Results tagged ‘ Angels Baseball 50th Anniversary ’

Jared Weaver “Weaves” a No-Hitter

Yesterday morning I was formulating a blog entry that I was supposed to write before last night’s game. I was going to talk about mainly about the perceived turnaround that the Angels have been making, as well as a missed opportunity that I believe the Angels squandered with Jorge Cantú who chose to opt out of his contract because the Angels decided not to use him at the major league level.

However all that went out the window last night because Jared Weaver masterfully orchestrated a no-hitter! The first one at home since the combined no-hitter of Mike Witt and Mark Langston. It is also the second no-hitter in two consecutive years going back to last year when Ervin Santana produced a no-hitter against Cleveland last summer in Cleveland. This time the victim was the Minnesota Twins.

I believe that this one however in my eyes is much more special, for starters Jared Weaver is a local kid. He grew up a Dodgers’ fan went to a local university, he attended Long Beach State, he was also coached by his father during his formative Little League years so it was only fitting that his father, his mother, and his wife were present during this history making event. The no-hitter was in doubt to the very end, until the last fly ball of the ninth inning was caught by Torii Hunter to cement history. It’s a great time to be an Angels’ fan, we recently have hosted an All-Star game, celebrated our 50th anniversary, and now deservedly so we are celebrating a special player in Jared Weaver.

Congratulations to Jared Weaver, his friends and family, and the Angels fan base; together, we witnessed history, for those of you that missed it, I’ve included links to the videos provided courtesy of Major League Baseball and both my Facebook and Twitter feeds, enjoy! Go Angels!

-ICE

The Synopsis of the Angels 50th Anniversary Season, at a Glance

The dog fights of summer, sometimes they win, and sometimes you lose. Unfortunately for the Angels they came up with a short end of the bat this year. They were officially a limited from playoff contention on September 26, 2011. However, like I mentioned to my friends and in previous entries; I much rather be eliminated in late September with three games to go than in early to mid August.


As fans we have a lot to look forward to, the return of Kendrys Morales, contributions from my pick for American League rookie of the year; Mark Trumbo, Mike Trout, and contributions from our veterans like Torii Hunter who was hurt in the beginning of the season hence limiting his contribution. We’ll must not forget Vernon Wells, who unlike many Angels’ fans; he has not lost my support and I still maintain that he will be an excellent contributor in the future. The problem is that many Halo fans expected him to make an immediate impact. Some people can, and some people can’t, I for one am willing to cut him a little slack.

 

Torii Hunter, I heard his interview on the Jim Rome show a few days ago, he stated that when his contract is up with the Angels at the end of the 2012 season, he would love to re-sign with the Angels. He loves Southern California, he wants to play for a contender, but above all he loves their fan base in Anaheim. A lot of his critics say he is too old, that we need to get younger. I unequivocally and vehemently disagree, Torii Hunter is one of the greatest influences on this wonderful team, it would be a travesty if the Angels do not retain him. He is not only a great player, he is a great leader in the locker room, and above all what I most admire about him is that he is a great humanitarian, in a very loyal player to his team; I’ve been told by people who I met at Angel games that he is very fan friendly. I personally have not had the pleasure of meeting him yet, but I hope I have an opportunity to change that very soon.

 

Now for some random thoughts about the off-season, there are some key free agents that the Angels might want to take a look at this off-season. I am principally speaking about Prince Fielder and Albert Pujols, the Angels should definitely consider signing one of those two players. However, as much as I would like a big bat, I think that the Halos would benefit more from a solid starting pitcher that they can add to the rotation to accompany Jared Weaver, Dan Haren, and Ervin Santana. There is an old adage, “Defense wins championships” I am a strong believer in that, because it really doesn’t matter how strong the Angels offense is, if we can not keep the opposing offense from scoring.

 

The bullpen must also be addressed, our middle relievers were atrocious this year, the Angels would be best served if they let Fernando Rodney walk away from the organization. Clearly a change of scenery would do both parties well, Rodney was unhappy with his role for most of the season. I believe he did not play into his role to earn further consideration; therefore, he must be given no further opportunities, my points fit verbatim for Jeff Mathis he has to go.

 

Well, as always it’s been a pleasure to write for you about the team that I love. This is the end of the Angels’ 50th Anniversary Season.  it would have been great to have the season capped off with a World Series Championship, however that was not to be. But as I mentioned before, I would rather go down fighting with three games to go, than to be eliminated in mid August.

-ICE

Can Three Aces, A Few Offensive Jacks, and a Wildcard Give the Angels a Winning Poker Hand in the Upcoming World Series of Baseball?

Well here we are, there is seven games left to play in the regular season; and the dogfights for October are in full swing. The teams in the thick of their respective pennant races have reached full throttle; such is the case for the Angels as of today they are 5  games back from the division leading Texas Rangers, however, they are only 2 1/2 back out of the American League wild-card race.

