Los Angeles Angels search for first baseman on online want ads?

•September 21, 2010 • 1 Comment

Being unemployed is nothing to laugh at. There are millions of Americans scouring for jobs every day. But I had to stop and chuckle this morning when I was browsing for PR jobs and came across a posting for the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. It was for a controller position. Now I’m not an accountant, so I didn’t think twice about reading the ad. However, what did intrigue me, was what I found in the “other openings” section. That’s where I found a job posting for a first baseman.
Here it is:

Do you qualify to play 1B for the Angels in 2011?

Now I’ve never used the site Hiring.at. It linked to the job aggregator simplyhired.com. Here’s a direct link to the listing.
At first, I thought this was a clever posting by the team. It’s not such a bad thing to poke fun at yourself when you’re down. But a quick check on the Angels website, proved that there is no such job offered by the team or the MLB.
I’m not sure what this is, aside from some spam posting. The Angels ought to know. Part of me wanted to apply for the job. However, I’m well past my prime, and I don’t have the required number of years playing AAA ball. So my application would be an E-3, sotospeak.


Angels should dance the Conger!

•September 16, 2010 • Leave a Comment

Desi Arnaz introduced the Conga to America. It’s time for the Angels’ version of Ricky Ricardo, AKA Mike Scoscia, to introduce the Conger to Anaheim. That’s Hank Conger. It’s time the Angels upgraded the tempo at the catcher’s position.

Hank Conger

Scoscia tried a little too hard, and a little too long with Jeff Mathis. The experiment is over. Scoscia wasted gave Mathis 200 PAs to prove himself. Unfortunately he only proved one thing; his bat is not cut out for the major leagues. Mathis will be 28 next season, and while that’s far from over the hill, his stay as a younger Angel needs to end.
Conger is a breath of fresh air. He’s a Huntington Beach native with a golden smile, and an apparent disciplined eye at the plate. Conger hit .300 with 11 HRs and 49 RBIs in 387 minor league ABs this year. The Angels have nothing to lose. If we are going to allow someone in the lineup who gets a hit less than 2 times every 10 ABs, it needs to be our 22-year-old heralded prospect.
No offense to Mathis. He’s pretty solid defensively. But he’s had his chance. Keep Napoli as the backup and get him ABs at DH, and have him relieve Morales next season at 1B. Big Mike has the power, but his .244 average is nothing to cheer about. However, if you think Trumbo is ready now, cut the cord on Napoli and let the big slugger have his ABs.
It’s time for the Angels to rebuild around Hunter, Conger, Trumbo, and Bourjos. Luckily the starting rotation is solid. You will need to add a middle reliever, and hope someone with a lightning arm can come up and be ready to spell Rodney, when needed.
Obviously many halo fans, like myself, are hoping that Carl Crawford patrols the outfield next year. That would be a nice piece to the puzzle. I still think 3B is a problem. There’s just not enough power in the infield. Aybar and Kendrick need to be surrounded by big guns.
It’s time to sit Rivera and Matsui and whomever you need to, and let the kids play. We don’t need to be spoilers. We can finish our games winners or losers. It doesn’t matter as long as these kids get some quality playing time.
We don’t have a Steven Strausburg or Bryce Harper, but we can develop some passion for these guys. They may just shine. Angels fans could end up finishing the season dancing the YES WE CAN CAN in the aisles. Hey Luuuucyyyyyyy, there’s something I have a HANKering for, sotospeak.

Ducks Deal! One team in Anaheim is getting it right

•September 14, 2010 • Leave a Comment

The Anaheim Ducks arrived in the city more than 25 years after their baseball counterparts on the other side of the 57-freeway, but they are showing the veterans how to get it done! The team signed Bobby Ryan to a five-year deal, essentially locking up their three best players for the next few years. The Ducks won’t have to worry about re-negotiations with Getzlaf, Perry, or Ryan til at least 2013.

Bobby Ryan

The Ducks have managed to stay competitive over the years, and I credit their front office. They drafted Ryan in 2005, and developed him into one of the league’s better players. Two years earlier, the Ducks drafted Getzlaf and Corey Perry in the entry draft. Perry and Getzlaf were contributors to the 2007 Stanley Cup winning team. Along with bringing in veterans at the right time like the Niedermayer brothers, and the continual re-signings of Teemu Selanne, this organization has had a great blend of old and new. It seems the team is on track for another run, after missing out on the playoffs last year. They have the nucleus of the team locked up, and they can concentrate on adding the last pieces to regain prominence.

