Results tagged ‘ Cubs ’

The Cubs World Series Win Shares Layers of Connections with the Angels

For those that have taken the time to read the description of my blog. you know that I have described writing about the Angels as my sanctuary. Writing helps me relax, focus, and it gives me clarity. This entry is one of those times. I lost a maternal aunt on October 21, my mother was especially close to her, and although she never read any of my entries because of the language barrier, we would often talk about my writings, about the Angels in general, and my love for baseball she was a huge sports fan herself, she especially enjoyed Mexican soccer, my entire family is going to miss her very much. For obvious reasons, I wasn’t able to write about the Chicago Cubs victory shortly after the World Series. Hopefully. this entry makes up for lost time. This entry is dedicated to my aunt Rogelia.

 

Now on to baseball, for those of you that have read my entries you may remember that I stated that I would write about other teams on this website as long as I can relate it in some way to the Angels. I’m proud to say this is one of those cases. the Chicago Cubs have more connections to the Angels then baseball fans realize.

 

Most diehard Angels’ fans know the relationship between the Cubs and the Angels. In 1961 the Angels were born and although it is true that the Angels played their inaugural season during this time, the Angels existed before then as a team in the Pacific Coast League as an AAA affiliate of the Chicago Cubs. The O’Malley family the then owners of the Los Angeles Dodgers bought the rights of the name “Angels” from Philip K. Wrigley the then owner of the Chicago Cubs. The O’Malley family who in turn sold the rights to Gene Autry and the Angels became a major league team; before the construction of Angel Stadium and even before the Angels moved and shared Dodger Stadium, the Angels played in 1961 season in Wrigley Field in Los Angeles. It can be argued that metaphorically speaking the Cubs are the proud parent of the Angels because of their collective intertwined histories.

 

The connections don’t end there, current Cubs’ manager, Joe Maddon was on the Angels’ managerial staff as a bench coach when the Angels won the World Series in 2002. In a touching tribute to his father, he wore the Disney era Angels baseball cap that once belonged to his late father. Who never saw him win the World Series; a touching and proud moment both for Maddon and the Angels’ fan base.

 

108 years is a long time to wait, this Angels’ fan would like to congratulate the Chicago Cubs’ fan base for their win, loyalty and dedication to their beloved Cubbies. It is very well deserved, at least for this diehard Angels’ fan and my brother it was a beautiful moment. Congratulations Cubbies!

 

-ICE

 

Songs of the Baseball Season

Baseball is full of tradition, from singing “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” during the seventh inning stretch to the Phillie Phanatic, and everything in between. New traditions are established: such as the Presidents’ race in Washington D. C. leaving the Nationals’ fans asking themselves, “when is Teddy Roosevelt going to win a race?”

Other teams such as the Angels are trying to build questionable traditions such as singing “Build me up Buttercup” by the Foundations during the seventh inning stretch, similar to the way the Boston Red Sox use to sing “Tessie” and now sing “Sweet Caroline”.

I have several quarrels with “Build Me up Buttercup”, first and foremost, the song is one of disillusionment, the singer is complaining about being let down by the girl that he is interested in. Although this is a catchy tune, I don’t believe this song is appropriate to fire up a crowd as big as 45,000 people. The Los Angeles Dodgers use “Don’t Stop Believing” by Journey which seems appropriate for the moment.

However, “Build Me up Buttercup” is appropriate for how the Angels preformed this season. After a disastrous month of August, the Halos came roaring back in September, at one point they were victorious in seven games in a row. They ultimately fell short and were knocked out of postseason contention by the Texas Rangers, losing the game 9-2.

For many people the Angels’ season ended yesterday October 4. For me, the season ended in the top of the seventh inning in the game versus the Oakland Athletics on Wednesday, September 30th. Mike Scioscia made a questionable move, replacing second baseman Johnny Giavotella who was a principal reason why the Angels had a 5-3 lead at the time, mainly because of the home run; in favor of Taylor Featherston who committed a costly error by mishandling and dropping the ball; a play that would’ve been routine for Johnny G. Featherston’s error allowed the Oakland Athletics to extend the inning, and in the end win the game 8-7.

