December 30, 2010

Be back soon

I've taken a little break from ranting... er, blogging and will be back at it in the New Year. My apologies for not putting up some content in the mean time.

Hopefully, we'll get some news about Adrian Beltre soon and hopefully, that news will be about him signing with the Angels for a reasonable amount.

If he hasnt' signed with anyone by the time I get back to blogging, I'll ask the quesiton - Do you or don't you wan to play for the Angels, Mr. Beltre? It's time to turn the tables on this discussion, don't you think? Until then...

Happy New Year!

December 21, 2010

A tribute to Carolyn

Cheryl and I love to eat out and we definitely have our favorites like Jongewaard's Bake 'N Broil in Long Beach (which I have mentioned here several times).

Another place that we have frequented from time to time over the years is Gourmet Pie and Cafe. It's located in Los Alamitos on Katella Avenue. When I first found this little restaurant it was located in Cypress near the place where I used to live (before Cheryl). Cheryl and I have been going to this restaurant for more than fourteen years; in fact, we went there on our first date. I've been going there for about 18 years myself.

Sunday we learned that Carolyn Richards passed away suddenly and unexpectedly at the young age of 42. The news was shocking. Carolyn and her husband Michael own Gourmet Pie and like all the posts on this blog, there is a baseball connection here.

Gourmet Pie is one of those places we go to now and then when the Angels are on the road. It's a nice place to get a meal and still catch a game on TV. Angel fans frequent the place all the time.

The news is incredibly sad. Carolyn leaves behind two sons and a family and community that will miss her greatly. We have a nice memory of Carolyn; she once gave Cheryl and me a menu to keep (from the original location) after she learned that we had our first date at her restaurant.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to the Richards family. It certainly puts all this baseball stuff in perspective, doesn't it?

Just in time for Christmas

My head is spinning. If you’ve been following the Angels off season as closely as I have, you’re probably a little dizzy as well.

We started this off season with some big talk from Arte Moreno. We crawled through the last two months by watching the Angels lose out on Carl Crawford, sign a couple of aging left handed relief pitchers, and making a significant offer to Adrian Beltre.

The latest rumors/news/whatever-you-want-to-call-this-stuff is that the Angels are after Scott Podsednik. Yes, that Scott Podsednik, the soon-to-be 35 year old outfielder.

Wait, it gets better. Joe McDonnell tells us that the Angels have dropped out of the Adrian Beltre sweepstakes. Boo-ya. Cue Kool and the Gang because it’s time to celebrate… if you’re a Rangers or an A’s fan that is. (Edit: this story changes by the minute... Angels out, Angels in, etc.)

According to McDonnell the Angels are also interested in closer - Rafael Soriano. Hip, hip… Zzzzz. I know the old saying that you can never have too much pitching, but the Angels biggest holes remain on offense. There's another saying that good closers are wasted on bad teams. Catch my drift? Every stinking year it’s the same old question – where are the Angels going to find a big bat?

Optimists will tell you that there is still time for the Angels to make some significant moves to improve the offense. I’m here to tell you that the options are getting slimmer and slimmer. Think about this – the longer it takes for the Angels to make a trade (assuming that’s the best route), they’re running out of trading partners. A lot of teams are filling their needs via free agency or through trades with other teams.

For example; the Angels have a surplus of catchers, but the market for catchers I getting smaller as one catcher after another has signed a free agent deal.

From my point of view, things don’t look good; they look bleak. It’s frustrating to watch and alarming as all get out.

My take is that we’ve heard a lot of empty talk that has been backed up with confusing and conflicting reports. Does Arte Moreno want to play big boy baseball or not? The honeymoon is over Arte. You’ve been put on a pedestal by Angel fans, but now you should be prepared to be peppered by tomatoes.

I have to tell you, I’m getting tired of blogging about the Angels off season. I feel like I’m bingeing in negativity and I don’t like it much. I’d much rather be making fun of the Rangers, A’s or Johnny Damon.

Maybe Santa Claus will come in and save the day and put a nice lead-off hitter and a big bat or two under the Christmas tree. Then again, maybe the Grinch intercepted them and gave to other teams in the division.

All I know is the Angels have a bit of a Public Relations problem on their hands. How bad is it? If you’re on Twitter – check out the hash tag: #ArteMorenoLies. It’s getting to the point where Scott Boras doesn’t look so bad and Arte Moreno and Tony Reagins look like the Key Stone cops. Just saying.

December 15, 2010

Yes, I'm beating a dead horse

On October 5, 2010 I saw a headline in the LA Times that grabbed my attention. It read “Arte Moreno is mad, and he’s going to do something about it.” It was just the kind of thing a fan and especially a season ticket holder wanted to see from the owner.

The column, written by Bill Plaschke had some interesting quotes from Moreno. Here are several of them:

First Plaschke wrote “Did the owner of an underachieving Los Angeles major league baseball team just tell me that he was angry, disappointed, and would spend whatever it took to return his team to the playoffs?”

Moreno’s reply? "Yes," Arte Moreno said... "That's how I feel. That's what I'll do."

More quotes from Moreno:

"If you want to continue to perform at the highest level, you have to keep building the business," Moreno said. "And that's what I intend to do."

"We know where our weaknesses are, we know where we are thin, we know where we have to go to market," Moreno said. "It's going to cost money, but our fans need to know what we're committed to winning."

"You're not in the playoffs, you're not a happy person," Moreno said. ''I just don't like losing, and we're going to make adjustments."

"We're trying to improve how we operate, from the baseball side," he said. "We were thin this year. We didn't have the depth we needed. Everything starts with how we draft and how we develop, and we will do a better job of that."

"Championship teams develop their players like we have, we know that," he said. "But sometimes when the prospects aren't there, you have to bridge that area, and I'm willing to do that."

The fans need to see that we are doing something..."

"Am I going to go down to talk to the press and say I'm mad?" he said. "I was always taught that you wash your dirty laundry at home. Yes, we want to communicate to the fans, but in this case, the fans can see what's going on."

Read those quotes again and let them sink in.

Two months have passed. What have we heard since then? Just crickets….

We know what has happened since that time. Yup. The Angels signed two left handed relief pitchers on the down side of their careers One will be 35 by opening day (Scott Downs) and the other will be 36 (Hisanori Takahashi).

The Angels missed out on Carl Crawford and now seem to be held captive by Scott Boras over the negotiations for Adrian Beltre.

In the mean time – Tony Reagins has made statements like signing Takahashi was a big splash… His latest gem came in an interview with Terry Smith (which you can hear on where he makes a statement along the lines of signing Takahashi, Downs and getting a full season of Dan Haren and Kendry Morales is like signing four free agents.


I guess Tony Reagins really thinks we are idiots. I expect this kind of spin from a politician, but not from a baseball general manager with a season ticket base that is as large as the one the Angels enjoy. We deserve better.

Let’s see, on one hand we have an owner who basically tells us he’s going to do what he needs to do and on the other we have a GM who acts like everything is hunky dory. Imagine Reagins as the captain of the Titanic and telling his passengers, “we’ve just run into a little ice and we’ll be at our destination in no time.” What Captain Reagins neglects to tell his passengers is that the “destination” is the bottom of the ocean.

Is the ship really sinking in Anaheim? No, not really – I like to exaggerate a little for effect. Is it taking on some water right now? Yeah, I think so. Are they working frantically to correct things? I sure hope so, but appearances are not encouraging.

The longer this off season goes without any really solid good news… I mean the kind of news that makes a fan pump his fist, and say, “that’s what I’m talking about…” the more anxious we become and the more we focus on empty statements like the ones above.

I’m trying to imagine what Moreno is thinking these days. Is he still mad? Is he apathetic? Confident? Concerned? Frustrated? Or is he still motivated to get things going in the right direction?

I want answers, but I’m not likely to get t hem. I basically have to sit here, be patient and wait to see what happens. In prior years, I haven’t had much of a problem with doing exactly that, but my gut keeps telling me we may be headed for a repeat of 2010.

I hope I’m wrong. I would love to be dead wrong about all of this. I would prefer to find out I was paranoid for no good reason, but the bits of information that make it out into the public for our consumption leaves me more pessimistic than I’ve ever been.

Let's look at two of Moreno's statments again...

First: "The fans need to see that we are doing something..."

Correction Mr. Moreno, we want to see that you are doing something significant and we don't want Mr. Reagins spinning us a load of crap.

Second: "Am I going to go down to talk to the press and say I'm mad?" he said. "I was always taught that you wash your dirty laundry at home. Yes, we want to communicate to the fans, but in this case, the fans can see what's going on."

We see what's going on all right and we're not happy. What really makes us angry is when Reagins talks to us like we're idiots and tries to play spin doctor. He's better off just keeping his mouth shut all-together.

At the end of the day, you need to remember the old saying "action always speaks louder than words."

December 13, 2010

Surprises abound

It’s been a few days, but I’m still reeling from the Carl Crawford news.

I know I should let it go and move on because there’s plenty of off-season left, but I can’t. Here’s the thing – the way the deal went down just doesn’t sit well with me. Sean McAdam wrote a detailed accounting of how the Red Sox acquired Crawford and it doesn’t paint Tony Reagins in the best of light.

The story is interesting on many levels and speaks volumes about the way the Red Sox go about their business and I mean that in a good way. Like I said last week – the Red Sox play big boy baseball and after reading McAdam’s column, images of Carlton Banks continue to dance in my head when I think about Tony Reagins. I'm not happy about this image; it just is what it is.

The gist of the article is that the Red Sox identified Crawford as their #1 off season target when they began to fall out of contention in the AL East. The dedicated a scout to get as much "intel" on him as possible. They wanted to know about his game, his character and personality, etc.

They had a plan and they paid attention. They didn’t ignore the chatter about his aversion to playing in Boston and had a face to face discussion about the whole thing. They were smart and methodical.

