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.