Mike Scioscia has made many questionable decisions this season; he underutilized David Murphy in the Texas Rangers series, his reason for doing so? Matchups, according to Scioscia Murphy did not provide the appropriate matchup for left-handed pitching; however Murphy had an extraordinary average against such pitching. As a former Ranger, David Murphy is familiar with that ballpark, if Murphy was in the lineup, perhaps this entry would be discussing the upcoming Wild-Card game or reflecting on back to back American League West division titles.

The seven-game win streak built a fan base up, and bad managerial decisions by Mike Scioscia let us down. This begs the question: “why do you build us up Buttercup, just to let us down?”

One thing is clear however, Mike Scioscia needs to refine his decision-making skills because he is the primary reason why the Halos lost September 30th, and by extension he is a primary reason why the Angels are not making a postseason run this year. Yes, the injury to Houston Street was a big as far as the closers role. However, the effect is minimal compared to bad managerial decisions which Mike Scioscia is clearly guilty of.

It was not all doom and gloom however, for the first time in Angels’ history two players hit for at least 40 home runs; Mike Trout and Albert Pujols. I’m sure that both players would be more than willing to trade in those accomplishments in exchange for a World Series ring.

The off-season has officially begun, the Angels have officially hired a new General Manager Billy Eppler the Assistant General Manager from the New York Yankees. I will expand on his hiring as well as reflect on all season activities and personnel changes in future entries.

Which team will I be supporting on the road to the World Series now that the Angels are out? This is probably the easiest answer of all, I wholeheartedly will be supporting the Chicago Cubs, not only would it be wonderful to see their over 100 year drought end, but I would also be supporting a connection to the Angels in Cubs Manager Joe Maddon, who is a former member of the Angels’ coaching staff.

The post season is upon us, as for the Angels’ fan base, we will have to wait yet another year to put on our postseason Halo.

-ICE

The Symphony of “The Numbers Game”

It’s that time of year again, the time of year where numbers begin to matter; magic numbers, numbers in the standings, and the numbers that will result in the upcoming All-Star game that will determine which league gets home field advantage in the 2013 World Series.

Numbers have favored the Angels for the last three series. The Angels took two out of three from the team with the second best record in the National League, the St. Louis Cardinals and also took two out of three from the team with the best record in the American League, the Boston Red Sox, the Halos were able to leave Chicago with a two-game split against the Cubs. The Angels are currently only nine games back in the American League West making the numbers exponentially important.

It’s a given that the Angels must do well in their own division if they have any shot at making the playoffs this year. They must take the next two games against the Mariners in order to build momentum heading into the All-Star break. The Angels will be cutting it a little too close for comfort. They must come out of the All-Star break in full camouflage with war paint on their collective faces. All games are important, but the next stretch of games is especially critical to the Halos’ success. After the All-Star break, they have back-to-back series with the Oakland A’s and the Texas Rangers with the Minnesota Twins sandwiched in between. There are 13 games left with each respective team, the Angels have hit a proverbial straightaway, this team must take advantage and do the damage themselves so they don’t have to rely on other teams. The numbers now matter, the time is now.

13 games against each team, nine games back. The Angels cannot wait until the magic number surfaces before they become conscious of their situation. Numbers, numbers, numbers this is what makes baseball in particular so beautiful. A symphony where The flow of the game is the melody and the numbers are the harmony, thereby creating a musical symphony called “the numbers game.” This symphony needs a halo.

-ICE

“Houston, We Have a Problem”

After a sweep of the Seattle Mariners and the Kansas City Royals as part of an eight-game win streak, and when it all seemed to finally becoming together, the cruel hand of reality Has once again grounded this underachieving Angels team.

They were swept by the Dodgers at Dodger Stadium in the first half of the Freeway series, when the scenery switched back to Angel Stadium for the second half of the Freeway series; the Angels swept the Dodgers thereby increasing their domination over the Dodgers at Angel Stadium to 13-6 the best home record against any one team in all of Major League Baseball since the inception of inter-league play in the regular-season. After that, they were swept by the Astros, and then split the two-game series versus the Cubs, resulting in a 3-5 home stand.

How does one make it to the World Series? The formula is pretty simple, win home series, try to win at least half of the road series, and finally and I believe most importantly, defeat the teams in your own division. Unfortunately the Angels have not been able to use this formula to their advantage despite the plethora of talent on this roster.