In the end, they made Carl Crawford want to go to Boston and the Angels… well… they were left red faced and screaming (my perception). It’s getting to the point where it seems like the Angels aren’t as cool as they think they are and players are looking elsewhere when all things are equal (like money).

The whole thing just makes me anxious. I’ll admit it. I don’t have a lot of confidence in Tony Reagins right now. That being said, he has plenty of time to convince me otherwise, but the best offensive options in free agency are disappearing and I’d rather not see the Angels gut their minor league system via a trade for a quick fix.

Signing Adrian Beltre is critical. Yeah, I said critical. Even still, he won’t be enough. The Angels can’t afford to go into the 2011 campaign with Juan Rivera/Bobby Abreu in left field and both Peter Bourjos and Jeff Mathis in the lineup with something to prove offensively.

The longer the Beltre talks go on, the less confident I feel. I fully expect to read about another missed opportunity that got away from the Angels because of a deadline, a cross look, take-it-or-leave-it offer, a broken promise, egos or some other crazy scenario. Scott Boras must be loving this because he has the Angels right where he wants them.

Say whatever you want about Boras; but at the end of the day, he often looks like a hired gun who has just slapped the town sherriff silly.

Now, I’m a rational guy. I know it’s only December 13, 2010. I know there’s time, but there’s this feeling in my gut that didn’t get there because of something I ate. The uneasy feeling is the result of what my friend Dan (a retried San Diego detective) calls “priors.” In other words, Reagins track record of late isn’t comforting and neither is that of Arte Moreno for that matter.

The perception isn't pretty.

They give me the impression of being over-matched and over-confident. The reports from the Winter Meetings were of Angel executives talking as if they already had Crawford on their roster. Stuff like that makes me cringe and shakes my confidence in the front office to the core.

Now, all that can change in the blink of an eye… but as I stare at my computer and frequently check – I’m not blinking. I’m not getting wide eyed either. I’m feeling like I’m falling asleep and when I wake up; it will be 2010 all over again.

I hope I’m wrong. I’m not used to being this pessimistic, but last season took its toll on me. I keep looking back to last year when I proclaimed the Angels had gotten older and slower and had lost their ace… and then my tune changed as the weather got nicer and spring came calling. Looking back I see now that my initial gut reaction was right last off season and I was foolish to ignore my instincts.

I’m not going to make that mistake again.

I know I don’t have any control over what the front office does, but I can certainly form an opinion about what they do or don’t do.

To compound my anxiety – Keith Law broke down the Scott Downs signing (subscription required) and he makes some good points that don’t speak well of the whole thing. My eyes narrowed as I read about how Downs only threw in the high 80’s as visions of Brian Fuentes danced in my head. Law went on to say “I'd bet good money he ends his career in a specialist role.” Ouch. $15 million for a specialist? Double ouch.

I’m anxious. I’m not throwing in the towel or proclaiming that the sky is falling; but then again, I’m kind of afraid to look up.

Tonight we learned that the Cliff Lee sweepstakes ended in a surprise. As the negotations went on and on - we were lead to believe that the Yankees and Rangers were the front runners for Lee. We then learned that there was a "mystery" third team. When the news came out that the mystery team was the Phillies; a lot of people dismissed the idea.

This is what the writers and insiders do consistently... they miss the boat.

If you haven't heard - the Phillies signed Lee. Lee took less money and fewer years when all the experts thought he'd simply go to the highest bidder. Turns out the time Lee spent in Philly last year, were the happiest baseball days of his life. Who knew?

Well, we know who didn't know....

Baseball is unpredictable and this off season is proving to be as unpredictable as the season itself. I have no idea what will happen next, but my hope is that the Angels get in the game and stop watching other teams get better.

December 9, 2010

Blue Horseshoe loves the Red Sox

When the Angels failed to make the playoffs this past season we heard how upset and angry Arte Moreno was. When the Red Sox failed to make the play-offs they got busy and did something about it.

Even though opening day is months away and there is plenty of off-season left for the Angels to do something, the news coming out of Boston regarding their signing of Carl Crawford to a 7-year $142 million contract says a lot about the major league baseball landscape.

Baseball is a business and if you look at all the teams as if they were stocks, you would realize that the Angels stock just dropped and the Red Sox portfolio just went nuts. One could say the Angels’ “brand” just took a hit and their fan base, especially their season ticket holders just got punched in the stomach… again.

That’s right; again.

Two years ago it happened when the Angels lost out on Mark Teixeira. Last year Angel fans took one in the gut again when Lackey signed with the Red Sox. Yes, this is becoming all too familiar.

Even though losing out on Teixeira ultimately paved the way for Kendry Morales and even though John Lackey had one of his worst statistical seasons ever; it doesn’t diminish the pain Angel fans feel at the time of those events.

Yes, we can still look forward with optimism, but we’re more likely to be a little more jaded instead.

The rumors about the Angels being a lock to sign Crawford were just too good to be true. If you have spent any time reading this blog, you know how I feel about analysts, “insiders,” columnist and beat writers and their predictions; they’re worthless. Most of these people should spend their time reporting baseball news and not predicting it. But what are we going to do? People love predictions…

Baseball “insiders” aren’t’ really insiders at all are they? I mean, there isn’t a Bud Fox in the bunch.

When this kind of bad news hits, the results are predictable. First there is shock, then there is anger and frustration and then any number of things can happen; be it panic, depression or denial I’m really not here to explore any of that. I just know each Angel fan will deal with this differently.

My concern revolves around one central character and that’s Tony Reagins. Is it just me or is it possible that he’s actually Carlton Banks from “The Fresh Prince of Bel Air?” I ask because the Carlton character often seemed to be out of touch with reality.

I get the impression that Reagins operates with an air of arrogance and/or ignorance. When the Phillies signed Jayson Werth to the ridiculous 7-year, $126 million contract, Reagins said it wouldn’t have any impact on how the Angels do business. I don’t know, but that sounds either arrogant or ignorant to me. It doesn’t matter if it’s true or not, the fact that he said it is kind of alarming.

When the Orange County Register’s Bill Plunkett reported that Reagins said, “I think I already made a huge splash with (Hisanori) Takahashi,” Reagins said. “He adds a lot of value to your club.”- I again had to question the mind set of Reagins. Did he say that with a straight face? Seems to me that would be the response of a little kid who didn’t get his way and was looking for a way to justify what just happened.

I mean for days we heard the Carl Crawford was the Angels #1 priority. Then when they don’t’ sign him, we are told that Takahashi was the “big splash?” Come on, you sound like a swap meet vendor trying to convince us that his designer goods are for real.

Don’t get me wrong here. I am not bashing Tony Reagins (well, maybe a little), I’m simply questioning his mind set. I’m not looking to see him replaced; I just want to understand where he’s coming from.

Angel fans are watching you Tony and we have a news flash for you. The offense is broken. Fix it.

The Red Sox just demonstrated that they play “big boy” baseball. Your move Tony. We already know what the Yankees are willing and capable of doing. We also saw that the Texas Rangers are serious about doing whatever it takes. What are you going to do?

And for the record... YES, I'm in the knee-jerk reaction mode right now. Just saying.

December 6, 2010

The five players I will miss one day...

I’ve been a little under the weather lately and thus the lag on this blog. Today, I’m a little shell shocked from all the activity that took place over the weekend. I was pretty much un-plugged and disconnected all weekend and missed the news about Jayson Werth, Adrian Gonzalez, Lance Berkman, Shaun Marcum, Derek Jeter, Mark Reynolds, etc., etc.

Rather than repeat what everyone else is basically saying about all the deals; let’s just say that a lot of what actually happened is once again very different from all the speculation that lead up to the actual deals. That kind of makes me nervous, given how so many people are predicting that Carl Crawford will end up in Anaheim.

Time will definitely tell.

The Winter Meetings have begun; well at least for most everyone not named the Angels. Apparently, Tony Reagins is in route today. I’m sure this will add to the anxiety most Angel fans are feeling these days.

My own thoughts on all the moves relate to what it must be like to be a San Diego Padre season ticket holder right about now. They just lost the best player on their team and one of their all-time greats, period. Padre fans, I feel for you. Your team just went from being one game away from the post-season to obscurity. I’m not saying that to be harsh. I know that just has to hurt. It has to hurt on many levels because Gonzalez was so great in your community and such a solid citizen all the way around.

The void created by players like Gonzalez leaving is absolutely huge. I’m thinking of all the little kids who think of him as their favorite player. It just makes the careers of people like Tony Gwynn or the Angels own Tim Salmon all the more special in that they stayed in one place for their whole baseball life.

All of this makes you appreciate what you have while you have it.

Baseball players come and go. Some leave an indelible imprint while they play the game and some fade into the sunset without a second thought. Well, I’ve been thinking about this stuff a lot lately and Adrian Gonzalez leaving and Derek Jeter staying gave me even more reason to think about it.

I was thinking there are some baseball players who I will really miss once they retire or leave the game and I probably have taken some of them for granted. I mean, you get used to seeing certain players do certain things and even though some of those things are incredible, you don’t necessarily realize it at the time. Again, we take them for granted.

So, I came up with a list of the five players I will truly miss when they leave the game of baseball (Angels past and present excluded). I’ll miss them for different reasons, but I’ll miss their contributions just the same.

Number 5 on my list is Todd Helton.

Like I said earlier, it’s unusual these days for one player to spend his entire career with one organization; especially when that career spans a great number of years. Todd Helton has been a Colorado Rockie for fourteen seasons now. He’s a five-time all-star with more than 300 career homeruns and a career batting average of .324. He is for all intensive purposes the face of the Colorado Rockies. When I think of the Rockies, he’s the first player that comes to mind.

He’s what I would consider ‘old school” and from what I can tell, he seems to be a pretty funny guy....

