July 27, 2010

Ramblings from a "mad" man

So I’m at the Angels/Red Sox game last night; it’s late and I’m looking down from our seats on to the field. I’m looking at the Angels defense and I’m seeing Howie Kendrick at first, Maicer Izturis at second, Erick Aybar at short and Alberto Callaspo at third. And then I start scratching my head and thinking, really; this is our infield?

That doesn’t look like a championship infield to me. Am I missing something?

And what’s with Scioscia and Kendrick? Why do the Angels feel the need to jerk the guy around and move him in and out of the lineup and all over the batting order? Is he or is he not THE guy at second base? Izturis is a nice player, but he’s so fragile, he’s likely to go on the Disabled List if someone looks at him too hard.

Come on. Play Kendrick every day. With all due respect to the little guy who comes out when the Angels need to rally - let’s not monkey around with Howie.

As for Callaspo. I can actually live with him at third base beyond this year. That is of course, so long as Carl Crawford is in left and Jayson Werth is in right field. I’m just saying.

This is what wonders through your mind when your team is 7 games back and getting spanked by Big Pappi on a night when your new acquisition has literally been knocked out of the game.

I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking that this James guy who writes True Grich is already thinking about next year.

Well, I’m only human. Like I said the other day, this season reminds me too much of 2006 and we all know how that turned out. I’m usually overly optimistic and even though I haven’t actually given up on this year, it’s getting close.

By the end of this week the Angels could potentially be out of first by double digits games. If that happens, I would have to believe it’s over. Then again, what’s more likely to happen is they’ll toy with me into believing they have a shot and then lose in the last week after the Angels have deposited the money I have shelled out for play-off tickets.

Yes, I’m venting. This is what happens when one gets mad.

And since I’m in a particular state of mind, let me get a couple other things off my chest today.

Yesterday morning Roger Lodge had Keith Law of ESPN on his show for the “Baseball Report.” Now Lodge is basically a radio personality who also happens to be an Angel fan. He seems to know a good bit about the Angels history, but doesn’t really offer me anything of substance. Hey, it’s just my opinion.

In any case, yesterday it was clear that Lodge hadn’t done his homework on Law because as soon as he introduces Law he starts in about the Haren/Saunders trade and immediately talks about Saunders’ win-loss record. Big mistake.

Law is one of those sabermetric types who doesn't give any value to wins and had Lodge known that he wouldn’t have received the statistical lesson Law proceeded to give him about why Saunders’ wins are meaningless to a guy like him.

Wait, there’s more.

Law’s specialty is analyzing minor league prospects. Great opportunity to ask Law about the prospects the Angels traded away right? Well sure it is, but that idea was lost on Lodge. Instead, he wanted to know if Law thought Joe Torre would be back with the Dodgers if Frank McCourt still owned the team. Law’s answer? “I don’t know Joe Torre well enough to answer that question.”

Now I know that being a sports talk show personality must be harder than it looks, but how about a little prep work prior to your show? I’m just suggesting…

I’m telling you, this is sports talk radio at its finest.

I wish the lunacy ended there, but then I made the mistake of tuning into Jeff Biggs.

Now, I know Biggsy (as he’s affectionately called) has been somewhat of a friend to this blog at times, but I have to tell you – yesterday I wasn’t in the mood for his act. You know, how he tries to tell us all that we should trust the Angels front office and that Arte Moreno wants to win as badly as anyone, yadda, yadda, yadda.

Biggsy really hates it when Angel fans question the front office. But let’s be clear, he also likes to tell us ad nauseum that he’s not a “house man” and he’s “not drinking the company kool-aid.” Whatever… It just seems to me like every time I tune in, Biggsy is trying to convince his audience that he’s not a homer.

Well, I have a news flash for Biggsy. It’s actually okay to admit your bias. I’m as biased as they come when it comes to the Angels. I freely admit that I wear rose colored glasses when it comes to my favorite team. That being said, it doesn’t stop me from taking the glasses off once in a while to try and get a better picture of what’s actually going on. Sometimes things still look a little foggy, but I try.

Which brings me back to Moreno. Just because Arte wants to win, doesn’t mean that the decisions his front office makes shouldn’t be questioned at times. I don’t doubt that Moreno would like to win a world series. I don’t doubt that he’d like to win a lot of them for that matter. I just think his front office has missed the boat this year and I don’t see what Moreno’s desire has to do with whether or not the Angels are pulling all the right strings.

No front office is perfect. So, let’s not pretend that Tony Reagins is King Midas and everything he touches turns to gold. Stuff happens.

When I tried to look at the team optimistically (not always an easy thing for me to do) before the season started, I saw a team that had un-athletic corner outfielders and a bull pen that was more hype than substance. I actually got to the point where I tried to over look all of that and I was indeed drinking the kool-aid myself.

My fears became reality when Abreu and Matsui started to show their age and Juan Rivera reminded us just how utterly average he is. And the bull pen? Well, we’ve all lived through that horror.

Everything became magnified when Kendry Morales went down. The weaknesses became more glaring and the holes became big enough to drive a truck through.

So… here we are. It’s the end of July and that line that Biggs likes to throw out there about there being “plenty of time in the season” is looking suspect. Hey Biggsy, let me borrow another one of your daily phrases… “I know where you’re coming from my man, but….” And here it is... The Angels aren’t looking like world beaters right now and that team in Texas that everyone assumes will fade, isn’t going away. In fact, that lineup is simply better than our Angels’ lineup. Yeah, I said it.

Biggsy, you don’t need to remind me about how lucky we are that we have Moreno as an owner. I get it, but apparently you don’t because you bring this up as some sort of way of discouraging us fans from having a conversation. Gee, I guess I shouldn’t question any of the team’s moves because Moreno wants to win. Yeah, okay.

Well, some of us aren’t lap dogs and we’re not going to wag our tail every time he does something. No one (at least not me) is questioning his desire, but desire alone isn’t going to get it done. If it was only a matter of desire, Reggie Willits would be freakin’ Albert Pujols.

Don’t get me wrong. I sincerely appreciate what Biggsy brings to the table, I just think his skin is a little thin and he’s a little too defensive about his bias.

Now where was I?

It’s a new day, let’s not assume that history will repeat itself. Let’s realize the Angels are in the fight of their lives (figuratively, of course). Oh and by the way – if the Oakland A’s pass the Angels in the standings, I’m going to lose my mind. Why? Well, because I hate the A's...

But tonight… tonight my wrath will be reserved for John Lackey. I’ll be wearing my Lackey shirt tonight, but with a twist. Under his name, I’ve taken a black sharpie and written “IS DEAD TO ME.” And just so you know, the booing you'll be hearing will include my own voice.

How perfect would it be for Jered Weaver to out duel Lackey tonight? These are the kind of little victories I’m clinging to right now. Kind of pathetic, but fun never-the-less.

It’s go time. It’s time to take care of business and get back into the race or just let Brandon Wood play every day. Either way, Cheryl and I will be at the stadium, watching and actually cheering. Bank on it because that's just the kind of fans we are.

BallHype: hype it up!

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