March 2012

Yu Darvish, Don’t Be Blinded by Albert Pujols’ Shiny New Halo

Let the gamesmanship begin, the Angels and the Texas Rangers started the game of one upmanship during the off-season. The Texas Rangers made it to the World Series two years in a row as the American League representative. The Angels responded by signing Albert Pujols to a 10 year contract, then delivering a crippling blow to the Texas Rangers by swiping their ace C. J. Wilson. The Rangers countered by bidding, winning, and singing Japanese phenom Yu Darvish, and now both teams are playing poker; neither team wanting to give away the hand that they strategically have. Both Wilson and Darvish were scheduled to face off during today’s spring training game. Alas, we will have to wait until the regular season and see the skills of the phenom from the land of the rising Sun, compete against the Halo.

Can it be a Rangers are just a little bit nervous in regards to the power of Pujols and the damage he can do in a hitters park like Rangers Ballpark in Arlington? Are they afraid that Albert Pujols will somehow tarnish Darvish? I think it’s neither, the Rangers are very wisely saving their aces until the games count, they want to win this poker game so they won’t keep their collective poker face on the table for as long as they can. The American League West will come down to a wild West style shootout. Where I believe the Halo war is from the ashes, and once again claim was rightfully theirs; the American League West Championship.

I don’t believe this sparring match will end in the regular season. Don’t be surprised if the American League wild card comes out of the American League West. I don’t believe the Rangers will go away that easy. But then again, neither will the Angels. I strongly believe that the American League West in the American League East are the two strongest divisions in baseball right now, and I don’t think one should pencil in the Yankees or the Red Sox or for that matter the Rangers just yet. The Angels will have a lot to say about how the postseason turns out before this is over. And when we look back at the 2012 season, at least for the Angels and Rangers the games began well before opening day, they began during spring training March 2012.

-ICE

Kendrys Morales and the Comeback Kids

Baseball in the post-steroid era, this is a very interesting time to be a baseball fan because one hears stories about 50 and 100 game suspensions due to drug violations a player missing time because of a violation is expected. However, when a player misses time because of injury, one anxiously anticipates that players return; especially when said player brings power to a lineup, and quite possibly his absence explains the reason why misses the postseason two years in a row.

This is the case for the Angels and Kendrys Morales, Morales was back in the lineup yesterday after nearly a two-year absence; he went two for three and seemed to move on the basis very well. In particular, he moved from first base to third base on a play very fluidly. Will Morales ever be 100%? If he does return to form his power combined with that of Albert Pujols, Mark Trumbo, and a possibly a resurgent Vernon Wells, the Angels are sure to be an offensive juggernaut.

It will be interesting to see how teams will adapt to Kendrys’ switch hitting power, or if he will even have the same hitting power at all. There is great uncertainty, yet great anticipation of what this player will be able to contribute to his team. Will he be able to relax knowing that with Pujols, Trumbo, and Wells in the lineup is power will not have to carry this team? Or will it be a competition between the heavy hitters in the lineup? PTMW can possibly be a powerful force for the Halos and this is without considering what Torii Hunter will bring to the table.

This looks like is shaping up to be a very fun season, so I invite you to join me during this baseball journey of 2012 in routing and supporting the Angels. We are about a week away from Opening Day, contrary to what people may say about football; baseball truly is America’s pastime.

-ICE

Scrappy Doo and Pujols Too

Growing up as a kid in the 1980s was a really fun time. Watching Gilligan’s Island, He-Man, and Scooby Doo was all a kid could really ask for. In the later episodes of Scooby Doo they introduced a character named Scrappy Doo, Scooby Doo as pint size nephew who was small in stature but had the heart of a lion. Scrappy had a phrase “puppy power” when he was about to embark on something that may be over his head.

Curiously this cartoon reminds me of Angels baseball in a way; the phrase “puppy power” can now be replaced with “Pujols Power” unlike scrappy, there’s nothing small about Albert Pujols but I think juxtaposing these two images is appropriate because I think the rest of Major League Baseball is in over their heads with this entire Angels team.

Granted, I understand that it’s only spring training but we have already seen what Pujols Power can do, he is already belted three Home Runs in this preseason, and I am not talking little dinky shots either, I’m talking about mammoth Home Runs. For those of you that have not had the opportunity to really check out what Pujols has done this preseason I invite you to take a look:

Pujols’ Solo Home Run

I’m curious how the American League is going to deal with Albert Pujols, are we going to see teams treat him like Barry Bonds during his time with the San Francisco Giants? While they pitch around him? Or will teams take their chances and pitch to him? How will the Texas Rangers pitch to him in their ballpark? Since the ballpark in Arlington is a hitters park. It will be interesting to see what happens during the course of the season.

Tomorrow the Angels face the hated Los Angeles Dodgers, with Pujols back in the lineup, will they avenge the ugly 9-1 loss of a few days ago? It’s a great time to be a baseball fan, and an Angels’ fan in particular. Go Angels!

-ICE

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