Todd Helton isn’t going to the Hall of Fame (and he’s not going to win any Oscars), but he’s been the model of consistency for years. There’s something to be said about a guy who shows up day in and day out, plays hard, hits well, plays good defense (3 gold gloves) and plays the game the right way. I like the fact that I’ve always been able to associate him with the Colorado Rockies. When he’s done, I’ll miss him because in this day of free agency and the need for some players to seek the biggest possible contract, he’s an endangered species.

Number 4 on my list is Alberto Pujols.

What can you say about a player who hits anything and everything?

After all, Albert Pujols is a machine.

I don’t k now if Pujols will be a Cardinal for his entire career, but part of me hopes so. I’d say that with Mark Teixeira in New York and Adrian Gonzalez now in Boston for years to come, the number of teams that can actually afford and might need Pujols just got smaller.

Pujols is so great that when he’s just “very good,” we think he’s having an off season. He had a fantastic 2010 campaign with 42 homeruns, a .312 batting average and a 1.011 OPS and he finished second in the MVP voting.

It’s gotten to the point where we expect him to perform at such an elite level that a season like the one he just had seems sub-par (even though it’s certainly not).

He’s just the kind of player you expect to do something amazing every time he comes to bat. He’s probably the guy you’d least like to face when the game is on the line and yet, he’s the guy you most want to see at the same time.

Number 3 on my list is David Ortiz

One day, I will miss David Ortiz the way Laker fans miss Larry Bird. If you're a Laker fan, you know exactly what I'm talking about. He has been a pain the rear of Angel fans for years now and because of that I will miss him slightly more than Pujols. Crazy, I know.

When David Ortiz is up to bat with the game on the line, bad things happen. Bad things like walk off homeruns and game winning hits.

Willie McCovey hit 18 grand slams in his career. Not the most by a player, but when I was a kid and McCovey came to bat with the bases loaded, it seemed like he hit a homerun every time. It got to the point where every time McCovey came to bat, I had to watch. There are only a handful of players who have commanded that kind of attention from me; Reggie Jackson, Willie Stargell, and Mike Piazza come to mind (I know, I know... but I loved to watch Piazza hit).

Even though Ortiz has only half as many career grand slams as McCovey, I think of him like I used to think of McCovey.

Don’t get me wrong, I won’t shed any tears when Ortiz walks away from the game, but I will miss him because he represents a big part of the rivalry that has existed between the Angels and Red Sox.

Number 2 is Mariano Rivera.

Like Ortiz, I have this thing about great players on the teams I hate. If they play with class and aren’t arrogant I appreciate them.

Closers are so unpredictable. One year they’re flawless and the next they’re a disaster, but not Mariano. Nope. This guy is the model of consistency and even though Eric Gagne was once known as “Game Over” – it’s Rivera who truly deserves that distinction and nickname.

He’s the guy who gives Yankee fans a reason to breathe a sigh of relief. He’s that steady, calming presence that makes you believe everything is going to be okay because he’s in the game. He’s so great and yet I he doesn’t get nearly the attention he deserves in my opinion.

Check out these videos of “Mo.”

Who made who more famous?

It’s all about “the cutter.”

Who will I miss more than anyone once they’re gone from the game of baseball (Angels, past and present excluded)? Why it’s Ichiro.

Everything he does seems effortless and yet if you know anything about Ichiro, you know that he’s worked extremely hard to make it seem like it’s effortless.

Check out this piece by Brad Lefton in 2003.

Here’s an excerpt:

Tigers first baseman Carlos Pena had a hunch about Ichiro Suzuki. Pena didn't think the Mariners right fielder was as tense on the field as his often-steely face might otherwise indicate. Pena was building his theory on some casual observations he had made: Ichiro seemed to exhale when swinging the bat, whereas other players tensely grit their teeth; and the soft sound of Ichiro's footsteps approaching first base in full throttle was different than the heavy clumps he was used to hearing. But an exchange between the two at Comerica Park last season simply blew away Pena and confirmed his hunch.

After Ichiro singled for the first time in a game, Pena seized the moment. As the two were getting set for the next pitch, Pena initiated a casual conversation, like first basemen often do. "I asked him a question, and he answered, `Absolutely,' as he was taking his lead." Pena recalls. "The next thing I knew, he was gone with the pitch, stealing second. I mean he was halfway to second base almost while he was still talking. Other guys, if you say something to them when they're about to steal, they won't talk to you because they're tense. They know something's about to happen, and they've got to focus. I couldn't believe he went on that very pitch. He's so relaxed, he can do that."

Former Mariners manager Lou Piniella saw Ichiro up close for two years and knew early on that Pena's hunch was solid. "Ichiro works very hard at his game, but at the same time, he's very relaxed and he's very confident. He really has the mental part of the game under control."

I don't understand why more players don't train like Ichirio. He is rarely ever hurt and looks like he can play well into his forties.

Here's some fun stuff for your viewing pleasure...

Ichirio is a special player. If you stop to think about what he's accomplished, the way he's done it and all he may continue to do, it's simply amazing.

So there you have it... who willl you miss when they're gone?

November 23, 2010

Dare to imagine...

Imagine a world where Derek Jeter played baseball for another team. Hard to picture? Well, take it a step further and imagine that team being the Boston Red Sox.

Did your head just explode?

I know that when all is said and done, Jeter will most likely be back in New York wearing pinstripes and making more money than he deserves simply because he’s Derek Jeter, but it’s fun to think about the pure chaos that would envelop the world if Jeter were to somehow end up in Boston.

It’s the kind of scenario curses are made of.

Imagine the media circus that would follow. It would be bigger than the O.J. Simpson trial. There would be rioting in the streets of both New York and Boston. Jerseys would be burned; Jeter-like dolls would be hung in effigy from bridges and trees.

Imagine the confusion … one day you hate a guy, the next he’s on your team. The look on the faces of both Red Sox and Yankee fans would be priceless. Some of them might even be speechless (yeah, right).

Could it happen? Is it even remotely possible? Perhaps.

Consider these words from Brian Cashman, the Yankees’ General Manager (courtesy of ESPN NY): “We understand his contributions to the franchise and our offer has taken them into account. We’ve encouraged him to test the market and see if there’s something he would prefer other than this. If he can, fine. That’s the way it works . . . We feel Derek Jeter gives us the best chance to win. But we’re not dealing with Derek alone. We’re dealing with our closer, we’re trying to add to our club, and if putting all our eggs into one basket takes away from our ability to add to our club, I ain’t gonna do it.”

This could get ugly and yet it would be beautiful at the same time. You see it too, don’t you?

Cashman went so far to say “We've made an offer and we hope they strongly consider it, [But] there are things we have concerns with -- his recent performance over the last few years, and his age. And that has to be factored into this negotiation."

It’s been reported the Yankees have offered Jeter a three-year, $45 million contract. It’s also been reported that the Yankees have offered Cliff Lee a six-year, $140 million contract. Do the math. The Yankees are actually trying to show some fiscal restraint… well, theoretically at least.

I have to admit all of this comes as a bit of a surprise. I mean most of us thought a deal would get done without any problems and yet things are getting interesting. I guess if the Giants can end up in the World Series against the Texas Rangers anything can happen, right?

What’s next? Barry Bonds comes out of retirement and signs with the Dodgers?

In other Hot Stove news the Detroit Tigers have signed Victor Martinez to a four-year $50 million contract. This is good news for Angel fans. Why? Well, the Tigers were reported as being one of the teams interested in Carl Crawford. This signing puts a dent in their checking account and when you factor in their signing of Joaquin Benoit to a three-year $16.5 million contract and their need to fill other holes; it looks like we can take the Tigers off the table.

So… that leaves Boston and possibly the Yankees and that’s not all bad because I believe the Red Sox have more interest in Jayson Werth than Crawford… and the Yankees? Well, they have yet to express any interest and are hopefully more focused on Lee and Jeter.

Let’s just say that I’m hoping for some big news by Thanksgiving morning. A boy can dream, right?

Angels News:

ANAHEIM, CA – The Angels today announced the club will not offer salary arbitration to outfielder/designated hitter Hideki Matsui. Today’s announcement was made by General Manager Tony Reagins.

Matsui, 36, batted .274 with 21 home runs and 84 RBI in 145 games with the Angels in 2010. The former World Series MVP led all of Major League Baseball with a .371 batting average (43/116) from August 14 through the end of the season.

A native of Ishikawa, Japan, Matsui has combined for a .297 (2499/8402) career average, 493 home runs and 1,570 RBI in 2,329 professional games between the Japanese League and Major League Baseball.

November 22, 2010

Blogging ain't easy... pass the turkey

Thanksgiving will be here in just a few days and I can’t help, but think about Torii Hunter whenever this holiday rolls around now. That’s because on Thanksgiving morning 2007, my wife Cheryl woke me up early in the morning to tell me that the Angels had signed Hunter to a five-year deal. I was a little groggy and didn’t believe her. I thought to myself that she must of heard wrong and the Dodgers probably signed Hunter. After all, the Angels had four more years of Gary Matthews, Jr. (GMJ) ahead of itself. I even told her as much (something she reminds me about from time to time).

I was beside myself when I finally confirmed the news. I couldn’t believe my favorite player in all of baseball was coming to my favorite team. It was a joyous day and the turkey even tasted extra-good that day, I’m sure.

Well, here we are three years later and I’m hoping Cheryl wakes me up Thursday morning to tell me some more unbelievable news. If that news happens to be about Carl Crawford; all the better.

It’s that time of the year and it always makes me a bit antsy. I wake up every day wondering if this is the day the Angels do something great.

Take today for example. It’s November 22 and this is somewhat of a significant day in Angels history. It’s actually the three year anniversary of the Torii Hunter signing I mentioned above. Talk about something to be thankful for!

It also happens to be the four year anniversary of the GMJ signing. Now that’s a real turkey. Somebody pass me some pie, I need to eat my way out of that memory.

