September 2012

The Angels Versus the A’s: the Rich Rivalry Possibly Renewed

Let me get this straight, as of tonight there are three American League West teams contending for two playoff spots…. Wow! What a crazy baseball season this is. The Halos find themselves on the outside looking in, with the loss of tonight’s second game of the doubleheader and the Athletics winning; the Angels must win out the remaining three games of the season and rely on the Rangers who already secured at least a wild-card berth to sweep the A’s in the last series of the season.

The introduction of the new wild-card system guaranteed game 163 every year as two teams duke it out in a play in game to determine which team would represent the American League wild-card. Who knew that we would see a potential game 164 to select the participants in game 163, and the survivor would be the wild-card? Wow… that’s the view baseball it allows excitement until the very end. Although the Angels are on the outside looking in and now it’s very unlikely that they will make a postseason appearance, I have always been of the mindset that I rather be eliminated from contention in early October than in late July.

However as of tonight being does have done that they have survived, and in the unlikely event that the chips fall in their proper places the Angels and the A’s gnome each other once again, this time with everything on the line. Yes, the Rangers are very good, but there’s something about the red and green rivalry that lights the fire in the pit of the stomach of fans from both sides. California’s two American League franchise battling each other for the right to live another day. I know it’s very unlikely, but the fact that this new playoff system created this condition is a good thing.

Let’s hope that the Angels have three consecutive wins left in them in that Texas and organization that is still competing for the American League West championship, is able to sweep the A’s.

-ICE

The Angels’ Wild-Card Deck Contains Hunters Instead of Jokers

The Angels proved last night that they are still in the hunt for a Red October. Torii Hunter must be re-signed by the Angels next season! I don’t care what the Angels’ organization has to do, he must wear a halo next season! Give him a two year contract, a two-year contract with the club and player option after the first year. Give him whatever you need to within reason to make sure he wears red next year! He deserves a ring. I would hate to see him go to the Rangers much like Vladimir Guerrero did when the Angels thought it he had nothing left. The Rangers signing Vladimir came back to bite us, let’s not make the same mistake with Torii Hunter.

It is said that a picture is worth 1000 words, so I will let the pictures finish the remaining 2000 words of this entry.

Credit: Major League Baseball, http://www.Angels.com

Credit: Major League Baseball, http://www.Angels.com


-ICE

The Angels Must Draw an Ace, and Beat a King to Have a Chance at a Wildcard

It’s the homestretch of the 2012 baseball season, and the Angels find themselves in the thick of things in the American League Wild Card race. They are a season-high 16 games over .500 but still face an uphill battle to win the wildcard even if they run the table the rest of the season. The American League West is proving to be the toughest division in baseball. The Angels are 16 games over the .500 mark yet find themselves six games out of the American League West title.

There is a possibility although unlikely, that if the Baltimore Orioles falter and fall out of wild-card contention there may be three American League West teams with a chance to go to the postseason the Angels, the Athletics, and the Rangers, the American League West is a tough division. People may say that the toughest division in baseball is the American League East but the way the postseason is shaping up that maybe no longer true. It is going to take at least 90 maybe 91 wins to win this division, in order to do so the Angels must go 5-3 in the remaining games to get to 90 and 6-2 to get to 91 wins.

The American League wild card race as well as the American League West division race is tight. As I was going to bed after listening to last night’s Angels’ game that post season situation reminded me of a poker game. I’m not much of a gambler and I very rarely play poker. But I thought describing the remaining season in poker terms might be fun since baseball jargon and poker jargon have a lot of similarities.

Texas Hold ‘EM

The Angels boast a spectacular record, although they need help, so the Halos are “all in” playing “Texas Hold ‘EM” as in they must rely on the Texas Rangers to hold the Oakland A’s at bay and drop them out of wild-card contention. Although we sweep it is no longer possible the Rangers must be able to take the remaining games from the Athletics in order to make room for the Angels.