 

There seems to be no stopping the Texas Rangers, when the Angels win, the Rangers also win. In effect, making it progressively more difficult for the Angels to win the division, due to the fact that all that’s happening is that the amount of games to be played a shrinking, and the need of having to rely on other teams make the Rangers have an epic melt down, which doesn’t seem to be happening.

 

What’s left for the Angels? Well, they are still very much alive in the American League wild card race. They are only 2 1/2 games behind the Boston Red Sox, and tied with Tampa Bay for second place in the wild-card race. The Angels must keep winning and hope they get some help from of all teams the New York Yankees whose remaining schedule is exclusively against the Boston Red Sox and the Tampa Bay Rays. It has it yet to be seen if this is even a remote possibility because with the Yankees clinching the American League East yesterday, expect them to start resting their players for their playoff run. Unless the Yankees’ substitutes can somehow pull it off, I don’t see how the Yankees supplementary players can match up against the starters of either the Red Sox or the Rays; especially considering that both teams very much want the postseason for themselves, and are not going to quit.

 

Who knows, stranger things have happened that’s the beauty of baseball. And for the Angels in particular it’s happened before, in 2002 the Angels had their worst start in franchise history, they recovered, while the Oakland Athletics won a Major League Baseball record 20 games in a row, the Athletics seemed unstoppable; like the 2011 Texas Rangers the Athletics were counting down magic numbers and their clinching the division was only a matter of time, but somehow the Athletics lost their division series against the Minnesota Twins and their division championship was all for not, while the Angels as a wildcard, defeated the New York Yankees, defeated the Minnesota Twins, and virtually came back from the dead against the San Francisco Giants in one of the greatest comebacks in World Series history, to win the 2002 World Series and become World Series Champions and as they say, the rest is history.

 

So who’s to say we can’t do it again? Especially with a team that we now have? We have spectacular pitching in Jared Weaver, Dan Haren, and Ervin Santana. In a five-game series we can virtually be anybody especially the New York Yankees since the Angels seem to be known around baseball as Yankee killers since we are the only team that holds a winning all-time record against the Yankees, in Major League Baseball.

 

Yes, it’s going to be a difficult road, nothing is for certain, but this is not a road the Angels have not been down before. The hunt for a red October begins, the Angels were the first team in Major League Baseball history to win the World Series as a wildcard. The Angels may find a way to do it again. May the shadows of 2002 a company them and aid them in their quest for a second World Series title. How special would it be not only unexpectedly won the World Series as a wildcard yet again, but also complete the journey during their 50th Anniversary Season. I know it’s a long shot, but like any true fan would think as long as  they are alive in the playoff race anything and everything is possible. Go Angels! Let’s light up the Halo and put a Halo over this upcoming World Series.

 

-ICE

The Freeway Series: More Than Simply a Battle for Interstate 5, a Battle to DefineTradition

In my last entry I referred to inter-league play as baseball’s Christmas, as fun as  inter-league play can be, nothing compares to the pageantry that is the Freeway Series.  I know I’m a little late in commenting about the Freeway Series especially since the Angels just swept the Washington Nationals; but on the other hand, this is the perfect time to comment since I can reflect on the first half of the series since I’m writing on the eve of the second half of the series. Writing during the midpoint facilitates the ability to juxtapose what went on against what to expect.

 

The Angels all-time record against the hated Dodgers is 48 to 35 favoring the Angels since their first meeting during the regular season on July 17, 1997 the inaugural year of inter-league play, to me, as an Angels’ fan, that is a beautiful number. Dodgers’ fans often boast that they are the better team just because they have five championships compared to the Angels one Ring. Although I would normally agree that a better team is defined by the of number rings they possess, in the Dodgers’ case, I must wholeheartedly disagree.

 

The Freeway series to me is primarily about the battle over Interstate 5 because the interstate defines California. Interstate 5 runs from Sacramento in the north to San Diego in the South, maybe even beyond (note to self: I must refresh my geography, remember to look it up on Google) Interstate 5 is the main artery that runs through California. California prides itself on tradition whether it’s the fact that California is the sixth largest economy in the world, (yes, California would be able to  function  as a small country on its own.) Or it’s wonderful whether, or even still defining its own moments in history, like landmark court cases and historical movements that often defines the course of history for the United States. Interstate 5 connects Anaheim to Los Angeles the two cities are only about 35 miles apart. The Freeway Series is about the battle for the heart and soul of Southern California. It’s about Orange County versus Los Angeles County, Universal Studios versus Disneyland, Santa Monica versus Huntington Beach, LAX versus John Wayne Airport, but most importantly it’s a battle to define tradition.

 

The Los Angeles Dodgers were originally the Brooklyn Dodgers who had a long standing rivalry with the New York Giants or now the San Francisco Giants. When both teams were imported to California, their rivalry was imported with them so that specific rivalry began in New York not Southern California. When those two teams get together they are simply rekindling something that they started in New York if one thinks about it there is nothing “California” about that rivalry. Throw the Angels into the mix however, in its quite a different breed of animal.