Even though the days are technically shorter, they’re long days never-the-less - as we wait to see what’s going to happen next. It’s still very early in the off season and it may be a long while before anything significant happens. For some perspective, check out Sam Miller’s piece from November 17, 2010 when he outlined the dates that Arte has spent his money. Sam gives us a detailed timeline of all the significant moves and when they happened under Arte’s watch.

By the way, if Arte happens to spend some of his money on Adrian Beltre, I’d be pretty happy about that. I know, I know, I’ve already talked about this a couple times. I only bring it up again because I’d like to point you in the direction of Halos Heaven’s Matt Welch who does an excellent job of separating some of the facts from fiction in his “Adrian Beltre’s Walk Seasons, and Other Illusions.”

Speaking of illusions, I posted something last week about how the A’s seemed to be trying to corner the market on third basemen. Well, turns out their offer to Adrian Beltre was little more than a PR move according to reports on

Really? That’s the kind of PR the A’s do? I guess it falls in line with Money Ball on some level; I guess they’re making news without spending any real money. Whatever. I just hate the A’s.

Since it’s such a slow news day, err week… err month, I thought I’d spend a little time talking about the blogosphere.

I’d like to give a shout out to some Angel blogs out there. Blogging on a consistent basis is hard work. It takes a lot of time and dedication to try and keep a blog relevant and up to date. Here are some great bloggers who are doing exactly that:

Angels Nation broke in around April of 2010 and seem to be going strong.

AngelsWin has been around a while and is one of the gold standards in blogging. They’re much more than a blog, they’re more like a one-stop-shop for everything Angels. They have organized get-togethers, a message board, orginal content and much more.

L.A. Angels Insider is the handy work of Eric Denton. His site is striving to be much more than a blog as well. You can find great podcast interviews and other “insider” information on his site regularly. Eric has also told me that he’s developing other features on his site that are sure to be of value to Angel fans.

Monkey with a Halo is a blogging warrior. Garrett Wilson posts a lot of stuff on a regular basis. Nothing gets past this guy. He is currently taking a short break from blogging, but his site is always a great place to visit. He’s never lacking for an opinion on all things Angels and that's a good thing.

Halos Heaven is another of the gold standards in blogging. It is also much more than a blog with an absolutely huge following. Be sure to check them out for all the latest discussions, original content, news and much more.

The Angels Blog on the O.C. Register web site is easily one of my favorite places to visit on a regular basis. Sam Miller, Dan Woike, Bill Plunkett, Keith Sharon and the rest of the staff give you a little bit of everything. Fun videos, sabermetrics, news, interviews, photos, you name it – these guys are on it.

The Angels, in order is a very special blog. If you love baseball cards and the Angels than this blog is a little slice of heaven. The author goal is have a signature of every player who has ever been with the Angels. He’s posting his collection one player at a time starting with the first to debut as an Angel in 1961.

Last, but not least is a brand new entry into the blogosphere: This is a very simple game is penned by blithescribe who regularly comments on my posts here. Blithescribe provides some truly unique perspectives on the game of baseball and the Angels (of course). It’s a great blog and I hope this one sticks around.

There are a great many Angel blogs on the internet, the ones I’ve highlighted here seem to be the most consistent. In other words, they don’t disappear for months at a time. They’re also very good and each offers something unique for every Angel fan.

I have a more complete list on the right side of this blog, but again – consistency isn’t a strong point of all of them. Again, blogging ain’t easy. Just saying.

My hope is that we will continue to see Angel bloggers sprouting up all over the place because the more people we have talking about the Angels the better.

November 18, 2010

Hot Stove Potpourri and other stuff

This is pretty random stuff, so bear with me...

The Atlanta Braves made the biggest early splash this off season by acquiring Dan Uggla for Omar Infante and Mike Dunn. Shortly after the deal was announced one could hear the “I can’t believe my (fill-in-the-blank) team didn’t try to get him” comments everywhere.

Several Angel fans on message boards and even in the comment section of one my recent posts had even proposed that the Angels make Uggla a target. I’m glad they didn’t.

Most wanted to make Uggla the Angels’ third baseman despite the fact that he had 18 errors at second base. That’s a lot of errors folks. Uggla at third base would have been a nightmare, in my opinion. Besides, every time I think of him, I remember how badly he had the “yipes” in the 2008 all-star game. Remember that? He made three errors in that game. Players who perform that badly on a big stage really scare me.

No doubt his bat is impressive, but let’s also keep in mind that he’s going to be a free agent after this next season and has already turned down four-year, $48 million offer. Word is he’s looking for a five-year, $71 million deal.

What’s up with the Oakland A’s? Reports have come out that they have offer on the table for Adrian Beltre. They just acquired Edwin Encarnacion and already have Kevin Kouzmanoff on their roster. Trying to corner the market on third basemen?

Beltre is an interesting free agent, most fans either like him or hate him and there’s no real middle ground. Many will harp on the fact that his two best years came in contract years while more reasonable people (like me, ha-ha) focus on the fact that his overall numbers are pretty solid. Hey if you don’t believe me, look them up yourself. Those 25+ homeruns in all but one injury-plagued season in Seattle look pretty good to me. You will also see that he hit more homeruns away from Fenway than at Fenway. Not bad, huh?

I’ve actually been waging this argument about Beltre all off season – but many are clinging to the idea that he’s only good in contract years. All I’m saying is that he sure beats the alternatives.

Speaking of third basemen. Ever wonder what happened to Dallas McPherson? Well, he just signed with the Chicago White Sox. He’s still hitting homeruns (22 in 2010) and apparently still unable to play full seasons (84 games).

Speaking of third basemen… Wait didn’t I just say that? How about Shea Hillenbrand; where is he now? He and his wife run Marley Farms which is an animal rescue facility. Pretty cool. I wonder if Brandon Wood can work there. Hey, it’s in Gilbert, AZ and Wood is from Arizona.

I guess that was harsh.

Don’t get me wrong, I really wanted to see Wood succeed in the biggest way, but when ESPN’s Keith Law says “I saw Wood in the Arizona Fall League, where the Angels sent him as (I assume) a favor to help him find a potential home for 2011. He can still crush a fastball ... and still can't adjust to a breaking ball. He's a poor man's Mark Reynolds, but with the potential to be a much better defender. I'd take a shot at him if I was an NL GM with a spot at third for a high-risk, high-reward flier; in that circuit, Wood could hit .220 but play enough defense and hit enough home runs to be above replacement level” – it doesn’t look like Wood will be playing for the Angels next season.

Switching gears (enough about really bad 3B, right?)...

Congratulations to Bud Black for being named the 2010 National League Manager of the Year. He joins Joe Maddon (2008) as a former Angels coach who has won a Manager of the Year award. Will Ron Roenicke (new manager of the Milwaukee Brewers) be next?

Congratulations also go out to Felix Hernandez of the Seattle Mariners for winning the 2010 AL CY Young Award. Okay, I really didn’t want to congratulate him; I really wanted to point out that his ERA against the Angels was 4.13 (5 starts) and even a little higher – 4.28 against the Rangers (6 starts). Let’s call that a “fun fact.” No matter how dominant he was (and he definitely was), he sure didn’t dominate the Angels or Rangers. Just saying.

Best Hot Stove rumor so far… According to Troy Renck of the Denver Post, the Rockies are interested in…. are you ready for this? Drum roll please…. Wait for it… Ready? Here it comes.... Scott Kazmir!!

Yes, you read that right. I almost fell out of my chair when I read this. It's funny... didn't I write a piece last off season related to Scott Kazmir and "swagger?" Yikes, that was some bad blogging. Now, if this rumor from Renck has any legs what-so-ever, Troy Renck might become my new favorite sports reporter.

Speaking of favorites… Check out Sam Miller’s piece from the OC Register regarding Hank Conger’s off season. Every time I read about Conger, I become more and more impressed with his maturity and mind set. Sam Miller on the other hand? Well, not so much. Just kidding.

By the way I hate the smell of potpourri...

November 12, 2010

MIght as well face, we're addicted to baseball

Today’s blog is going to be totally spontaneous. I’m just going to start thinking and typing (not necessarily in that order) and see what happens.

The Hot Stove season is a crazy time. Baseball fans that can’t wait for spring to roll around go searching for any little clue as to what their team might do or any team might do for that matter. We are starved for baseball news and any little thing can pass for news when it’s the off season. We read stuff about who is interested in whom (without really contemplating the absurdity of such thoughts) and we start throwing out our own scenarios as to what we think our teams can do.

That’s when it really gets bizarre. If you frequent a message board or two or listen to sports talk radio that has a call in segment, then you’ve heard some of the laughable stuff being talked about. I don’t need to give you any examples because you know exactly what I’m saying, don’t you? Heck, you might even be one of the crazy people out there making outlandish proposals.

We start circling important dates on our calendar like the dates for the GM Meetings (November 16-17, 2010) or the Winter Meetings (December 6-9, 2010). Some guys can’t tell you when their wedding anniversary is, but they sure as heck know the dates I just mentioned.

We throw figures around like $100 million without blinking. We pour over prospect lists and commit names to memory when we can’t even remember what we had for lunch the day before. We project. We predict. We lament. We anguish. We go through the full range of emotions and suffer anxiety attacks when there isn’t any news about our teams.

Might as well face it folks; we’re addicted to baseball.

We look for clues no matter how obscure they might be that will give us some sort of indication of whether or not a certain player is going to sign with our team. Carl Crawford loves In-n-Out Burgers? Really? We have them all over Southern California! Woo-hoo baby! We’re locked in!

We evaluate trades being made and wonder why our own team didn’t make a deal for such and such because that other team got so and so for nothing. David DeJesus for that? Never mind that DeJesus is just an average ball player at best (career .787 OPS – Yes, I took time to look that up).

