July 16, 2012

Checking in long enough to bash Keith Law

Ever notice that the baseball season just rolls along with or without you?  I’ve been more than busy lately and haven’t had time to put any thoughts on paper for a while.  Never-the-less, the baseball season is moving along.  Shocking, right?

So, call this my better-late-than-never, just-past-the-half-way-point-of-the-season – check-in post.

Okay, so are you pinching yourself every time you watch Mike Trout play a baseball game (my arm is black and blue)?  Can you believe that this amazing young man is on our favorite team?  I mean – there aren’t enough superlatives to describe how great he is, let alone how much fun he is to watch.  And let’s really put the emphasis on “fun.”

If you haven’t been to a game yet to watch Trout – you owe it to yourself to make it to the stadium.  In fact, load up the car with kids, parents, grand-parents, whoever because Mike Trout is a once-in-a-generation type of player.  Be sure to warn them all that when Trout does something spectacular –you might give them a shove… like a - did –you-see-that? – kind of a shove.  It could get dangerous.

Believe the hype – better yet, go see what all the hoopla is all about for yourself.

I’m not kidding folks.  Every time he steps on the field he’s liable to do something absolutely spectacular, be it in the batter’s box, on the base paths or in the outfield.  Trout is so good he could leave Chris Berman speechless. 

If there’s a player in baseball who is more fun to watch than Mike Trout, I sure would like to see him.

And then there’s Mark Trumbo… and before I get to singing his praises, I have a bone to pick with ESPN’s Keith Law.

Keith Law hates Mark Trumbo.  I don’t know how else to say it, but he just does.  At least that’s the impression I get every time I read something Law has to say about Trumbo. 

Take this bit from his July 2, 2012 post on ESPN about how Trumbo didn’t deserve to be on the All-Star team.  “If you're obsessed with current-season performance, Austin Jackson certainly belongs on the team over Mark Trumbo, a disaster with the glove whose early-season walk-rate spike has disappeared.”

Come on Law – lighten up.  I really think you take yourself a little too seriously.  Mark Trumbo is an absolute blast to watch.  He hits absolutely mammoth homeruns, plays the game hard (ever watch him run down the line?) and is the kind of player who absolutely should be in an All-Star game.  Besides Law – the game is for us fans – not people like you who don’t know how to have a good time or appreciate the game for its true beauty.  Just saying.

Law loves to accentuate the negatives.   Granted, he knows more about baseball and how to break down players better than I ever will – but sometimes he goes a little too far with his “campaign to be right.”

I know I should care less about what Keith Law has to say – but there’s something about his pompous attitude that rubs me the wrong way.  I generally respect him as a talent evaluator and usually enjoy reading his work (especially when he focuses on a player’s mechanics), but sometimes he’s just a little twerpy to me.  Sorry.

As right as he’s been about Mike Trout – and he’s been dead on; he’s been just as wrong about Mark Trumbo – but he’ll never admit it.

Trumbo is one of the bright spots in the game and one of the young stars of the game who deserves more praise and less bashing by the likes of Keith Law in my opinion.  Mark Trumbo makes me smile so much my face hurts.  He’s given me a lot of moments of unbridled joy this season than Austin Jackson will give anyone in his whole career.

Anyway… enough with Keith Law.

Okay – so how about Mark Trumbo Angels fans?  We all knew he was going to be good – but hasn’t he exceeded all of our expectations?  Come on – when he’s up to bat – do you leave your seat at the stadium?  Do you get off the couch at home?  Of course you don’t.

By the way – when Austin Jackson comes up to bat… well, you know.  I mean - let’s say nature comes calling and Jackson is up to bat…. given my options – I’m heading to the john.  When Trumbo is up, I’m holding it for as long as it takes. 

Trumbo has that Reggie Jackson (no relation to Austin by the way) quality about him.  You know that if he gets a hold of one – it quite possibly is going to be of the jaw-dropping variety.  The show he put on at the Homerun Derby was must-see TV.  He’s simply impressive.

So… here we are 89 games into the season and the Angels are trailing the Texas Rangers by 5 games.  Most of the experts talk about the Angels in Wild-card terms, but I’m not giving up hope on a Western Division title.

The fact that so many analysts and the like are penciling the Rangers in as division champs actually makes me feel pretty good.  Face it – more often than not, these folks are just wrong.

I’m not discounting how good Texas is.  I mean I do consider them to be the second best team in the American League.  I just like the Angels’ pitching and the offense has shown signs of being really good when it has to be.  I never feel like the team is out of a ball game and I haven’t had that feeling in a while.

Look these two teams are going to square off 13 more times between now and the end of the season.  A lot can happen just in those 13 games alone.  I can’t wait to watch every one of those games.

Let’s just say I like the Angels chances.  I didn’t like them much last year or the year before, but this year has a different feel to it.  Maybe it’s the vibe I’m getting from my rose-colored glasses.  Maybe it’s the euphoria of watching a little more than half a season of Trumbo and Trout.  Whatever it is – doesn’t really matter.

The last two post-seasons have been a miserable experience for Angel fans forced to watch other teams or not watch at all. 

I believe this year can be special (how that’s for deep analysis?).  Deep down – you do too, don’t you?  The journey continues folks and every game is a new adventure.  It’s time to get to the ball park and let yourself love baseball like never before.