more.

I look forward to writing more about wins this year and what went right, instead of what went wrong. Only time will tell. Go Angels!

-ICE

For Some, the Game of Baseball is More Than Just a Game

The game of baseball means different things to different people, for some it is just a sport that one may watch casually; for others like myself it is much more than just a game. This entry will be a little different, in the sense that it’s not necessarily about the Angels but it’s more about when life intersects sports. I was torn between writing about the subject in my baseball related blog or my personal reflections blog. I finally decided to write it in this blog simply because although this story relates to me, it’s not about me.

 

I don’t talk about this much and this is probably the only time that you will see me make any reference to this in any of my sports blogs, you may read about me making reference to it more in my personal blog but even then there won’t be many references. I have a condition called Cerebral Palsy, and for those of you that don’t know I use a wheelchair. I don’t talk about it much, because I don’t think it defines or should define who I am, I just don’t think it’s really part of the equation, it’s just a variation among different variations. Some people may be tall, short, some people may like baseball some people don’t, and some people use wheelchairs and some people don’t, it’s just a part of life.

 

Cerebral Palsy affects an estimated 500,000 people in the United States alone, with various degrees of severity. Some of us walk with a very minor limp and others have much more restrictive mobility, speech difficulty and so on.

Just like any other human being we have various interests, such as a story that I decided to talk about today, of a diehard baseball fan, a student at Boise State University, 25-year-old Hans Smith; he also has Cerebral Palsy. According to an article on ESPN.com Smith is an unwavering and loyal fan of the Saint Louis Cardinals, and of baseball in general.

 

From what I read Hans has very restrictive mobility and minimal dexterity, it’s been a lifelong dream of his to be a professional baseball player, but due to his condition he has been unable to fulfill that dream. A few years ago he wrote the Sony Corporation the makers of “MLB Baseball, the Show.” He explained to them that he was an avid gamer and he asked them to create a likeness of himself in order for him to “virtually” live his dream. The game developers obliged and created a virtual version of Smith in the 2010 version of the show. For the 2011 version that developers went a step further and created a new setting called the virtual disabled athlete setting; to go along with their rookie, veteran, legend, and Cooperstown difficulty levels. This difficulty setting allows for a person with limited mobility to play the game using only one button, with the CPU taking over for the more complex maneuvers of the game.

 

Although the game already has a way to automate the more complex maneuvers of the game, I applaud Sony for making their games accessible to people with diverse physical conditions. By doing so Sony has demonstrated that it is aware of a often forgotten demographic. I sincerely hope that other video game producers follow Sony’s extraordinary example and make more games accessible and mobility friendly to those people with mobile diversity that also play video games just like any other ambulatory person.

 

It is often said that fantasy imitates life, in this case I believe that fantasy has given one individual an opportunity to win some way to live the life that is always dreamed of, and no one will ever be able to take that away from him. His love for the sport proves that baseball is more than just a game.

-ICE

The Year of the Golden Halo Begins

As the Angels open the 2011 season, fans that I’ve talked to approach this year with a mixed bag of excitement and uncertainty. On the one hand it’s the year of the Golden Halo, the Angels’ 50th Anniversary season and on the other hand the Angels are beginning the season in an unfamiliar place for the first time in recent memory they will not be the defending American League West Champions.

 

For diehard fans like me I don’t mind it much, I remember when the Angels would inevitable losers of the major leagues, the team that everybody made fun of, there was evening we made poking fun at them postulating that only divine intervention would make them winners. Since 2002 obviously that is not the case, the Angels have made a consistent effort not only to be competitive but to also be contenders in the playoffs. Last year was her first bad year in a very long time, fans at him with management were very unhappy with the results and the organization has vowed to improve.

 

The acquisition of Vernon Wells should help a pretty potent outfield is expected this point that the Angels will rely primarily on their farm system to get them through this year. The potential in prospects Mike Trout and Hank Conger is infinite. Hank Conger was the most valuable player of major league baseball’s futures game, Mike Trout has been touted as an impact prospect in the Angels’ system in recent years.