We eagerly wait for the pre season predictions from the experts and then mock them as soon as they’re published. We even go so far as to believe we are jinxed if so and so says something good about our team and get upset when they say something negative.

We are an insane group.

We curse Scott Boras early and often. We hate everything he has to say but we can’t wait for him to say something about a player we’re interested in.

We loath the Yankees more than ever during the Hot Stove season because we know that they stand in the way between getting the player we want and having to settle for something less.

We talk about Plan A, B, and C when we can’t even plan what we’re having for dinner.

We pity Pirates fans. We harass newly minted Giants fans and can’t seem to find any A’s fans.

We praise the Twins, wonder what in the world the Mets are thinking and watch the Dodger divorce proceedings with the morbid curiosity of someone driving by a car wreck.

In some ways we talk more baseball now than when it’s actually baseball season. We make lists of the greatest this or the most over-rated that.

We stare blankly into space. We dream. We hope. We wish.

We check before we check what’s going on in the stock market, local news or the weather. It might be cold and rainy outside, but if our team signs a player we want, we feel warm inside.

We might not have a clue about world events, whatever is trending on Twitter or who is still on Dancing with the Stars, but we know that Carl Pavano is a Type A free agent and Hiroki Kuroda is a Type B. Just don’t ask us what our blood type is because we haven’t got a clue.

92 days until pitchers and catchers report (Feb. 13, 2011).

November 8, 2010

The Hot Stove Season is officially cooking

I’ve had a lot of time to think about what the Angels might do this off season and even more time thinking about what I would do. Somewhere between the two is the master plan to rule baseball for generations to come. Okay, maybe not…

In all seriousness, I do expect the Angels to do something unexpected.

Most scenarios being discussed revolve around signing Carl Crawford and/or Adrian Beltre (two signings I believe will happen). If they do those two things, I’m just not sure it will be enough.

I have a plan. I know, I know, you’re thinking here comes another hair brain idea from a fan. Hold on and don’t be so quick to judge. I promise you that I won’t throw out some whacked out idea that has Albert Pujols coming to Anaheim for Juan Rivera. My proposal has some merit and if you let me explain my rational maybe, just maybe it will make sense.

Howie Kendrick is expendable. Whoa. What? “Future batting champ” Howie? Yes. The way I see it, Alberto Callaspo can play 2B and do just as good a job, if not better. Compare their statistics. Kendrick had a better OPS (.721) to Callaspo’s 674 OPS. However, their career OPS numbers (Callaspo .720/Kendrick .752) are close.

Here’s the thing - Callaspo struck out just 42 times compared to Kendrick’s 94 K’s. Callaspo is one of the toughest hitters to fan in baseball. He has better bat control.

Ding. The bell just went off in your head, didn’t it? You see it now, don’t you? Callaspo is Mike Scoscia’s kind of player.

Look, the Angels have been waiting for Howie Kendrick to become the #2 hitter they need; however, he has failed to embrace that role. Why not put the guy who is better suited for that role in the #2 spot? I believe Callaspo is the perfect #2 hitter.

But… Howie has more power right? Nope. They each hit 10 homeruns last year.

Hear me out. Callaspo and Kendrick are both 27 years old (Callaspo is a few months older). Kendrick has more service time and made $1.75 million to Callaspo’s $460,000. The way I see it, Callaspo is just as good and is cheaper.

Besides, the Angels have a plethora of middle infielders who can serve as backup. Maicer “The Tin Man” Izturis and Kevin Frandsen can fill that role. Plus, the Angels have organizational depth here with Alexi Amarista and Jean Segura in the minors and playing well. Someone has to go! Who has more appeal in a trade? Howie Kendrick does, that’s who. He’s got that “P” thing going for him. You know the “potential” thing? I’m sure there’s a team out there who would love to take Howie in a deal.

What team? I’m glad you asked. I’m thinking the Washington Nationals as possible trade partners. And no, I’m not trying to suggest they trade Stephen Strasburg or Bryce Harper to the Angels. The way I see it, the Nationals have an abundance of outfielders. They have Mike Morse, Nyjer Morgan, Josh Willingham, Roger Bernadina, prospects Justin Maxwell and Harper. They also have Willie Harris who plays just about everywhere (but is also a free agent).

What they don’t have is a second baseman. Adam Kennedy’s option was declined and they’re in the market for a middle infielder (with apologies to Danny Espinosa).

I’m proposing a Howie Kendrick for Roger Bernadina trade. Bernadina is a 26 year old left handed hitting player who can play all three outfield positions. He has moderate power (11 homeruns in 414 AB’s), stole 16 bases and plays exceptional defense.

I see Bernadina as the new Angels right fielder.

What about Torii Hunter, you ask?

I’m glad you asked because here’s where things get interesting. I would not be surprised to see Hunter back in CF next year. Which begs yet another question, right? What about Peter Bourjos.

I’m a huge Bourjos fan, but I have a feeling that his .204 batting average and .237 OBP is going to keep him from being handed the everyday CF job going into the 2011 season. I just don’t think the Angels will be willing to be patient with him and will look for a more immediate solution. Which makes my idea of a Crawford, Hunter, Bernadina outfield seem plausible.

There’s also the Mike Trout factor. Trout is considered by many to be the best prospect in all of baseball and he also happens to be a centerfielder. While I know it’s easy to get caught up in the hype that comes with that kind of tag, I don’t think it’s unrealistic to believe that Trout could be on the big league roster by 2012.

If you buy into what people like Keith Law of ESPN or Jim Callis of Baseball America are saying, then it’s reasonable to believe he will arrive sooner rather than later.

Do the math.

Hunter has two years left on his contract. Trout is on his way and he and Bourjos play the same position. If the Angels sign Carl Crawford something has to give eventually. It’s conceivable that Bourjos will become a fourth outfielder or traded. Like it or not, Bourjos is somewhat expendable.

Now don’t get me wrong – I wouldn’t mind seeing a Crawford, Bourjos, Hunter outfield; in fact, like most fans, I love the idea. However, this team is in desperate need of offense and in order to contend for a World Series title, big changes have to be made. The Angels can’t afford to carry a .200 hitter going into the 2011 season (yes, this also applies to Jeff Mathis).

Let’s not forget that 2011 will be the Angels’ 50th Anniversary. Expect a big splash and bold moves. I have to believe that Arte Moreno isn’t going to settle for another season like the one we all just endured.

Besides, I’m trying to think outside the box here.

So with that in mind, know this - Jeff Mathis is done. Wishful thinking? Perhaps, but consider this – Mathis only saw 39 AB’s in the last month of the season (including a couple days in October). I think this means something. The popular belief is that Mike Napoli is on his way out because Mike Scioscia seems to prefer Mathis for his defensive skills.

Well, I’m throwing that idea out the window based on his diminished playing time at the end of the season. I also don’t need to remind Angel fans that Mathis hit a putrid .195 with a .219 OBP. Like Bourjos, I don’t believe the Angels can afford to carry Mathis on their opening day roster; at least not as the everyday catcher.

I believe the Angels would like to trade Mathis, but that’s truly wishful thinking. Look for Mathis to be non-tendered and released. I see a Mike Napoli/Bobby Wilson tandem behind the plate in 2011.

If you’re thinking Hank Conger will be on the 25 man roster next April, think again. He was released from his Venezuelan team because of his lack of hitting. He’s going to start the year at AAA again.

I know this idea of Napoli staying in Anaheim is outside the popular opinion, but the way I see it the trade market for catchers is slim while the free agent market is booming. Teams looking to add a catcher have Victor Martinez, Miguel Olivo, John Buck, Ramon Hernandez, Rod Barajas, Yorvit Torrealba, and others to look at in the free agent market. Mark it down – Mike Napoli is not going to be traded.

Juan Rivera on the other hand will be dealt for pennies on the dollar. Even though Rivera’s contract is affordable to a lot of teams ($5.25 million), moving him will be difficult, but necessary. I could see a trade to Colorado for utility man Clint Barmes. Rivera could become their right fielder and even spell Todd Helton at first base once in a while.

Colorado could also be the kind of change in scenery or should I say altitude that Rivera needs. Another possible destination could be St. Louis where he could platoon with John Jay (a left handed hitter).

Now, about that bull pen…. Well, if you’re looking at Rafael Soriano, I suggest you look elsewhere. The Angels haven’t had much luck dipping into the free agent market when it comes to relievers. Think about Justin Speier, Brian Fuentes and Fernando Rodney. Not a pretty picture, huh?

I believe they are more likely to trade for a short term solution rather than signing someone to a multi-year deal. The Angels will have Rodney, Kevin Jepsen, Jordan Walden, Michael Kohn, Jason Bulger and most likely either Rich Thompson or Matt Palmer in the pen. While there isn’t a definitive closer in the bunch per say, it’s possible that any one of Walden, Jepsen or Kohn could emerge in that role. I suppose that even Rodney is a possibility.

And there you have it. The ranting of a mad man or the insightful opinion of a long time fan. You decide. Chances are no one will see what’s coming and the Angels will baffle us all.

In the mean time – it’s fun to speculate; after all, the Hot Stove Season is officially open for business.

November 1, 2010

Back to the future and some advice for Giants fans

I am writing to you today from the future.

The Angels have just won their fifth consecutive World Series; Mike Trout was named MVP, Kaleb Cowart and Hank Conger hit three homeruns each (which makes you wonder how Trout won the MVP, right?) and Ervin Santana threw his second post-season no-hitter of his career. Not a bad year, huh?

A man can dream can’t he?

What was your dream back in 2002? As I look back at that time, it never really occurred to me (at least prior to the Angels actually getting to the World Series) that the Angels could and would be World Champions. My confidence grew with every come-from-behind win. And once they won game 6 in come-from-behind fashion, I was as positive as one can be about their chances.