The Flop

The Angels have done well on the flop so far, sweeping the White Sox and taking the first game yesterday against the Seattle Mariners. When the Angels look At the cards they must hope that that they have and “ace” type quality performance from tonight’s starter C. J. Wilson to counteract the “King” that the Mariners hold in their hand as in King Félix Hernández.

The Turn

The turn must be kind to Angels, as the Angels are only 2 games out of the second wild-card spot and 2 1/2 games out of the first wild-card spot the Angels need at least a sweep of the Mariners and take two out of three from the Rangers, or vice versa to be considered a contender for the wildcard. It is this “turn” of events that the Angels need to be successful.

The River

For the River, the Angels need to win as many games as they can, from my perspective they can only afford to lose one more game the rest of the season. I know it is highly unlikely but stranger things have happened in baseball. The Orioles might falter altogether and the division and both wild-card spots would be occupied by teams from the American League West. Success on the turn will not matter if it they can’t sustain their winning ways on the river. The Halos must hope that a wild-card is there once the community cards are dealt. As fans, we’ll just have to wait and see if a wild-card with a Halo is in the deck.

-ICE

Brooms Sweep the White Sox into the Heavenly Hamper

The hunt for red October continues, the Angels swept the Chicago White Sox with a 4-2 victory. Jared Weaver was a masterful, winning his American league-leading 19th game of the season, on his way hopefully to a 2012 Cy Young Award.

The Angels potentially can collect their fair share of hardware, Jared Weaver in my opinion is the leading candidate for this Cy Young Award, and Mike Trout is a surefire American League Rookie of the Year. His numbers are so astronomical the season, that it’s hard to imagine anyone else in the American League claiming that award and depending on how the Angels finish and if they make the playoffs, Mike Trout may be in the running for the American League Most Viable Player Award. He may be able to add an American League Gold Glove based on his spectacular play in Center Field this year.

It’s late September, and as I mentioned before it will be an uphill battle for the Angels to be able to punch your ticket into the postseason party. With nine games left play, the Angels find themselves 3 1/2 games back of the first Wild Card position and 2 1/2 games back of the second Wild Card position. With only one game separating the Oakland A’s and the Baltimore Orioles.

The A’s start a four-game series with the Texas Rangers tomorrow while the Angels have their last off day of the season. Strangely enough the rivalry that I’ve been craving for all year, the Angels versus the A’s is indirectly happening. I reluctantly find myself rooting for the Texas Rangers to defeat the A’s to knock them out at wild-card contention and allow the Angels to replace the A’s or the Orioles in one of two Wild Card spots. See the Angels in the playoffs is sweet but to deny the A’s a playoff berth would be even sweeter.

I’m also reluctantly willing to concede the AL West to the Texas Rangers if that allows the Angels to punch their ticket into the postseason. After all, the only thing needed to be eligible to win a World Series is to be invited to the party.

However the Angels are treading in dangerous waters, let us suppose a Texas Rangers clinch too early, they may decide to rest their players for the postseason, since even if the A’s are somehow able to surpass the Rangers and when the American League West. The Rangers are already guaranteed at least a Wild Card berth since at this point they would virtually have to lose all the games on the remaining schedule to be left out.

Another interesting scenario arises in my mind, let us suppose although unlikely, that the Orioles somehow have a monumental collapse and somehow drop out of contention for the American League Wild Card. One would be left with three teams from the American League West fighting for an invitation to the playoffs.

All this predicated of course on the Angels winning the vast majority of their remaining games. Although this is very difficult I have faith that they can do it. I truly believe that they can somehow punched their ticket, and once invited, I sincerely believe that they have the talent and the firepower to win their second World Series in franchise history. It’ll be exciting to see if the postseason includes a Halo.

-ICE

Monkeys and Fish Are Part of the Angels’ Tradition and Legacy

As a fan, it is difficult if not near impossible to lose faith in one’s team. Such is the case for the Angels this year; with 10 games to play they find themselves only three games out of the American League Wild Card play in game due to the loss of the Oakland Athletics to the New York Yankees.