 

The Angels were founded in 1961 by a group of people interested in bringing an American League team to Southern California. they were a group led by country singer, “the singing cowboy” Gene Autry ; who owned a local Los Angeles radio station of the time. When he was approached by Major League Baseball who was interested in becoming Autry’s broadcast partner. Autry felt better suited to own a major league baseball team rather than just simply be broadcast partners with Major League Baseball, and the Los Angeles Angels were born; playing their first game at Wrigley Field in Los Angeles as a major league team on April 11, 1961.

 

The name “Angels” was derived from the nickname of the city of Los Angeles “the city of Angels.” Thereby establishing their native roots in Southern California and establishing a tradition that is not that of an imported team or imported reveries.

When the team moved to Anaheim for the 1963 baseball season they change their name to the “California Angels” not only establishing the roads in Los Angeles but expanding the roads 35 miles south by way of the Interstate 5 in Anaheim. California in major league baseball team to call its own. And that’s why I have such an affinity to the team like myself, the Angels regardless of the name they choose at any particular point in time for marketing purposes or otherwise, is a native Californian team. It has no ties or legacy to the East Coast, the team’s tradition was born and built in Southern California, not Brooklyn New York. I do not want to take anything away from the Brooklyn Dodgers, after all every single team in Major League Baseball has ties to the Brooklyn Dodgers by virtue of their retirement of Jackie Robinson’s number 42 in honor of his positive change in all of sports not just baseball.

The Freeway Series, is a very special time of the year for both the Angels and the Dodgers not only is it a battle for the right to claim the Southern California tradition as their own, but is a battle to establish themselves as the marquee team in the Los Angeles area.

 

Now that I have taken a look back at history just a little bit, I can’t help but wonder what the future holds for these two wonderful hated yet respected rivals, will the Dodgers promptly resolve the McCourt saga? I hope the Dodgers are able to attract an owner similar to Arturo Moreno and owner who understands the beauty of baseball, and most importantly respects such a beautiful rivalry as the Freeway series. Perhaps a Mark Cuban? Although I may hate the Dodgers, I have a healthy respect for them and they deserve better. I wish the franchise and their fans all the best.

 

As far as the future of the Angels, well, it’s the 50th anniversary of the franchise, and after a poor offensive start the bats are starting to warm up; especially Vernon Wells who has been on somewhat of a tear for the last few games. The Angels have spectacular pitching, and they just took two out of three from the Seattle Mariners, two out of three from the New York Mets, two out of three from the Florida Marlins, two out of three from the Dodgers and just swept the Washington Nationals. The battle between Jared Weaver and Clayton Kershaw the respective aces of each team should be an excellent match up on Saturday night. Overall the American League West championship is still a very real possibility for the Angels despite a poor start; the halos are only 1 1/2 games behind the Texas Rangers. As of now the golden Halo shines bright.

 

-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

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

Angels’ Pursuit of a Fourth Straight American League West Title and Postseason Officially Ends

Baseball is a game of positioning, whether a team is positioned in the right place to start a double play, rob someone of a home run, or be in the right position in the standings come October. Unfortunately for the Angels the latter did not come to fruition this year as their postseason hopes were ended last night by the Chicago White Sox.

 

     The Angels however have a lot to look forward to, next season will be their 50th anniversary as a franchise in Major League Baseball. The celebration kicked off last night and will continue through the end of next season. The modifications to the Angels’ uniform are quite interesting; they are replacing the silver halo with a gold one signifying Angels’ history and tradition. The Angels plan to bring back the silver halo after the anniversary season is over. The modifications will be both on the uniform and the caps, both items will also have a 50th anniversary patch on the right sleeve of the uniform and the left side of the cap. The traditional emblem that’s on the left sleeve of the uniform will also have its halo replaced with a gold one.

 

     As far as my postseason comments, I will go into details once the off season officially starts, for two reasons: one, those of you who have been avid readers of my blog already know pretty much what I believe should be the Angels’ off-season plan. Two, I want to specifically comment on the Angels’ transactions as they come about; for example, the winter meetings, free agent signings, and things of that nature as they happen, to allow for a more accurate and in-depth analysis.

 

     That doesn’t mean however that I’m going to stay quiet during inactive portions of the off-season. If something interesting comes along that changes the Angels course, you will hear from me before the active parts of the off-season. It all depends on how many interesting things occur.

 

     Well Halo universe, you are probably reflecting on the Angels’ season and hurting as much as I am, there won’t be a postseason run this year. Our team can’t make the postseason every year but this year it seemed that it would’ve been extra special since the focus of the entire baseball world was on the Angels for a massive period of time in the spring and summer. Maybe the end of the 50th anniversary celebration will be capped off with our second World Series Championship.

 

-ICE

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