Sure, I always hoped I’d see the day, but I don’t remember a time when I said to myself, this is the year they’re going to do it. When you follow a team not knowing for winning as long as I have, you get used to certain things and your expectations become somewhat tempered. I think most fan bases go through the same thing.

Think about it – who had the Giants and the Rangers in the 2010 World Series prior to the start of the season? I have to wonder how often this happens; where a team or teams no one really thought would win it all actually gets that chance?

Ask a Giants or Rangers fan if they really believed in their heart of hearts that their team would be playing baseball in November (wow, did I say November?)? I doubt you’d find any. Okay, maybe a scant few (who probably say that every year), but seriously… think about it.

How many Angel fans thought their team would win it all in 2002 prior to that season? How about the Red Sox fans in 2004 or the White Sox fans in 2005?

Unless you’re a Yankee fan most fans don’t have those kinds of expectations; at least not year in and year out. Sure sometimes things happen in the off season that might make you believe your team has a shot (take the darlings prior to the 2008 season - Detroit Tigers for instance), but for the most part – unless your team has actually done it, you don’t necessarily expect it. I’m talking deep down inside where it’s really a core thought of your own.

Getting there changes everything and winning it all elevates it to another level.

Most Angel fans expect the Angels to compete for a World Series title every year now. Same goes for Red Sox fans, Phillies fans, etc., but the longer your team goes without returning or ever getting to the biggest stage in baseball, the less you expect that idea to become a reality.

Fact is it’s really hard to get to a World Series. There are so many variables that it’s really a testament to any team that gets that far. Some believe the play-offs are a “crap shoot” and some think it’s their team’s “divine right.” Whatever you believe, the fact remains that getting there is never something any team can take for granted.

It’s one of the beautiful things about baseball.

I love it when teams like Tampa Bay in 2008 or the Rockies in 2007 find their way to the World Series when no one really saw it coming. Regardless of the whether they win it all or not, it’s the idea that none of the so-called experts saw it coming.

And why do we call them experts when they fail so often? I guess it's really not important and the bigger question is why do we get bent out of shape when the experts don’t pick us? We should be celebrating when we get ignored or passed over, shouldn’t we?

Even when the two teams were finalized for this 2010 World Series, most “experts” picked the Rangers. They’re not looking so smart right now. Then again, this shouldn’t come as a surprise. It's just the way things go.

We love to predict things even though baseball and life in general is so unpredictable. It doesn’t even matter that we are wrong most of the time; we march on.

The other side of all this is how expectations will change. Once you win or even when your team gets close to winning, you start to think about the future and how many more times your team might win it all.


Some Giants’ fans are already talking about a dynasty. Why? Because they have such great young pitching. All of a sudden, the mind set changes. Prior to this season most Giants fans hoped they would see a championship in their life time; now, many of them are starting to think about this becoming an annual event.

Caution: Things change when you have something to defend instead of something to prove. When you have something to prove, you don’t necessarily have a target on your back when you have something to defend, you most certainly do.

It's like this... Yankee fans are expecting pay back next year. Red Sox fans believe they will return and their failure to make the play-offs is only dependent on their team being healthy again. Angel fans believe the Rangers 15 minutes of fame (okay, it’s been longer than that) is about to expire. Dodger fans are… well, let’s let sleeping dogs lay.

My advice to Giants fans is to soak it all in. You might not get back here again. Don’t start thinking about next year and just focus on the moment. It will be here and gone before you know it. The past eight years since 2002 seem much longer than all those previous years of hoping and waiting combined. Seriously; embrace the moment.

DISCLAIMER: I realize that I’m writing off the Texas Rangers. I also realize that baseball can humble a team, a player or an entire fan base any day of the week. If the Rangers come back and win this World Series, I’ll have some crow to eat. So be it. I just want to make sure I make the point about how fleeting the moment of watching your team win it all can be and I can’t do that when the series is over.

And just so we're clear... If by chance it gets to the point where the Rangers might win this thing, I'd give them the same advice.

October 27, 2010

The Top Ten things I'd like to see at the 2010 World Series

10. A foot race between Pablo Sandoval and Bengie Molina. Winner gets a XXXL Antler t-shirt. Loser does a belly flop into McCovey Cove.

9. Nolan Ryan sitting next to Robin Ventura with his arm around his neck. Yes, I know Ventura has never been associated with the Giants, but it’s a funny thought never-the-less.

8. Expanded instant replay. Yes, I had to go there.

7. Steve Perry singing the National Anthem in San Francisco with Barry Zito on guitar. Hey, Zito has to make an appearance in the World Series somehow, doesn’t he?

6. Wouldn’t it be nice to see Brian Wilson of the Giants dressed up as Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys on Halloween? In fact Wilson’s warm up song should be “Don’t Worry Baby” - God only knows how appropriate that would be. Did you like how I incorporated three Beach Boys songs in there? Don’t answer that…

5. Pablo Sandoval doing the Ozzie Smith flip. Then again, didn’t we already have an earthquake during a Giants World Series in 1989?

4. An Ian Kinsler trifecta, where he is hitless, speechless and ring-less. I’m just saying.

3. The look on Mark Teixeira and Alex Rodriguez’s face if the Rangers win. This idea could make for a great Master Card commercial…. Alex Rodriguez's contract: $275 million. Mark Teixiera: $180 million. The look on their faces after the ALCS: Priceless. There are some things money can’t buy.

2. None of the Ranger pitchers going more than five innings. After all, the Rangers bull pen lead the American League in innings pitched. That’s right. Let’s look at the facts and ignore the hype (excluding Cliff Lee).

1. Chuck Norris throwing the first pitch in Arlington and then challenging Kung Fu Panda to a fight. “Kung Fu, eh? Let’s see what you got Pablo!”

October 25, 2010

Evidence that the Loch Ness Monster is real?

I never thought I’d see this day. I mean seriously; there are a lot of things I thought I’d see before I ever saw the Texas Rangers in the World Series. Things like men landing on Mars or real life video of the Loch Ness Monster seemed much more likely.

I have to tell you. As great a story at this Rangers team might be, I am having a hard time with it. If you’re one of those Angel fans who are happy for Vladimir Guerrero, well then – you’re just a better person than I am. The idea that Vlad could get a World Series ring in Texas after six years without one in Anaheim just isn’t sitting well with me. Call me selfish; call me a jerk; whatever. The idea that it’s even possible for him to win in another uniform is just downright depressing.

Suffice it to say, I’ll be cheering for the Giants.

I admit, it will be hard to root against Bengie Molina, but a man’s gotta do what a man’s gotta do. Let’s face it, I have had to endure way too many Yankee and Red Sox titles lately and even though those are tough to swallow, it’s something I’m familiar with. This whole Rangers in the World Series thing is another matter. It just leaves a sour feeling in my stomach.

I will say this about the Rangers. There’s a certain amount of satisfaction in knowing that Alex Rodriguez and Mark Teixeira had to watch the Rangers celebrate their ALCS win. I mean, I’m sure both guys never thought they’d see the day when the Rangers would do something like that. Every time I think about that, I have to smile. Come on, it has to make you smile too doesn’t it? Here are two guys who left Texas for what they thought was a sure thing (getting to the World Series multiple times) in the Yankees only to lose to them when most people thought that just couldn’t happen. It’s just beautiful and I thank the Rangers for giving me that.

Now, I’m sure if I let myself, I’d find a lot of reasons to root for the Rangers; however, I just can’t go there. You see there are a lot of other things that really bug me about the Rangers.

First of all, what’s the deal with having red uniforms? It’s bad enough that you have a lot of ex-Angels are on your team, but stealing the team colors too? Then there’s the whole disliking Ian Kinsler thing and well, let’s just stop with that. I’d rather not focus too much on the negative today. Let’s just say it’s just easier and a lot less painful to cheer for the Giants.

Speaking of the Giants; one thing I really appreciate about them is that they’re not hung up on contracts. Barry Zito has a $126 million contract and he was left off the post-season roster. Aaron Rowand is in the third year of a five year, $60 million contract and he’s spending quite a bit of time on the bench.

The Giants are clearly about putting the best players on the field and that’s not necessarily something team’s do. I applaud them for that. I’m thinking about Scott Kazmir. Catch my drift Angel fans?

I’m also enjoying the fact that Jose Guillen hasn’t been on the post season roster either. If he was, I’d have a hard time watching the World Series all-together.

Also - I’m really liking the “cast off” image of the team. Guys like Pat Burrell and Cody Ross are good stories. One minute they’re out of baseball and the next they’re on the game’s biggest stage making huge contributions.

Other observations, thoughts and ramblings…

I’m happy that Bengie Molina will get a ring and a nice bonus regardless of which team wins it all. Steve Henson of Yahoo Sports points out that his time with both the Giants and Rangers is going to pay off big time. The Giants voted Molina a full share before the play-offs rolled around.

I loved the way the ALCS ended with Alex Rodriguez looking at strike 3 for the final out of the game. I don’t know what it is about A-Rod but most of my memories of him in the post season over his career are of him leaving his bat on his shoulder for better or worse. Maybe it’s just me, but I’d much rather see a guy try to put the ball in play than just stand there looking for a walk.

On the other hand, I didn’t like the way the NLCS ended because a guy like Ryan Howard should be trying to make something happen instead of watching it happen.

I wonder how much Cliff Lee is going to be offered this off season. I’m guessing the Yankees will offer him all of Manhattan, the Statue of Liberty, the Brooklyn Bridge and all the Coney Island hot dogs he can eat. I’m hoping he ends up some place other than New York and/or Texas.

This post season has really provided us with some stud pitching. Roy Halladay, Roy Oswalt, Tim Lincecum, Cliff Lee and C.C. Sabathia are as good as there are in baseball. They might be the five best pitchers in baseball not named Felix Hernandez. Remember when Josh Beckett was in their class?

I’ve been trying to look up the pre-season predictions from all the experts to see how many of them had the Giants and Rangers in the World Series.