 

The Angels have a huge challenge in front of them this year, primarily how to did defeat Boston this year? With the impact editions that the Red Sox have made such as Carl Crawford among others, I can’t help but wonder how the Angels overcome these challenges and assuming they find a way to defeat Boston how would they handle the team like the Philadelphia Phillies that have one of the best rotations in recent memory? These are issues that the Angels must address.

 

Overall I’m just excited that we are three weeks away from opening day in the baseball regular season, I can not wait for the best sound of the crack of the bat, the slap of the ball against the catcher’s glove, the roar of the crowd, the sound of the vendors yelling at the top of their lungs “get your peanuts here!” Among other sounds unique only to the game of baseball. Go Angels!

-ICE


The State of the Angels Address

For those of you that don’t know, I am a member of the Angels’ Booster Club, our latest meeting was last week. Our guest was Tim Mead the Angels’ Vice President of Communications. I have been a member of the club since last April, and from what I understand Mr. Mead has an annual tradition of participating in the January meeting. He complimented us on being such dedicated and loyal fans; both to the team and the franchise. He talked about the wonderful things to come during the Angels 50th anniversary season. He also talked about how the franchise as a whole was not happy with the results of the 2009-2010 season. He kept his comments brief and immediately opened the floor for questions.

 

Of course, being the inquisitive person and the diehard fan that I am, I immediately asked him about the Angels’ off-season transactions or lack thereof. I told him that I understood the business side of things, but I really wanted to know what actually happened that inhibited the Angels from making an off-season splash. I went on to explain that I understood that during the free agency period you win some, and you lose some, what I didn’t understand is how a franchise can lose them all. I told him I wasn’t comfortable with news reports claiming that the Angels have pulled contract offers away from the negotiation table. I communicated to him that I didn’t like that perception. I don’t mind losing out on free agents as long as we gave it 1000% effort. Mr. Mead explained to me that very lucrative offers were on the table for every free agent that the Angels were interested in, but the problem was that normally free agents don’t communicate with the team until they’ve actually made a decision on which team they will sign with.

 

Really? Although the argument is logical I find it a little hard to believe, perhaps I misunderstood, but I don’t believe that a team in any sport does not communicate with the player between the time that an offer is made and the time that a player makes his decision on who he wants to sign with. They may not communicate directly with the player, but they definitely communicate with a player’s agent. The agent’s goal is to find the most lucrative offer for his client. I find it hard to believe that an agent doesn’t call the team and say for example “the Yankees are willing to give my client $125 million over five years, are the Angels willing to offer a better deal?” That definitely goes on so it’s really not an issue of lack of communication, but it’s an issue of not willing to pay a lot of money because of the financial implications that effect that the franchise as well as the length of the contract. It is my belief that no player no matter how good he is, is worth risking the health of the franchise at any point in time.

 

At the same time, in order to be competitive one needs to improve the team during the off-season. While Mr. Mead and I, are in agreement that a team’s strength is their farm system, not the ability to acquire free agents, there needs to be an effort to be more active in the free-agent market. Yes, we agree that a team’s activity isn’t limited to the off-season and teams can make transactions via trade until July 31. However, the issue with the trade process is that one has to give up talent in order to get talent. In contrast to free agency you get talent by giving them money, and in the game of baseball it’s usually easier to generate money to replace the money one spends, then it is to find legitimate talent via the trade process.. I think both Mr. Mead and I can agree that there is a clear difference between a competitive team and a contending team and we both agree that having the former instead of the latter is not good enough.

 

I’m curious as to people’s opinion, some people may agree with me, and some people may disagree. I just want to know what’s on people’s minds. I would like to close by thanking Mr. Mead for taking the time out of his busy schedule to meet with the booster club. One thing is for certain no matter what difference of opinion we may have about the teams transactions lately; one thing is for sure, we all love the Angels and the ultimate goal of all parties involved is to see them win multiple World Series championships in the near future. Watching Mr. Mead speak reminded me of the president of the United States giving the State of the Union address to Congress. I guess the equivalent would be “The State of the Angels Address”. Go Angels!

