August 21, 2014

Calling all you Angels

We are about to see what the Angels are made of and if what they’ve done so far this season is any indicator, it’s going to be a heck of a ride.  Buckle up Angel fans, things are about to get intense.

As devastating as the news is regarding Garrett Richards’ injury (although we don’t have a final prognosis yet), I have high hopes this team will still make us proud in the end.  There’s a swagger there that we haven’t seen in a while and a quiet confidence that is evident in their approach to every game.

This team has that “come and get some” attitude.  Opponents might walk into a game against the Angles all smiles and full of confidence, but they’re going to leave with bloody noses and red faces.

If you think they’re vulnerable because they lost Richards, think again.  It’s time to circle the wagons and stand shoulder to shoulder in the face of adversity.  When things appear to be at their worst, greatness has a way of showing up.  Character is revealed and I don’t think anyone out there is going to question this team’s fortitude. 

We are about to see great things that happen, folks.  This team, with Mike Scioscia at the helm is not going to go meekly into night.  You can count on it.  This team has pride and “quit” isn’t in their vocabulary – all their come-from-behind victories are a testament to that.

We fans have a role here too.  We can show up at the stadium and bring the kind of enthusiasm that becomes infectious.  If ever our team needed us – it’s now.  We need to do our part.

I believe Angel fans are ready for this fight too.  I’m counting on our fans to show tremendous support. After all, this is a team that’s easy to love.  It’s a team that has given us much to be confident about. 

We aren’t going to hang our heads.  We’re going to stand together and let our team know that we have their backs.  We look forward to basking in the sunshine when all is said and done and then look back and know we fought a good fight.

America will come to know names like Hector Santiago, Matt Shoemaker and Kole Calhoun and wish they played for their teams. They will also come to appreciate Jered Weaver the way we appreciate him. 

The hunt for a red October is on.

It’s time.  Calling all you Angels.  I need a sign to let me know you’re here.  I won’t give up if you don’t give up.

Who’s with me?

August 19, 2014

An open letter to Josh Hamilton

I want to get something off my chest.

I’m just a fan who will never know what it means to be a professional athlete or a world champion, but if I had the chance to talk to a struggling player – namely Josh Hamilton, here is what I would say…

Josh – you were born to play baseball.  God blessed you with incredible talent and as you know - To whom much is given, much is required (Luke: 12:48).  It’s time for you to embrace your gifts and go out and dominate.  No excuses, no fear.  Just get it done.

I know you’re human.  I know you have good days and bad, but I expect more from you than what you’ve shown us so far.  You have the ability; God given ability to play baseball at the highest levels.  I know it, you know it; we all know it. 

It’s time Josh.  Your team needs you to step up now; today.  Not tomorrow, not next week and certainly not next year – right now Josh.  We’re pulling for you.

August 12, 2014

The Kole Calhoun appreciation post

Kole Calhoun makes me smile. 

The first thing I noticed about this guy was his enthusiasm on the field.  The way he celebrates his teammate’s successes is a joy to watch.  The perfect example comes at about the :36 second mark of this video showing J.B. Shuck’s amazing catch last season…

The image of him cheering Shuck on has stuck with me ever since the moment I saw it.  This is a guy who gets it.

Calhoun seems like the ultimate “wing man.”  He’s the kind of guy you always pick first in a game of pickup basketball or broom hockey or any sport because you know he’s going to do anything and everything it takes to win and he’s going to have fun doing it.

Calhoun was obviously born to play baseball.  He’s got the look; the dirty uniform, the game face stare, and the “I will run through a wall to beat you” attitude.

He’s fearless.  As a kid he was probably the guy you sent over the fence to retrieve a baseball when there was a mean dog on the other side.  If he was a surfer, he’d want to tackle the biggest waves.  If he was a soldier, he’d be the first in line for any tough duty.  He’s this team’s Darin Erstad and that is high praise.

I have this vision of him as a kid in tough situations with his friends.  I see his friends turning to one another and saying… “Let’s send in Kole” or don’t worry “Kole’s got this.”  I see him grinning and smiling like a bandit and saying, “Let’s do this.”

If Mike Trout is the Michael Jordan of baseball, Kole Calhoun is Kurt Rambis.  Yes, all the clichés fit… he’s a gamer, a throw-back, he’s old school. 

Angels fans love him, but it’s funny; as usual, the Angels marketing team hasn’t caught on.  You still can’t buy a Kole Calhoun t-shirt in the team store.  When the Angels acquired Scott Kazmir in 2009, his shirts appeared in the team store in short order.  As Kole wins over the hearts and minds of Angels fans young and old… nothing.  Zip.  Nada. 

Fans love guys like Kole Calhoun and why shouldn’t they?  He doesn’t take any plays off.  He brings that blue collar work ethic with him every time he steps on the field.  This is a country that still values hard work and when ball players who get paid a lot of money to play a game – approach the game the way Calhoun does – we notice.  We appreciate it and we applaud it.

Calhoun isn’t just a guy who gets dirty and plays hard.  The man has skills and he puts up numbers too. 

Calhoun has the same OPS as Albert Pujols at .801.  He’s among the league leaders in outfield assists with 7 and he has a fielding percentage of 1.000 with zero errors.  He has scored 58 runs to rank 47th in the league despite playing only 82 games.  Most everyone above him has played at least 100 games with two among the leaders playing 99 and 91 games respectively. 

He’s not your prototypical lead-off hitter and that’s what makes him fun to watch.  He approaches every at bat as if his life depended on him getting on base.  He’s not the fastest guy or the strongest guy, but he’s tough enough and works hard enough to make people stand up and notice. 

Whenever he comes up to bat at a home game, some of us have taken to giving him a “Yahoo” like cheer by yelling out Cal-hoooo-ooon.  This is a guy who should be marketed more.  He would be worshiped in St. Louis, revered in Pittsburgh and would probably never have to pay for a meal in Chicago.

In the land of lights and tinsel, he’s an oddity.   He’s not the kind of guy doing Head n’ Shoulders shampoo commercials, if you know what I mean.

When lines are being drawn and sides are being chosen – Kole Calhoun is the guy you want by your side and if the Angels get to the promise land, you know Kole Calhoun will play a big role, an under-appreciated role, but an important one never-the-less. 

Who you going to call?
Cat stuck up in a tree with no way down. Call the Fire Department.  What if it’s a mountain lion?  Call Calhoun.

Lost in the forest. Call a Forest Ranger.  Lost in the Amazon?  Call Calhoun.

Have to get a package to a foreign city overnight?  Call FedEx.  Top of Mount Everest?  Call Calhoun.

Need a base hit in the bottom of the 9th?  Call Mike Trout.  Against King Felix? Umm, Call Mike Trout… Let's be real.  Calhoun is good, but he's not Mike Trout.