I started looking last week.

I’m still searching.

ESPN? Nope. Fox Sports? Nada. Sports Illustrated? Negative. This could take a while.

It has to be out there; somewhere, right? Then again...

Isn't baseball great?

Last, but not least – check out Bengie Molina’s blog “Behind the Mask” as he details his emotions of winning the American League and going against his former team.

October 20, 2010

Not bad; not bad at all

Of all the players from the 2002 World Series team that went on to play for someone else; Bengie Molina is the guy I miss the most. I miss him more than Darin Erstad, Troy Glaus, David Eckstein or anyone else.

Last night he reminded me and all Angel fans why he was so beloved. He had what might have been the biggest hit in the ALCS, a three run homerun to put the Rangers ahead for good in game four.

"It's not a bad job for a fat kid who everyone makes fun of when he runs," smiled Molina, after going 3-for-4 with a homerun and three runs batted in.

Bengie has always played the game with the rare combination of both pride and humility. He never sought the spotlight, but it always found him just the same. I never felt like he was ever overwhelmed by any situation. Most of all I always viewed him as a “clutch” player.

Now, I know some sabermetric types and other baseball folk believe there is no such thing as “clutch hitting,” but as long as this game isn’t being played by robots or computers, I will always disagree. Baseball players are human beings with emotions and voices in their heads that speak to them all the time. You can’t tell me that some players don’t thrive in the “big” moment or game. You can’t convince me that some athletes have a tendency to tense up when the lights are at their brightest and the stage is at its biggest.

Some people want the bat (or ball) in their hands when the game is on the line and some don’t. That doesn’t mean they’re going to succeed all the time; it just means that the moment isn’t too big for them. It’s not something you can necessarilly measure or even project, but it’s often very evident.

Maybe I’m romanticizing the game too much here.

Well, baseball will do that to you. Every big play has the ability to flood your mind with memories, thoughts, emotions and so much more. Baseball is about indelible moments and although it’s easy to get lost in the statistics and numbers associated with the game, it’s those walk off homeruns and suicide squeezes that you remember most. And when certain players seem to step up and deliver in key situations time after time, you remember them for being “clutch.” Imagined or real? It really doesn’t matter.

Watching Bengie Molina last night took me back. It took me back to a time when he was an Angel. I always believed he had the ability to soak in a moment, take a deep breath, settle himself and if necessary – his teammates’ nerves and get down to business. He was always had a calm and steady presence and I’ve always considered him to be a great leader. He’s not necessarily a” raw, raw” type; he just leads by example.

A lot of conversations will take place between now and next season about what a great addition Cliff Lee was to the Rangers’ rotation and rightly so. It should also be noted that adding Molina to the Rangers club house was just as big. He’s that veteran presence that’s been here before and he never gets too high or too low.

Molina also knows full well about the mind set needed to take down a Yankee club in the post season; having lived that experience as an Angel. He knows no fear.

I find it interesting that he could end up in the World Series facing the team that basically gave him away to clear a spot for the potential National League Rookie of the Year; Buster Posey. I would bet Bengie finds that thought more than just interesting. I would bet that the way he was pushed aside hurt just a tad.

Seems to me that during his free agency years he's frequently the guy no team really wants to sign, but ends up being the guy everyone loves to have on their tea. Even still, though he constantly exceeds expectations; he's also taken for granted. He's kind of an after thought, but one that pays off big in the end.

Remember, this is a man with tremendous pride; at least that’s what I’ve gathered after watching him for all these years as a fan. Now, I don’t know Bengie personally and my only interactions with him have come at spring training or before games when he would warm up down by the bull pen and interact with fans, but the impression I always got was that this is a man who plays with confidence and has his own quiet swagger about him.

Everytime I think about him I keep coming back to his pride and humility.

Take the 2006 season when he played for the Toronto Blue Jays. On May 16 of that year his Blue Jays lost to the Angels 8-3, but the thing that probably stung Bengie the most was that Jose Molina (his brother) stole a base against him.

The next night, Bengie tried to return the favor, but was thrown out by Jose. One can only imagine the post game conversation those two might have afterwards. I’m sure Bengie didn’t like being upstaged by his brother, but at the same time I would also believe he got a good laugh out of the whole thing.

He also got the last laugh.

Apparently he didn’t forget that night in May because a few months later on September 9 Bengie got his revenge and stole a base against Jose. Justice was served and order was restored within the Molina family.

Interestingly both Molina’s had only stolen one base all year; not only that, neither tried to steal a base against anyone else the rest of the year.

It was vintage Bengie.

I even loved the way he interacted with fans. He was always kind, cordial and accommodating. He never “big leagued” anyone. He always made time for as many people as possible. There’s something endearing about a guy who’s always approachable and seems to be the same person regardless of whether he’s signing autographs or launching bombs into the outfield stands.

I can even remember a potentially volatile situation at a spring training game in Tempe after the 2002 season. A few of the players were gathered at the tunnel that leads from the field to the club house. Frankie Rodriguez said something that offended a fan who was trying to get someone’s autograph. I don’t know what he said, but I remember this fan going off and saying some things in a pretty angry tone. Frankie looked a little shell shocked, but Bengie was there and gave the fan a “come on man, you’re not serious” look. He said a few things to defuse the situation and everyone walked away just fine.

Bengie has always had a way of putting people at ease; be it on the field or off it. It’s one of the things I love about him.

You see, every memory I have of Bengie is a good one. Last night, he gave me one more.

October 14, 2010

Post-season baseball brings out the best in all of us

When it became clear the Angels were not headed to the play-offs (was that back in May?), I started hoping the San Diego Padres would win the NL West. I figured I could pull for a team that had Buddy Black as their manager and David Eckstein playing second base.

When the Padres faltered (okay, choked); I looked at the post-season and decided to align myself with the Twins, Rays, Reds and Braves. I wasn’t necessarily picking the teams I thought would win, but rather the teams I wanted to win.

Well, we know how that turned out.

So here we are on the verge (well sort of on the verge, if you count waiting for three days) of the League Championship Series’. What’s an Angel fan to do?

The ALCS is like my worst nightmare.

I can’t cheer for the Yankees and I really can’t stand the Rangers. Yeah, that’s right – I have no love for the team from Texas even if it’s full of ex-Angels. None what-so-ever. Don’t get me wrong, I will always be a huge Bengie Molina fan and I have nothing but the highest regard for Darren Oliver and Vladimir Guerrero. Heck, I even like Darren O’Day and Gary Pettis, who is their first base coach.

It’s just that… well, I can’t stand Ian Kinsler.

If you've followed the “rivalry” between the Angels and Rangers than you obviously know about Kinsler’s “get the bleep off my field” comment from last year. I haven’t forgotten it and every time I think of the Rangers, I think of him spouting off. He just ruins it for me.

I don’t care what Donny Osmond sang all those years ago; for me it’s a clear case of one bad apple spoiling the whole bunch.

Some might argue that I should be loyal to the AL West or the AL in general. I don’t see it that way. If we’re talking about the All-Star game (a game that really matters, don't you know) well then sure, but that’s where my loyalties end.

I just might have to go with an NL team this year. Then again; maybe... just maybe I should go with the team that has the best video? Just watch…

Now aren't you glad you found this blog? I mean come on, where else can you get this kind of analysis and post season coverage?

I know what you're thinking. You've seen all the videos and you've made up your mind. You're thinking "Go Giants!" aren't you? Yeah, me too.

This is play-off baseball and it doesn’t get any better than this.

October 11, 2010

All bets are off

As much as I’d like to say that I’m enjoying the play-offs, I really can’t do that. Sure, some amazing things have taken place like Roy Halladay’s no-hitter, but I can’t say that I’m scheduling my life around the post-season.

I don’t know, I really don’t get a kick out of watching former Angels like Vlad Guerrero, Darren Oliver, Bengie Molina, Troy Glaus, Orlando Cabrera, etc., etc. doing things for other teams. The truth of the matter is that seeing them in their current roles doesn’t do anything for me at all.

In fact, they serve as a reminder that the current Angels aren’t there and I really hate that like you wouldn’t believe.

I haven’t watched an entire play-off game yet. I’m not saying I won’t – just that I haven’t so far.

Let’s just say I’ve had other things on my mind since last week. Since October 5 to be exact when Bill Plaschke of the L.A Times wrote about Arte Moreno and how mad he was about the season and how he was going to do whatever it takes to make his team one of the elite in the league again.

Let’s just say that this article really got my attention and I haven’t stopped thinking about it since.

Moreno said the kind of things every fan wants to hear from his owner. Things like “If you want to continue to perform at the highest level, you have to keep building the business," Moreno said. "And that's what I intend to do."

And things like "We know where our weaknesses are, we know where we are thin, we know where we have to go to market," Moreno said. "It's going to cost money, but our fans need to know what we're committed to winning."

More music to my ears: "You're not in the playoffs, you're not a happy person," Moreno said. ''I just don't like losing, and we're going to make adjustments."

Those are the kinds of statements that make me want to cancel the post season and start the Hot Stove season like yesterday. I can’t wait to see what this team is going to do. When I read those statements by Moreno it got me fired up.

Then something strange happened.

I checked out the Angels official page and found an article written by Lyle Spencer on October 3; just two day prior to the on in the LA Times

The headline struck me – “Whole sale changes by Angels not necessary.”


The two articles had completely different tones. In the Spencer piece Mike Scioscia was quoted as saying “I don't think we need to make a lot of changes," Scioscia said, "but we're always looking to improve our club."

Wait. Didn’t I just read… I mean… Are you kidding… Huh?

You know what I love about Arte Moreno? He’s kind of like Colonel Jessup (played by Jack Nicholson) in the movie “A few good men.” He wants to tell you what’s on his mind and if you wait long enough, he’s likely to do exactly that. He’s likely and willing to break company lines and give you the real deal.