-ICE

The Angels Are the Rich Ugly Fat Kid That Is Picked Last, If Picked at All

In my season finale blog I mentioned that I would stay quiet until the start of the regular season unless something big happened during the Major League Baseball winter meetings or at some point during the off-season. Unfortunately my computer broke and I was unable to write sooner than today.

Perhaps that was a blessing in disguise because instead of a knee-jerk reaction I have had a chance to reflect on the Angels off-season transactions or lack thereof.

Since the big-splash signings of Vladimir Guerrero, Bartolo Colon and Kelvim Escobar before 2004, the Angels have become the ugly fat kid that is always picked last if he take all due to his lack of athletic appeal, the Angels have ended up being the aforementioned fat kid in negotiations for Mark Teixeira, CC Sabathia, John Lackey, Chone Figgins and Paul Konerko and in trade talks for Roy Halladay and Miguel Cabrera.

Now the Angels can add Carl Crawford and Cliff Lee to that impressive list. According to sources cited in the Los Angeles Times the Angels were very competitive in the bidding for Crawford, the article goes on to say that it was a very hard decision for him. The reason he cited for Crawford signing with the Boston Red Sox was primarily because he wanted to stay in the American League East. If money wasn’t the issue what is it about the Angels’ organization that Major League Baseball players find unattractive?

It is a complete unknown to me, the Angels are a very attractive franchise with a great coaching staff and a superb owner; why then have they not been able to sign a big-name free agent with the exception of Torii Hunter since 2003? I attribute it to the Angels believing a little bit too much in their philosophy of homegrown talent. Yes, a great farm system is the foundation of an elite team however it is the mix of homegrown talent and market aggressiveness that create a championship team. The Angels in my opinion don’t believe in themselves and therefore project that insecurity to potential free agents, in essence they believe themselves to be that ugly fat kid that has rich parents and believes that he can buy friends just by throwing money at them. Until they change that perception of themselves don’t look for the Angels to sign any key free agents in the near future. They are not who they seem to believe themselves to be; they are better than that.

Up until last year we were the three-time defending American League West champions, granted all the injuries that we had last year hurt the team, not necessarily because of who was out, but because of the timing of those injuries. All the while the fan base myself included are very upset, we are the ones who spend our money to go watch billionaires employ millionaires to play a child’s game. The least any franchise can do is to try to put a winning product on the field.

The Angels have drawn over 3 million fans a season the last few years. The Angels’ attendance is only second to that of the New York Yankees; so it would be prudent for the Angels to at least pursue someone and if they fail, at least fail knowing that they gave it all they had; for example, before Cliff Lee agreed to a contract with the Philadelphia Phillies, the Angels’ General Manager to was quoted as saying that he was content with the pitching staff and he didn’t foresee the Angels making any moves to improve their pitching any further than what they already had at that point. Really? They are content with the contract signings of Scott Downs and Hisanori Takahashi? The latter player has me thinking that he will be the next Brian Fuentes, we all remember how that turned out; I would be surprised if he wasn’t booed out of the stadium like Brian was. How the signing of those two players come anywhere close to signing a caliber player like Cliff Lee?

There is an old adage that defense wins championships; that still holds true signing Lee would’ve only helped the Angels especially since our bullpen was one of the worst in the major leagues last season, and it was the collapse of the bullpen that started the Angels downfall. Cliff Lee joining the Angels would have bolstered an already strong starting rotation, in turn the Angels wouldn’t of had to rely on the bullpen as much and negate any weaknesses that the offense would’ve had especially since they were unable to sign a caliber player like Carl Crawford.

With all that being said I’m glad that the organization does not spend their money recklessly, however give the Angels’ fans something to look forward to! This upcoming season is our 50th anniversary season. The Angels needed to make an impact, they clearly didn’t. I expected them to make the 50th anniversary season a memorable one Which they are, but for all the wrong reasons.

-ICE

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