It’s a far different story on the North side of the freeway. The Angels are more like gamblers. Their draft picks have not fared so well. Dallas Macpherson was a total bust. Aybar and Kendrick are trying to get over the hump of mediocrity. Jeff Mathis just goes without explanation. Brandon Wood is struggling to reach the Mendoza Mathis line.
The Angels once built around Vlad. Now they are building around Hunter. The problem is Hunter is the Empire State building, and the rest of the guys in the lineup are single-story shake-shingle homes. They could burn down at any time, and they don’t belong in the same neighborhood as the ESB.
I’m one of the few who liked both the Kazmir and Haren trades. I think both are accomplished, and if you can get a good pitching coach to straighten them out, you’ve got a great pair of trades. I’m not sure Mike Butcher is the guy or not. I’ll plead ignorant. Saunders was a Jeckyl and Hyde kind of guy, but Santana and Weaver are on top of their games. Is it their natural ability, or is Butcher effective? I certainly wouldn’t get rid of Butcher. I think he’s doing a decent job.
There just has to be something wrong with the Angels. I’m not sure if there’s a bad smell around the stadium, or something in the water. Torri Hunter seems like a pretty respected and well liked guy. He’s also a huge cheerleader for free agents to come to Anaheim. But the big free agents have gone other directions. The Angels have been bargain hunting for two years. It isn’t working. Vlad was like Selanne. They should have kept him around. For roughly the same amount of money, they brought in Matsui. This is surely a one and done situation. Godzilla isn’t going to pull off a Bobby Abreu. Remember his great season last year? He stinks now. Both need to go away.
The Angels can right the ship. If Hunter can help them sign Crawford the Angels can somehow outbid the Yankees for Crawford, they have another strong piece to put around Hunter. You have to hope at least one of either Bourjos, Conger, or Trumbo breaks through. If two of these guys develop into everyday players, sign them to long contracts. They need to imitate the Ducks. Heck, they need to imitate the old Angels. Percival, Salmon, Anderson all had long deals. The Angels specialized in developing and signing. The Ducks stole their business model, and somewhere along the way, the Angels lost it. It’s one thing to add the last piece of the puzzle like the Yankees and Phillies seem to do every year, but it’s another to be so rough around the edges, sotospeak.

Chiefs Recharged!

•September 14, 2010 • Leave a Comment

Football could be an exciting thing once again in Kansas City, Missouri. The Chiefs opened up the new Arrowhead Stadium last night with a nail-biting win against the San Diego Chargers.
The Chiefs came out a little slow. I’m sure I wasn’t the only one sitting there thinking, “jeez, these guys look like the same 4-12 team as last season.” I’m glad I was wrong.
The youngsters are the story for KC. McCluster and Arenas were exciting on special teams, and many of the recent draft packs finally were putting it together. Dorsey, Charles, Hali, Johnson, Berry, and Jackson made several key plays. This team may go down as the reincarnated Patriots, led by Haley, Crennel, Weis, and Piloli, but many of these draft picks were there before these guys arrived.
I was so ill watching the Herm Edwards era Chiefs, that I stopped watching. I had my DT jersey on last night, and I was comfortable reclined on the sofa. Today I looked towards the next game for the big red! They play Cleveland and San Fran next. Am I too optimistic that they Chiefs could be 3-0 before their bye and match up with Peyton Manning and the Colts? The prediction could leave me a little red-faced, sotospeak.

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim: Keep losing; I’m enjoying the good old days

•September 9, 2010 • 3 Comments

I used to hate when the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim lost. I’d pinpoint this move or that move, and try to show how one or two tiny changes in the game, would have resulted in a W instead of a L. Now I’m enjoying their pathetic play.

I’ve been a season ticket holder for years, and I’ve had building resentment at the team not only losing, but then offering super-sized discount deals on my seats, which the annual cost has continued to rise. I get it. They made their money off me, and my buddies I split season seats with. It’s time to liquidate inventory in the 500s and out in the 240s. I’m not a fool. Selling a ticket for $5 to a fan who will pay $50 at the beer stand is definitely worth it from a business standpoint. Now it’s a joke. Just take a look at the prices on stubhub.com for a seat to the remaining Angel games. That’s right. Want tickets to the last home game of the season? That Wednesday day game will only cost you $.88 each for up to four seats. Where are the seats, you ask? It’s not really important. It’s open seating. That’s right. You can pay 88 cents to sit where people who have season tickets spent $50 for their seat. As a season ticket holder I’d complain, but as an Angels fan, I love it! Case in point: Yesterday’s game!