The series’ that the Halos have been able to win has been minimal, and their division record has not been very good. This has especially been the case with the Houston Astros, the Angels are 3-6 this season against the Astros. When the Astros joined the American League West in the beginning of this year as part of Major League Baseball realignment, the powerhouses in the division principally the Angels, the Athletics, and the Rangers were widely expected to feast on the Astros in order to bolster their overall record and improve their chances of making the postseason. Two of the three teams mentioned have taken advantage of this circumstance and for reasons I cannot explain, the Angels are not one of those teams.

The Halos have the talent, but Mike Scioscia in my opinion refuses to explore new options other than what he believes to be the road to victory. At this point of the season if the formula does not work Mr. Scioscia, then you must change it!

Here are a few suggestions, move Mike Trout to the leadoff spot, put Josh Hamilton second so he can see more fastballs with Albert Pujols hitting behind him. Similar to the way Torii Hunter was used last year, this strategy increased Hunter’s production, so much so that the Detroit Tigers are utilizing him in the same manner.

The second step, is to take advantage of base running pressure, one can do this by putting Peter Bourjos (when he comes off the disabled list) or J. B. Schuck and Erick Aybar in the eight and nine hole respectively; that way the Halos have speed on the bases so when the lineup turns over, the power hitters can take advantage of the opposing pitchers being off balance. In effect playing what Scioscia was so successful at one time, small ball. The Angels’ speedsters must be allowed to take calculated risks and steel more bases than they currently are. The worse that could happen is they lose the game, but aren’t they already doing that? So they have nothing to lose except keeping the opposing team off balance.

The Angels have a steep mountain to climb, I still hold out hope that they can do it. If they are indeed unsuccessful and don’t make the playoffs this year, I sincerely hope that the right changes are made, in order for this team to take advantage of the spectacular superstar talent they have on this roster. What solutions would you propose for this team?

-ICE

Successful “Giant” Steps Lead the Angels to Round Two of the Freeway Series

It’s that time again; round two of the Freeway Series begins tomorrow night. The Angels successfully took two out of three games from the San Francisco Giants and they continue to demonstrate that they are the team that every Angels’ fan was hoping to get in the beginning of April. Now all that needs to happen is to patiently wait until the Texas Rangers cool off.

I woke up this morning to the most gorgeous and beautiful Dodgers’ fan in the world talking trash on Facebook. Her fanaticism for the Dodgers goes back to Fernando mania when her grandfather used to take her to Dodger Stadium to watch their beloved team play.

To me, the Angels versus Dodgers rivalry is very special. You see, the collective history of both teams has always been interconnected. When the Angels joined Major League Baseball in 1961 the Angels played at Wrigley Field in Los Angeles .(not to be confused with Wrigley Field home of the Chicago Cubs) one year later the Angels moved into Dodgers Stadium and would continue to share this Stadium until Angel Stadium was built and opened in 1966.

The animosity between these two teams has become more apparent in recent years since the Angels have become successful. The Angels were no longer “the little brother” to the Dodgers, this was evident in 2003; when the Dodgers believed that signing Vladimir Guerrero was all but a formality for the boys in blue will need to have the Angels come out of nowhere to sign him before the Dodgers could finalize or negotiate any sort of deal. There are Dodgers’ fans to this day that still believe that the Dodgers were “cheated” and that Guerrero belonged in blue.

For me personally, there’s rivalry is also very special, most of my extended family grew up in East Los Angeles and the surrounding areas. We agree on basketball we are all big a fans of the Los Angeles Lakers, Los Angeles and the surrounding area doesn’t have a football team to speak of just yet, so we don’t really agree or disagree on a football team. But when it comes to baseball, we are in definite disagreement, I grew up about 3 miles away from Angel Stadium so to me, the Angels are truly a “home” team. I feel an attachment to the Angels, as I feel I must respectfully hate the Dodgers because of their intertwined history with the Angels. Besides, it makes very interesting conversations when my family and my extended family visit each other, the Angels versus Dodgers rivalry is a topic that never gets boring; especially when both teams are playing well.

