Friday, September 26, 2008

Reasons the Angels Suck, #3-5

3) ThunderStix.

They didn't invent them, but they make them (in)famous in America, giving lazy fans everywhere an alternative to using their precious palms and fingers and voices to make noise.

Males above the age of 11 who use these are akin to men of the same demographic who still bring a glove to the game. (Women are still allowed free reign in both categories, so long as they aren't wearing pink hats/jerseys.)

If you aren't the drum guy at Jacobs Field (or maybe, maybe, maybe cowbell guy), make noise the old-fashioned way, please. It's a slippery slope downward to megaphones, noisemakers, firecrackers and party favors.

4) Fake rocks in a stadium.

Is this a Par 3 or Par 2? Where's the pirate hole? Where's the goddamn windmill?

5) Los Angeles of Anaheim of California of...

You know the worst thing about Arte Moreno's idiotic gambit to jump through the city of Anaheim's legal loopholes while grabbing up the L.A. market? (Besides the fact that it serves as a reminder of what the Angels gave up oh so many name changes ago?)

The worst thing is, it's worked. The Angels are L.A's team. (For the moment.) Never overestimate the intelligence of Southern California.

On the plus side, Arte dropped beer prices.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Reasons the Angels Suck, #1-2

1) This movie.

2) The third order standings at Baseball Prospectus (click to here and look below if you want an explanation but it's basically the most sophisticated Expected Wins/Losses in the game) go as follows across the Leagues:

Team W L
Red Sox 99.2 56.8
Rays 93.7 61.3
Cubs 90.6 64.4
Blue Jays 88.1 67.9
Yankees 87.1 68.9
Mets 85.1 70.9
Chi Sox 85.0 70.0
Dodgers 84.5 71.5
Angels 81.9 75.2

In other words, we're going against the weakest team in the AL. Kinda. Sorta puts the strength of the AL East in perspective too, when 4 of the division's 8 teams are in the top 8 in the majors. The AL West, you'll notice, is the only AL league without a team in the top 8. Angels were 11th, just .3 expected wins against the Indians.

So let's celebrate a little, bitches. Get Devern Hansack ready for a start. Build J.D. Drew an exoskeleton and get him some at-bats. It's coasting time.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Dear Bruce Dreckman,

As an umpire, you probably know these things. All the same, let's review.

This is home plate.

This is not home plate, although it is within the strike zone you granted Rafael Betancourt in the bottom of the 7th. The pitch you said Josh Beckett was ball four for a walk earlier in the game was much more borderline, and was not in South Boston.

(Josh Beckett's pitches do not go into South Boston. They support busing and hate that bitch Louisa Day Hicks.)

In conclusion, if Derek Lowe was still on the Red Sox, this is the sign he would give you:

You're a dick and you have a record of it, too. Suck it dry.

Yours in Christ,



I was going to write something on the closing of Yankee Stadium, the most lucrative nostalgia stunt I can recall in recent baseball history, but Paul Lukas said everything I wanted to say and more.

And Deadspin collected all the Bronx charm of it all beautifully. ("Fucking Eskimos!")

So all I really have to add is my favorite Yankee Stadium story.

It's game 2 of the 2001 ALDS, and me and two friends managed, with surprising ease, to get three tickets to see the Yankees take on the A's; the party consists of:

--My friend Cameron, who would be a die-hard A's fan if it were legal to be die-hard about anything in the state of California, and who proudly wears a 2001 Wild Card Champions (an oxymoron if ever was one) into The Stadium. Cameron is a large man, bearded, with tremendous mushroomed hair, a beautiful full-blown Hebro.

--Matthew, not really a baseball fan, and thus there mainly for the spectacle and havoc to come.

--Myself, Red Sox fan/antagonist, clad in an unfitted A's cap I'd been given years back by a family friend, plastic backing of which just broke on me yesterday. (Omen?)

The seats we so easily acquired, I might have mentioned, were right field bleacher seats. Cameron and I knew very well we were risking our necks and lives, but he loves the A's, and I hate the Yankees. And after the game at last started, after a bizarre delay (even then, in the wake of you know what) to listen to President Bush give vague and jingoistic answers to questions in a rare press conference, the game begins, as does our unwanted attention.

When the Red Sox are in town, there are plenty of Sox fans in the Stadium stands.

When the Orioles, Blue Jays, or another nearby team are in town, there are pockets of their fans.