The game against Cleveland, albeit had a 4:05 start time, was empty. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t like seeing financial misfortunes for my favorite team. If they don’t make money, they can’t spend money on players. But it reminded me of when the Big A sat out in left-center field, players were approachable before and after the game, you had a chance at a ball, and you were surrounded by true fans. Taking advantage of minimum day at my daughters’ schools, we went to the game. We wore our Angel garb, and came with the notion that we might get a ball at BP. In fact, I was more excited about BP, than I was about watching the game. Well we were the first ones entering the right field gate at 2:30. Back in the old days, the first ones in usually found a few balls in the stands. I’m guessing the ushers are now militant about throwing them back, because we didn’t find one ball.

It was great. There were about 5 of us in the corner for the first 15 minutes. One kid, clearly a regular there because he knew all the ushers and security, had four balls in about 10 minutes. He was the busybody. This 13 or 14-year-old worked right field for about 20 minutes, then made his way up to the right field pavilion where he got another ball or two, and ultimately we ran into him about 15 minutes to game time, at the prime time field dugout MVP world-famous all-star seats. That’s where he was getting autographs galore from Torri Hunter. Back to the right field corner. My older daughter snagged a ball almost upon arrival. In fact she beat the regular angel kid to a home into the seats. Next, Frank Hermann of the Indians toss me a ball for my younger daughter. They were quite thrilled.

About 30 minutes into BP, there were now maybe 8-10 people down in the corner. Nobody really seemed to be ready for balls, except us, and this other man and his girlfriend, who had snagged like four balls too. I managed to grab a ball down the line with my hat. I think my kids were holding my legs! Not bad for a 10 and 7-year-old. The Indians players were signing autographs, and while most of the hubbub was surrounding the dugouts, we were out in a seemingly spring training paradise in the corner. One more ball came towards us, and despite my heroic dive, I came up empty. I am a bit sore though! All in all, BP was awesome. The kids had fun, and I had a memory that sent me back 30 years.

By this time, my older daughter was really riding me about not bringing a Sharpie to the game. She’d take an autograph from anybody, I guess much like I was, when I was a kid.

1980 Father's Day

That’s from Father’s day 1980. I was 7. I got a Bobby Clark and Rick Miller autograph that day. I don’t know if they are the best I could get, or I just didn’t try for some of my real faves, because I was still heartbroken about Nolan Ryan’s departure. Yesterday, what she got was Brandon Wood. Both my daughters tried to get Torri Hunter’s autograph, but they were a step behind the crowd. But Torri was there was a smile, pleasing the fans. It was a great sight to see. Callaspo, Wood, Frandsen, Abreu were among several Angels signing balls and things. My daughter got Wood’s autograph.

Wood auto'd ball

When the game started, most of the seats were empty. The box score says there were 37,000 people there. We know that’s the PAID attendance, and not the real turnstile numbers. All it tells me was that there were 20,000 season ticket holders who decided not to go. If you go to the games, or watch them on TV, you know it’s a paltry crowd. But hey, to me, it’s an Angels party. Aside from the stray visitor jersey and random Yankees fan, it’s all Angels diehards. You’re in good company with people who love the Angels. And I swear when I say this, I see men my age, that I recognize as regulars from the games 30 years ago. It was a good feeling. There are 12 games left, four of which I have tickets to. I wasn’t going to go again this year, having been really peeved about this year’s team. However, my kids had such a great time, I’m going to try to make one of those games. We will do it the same way. This time I’ll bring the Sharpie. At least my daughter will know that I got the point, sotospeak.

Scorey one for Pavin: Tiger Woods belonged

•September 7, 2010 • Leave a Comment

After the hoopla and nail-biting, Corey Pavin did what he needed to do, and used one of his two free captaincy selections to add Tiger Woods to the U.S. Ryder Cup team.

