24 March 2010

thoughts: ST games, snuggies &more

Finals are over and I'm finally feeling the warm sun of SoCal. Not much stuff to comment on that hasn't already been beaten to death, just a bunch of notes...

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Spring training games haven't changed much from my last entry. The Angels have (finally) sprinkled in some wins with all those losses and have sent some of the youngins down to minor league camp. What has stood out the most for me is the inconsistancy of the Angels' play. I mean, for a long stretch of the losses, it seemed like they couldn't hit anything. A string of spring training games with only 3 or 4 hits is puzzling. But then they came back with multiple double-digit run games. And then the pitching! Ervin looks absolutely dominating in back-to-back games then gets hammered in a Triple-A game and the AAAA relievers alternate between horrible and capable. Like I've said, I don't really care about spring training wins/losses, but the inconsistancy can be quite annoying. I guess, it's just an extension of the unpredictability of the team this season.

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The announcement that the Angels are going to try to break a world record made me laugh. I'm pretty sure the the potential publicity doesn't outweigh the ridiculousness of it all. I mean, Snuggies - really? I'd rather that the marketing department find better ways to promote the Angels (and their fans) but at least it gave me (and others) a good laugh.

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Another article that gave me a good laugh - Bengie Molina was (once) a shortstop. It's definitely one of those "REALLY?" moments and, as a commentor noted, a revelation that even Bengie is probably faster than a great deal of fans.

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True Grinch has a interesting look at the "tradition" of Angels baseball. I have to agree with him - I love the fact that the Angels are building their tradition (and fan base) today. I love the fact that I'm a part of it, and that I get the opportunity to see a fanbase grow and emerge as my own fandom grows and strengthens. It's almost like seeing your favorite player grow and progress through the farm system, onto a career in the major leagues. We're all witness to the Angels organization and the fans building a legacy and, to me, it's a fascinating process to be a part of.

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I stumbled upon an interesting blog post on star players (by which star players are designated by the pictures that grace the team pages of notable magazines). One of the things I'm interested to see this season is who will step up to join Torii as the franchise face now that Lackey, Vlad and Figgins are gone (half of the banners in front of the Big A). If angelsbaseball.com is any indication, Jered Weaver and Bobby Abreu are going to get some heavy promotion, but as 6-4-2 notes, Matsui, Aybar and Kaz are also on the season tickets. The biggest surprise to me, is that Kendry isn't on the tickets nor on the website after being prominently featured in Spring Training ads. But I'd think that Weaver has the best chance to progress to the franchise face label based on talent, makeup, local roots, and the fact that he's homegrown.

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In case you hadn't heard, Joe Mauer signed an extension with the Twins (8yr/$184M). And while I agree with 99% of the baseball world that this extension is good for the Twins, good for mid-market teams, and good for baseball, I'm very much envious. I mean, I'm happy that I won't have to watch the Yankees and BoSox fight over him and that the Twins (who are one of the handful of other teams I like and respect) get to keep their superstar. But it reminds me that the Angels don't have a comparable hometown, home-grown star of their own. It's actually kind of surprising, given the abundance of baseball talent in Southern California and the Angels' success in player development.

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I'm clearly a supporter of homegrow-ing players and the farm system. Which is why I really like this quote from Joe Maddon:
"We try to get our own seeds, throw them in the dirt, watch them rise up and become something good. I like that."

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