Results tagged ‘ Giants ’

The Angels Are Caught in a Playground of Nightmares

There are numerous clichés that one can use to refer to this baseball season for the Angels; a recurring one for the Halos is, “baseball is a marathon, not a sprint.” Unfortunately this is nothing new for the Angels. They have started off slow in previous years. The Halos as of yesterday, are in third place in the American League West. However, this time around the Angels find themselves temporarily trapped in the playground of nightmares.

 

The Seesaw

 

This first piece of spine tingling playground equipment is the seesaw, the Angels swept the defending World Series Champions Kansas City Royals; in a previous home stand, the Angels were swept one entire home series, by losing six straight against the Tampa Bay Rays and St. Louis Cardinals. In only to rebound after falling victim to the home sweep, they swept the then first place Seattle Mariners in Seattle. The Angels continued their way up by defeating the Los Angeles Dodgers 7-6 yesterday in the first game of the home at home Freeway Series. Hopefully the seesaw will stop soon, however, only time will tell.

 

The Injury Carousel

 

This second skin curdling piece of equipment is the worst of the two. The Angels as of this morning have seven players on the disabled list, with outfielder Daniel Nava expected to be the eighth player to join the list very soon. Three of the seven are part of the starting rotation and all three are on the 60 day disabled list. The Angels’ closer, Houston Street is also part of this list. The Halos are definitely riding the carousel of tears.

 

Hopefully the Angels will find the way out of this playground of nightmares very soon. There is a rampant rumor that they are close to contractually soliciting the assistance of The Freak to assist them out of the playground. If they Halos do end up coming to terms with the former San Francisco Giants pitcher, Tim Lincecum, I will have a forthcoming reaction to this occurrence.

 

-ICE

Get Your Red on

“Get Your Red on” this is a slogan to the marketing campaign that the Angels have embarked on in the 2014 season. I like it a lot. No, it’s not because red is my favorite color since I was a kid, although to me that’s icing on the cake. Overall it’s a very smart marketing strategy especially when juxtaposed against the “Think Blue” campaign employed by the cross-town rival the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Perhaps the campaign is appropriate, until last night the Angels were a perfect 6-0 when wearing the red alternate uniform until their first loss last night in that uniform against the Oakland Athletics. The Angels have slightly changed their uniform, a change that I must say I like a lot. The Halos will wear red shoes and red belt during their home games this season at least when wearing the red uniform. I hope they include this change for road games as well. I believe that it adds to the team’s identity much like the blue shoes add to the identity of the Dodgers or the white shoes that add to the identity of the Athletics respectively.

The Angels may have lost last night, however I really enjoyed the excitement brought on by last night’s game between these two American League West rivals there something about this rivalry that cannot be duplicated with the rest of the teams in the American League West. Maybe it’s the proximity between the two cities, maybe it’s the fact that these are the two California American League franchises, or maybe it’s the best explanation of all, these two teams captured 10 of the last 12 American League West titles.

Perhaps the rivalry was magnified by the fact that Albert Pujols hit his 496 career home run, a shot that went into the beautiful night sky. The green and gold elephant seems to bring out the best in the Angels and vice versa.

These two teams also share another commonality, they are known as the “other” team in the region. They live in the shadow of their bigger more famous brother, the Dodgers and the Giants respectively. Yet, it seems that their little brother steals the spotlight and has had success more often than their older, cockier sibling. Our National League counterparts cannot say that they’ve traded shots with each other 10 of the last 12 years. They may be known as a bigger rivalry, but their rivalry hasn’t been as competitive over the years. I have a healthy hatred for Oakland, in other words, I love to hate them. It’s not the same if both teams are not at the top of their game. The best part? The baseball season is young and the Rally Monkey and Stomper have a lot of sparring yet to do.

-ICE

Zack Greinke Has Gone from Being Anakin Skywalker to Darth Vader

It turns out that Zack Greinke went from promising Jedi Angels red to the dark Sith of Dodgers blue. Greinke signed a six-year $147 million contract with the Los Angeles Dodgers. The fact that he signed with the Dodgers especially stings.