Tiger has been unTigerlike since his return to golf. However, in recent weeks, he has begun to show shades of his old self. Most recently at the Deutsche Bank Championship, Tiger finished in a tie for 11th place. His opening round of 72 killed his chances to win, but the Tiger showed great perseverance despite a shaky start.
Whether or not Tiger would make the team has been a burning question for a while now. It certainly seemed at the beginning of his comeback, that Tiger didn’t belong in the company of true competitive golfers. Analysts, golf pros, and fans criticized him all along the way. Then there was the controversy in which TV reporter Jim Gray asserted that Pavin had already selected Woods, a claim Pavin
Regardless of what now is a dead issue, Tiger belonged. He’s a golf legend who can still play. Sure he’s shown some cracks in the armor, and he doesn’t seem to play with the utmost confidence like he used to. But he’s tenacious enough, and this might be the big stage for him to show he’s still the world’s number one player.
Perhaps his game is a stroke or two behind Matt Kuchar and Bubba Watson right now, but with him on the squad, you certainly feel like the American team will head to Celtic Manor on the prowl, sotospeak.

Major League Baseball: Less Morgan and more Morganna!

•September 2, 2010 • Leave a Comment

You don’t have to go all the way back to the summer of love to find peace and harmony in the major leagues. It’s a much closer step back to yesteryear. Baseball has a problem on its hands in the name of Nyjer Morgan. I’m sure you’ve seen all of his recent antics on ESPN. Now I am old school baseball. Hit our guy, and we will plunk yours! Steal a couple of bases and show us up, and we’ll hit you again. But I’m also old school in, hit me once, I’m cool. Hit me a second time, I’m coming after your ass. I had no problem with Nyjer Morgan going after Chris Volstad. I mean, enough is enough right? I also would have loved to see Morgan two more bases. The first go around was hilarious. Florida players’ blood must have seethed.

Where I have a problem is Morgan’s thuglike attitude after his ejection. Shirt ripped open, Morgan sauntered off the field arms raised like he was saluting Iron Maiden, clearly yelling “fuck yeah.” That’s where things got really ugly. Charging a mound is well deserved in baseball. I know MLB Punishment guru Bob Watson is typically heavy-handed about some actions, but face it, fighting, or the fighting spirit, needs to remain in the game. I grew up watching a lot of hot summertime brawls in the 70s and 80s. They were baseball players, but they were men. I would imagine those guys would go out after the game and have several rounds, drinking off the aggression. You know, sort of how Hulk Hogan and AndrĂ© the Giant would have these grueling matches of hate in the wrestling ring, and then they’d be pouring down alcohol, telling Iron Shiek stories. Hell in the early part of the 1900’s Ty Cobb was pounding people in the stands. Forget spikes high hard slides. He wailed on fans! So this isn’t like the biggest act of villainy in baseball’s history.

Morgan stepped over the line with his bravado and gangsteresque exit off the diamond. He could have been the man, holding his head high, and keeping his mouth shut. I know if I were facing disciplinary action before that episode, I’d be careful how I acted. I’m sure baseball would have given him a light suspension before his ugly post fight actions. But he’s bumped up to a higher penalty. I say, bench him for the season, starting today. No more appeals. He’s got sentence on top of sentence to worry about. Take away his pay, and sit him out for the rest of the season. There must be consequences. Major League Baseball is about image. Fights happen. But the disturbing visual is Morgan triumphantly walking off the field as if he just hit a walk off bomb. It’s time to stop the madness, the rage, the anger, and bring on the love.

This brings me to baseball’s kindler and gentler era. The 80s. More importantly the undeniable symbol of love on the field. She’d make daring entrances and capture the crowds eyes. Morganna, the kissing bandit. A game could be 5-5 in the 8th or 16-2 in the 3rd. You just never knew when or where she’d strike. She knew her way to the Hall of Famers too. Ryan, Rose, Ripken, Garvey, and Brett were all targets of baseball’s unofficial mascot. She was hard to miss. She had big huge blond locks and bigger mammaries. Heads turned in the stands, as they watched her bounce, literally, across the field to her target. She’d plant one on the cheek of her “victim” and the cops would whisk her away. The crowd laughed and cheered, and it brought some levity to game.
I say it’s time to bring out a new Morganna. Everything is so tense. Yes it is big business and billions of dollars are at stake when you consider attendance, concessions, team products, television revenues. But let’s have some fun. I’m not saying we need to sex up baseball. Morganna, while busty, was never improper or lewd. In fact she seemed more like that cute woman, who just wanted to give a peck on the cheek to her favorite player. She never imitated fornication, or made any obscene gestures. She wore short shorts, a tight top, and a sincere smile. Maybe we need a little more of Morganna, and a little less Morgan. Baseball seems to need this solution, even if it’s topsy-turvy sotospeak.