Scioscia on the other hand is like one of those guards at Buckingham Palace. No matter what you do or say to them, they’re not going to give you anything. Not a smile, not a wink; nothing.

So here’s the deal and this has been my gut feeling since the season ended. Forget whatever you thought might happen because when most people look at the Angels, they see some obvious holes that need filling. You know things like letting Hideki Matsui walk, making Bobby Abreu the full-time DH next year, etc., etc. You don’t need me to rehash all the scenarios that are pretty much uniform in their thought.

Prepare to be wowed. Prepare to see things no one saw coming. Let’s just say that all bets are off and I’m prepared for anything. I happen to believe Moreno when he says that he hates losing and wants to do something about it.

Now, some might find this alarming. Some might fear that he’s going to do something rash in the heat of the moment and some how make this club worse in the process.

Perish the thought. I get the feeling that Moreno let’s things burn in his belly for a bit and thinks long and hard about how do make things right. I don’t think he’s afraid to go after what he wants and I’m betting he’s asking all the right questions; hard questions and when all is said and done – he’ll have the answers and a plan to put this team back where it belongs.

I want Arte in that place. I want him so angry that he can’t see straight and when he’s done being mad, I want to see him with a laser-like focus and barking out orders to his staff.

Maybe it’s wishful thinking on my part. Maybe I’m making this out to be way bigger in my own little head than I should, but then again – it’s just how I feel. I want answers; I want the truth and I’m ready to handle it.

Bring it Arte. Angel fans are looking for a few good men.

October 9, 2010

Why do you love baseball?

Earlier in the week I asked the question Why do you love baseball? I posted this question on my other blog The Baseball Docent.

Several people have responded and their stories are posted on that site. Every story is unique and entertaining in their own way. Some of the stories may make you laugh and some may make you shed a tear. Some of the stories may even jog a great memory of your own and all of them will probably have you contemplating the question yourself.

I hope you'll take the time to check it out. I don't think you'll be disappointed. Again, several stories are posted at The Baseball Docent. If the stories inspire you to answer the question yourself - feel free to write down your thoughts and send them to me (contact information is on the blog).

October 8, 2010

Making a dream come true

Ever wonder what it would be like to work for a major league baseball franchise? Wonder how you make that happen? Well, it’s like anything else worth achieving; it takes hard work and dedication.

A prime example of that is represented in Ryan Cavinder’s story. Who’s Ryan Cavinder? Ryan is a Media Relations Representative with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim and he was kind enough to take the time to give us an inside look at what he does, how he got there and what it’s like to be a part of a major league franchise.

Ryan’s family and mine have known each other for years. His grandmother and my mother are like sisters (his dad and I are close in age). I’ve able to follow Ryan’s path to the Angels from afar and was delighted when he agreed to telling his story. So… let’s get to it.

TG: First of all Ryan; I know that you’re an Angels fan. How long have you been a fan of this team and did you have any favorites growing up?

RC: I have been an Angels fan all of my life. I spent most of my childhood in the cheap seats at the Big A with my dad and brother. We would make an annual trip out to spring training with my grandpa and then catch about 20 games or so during the season.

Some of my favorite Angels growing up were Wally Joyner, Luis Polonia, Jim Edmonds and Darin Erstad.

One of my favorite memories comes from one of my all-time favorite Halos. My dad and brother and I would always wait after the games in the parking lot to get players autographs. I was a pretty shy kid, so my brother would get most of the autographs and I’d try my best to follow his lead.

One day Rod Carew, who was the hitting coach at the time, came out and signed a few baseballs on the way to his car. He didn’t have time to sign for everyone, so he said goodbye and left me without an autograph. My brother came away beaming about his signed baseball and I immediately burst into tears.

My dad started to console me as the crowd departed and that’s when I heard a voice from behind me whisper, “Little boy, come here”. There was Rod, waiting to sign my baseball and give me a word of encouragement. Having had the chance to get to know Rod over the past few years has been a special treat for me. He is still the same caring individual he was that evening some 15 years ago.

TG: What is your current role with the Angels and how long have you been doing it?

RC: I am the Media Relations Representative for the Halos and I just finished my third season with the club. My job description covers a wide range of responsibilities, but includes arranging player interviews, producing game information used by writers and broadcasters, traveling with the club on road trips and writing the media guide.

Future Angels Brain Trust (in red)? Ryan is on the far left

TG: How many people do what you do?

RC: There are four full-time staff members in the Media Relations department, including my boss, V.P. of Communications, Tim Mead. Teamwork is crucial in our department as many of our responsibilities require constant communication.

TG: When did you decide that this was the career path you wanted to pursue?

RC: After finishing my senior season of high school baseball, I realized that I did not want to play ball for a living and to be quite honest I was probably not talented enough any way. I love the game so much and I decided I would do whatever I could to be around it. I had a passion for people and for public relations so I decided my dream job would be in the public relations office for the Angels.

TG: How did you make it happen?

RC: When people ask me this question, my answer is always, “A little bit of hard work and a whole lot of luck”. In all honesty, I worked tirelessly to put myself through school at Chapman University where I received the tools necessary to make it in this business.

I was fortunate enough to build some relationships in my time there and those relationships ended up landing me an internship with the club. Once I had my foot in the door I realized how close I was to my dream. I didn’t let anything stand in the way of me and my dream. Two years as an intern paid off as I was offered my current position at the beginning of this calendar year.

TG: I know you had a lot of different jobs through college and while working as an intern. I think it speaks to your desire to make it in the business you’re in. As you look back on those experiences, do you have any thoughts?

RC: I definitely think the many jobs I worked in college and while interning with the Angels taught me a lot about being dedicated to my dream. I had to make sacrifices to get to where I'm at but every one of them has paid off.

TG: Tell me more about your background; did you play any baseball?

RC: I played baseball at Valley Christian High School, a small high school in Cerritos. Though our school only had about 800 students, we had a very successful baseball program. After a brief stint at the University of Arizona, I wound up at Chapman University where I graduated in 2008 with my B.A. in Public Relations and Advertising.

TG: What is a typical day like for you?

RC: It seems like there is never a typical day here at the ballpark, but for a typical home game I arrive at the ballpark in the morning and begin preparing our game notes. Game notes offer our broadcasters and writers specific stats, trends and interesting notes to use in their articles/broadcasts.

On a typical day, we also are busy setting up interviews for our players, both with Fox Sports West (FSW) as well as with radio stations and writers. The better part of the afternoon is spent in the clubhouse where we are available for the players and the media to fulfill any requests they may have.

During the game, we are in the press box assisting the media with their coverage of the game. I’ll normally leave the ballpark about 30-60 minutes after the conclusion of the game. It makes for a very long day but it is incredibly rewarding.

On the road trips I have many of the same responsibilities; however I am the only one to fulfill those duties so it presents a whole new challenge. The up-side to that are the incredible hotels, chartered flights and amazing cities I am able to visit.

While the team is on the road and I am not with them, we (staff) are preparing for the next home stand and assisting the person from our office that is traveling with game notes and such.

TG: What will you do in the off season?

RC: Baseball’s offseason is very short and once you factor in the beginning of free agency, the winter meetings and the holiday season it’s almost time for spring training!

A large amount of our time in the offseason is spent preparing the coming year’s media guide. This offseason will be special as we will be preparing for the 50th anniversary celebration in 2011. We have a lot of special surprises in store and it’s going to be a very exciting year!

TG: What is your role at spring training?

RC: Many of my responsibilities are the same whether in Tempe or Anaheim, but the environment is much different. For instance, on a typical day in Anaheim we may have between 5-10 player interviews; while in Tempe we can have upwards of 20-30. Spring training is heavily covered by the media due to the fact that there are so many teams within a 15-20 mile radius.

This last spring was my first opportunity to be in Tempe for the entirety of spring training and it was a real treat. The relaxed atmosphere out there provides me a great opportunity to build relationships with our players.

TG: Ryan, you are obviously in a position that a lot of people would love to be in. Have you ever had any “wow” moments where you had to pinch yourself?

RC: There have been countless “wow” moments in my short time with the club, many of which I never even dreamed possible. Celebrating with the team in the clubhouse after clinching division titles in 2008 and 2009 most definitely top that list. Being around such baseball greats such as Rod Carew, Vin Scully and Reggie Jackson has also left me saying, “wow.”

TG: What do you do when you are not absorbed in all things Angels?

RC: It’s difficult to truly separate myself from this club, but when I do - I try to spend as much time as possible with my family and friends. I also love to be outdoors and I have a passion for distance running.

TG: Do you have any advice for people looking for a career in baseball?

RC: Never take no for an answer. Persistence is key to making it in this business. It is crucial in this market to take any job that will get you some experience. If there isn’t a job open; go for an internship. If there isn’t an internship available; volunteer. Much like the challenge the players face, you have to be willing to do it for free and prove yourself before anyone will be willing to pay you.

TG: Angel fans know that Tony Reagins (the current General Manager) started as an intern. I believe the Yankees’ Brian Cashman and Red Sox’s Theo Epstein also started that way. Can you envision yourself as a future GM?

RC: I don't envision myself being a GM one day but I would not rule it out. I love that side of this business and have been inspired by the path Tony took.

TG: Anything you’d like to add? A funny story perhaps? How about your first road trip?

RC: My first road trip was a surreal experience. This is the way to travel. I’m a young guy not far removed from college, so the days spent in European hostels and road tripping in the U.S. aren’t far behind me.

The chartered flights, the hotels and the incredible food (and tons of it) are more than a young guy could ask for. As a matter of fact, I gained six pounds on my first road trip. Six pounds in seven days, while working out! Needless to say, it was on that first trip that I learned how to say no.

The only other thing I would like to add is that if anyone would like to get a hold of me they can feel free to reach me at

That concludes our interview. I’d like to thank Ryan for his time and insight.