The Angels are contending until the end. The play of Jared Weaver, Zack Greinke, Albert Pujols, and Torii Hunter are influential factors in the success of the Halos. With the win yesterday the Angels secured themselves a winning season no matter the outcome; whether they make the postseason or not.

Monkeys and Fish have become part of the Angels’ tradition and legacy. Who can forget the influence of the Rally Monkey during the 2002 World Series run. The Angels led the major leagues in comeback wins. The Rally Monkey supplied Angels’ fans with energy, and the Angels team fed off the energy that ultimately helped them win the 2002 World Series. 2002 was also a memorable year for Tim Salmon, “Mr. Angel” or as Angels’ fans lovingly refer to him “The King Fish” the only Angel in team history to spend his entire career in Anaheim. The Angels success has been often predicated and associated with different species of fish.

As stated above there are many players who are influential in the Angels success this season. None more than Angels rookie Mike Trout who should easily win the American League Rookie of the Year, and depending on whether the Angels make the playoffs he should be in consideration for the American League Most Valuable Player award. The description as Trout as a phenom is very accurate, his phenomenal numbers include a .326 Batting Average, 28 Home Runs, 78 Runs Batted in, 46 Stolen Bases and a .395 On-Base Percentage. Phenomenal numbers by any stretch of the imagination, for a rookie or a veteran.

I sincerely hope the Angels re-sign veteran Torii Hunter regardless of the log jam in the Angels’ outfield. He is the heart and soul of this team, and deserves is a generally shot at a World Series championship. He is definitely interested in returning to the team; and I for one, would love to have him back. He has a career-high .305 Batting Average with 84 Runs Batted in, and he is also a great humanitarian and I am proud to have him as a member of the Angels. He is also one of my personal all-time persons.

With 10 games to play the Angels are in the thick of the postseason race, let’s hope my next post is one of us celebratory nature, rather than one that looks forward to the 2013 season.

-ICE

Rally Monkeys with Halos Are Swinging from Oak Trees, This Time With a Broom

How ironic, in my last entry I wrote about the Angels versus the Athletics and for this entry I will do the same thing. As I mentioned in my last entry, I went home to Southern California to take care of some family matters. As such, I was unable to write any entries when my home because I lack the technology necessary for example the voice recognition software in order for me to type at home. Now, in addition to my desktop I now have a laptop which will allow me to write entries from home whenever I go to see the Angels live. So the amount of time between entries whenever I go home should be minimized.

I think that not being able to write for a few weeks was a blessing in disguise. I went home to see the Angels play the Cleveland Indians; a game in which they lost. The Halos went on to lose the series against the Indians who took two out of three from the Angels. The Angels went on the road only to be swept by the Tampa Bay Rays, and lose two out of three games against the Tigers in Detroit. It was quite a free fall and I honestly thought that although they were not mathematically eliminated from postseason contention, I believed at that point that their poor play created a daunting task that they might not overcome. There were a lot of things on my mind at that point regarding my beloved team. I just could not write my thoughts down.

It was really frustrating not to be one who express myself at that point about this team, but like I said, I think it was a blessing in disguise. Since then the Halos took the three-game series against the Mariners, swept the A’s in Oakland and came back home to sweep the Tigers. After all this, the Angels find themselves only six games behind the Texas Rangers for that division lead and one game out of the American League Wild Card. With a big series starting tonight against the A’s in Anaheim and a big series against the Rangers at home with three games against the Royals in Kansas City sandwiched in between these two big series.

If the Angels can only continue their sweeping ways against Oakland and the Rangers and take two out of three from the Royals the Angels could quite possibly being the mix for the American League West division title again. I am well aware that this is a tall order for the Angels but they have demonstrated especially with their play as of late, that they are quite capable of being the team the Angels’ fan base expected them to be. The Rally Monkey must be wide awake with his broom in hand and continue his sweeping ways in order to help the Angels into the postseason.

-ICE

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