Los Angeles Angels starting pitcher Zack Greinke delivers against the Tampa Bay Rays during the first inning of a baseball game in Anaheim, Calif., Sunday, Aug. 19, 2012. (AP Photo/Alex Gallardo)

Los Angeles Angels starting pitcher Zack Greinke delivers against the Tampa Bay Rays during the first inning of a baseball game in Anaheim, Calif., Sunday, Aug. 19, 2012. (AP Photo/Alex Gallardo)

Los Angeles Dodgers new right-handed pitcher Zack Greinke, left, talks to the media as team owner Magic Johnson laughs, right, after during a baseball news conference at Dodgers Stadium Club,  Tuesday, Dec.11, 2012, in Los Angeles. Greinke moves up the freeway to join the Dodgers' starting rotation in a $147 million, six-year deal after spending part of last season with the rival Angels. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)

Los Angeles Dodgers new right-handed pitcher Zack Greinke, left, talks to the media as team owner Magic Johnson laughs, right, after during a baseball news conference at Dodgers Stadium Club, Tuesday, Dec.11, 2012, in Los Angeles. Greinke moves up the freeway to join the Dodgers’ starting rotation in a $147 million, six-year deal after spending part of last season with the rival Angels. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)

All things considered it could have been worse, he could have joined the Rangers. At least this way, over the next six years, we will only see Greinke twice a year when we play the Dodgers and that’s if and only if his spot is due up in the Dodgers’ rotation. Juxtaposing that against the possibility that Greinke going the Rangers, where were the Angels would’ve had to deal with him several times of year will Greinke would have a direct influence on whether or not the Angels reached the playoffs. All in all, I believe the Angels dodged a major bullet.

I am perplexed by the Angels decision-making this off-season when it comes to the roster. Let’s flashback to the off-season last year. I stated that I was cautiously optimistic about Albert Pujols contract. A 10 year contract for an offensive player seemed a little much for me, even if he is the greatest offensive player of this generation. I was concerned at that time for the Angels payroll flexibility. The Angels inability to at least compete with the Dodgers’ offer to Greinke really bothered me.

In baseball, successful teams are based on the ability of the starting rotation to pitch deep in a game and the bullpen to hold leads. Explosive offense doesn’t mean much if the opponent can exploit porous pitching. The Angels needed to same Greinke; not because he was the biggest name on the free-agent market, but because the Angels have gaping holes in the rotation. Greinke would have plugged at least one of those holes. The loss of Greinke magnifies to a an even greater extent the loss of Dan Haren.

The Angels tried to rectify the losses of the pitching staff by acquiring Joe Blanton. Frankly, I’m not impressed. World Series championships cannot be bought. A good example of that is the San Francisco Giants, aside from Buster Posey, I’m sure that unless one is a diehard Giants’ fan; the casual baseball fan cannot name anyone else on that team. When one thinks of the Giants, one thinks of the team before they think of any individual player. I wonder how the Angels’ organization will be able to justify their actions if they don’t make the postseason for a third year in a row.

In the American League West, which is possibly the toughest division in baseball. The Angels cannot afford to just coast and hope that the dominoes fall in their favor. Take a look at the results last year. Many around baseball expected for the American League West crowned to be adorned with a cowboy hat or a halo, only to discover that a white elephant would be King in 2012. The Angels cannot expect any other team to just rolled over for them simply because they have big names on paper. In 2013 is a requirement in my opinion to add a halo not only to the American League West crown, but also the World Series trophy.

-ICE

Cabrera Is a Fish Out Of Water, the American League MVP Award Should Belong to a Trout

Yesterday as I was watching game three of the World Series, I found myself thinking about the Angels’ season. While at the same time watching in awe as sheer domination of the San Francisco Giants over the Detroit Tigers. I thought to myself, “it’s interesting how the Angels better season record 89-73 compared with the Tigers who finished 88-74 they had a better record than the Tigers, yet finished in third place in the American League West, while the weaker record was good enough to win the American League Central.”

That in turn made me ponder as to who will win the American League Most Valuable Player award, the Detroit Tigers’ Miguel Cabrera or the Angels’ Mike Trout. I must say up front, that it would be ludicrous of me to say that I am completely unbiased; however I believe that the award should belong to Trout.