Yes indeed, it is that time again. That time of year where the Goodyear blimp that flies over Angel Stadium doesn’t see red or blue, it sees more a blurred shade of purple; and at least for Southern California that 30 mile stretch of Interstate 5 that separates Anaheim from Los Angeles becomes the center of the baseball universe, for the set of six games that we affectionately call “The Freeway Series.”

-ICE

A Chameleon with a Halo

After a short hiatus, I am back I wanted to post sooner but I didn’t have access to a computer, much less voice recognition software. I went home and I was able to catch the Angels game last Tuesday which was Albert Pujols bubblehead day. I’m fascinated by the freefall this team has taken. They have all the talent in the world yet they are an astounding seven games behind the Texas Rangers and the seller of the American League West. As of today before tonight’s game two against the Baltimore Orioles the Angels are five and nine. This is clearly not the expectation that Angels’ fans had for this team especially with the acquisition of both C. J. Wilson and Albert Pujols.

Unlike some Angels’ fans, I am not ready to walk off the plank or jump off the ledge. I think that is what separates diehard fans like myself and the bandwagon fans. I remember when this team was unbelievably bad. Fans like myself just learned to get used to it. Much like the Chicago Cubs’ fans have gotten used to their beloved “Cubbies” losing. Rather than suggesting a major overhaul, or suggesting that Mike Scioscia, Mickey Hatcher, or Mike Butcher is a problem. I will examine what is happening in my eyes, the beautiful thing is that my observations can be easily implemented.

Yes, the bullpen is a problem especially when it collapses in the late innings however, that wouldn’t be an issue if the Angels could get men on base. I think the Angels need to first settle on the lineup they’ve had numerous minor changes in these first 14 games they need to play to their talents, something that in my opinion they haven’t been doing. First, they need to utilize their speed with players like Erick Aybar, Maicer Izturis, Peter Bourjos, and let us not forget the “Prince Fish” Mike Trout in the minor leagues. It is my strong belief that the Angels must mix and match, put the speedsters in the lineup early by maybe bunting for a base hit more often (more often than one may think) and get themselves on base, and once they are on they have to be a bit more aggressive on the base paths they should attempt more steals regardless of weather they will be thrown out or not. That way it keeps the opposing pitcher off balance knowing that the speedsters are going to run and risk it all win or lose. In turn, this unbalanced opposing pitcher is more likely to make mistakes in the strike zone allowing the power hitters to take advantage the power hitters like Pujols, Trumbo, Morales, Hunter, and Wells to do what they do best.

Speaking of Mark Trumbo, the Angels need to find a way to utilize him in the everyday lineup the Angels are where they are right now because Trumbo was not in the lineup for most of those losses, for that matter most games this season. They need to also find a way to utilize Jorge Cantú since there is an opt out clause in his contract if he is not in the major leagues by May 1, 2012. The Angels should call him up to see how he can contribute to this offense and defense; especially with a losing record and especially since he wasn’t on the opening day roster. I’m genuinely shocked to find that the Angels are not utilizing him more since he had an above average preseason.

This team is too talented to have a record they have, and they simply need to put the right pieces in the right places and not allow themselves to be defined as a one-dimensional team such as a power team, a speed team, or a small ball team. They need to be a metaphorical chameleon and keep the other teams around the major leagues off balance. They are losing because the Angels have become too predictable other teams already know what to expect. This communion must have a halo.

-ICE

One Angels’ Ace in Search of 29 Other “Lost Souls”

For those of you that are familiar with my MLB blogs in the past, you may remember my list of “lost souls”, which was a creative and fun way to refer to those that were not necessarily Angels’ fans but were just as diehard for their respective teams as I am about the Angels. For those of you that may remember my past blogs I haven’t been able to logon to this site in a little under a year, now with the move to WordPress, I’m glad to say that that issue is resolved. However I lost my original list of lost souls. With the exception of the rays’ renegade and the original Washington Senators fan who represents the Texas Rangers, I am still looking for 28 other lost souls to be part of my main list. Especially since the MLB blogs main page doesn’t exist anymore; I would like these bloggers to be active, passionate fans who I can get my non-Angel information from. If you are interested please reply with your blog location the team you blog for, and a little information about yourself, I would look over your blog. And add you to my list.

 

Thank you,

-ICE

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