Results tagged ‘ “The Big A” ’
Opening Day brings the promise to every franchise in Major League Baseball, every franchise and their fan base, they believe in the promise of a World Series championship; as the season progresses the optimism evolves into realism and with each game that passes fans are able to see the progression or regression of their favorite team.
The Angels are 6-2, in their first eight games, are undefeated at home and are in first place in the American League West. I know it’s early, however in the last few seasons the Angels were notorious for starting off slow in April. This is clearly not the case this year, the Halos have already pulled off two tremendous comebacks one against the Seattle Mariners and last night against the Texas Rangers.
What is the difference? The difference is the Angels finally addressed the roster problems of the last few years, second base and left field, leading to a strengthening in team defense and offense, which are both spectacular, their base running has also improved more specifically their ability to go from first to third base with not much effort; starting pitching and the bullpen however, although not terrible; are still a little suspect. The most important ingredient of all is that they are having fun. Something I haven’t seen in the last few seasons.
As a fan it is very exciting to watch his team play they’ve demonstrated an uncanny ability to come back and win. I believe that’s a product of how much fun they’re having, and just playing the game without reservation.
There’s an excitement in Anaheim around his team that I haven’t seen in years, aside from the diehard Angels’ fans like me who are always excited. The fans support this year is making it very hard for visiting teams to come in to The Big A and win. That’s the way it should be, the Halo should always shine bright over Anaheim.
Through the annals of baseball there have been players that have defined the game; players whose impact on the game is so great that one cannot talk about baseball without mentioning these giants of the game. Players like Roberto Clemente, Sandy Koufax, Babe Ruth, Mickey Mantle, Willie Mays and Hank Aaron. It takes a very special player to be mentioned among these greats. A player must do something so astonishing that the event has an effect not only on the baseball fanatic but on the casual fan alike.
Mike Trout is becoming one of those players even at this young age. Since his debut in the major leagues he has impacted the game in ways fans would not have been able to imagine much less predict. He has been either the winner or runner up in the American League Most Valuable Player Award race in each of the last five years. He was the 2012 Rookie of the Year, a two-time American League Most Valuable player in 2014 and 2016, back-to-back All Star Game Most Valuable Player in 2013 and 2014, and a Silver Slugger Award winner in 2013, 2014, and 2015.
However, an impact player is also measured by the intangibles of the game; the ability to perform in a clutch situation when it matters most whether it is the big hit or the two sky-walking catches that he is remembered for the most. The first one in Camden Yards in Baltimore, Maryland and the second one at the Big A in Anaheim. He reminds me of Hank Aaron in his humble approach to the game. It is not often that a player this talented is this humble. It is a very refreshing thing to see.
Some would argue that an MVP is measured by the impact that a player has on his team. Furthermore that an MVP can only be measured by the collective success of his team. I would argue however, that it is quite the opposite. An MVP should embody not only the impact on his team but the sustained success of the impact of the individual player. A player may have a good year but it is that sustained success that a player is remembered for.
The Angels were a sub .500 team this past year. How long can the team continue in this way? Marquee players such as Trout need a good nucleus around them something that Angels franchise has yet to provide. Baseball is referred to as a show. How long can the show continue like this in Anaheim?
It is my sincere hope that the Angels’ franchise realizes the caliber of player that they have on their hands. While I am sure they do realize it their actions have yet to reflect adaptation to the class of talent in Trout.
The National Baseball Hall of Fame will have Vladimir Guerrero on the ballot for the first time this coming year. There is no question that Guerrero will be a hall of famer. The only question is if he goes into the hall as a Montreal Expo or as an Angel. The Angels organization must do everything in their power to make sure that’s the question that surrounds Guerrero is never the same question that will surround Mike Trout if and when he enters the Hall of Fame.
It seems like it’s going to be a busy off-season for bloggers like me, either one of two things have happened, either the Angels have been intensely reading my blog, or Jerry Dipoto is shaping up to be a very valuable magician pulling rabbits out of hats that I didn’t even know existed. I believe it’s the latter.
Today, Saturday, he traded Jeff Mathis a player who had virtually no trade value for Brad Mills of the Toronto Blue Jays. For those who read my blog regularly, I’ve been calling for the Angels to move Mathis in some way, shape, or form for a while now. The Jeff Mathis “error” (era) as most Angels’ fans call it is officially over. I prefer to call it an era simply because it’s a segment of history in Angels baseball that can’t be dismissed as an error. I prefer to call it the Mike Napoli/Jeff Mathis saga, because one can’t talk about one player without talking about the other, and it is how these players relate to each other that made an impact on Angels’ history.
When they were both still with the team, I myself questioned why Mike Scioscia opted to play Mathis over Napoli, yet I understood Mathis had virtually no trade value even then, at that time, the Angels were shopping Napoli around because the Angels needed an offensive constant. Mike Scioscia wanted Jeff Mathis to get acclimated with the team since the trade of Mike Napoli was a very probable one. Mike Napoli at the time was a very streaky hitter. He had the most trade value so it made sense to trade him away when the Angels acquired Vernon Wells, whether that was a good trade is a totally different story, but from a logical standpoint the Angels made the most logical move. Vernon Wells’ contract aside, the Angels felt that they were getting a much more consistent power hitter in Wells then Napoli. There was no way the Angels could’ve predicted that Wells would struggle in Anaheim his first year.
When Mike Napoli was traded to the Blue Jays, there was no way that the Angels could’ve foreseen that the Blue Jays would turn around and trade Napoli to the division rival, the Texas Rangers. Before I stir grumblings among Angels’ fans, let’s take a look at the situation with some perspective, there is only one main reason that Napoli had a career year in Texas and a stellar World Series; the Rangers home stadium.
Angel Stadium, “The Big A” is a bigger stadium in its dimensions compared to Rangers Ballpark in Arlington.”The Big A” is a hitters park during the daytime, but becomes a pitchers park during night games. The ballpark in Texas has smaller dimensions than Angel Stadium couple that with the warmer temperatures in Arlington and the ball carries even for evening games. Thus, when one combines the warmer temperatures at night with the smaller ballpark it creates an artificially inflated statistic when it comes to power numbers such as Home Runs.
In my opinion that’s the case with Mike Napoli if he were still in an Angels uniform, Angels’ fans would still be complaining about how streaky of a hitter he is. I for one I’m just glad that the Angels’ organization came to their senses and trading away Jeff Mathis. If I had to pick between Mathis and Napoli of course I would’ve picked Napoli, who wouldn’t?
It’s important for Angels’ fans not to confuse the business and logic of the game with a passion for a team. As a fan, between the two; Mike Napoli is bar none the better choice, but from a business standpoint since Jeff Mathis had no trade value, it made sense to trade Napoli.
The Major League Baseball Winter Meetings begin this coming Monday; I have already received an early Christmas present, the Angels trading away Jeff Mathis. Ladies and gentlemen this is the magic that is the Christmas and holiday season, I can’t wait to see what magic Jerry Dipoto does next to make this truly a Winter Wonderland.