My reasoning is simple, the Angels even though they did not make the playoffs, they finished with a better record than the Tigers in the much tougher American League West. The most valuable player award is also an individual award. The award does not and should not measure team success, the World Series Trophy exist for that recognition. The most valuable player award recognizes the impact a player has made on the team as well as personal success. Mike Trout’s statistical numbers are phenomenal.

Yes, I do realize that Cabrera won the Triple Crown, but I think as far as his personal success impacting the team to the extent that team succeeds is negligible. Mike Trout’s success dictated the success of the Angels this season. Yes, the Tigers have made to the World Series but they have a weaker record in the Angels; thus, his impact on the team not as drastic as Trout’s.

I know people may disagree with me, and that’s completely okay, it all comes down to how the baseball writers interpret the numbers. I sincerely hope that they look at the individual numbers is well as each players’ environment the Angels boast a better record in what proved to be the toughest division in baseball, and Mike Trout is largely responsible for the Angels dramatic turnaround.

-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

The Angels Must Take a “Giant” Steps and Continue in the Right Direction

Let me begin by stating the obvious, the Angels are four games behind the Rangers and currently in first place in the American League West. Tonight, interleague play continues as we face the San Francisco Giants in a three-game series which is a rematch of the 2002 World Series. Yes, it’s hard to believe but indeed it has been a decade since these two teams faced each other. I’ve been told by a reliable source that the Angels plan some sort of celebration commemorating the 10th anniversary of the World Series championship sometime this season.

What not my be so obvious is what is happening to the Angels are the team. The Halos continued their dominance of inter-league play with a record of 8-4 this season with six more inter-league games to go. The Angels are not playing poorly, the fact remains that Texas hasn’t cooled off enough For the Angels to catch up. It’s a long season, and the Rangers will cool off; it’s just a matter of the Halos staying within striking distance in order to be with overtake the Rangers when that happens.

The Angels cut a nine game lead down to four, this is the divisional dogfight everyone was expecting between these two teams. The Angels must continue their dominance of inter-league play with both the Giants and the Dodgers so by the end of inter-league play hopefully at minimum we are only one or two games behind Texas if not tied for the division lead. The “Giant” step starts tonight and hopefully the combination is and Angels win and they Rangers loss.

-ICE

It’s a Bird, It’s a Plane, No, It’s a Halo Over Round One of the Freeway Series

“You can put a halo over this one!” That was the beautiful yet familiar call by our beloved Angels’ radio play-by-play announcer Terry Smith, and was he ever right; the Angels took two out of three from the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium in round one of the Freeway Series. All three games were decided in the very late innings by two very competitive and proud teams.

Dodger Stadium was rocking in Los Angeles as I’m sure Angel Stadium will be rocking in Anaheim later this month. One can argue that there are six games a year for both teams that are neutral site games since regardless of where they play the crowd in attendance seems to be split evenly among the two teams. “Let’s go Dodgers!” Was being drowned out by “Let’s Go Angels!” And vice versa the entire series and expect nothing less when the Dodgers visit Angel Stadium later this month.

Why not dream it? A Freeway Series in the World Series later this year or in the near future. Think about it, why not? There’s already been a Subway Series between the New York Mets and the New York Yankees and a Bay Bridge Series between the San Francisco Giants and the Oakland Athletics. So why not add a Freeway Series to that list?

The Dodgers are rejuvenated since Magic Johnson purchased them earlier this year. The Dodgers’ fan base has also been re-energized and a face-off between Jared Weaver and Clayton Kershaw would be epic. This past series was just a little taste of what these two teams who do this area in a World Series. Most of my family lives in East Los Angeles so it only natural that they are Dodgers’ fans, I along with my siblings grew up not too far from Anaheim so it’s only natural that we grew up Angels’ fans. You can imagine what family visits are like, especially during baseball season.

Interleague play is great, but the Freeway Series magnifies it into unimaginable levels. The Dodgers forget about their little brother sometimes, but I think the Angels have long since outgrown out of big brothers shadow and now it is the Dodgers who try to match us. Go Angels!

