July 16, 2014

Hello old friend

Hell-ohhhhh winning.  Hello 20 games above .500 at the all-star break for the first time in franchise history.  Hello series sweeps and winning streaks.  Hello confidence, optimism and that good old’ fashioned swagger.  Oh, how I’ve missed you.

Hey there to leading the league in come-from-behind wins and to leading all of baseball in runs scored and on-base percentage.  Thank you for making baseball fun again.  Angel fans can once again go to a game or watch on television with the expectation that the Angels will emerge with a win. 

Howdy hope and post-season aspirations.  Per Baseball Prospectus the Angels have a 98.9 percent chance of making the post-season.  I don’t know about you, but I like those odds; in fact, I like them a lot.

Hello Mike Scioscia haters.  You know who you are.  You thought the game had passed Mike Scioscia by and that his team no longer responded to him.  You begged for a change and became louder and louder with each passing day; that is, until now.

Many of you (myself included) wanted to see Albert Pujols moved down in the lineup and for Mike Trout to hit 3rd.  Funny, but Trout and Pujols have combined for 137 RBI and 42 homeruns – more than any other duo in baseball.

For years Scioscia-haters moaned about the idea that this team wasn’t patient enough and now this Mike Scioscia-lead team leads the league on on-base percentage at .334.  As an added bonus, this team is third in OPS at .761 (2nd in the AL).

Time after time, I heard how set in his ways fans thought Scioscia was.  Hello, have you seen the lineup lately?  Kole Calhoun is anything, but your proto-typical lead-off hitter and yet – he’s doing a bang-up job in that role.  Erick Aybar is last guy anyone would expect to see hitting 5th and yet – that’s who’s hitting behind Josh Hamilton.  Don’t look now (okay, go ahead and peak), but Aybar has 50 RBI’s.  Hello all-star!

Face it; Scioscia has had a Midas-touch when it comes to making out the lineup.  Look at the catching tandem of Chris Iannetta and Hank Conger.  They’ve combined for 8 homeruns and 44 RBI while basically splitting time behind home plate.

It’s time to put your belly-aching aside and give praise to the man who has the Angels in the hunt for a red-October.  I know it’s hard for you to do, but it’s time for you to just pipe down.  I’m sure he’ll still do some things that will drive you crazy (me too at times), but you can’t argue with the results.

Look, I know this team isn’t perfect and still has some holes – but good grief, man – isn’t this a refreshing change of pace over the last four years?  It’s okay to step back and appreciate where this team is and where they’re headed.

This is fun.  This is what you hope for as a fan.  This is what being an Angel fan is all about.

Speaking of fans – where have you been?  Although the Angels are 4th overall in home attendance average at 38,000, they’re actually 27th in average road attendance (26,925).  27th!  Hello?  Why aren’t baseball fans flocking to the stadium to see Mike Trout?  We’re talking about a once-in-a-generation type of player.  We’re talking about a 22 year old who is doing things that have never been done before.  C’mon, you know better.

Imagine having the opportunity to see Willie Mays or Mickey Mantle on a regular basis.  Those days are gone, but Mike Trout is here and baseball fans are missing out.  You owe it to yourself, your family, your neighbor, the kid down the street and whoever else you know to get them to the ball park with you.  Let’s do this, people.

Ok, now some of you might be wondering where the True Grich posts have been all this time.  It’s a valid question and I have an answer for you.

I lost my mom on April 18, 2014.  Prior to her passing she battled pulmonary fibrosis for months.  She suffered greatly and my wife Cheryl and I spent as much time with her as possible.  It’s been a difficult time and blogging just wasn’t on my agenda.

My mom liked the Angels and although she might not have been the biggest baseball fan, but she loved to watch Jered Weaver pitch (she had great taste).  She loved following the players from Japan and Ichiro was her favorite.  She got a great thrill out of meeting Hideki Matsui when he was an Angel thanks to a long-time family friend -  Ryan Cavinder

I think back and remember how worried she was about the pressures that would face Daisuke Matsuzaka when he signed a big contract in Boston.  It’s as if she knew he wouldn’t live up to expectations.  At the same ti me, she couldn’t wait to see Yu Darvish and always wished that some of the great players from Japan would end up in Anaheim.

Every year, I had to make sure I got her 3 pocket schedules so that she could keep track of games and of course – where Cheryl and I would be on a daily basis – knowing we went to most of the home games.  Why 3?  I have no idea, but I got her 3 just the same.  Our daily conversations on the phone would often include an update on whether or not the Angels had won and if we were going to the game that evening.

I miss those conversations and I miss her.  I’m not alone in that regard.

Many of the people who called my mom their friend thought of her as their “best friend.”  She earned that distinction through doing things for them all the time.  Some of them had no idea how sick she was and her passing was a shock to many.  That’s just how my mom was – she didn’t want people fussing over her (she was extremely private that way) even though she would fuss over them.

I think about her every day, and I give extra thought to her every time Jered Weaver takes the mound.  I miss not being able to tell her that he’s pitching on any given night.  That being said, she’s probably watching him from above, enjoying some cotton candy (a favorite of hers) and cheering out loud.