Even when the Angels are in town (post-2002), there are fans.

But there are rarely any A's fans in Yankee Stadium, and that night, we had to be the only ones.

Through a taut and thrilling pitching duel between Tim Hudson and Andy Pettite, the fans around us hardly seemed to watch the game. At least if they couldn't awkwardly position themselves to watch the game and wave their fingers at us which chanting that one magic word:


I was at once mildly terrified to be this alone in a sea of assholery and a bit amused, especially when most of the section was turned against us and thus didn't get to see the capper on the game, Ron Gant's 9th inning solo home run, the second and final run of the game. Matthew, clad in no man's gear, grinned ear to ear, contemplating the fiasco of our exit to come. And Cameron was probably too into the game to fully understand what he was in the middle of and would soon become the focal point of.

Because some time before the Gant home run, maybe around the 5th, the crowd seized upon my friend's unruly hair, and seized upon a moment of collective genius. Their invention was a chant.





On our way walk-running out of the Stadium, I didn't hear the very first call of "Take off your hat!" from a truly Bronxian voice, unfair as that ritual is. ("My" team won: therefore, I "win" the right to wear it wherever I please, Sal.) So an anonymous hand tried to rip it off my head, and took my neck back aways with his reach. But I saved my hat and my neck, and the three of us got the fuck back to New Haven. But not before one guy, running faster than us, caught up with me. He had no shit to talk though.

He just said, "Ay, I jus'wanted to let you know, my brother Tom is sorry. He didn't mean it."

I left the old yard with genuine affection for it that day. The new one is such a reach of greed, it's a major reason my friend Patrick, forever a lover of Mattingly, no longer roots for the team.

Rest in peace, Yankee Stadium (II). You were no longer a thing of beauty, but you were what remained of the tarnished Yankee soul.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Dear Minnesota,

You're awesome. Great win. Hope you take the ChiSox out, because they are dickholes. In this guy's model. (Except for good ol' Orlando Cabrera, of course.) Better still, good win for us. Sweep the Rays, and if we somehow meet you in the first round, I swear it will at least go 4.


Fuck it....just fuck it.

Get ready for Anaheim, people: unless this peppy little Little League team played themselves out in (AGAIN!) coming back from losing the first game in a Red Sox series to winning the series, we ain't taking no flag. What a miserable performance, although biggest demerits go to Wakefield, who had absolutely nothing, and Lopez, whose decision to field a weak dribbler from the side eventually allowed two more runs to score in a game already getting away from the Sox in the 3rd.

Who does Francona go with as his #4 starter in the playoffs? Count my vote for the weak-throwing guy who tips his pitches over the veteran who happened to throw one excellent 8 inning shutout start lodged between two turds. At this point, I'd rather see the shake than another knuckleball for the rest of the season; seriously. I'd almost rather see the Harlem shake for that matter.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Fuck it, we still got Beckett.

Last night I was pissed about...last night, but in the light of day, fuck it.

Fuck that we can't hit Andy Sonnanstine. (So long as he's given strike three on curveballs that dance around the plate while never actually breaking the strike zone....I want laser sensors that actually detect a pitch going over the plate if not robotic umpires, stat.)

Fuck that the Rays celebrate wins like a buncha little leaguers.

Fuck it that this lil' minimally talented douchenozzle jumped up and down in pain on a pitch that actually hit his bat. Guess what it was called?

Fuck it all. You can't win many games when you can only score one unearned run. This will be a mightier lineup with Bay and (perhaps?) Drew rather than the all-"scrappy" team of Ellsbury, Crisp, and Kotsay, who I'm already tired of and kinda missing Bobby Kielty, or even Brandon Moss.

Fuck it, cause we've got Beckett, and he is back. Eight innings, 95 pitches, 7 strikeouts, 3 hits. Second straight very good/excellent start against a top AL team.

I don't know if we're taking this series, because I don't know which Wakefield will show up. But I have an oddly good feeling about our overall perspective with our rotation in the playoffs, two top-notch starters coming righty-lefty (Beckett-Lester), one usually excellent five-six inning pitcher (Matsuzaka), and a crafty veteran who is baffling when on (Wakefield). I feel pretty good about this team, still.

Taking the series would be nice, though.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

We're all tied, let it fly.