-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

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

Some Connections Run Deep

This is going to be an interesting entry; I am so used to writing about the team that I absolutely love; so I’m not really a custom to writing about myself in the process. At least for this entry I’m going to have to do a little bit of both. You see, the reason I write is not for myself since I live, eat, and breathe Angels Baseball. There is no reason why I would write about facts that I already know, unless I was going to share them. I love writing because it keeps my mind sharp and improves my communication skills with every entry. It has been my philosophy that when one stops learning, one stops growing and that one never grow old until one stops learning. I guess writing for this blog keeps me young and the sense that it forces me to learn the facts, and it forces me to organize my thoughts and be able to express my love for this team to people that otherwise may not be exposed.

To that end, I decided to pitch myself for the Jumbo MLBlogs, mainly to increase my readership and motivate myself to keep writing about the team that I love. Why am I an Angels’ fan? The answer is pretty simple, I’ve been connected to the team since I was a small child, I remember watching the Angels since I was about four years old, at that age I did not know the intricacies of this beautiful game, for me, it was about watching somebody pitched the ball and see the other person hit the ball. Watching a ball making contact with the bat was the most exciting thing in the world, for a four-year-old, everything seems exciting; but there was something about hearing that crack of the bat that made it special. I remember passing Angel Stadium on the 57 freeway on our way back home from visiting my aunt who lived in Pomona. As I grew older I always dreamed about seeing a live game but because of my father’s work schedule, he was almost always working the second shift it was nearly impossible for me to go since most of the games were at night.

That changed however, when I was nine, I was selected the official ambassador for the United Cerebral Palsy Association. (UCP) part of my duties was to show up at various charity events, as part of my official duties, I was to be featured in A poster for the United Cerebral Palsy telethon, “Weekend with the Stars” at the time, and I didn’t really know what that meant. The UCP representative asked me who my favorite sports team was, and an late 1980s saying that my favorite team was the Angels was not a very popular for various reasons, one, the Angels were not very good back then. Two, it was the middle of Fernando mania so everybody liked the Dodgers. Three, it was also the middle of the Showtime era of the Los Angeles Lakers so the most popular answer would’ve probably been these two teams. Of course I was nine I had never seen Dodger Stadium or the Great Western Forum, so when I answered the California Angels the representative was taken back, she asked me, “wouldn’t you like to meet Magic Johnson?” I responded as confident as a nine-year-old boy could be, “not really”; they scrambled to make arrangements with the then California Angels.

Later that year my first experience at Angel Stadium was actually on the field in uniform, how many Angels’ fans can say that? I touched the field before I ever sat in the stands, and I also got to meet Hall of Famer Don Sutton. It was then that I felt an even stronger connection with the team, I had never been in a major league baseball ballpark, much less on the field. To this day this is one of my fondest childhood memories. When does someone become much more than a fan? For me, it was definitely on that day. While in college I had the honor of meeting the current Angels’ owner Arturo Moreno. The Angels are much more than just a Major League Baseball team to me. They are part of my childhood, and in a sense, forever part of my life.

Isaac López & Donald Howard Sutton 2

Arturo Moreno and  Isaac Lopez

Now on to business, it’s the second half of the season; many would argue including myself that this is when the real season begins. The Angels are only two games behind the Rangers in the American League West. Ervin Santana has just come off pitching a No-Hitter, the Halos lead the American League in team Earned Run Average, it’s a beautiful time of year, will be Angels make any moves before the July 31 deadline? I sincerely hope so, however they must stay away from the rental players, unless they can find someone who is truly interested in staying with the Angels long-term. It is my belief that after the smoke clears they will overtake Texas and win the American League West Championship. The Angels organization must be willing to solidify the team, not necessarily to deal with the Rangers; as I feel that the team we have now, if they are able to play to their potential, can beat Texas, I’m specifically talking about having the ability to beat the New York Yankees, the Boston Red Sox, Philadelphia Phillies, and the San Francisco Giants. Let it not forgotten that the Giants have made a splash by being able to acquire Carlos Beltrán from the New York Metropolitans.

Yes, indeed the season has now really begun season has begun, the sports dream of a young Angels’ fan has been fulfilled, and the expectations of the heavenly halo universe hang in the balance.
-Isaac “ICE” L. The Angels’ Ace

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