Look really closely at that image. Closer. Closer. See a little spec in one of those catwalks in the middle of this of this fucking awful 18 year old former hockey stadium? That's where Jason Bay hit his shot to begin the 7-run onslaught in the 4th inning that ended Scott Kazmir's terrible start, effectively ending the game and the Rays' divisional lead. Apparently the first of its C-Ring kind. (Nine years into Tropicana Field: The Baseball Years I still can't believe I'm talking about catwalks and baseball. This place and most of the thinking behind granting Tampa Bay a franchise into such a vacuum can suck a C-Ring (NSFW).)

Anyway. We're tied. Ladies and gentlemen, Sox and Rays we are unmoored from the chains of [#] GB, and are floating in space, respectively 12 and 14 games from season's end. Some say it doesn't much matter how this end and it just matters we prove we can beat up on Tampa wherever the game may be. I disagree. All I really want's a divisional crown to take the pain away.

Okay, right, I root for a team that has taken 2 of the last 4 World Series. Pain isn't really my power. All I really want's a divisional crown because I want a divisional crown and would rather let the Rays take their turn with the Angels first, damnit. The first round of the playoffs is the scariest one to survive, and the White Sox are the best possible matchup for the Red Sox in what would be a short, sharp shock of a series, while Rays-Angels seems like the definition of a 5-game series.

That and there's just something about pennants. There's no dishonor in taking the wild card, and we all know how far one can go off it, sometimes even for both Series opponents. But Wild Cards don't look right on a flag. You can't brag about second place as surely as you don't win friends with salad.

Beckett looked great last time out, and Sonnanstine is an old Irish term for "pushing one's luck. Grab that lead and let's start to hoist that rag, boys.

Monday, September 15, 2008


I love this picture. Reasons:

a) The contrast between Pedroia and Lyle Overbay, who looks 9' 8", 300 lbs, reminds you again that Dustin would have no right to be a professional [any sport other than baseball] player. I love this game.

b) The contrast between the infuriated Overbay, called out at 2nd (incorrectly), and Pedroia, who put on the "tag" and knew he wasn't out, smiling. It's an imperfect game. Gotta take joy in when you get away with one.

c) The mischevious grin. Reminds me of this dude.

One excellent Wakefield start was a no-doubter, but between the comeback game in the nightcap to the semi-disasterous Papelbon save where the "play" was the difference between tying runs on 2nd and 3rd, no outs, and runner on 3rd, one out, the other two wins were very much questionable outs. We played our way out of one this series, got away with another, and those wins are the stuff winning teams are made of.

Now, 1 game out from a still-struggling Tampa Bay (albeit, one going home), we have a bizarro repetition of last week. Yet, six games with Tampa and Toronto, this time on the road. It's going to be a tough week full of familiar matchups, starting with the pitch count takers' nightmare (Matsuzaka-Kazmir) and the mismatch-that-rarely-is (Beckett-Sonnastine), and it might not mean much as far as making the playoffs matters, actually. But as far as proving this team playoff ready, this is everything.

Oh, that and taking the AL East again and thus earning the right to concuss the already bloodied-up AL Central winner to be.

Let's go get it.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

On losing 2 of 3 at home to the Rays....

I'm too sleepy, hungover, and pissed off to say much about a series I feel like we really should have won. Having such a glorious comeback crushed in game 2 was bad enough; being unable to get much together against Sonnastine, playing Jon Lieber to Josh Beckett's Pedro Martinez circa game 2 of the 2004 ALCS, just pissed me off. Now we've got four games with the hottest team in baseball. The wild card still looks good, but fuck that.


Fuckity fuck fuck.


Friday, September 5, 2008

A brief political interruption.

Because I've been in a few too many political arguments lately, and "I don't want more taxes!" keeps coming up, well, you're not going to be no matter who you vote for. But that tax-cut loose Obama, oh boy, he's reckless about his cuts.

Excellent run for the Red Sox lately. I swear to write about it after this weekend.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Dear Michael Silverman, c/o Boston Herald,

You're straining. You're really, really straining here, Silverman. Red Sox must sweep or we question everything? Why now? Why not question their killer instinct before now? Why do they even need to catch up to the Rays? After going 18-9 in August and losing ground to them, who's to say they can even if they string two sweeps together? Since when do teams need to win three games in a row during any stretch of the postseason? Were you lost for any column angle today? Was I lost for a blog posting and instead felt the need to run together a list of inane questions? And what's the deal with airplane food?

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