Monday, October 31, 2005



Celebrate good times, c'mon!


Thursday, October 13, 2005



Was that John Kerry behind the plate last night? "Actually, I called him Out before I didn't call him Out."

I don't like to cuss on this blog. You might have noticed that the closest I may come is to use an underscore or some other symbol to obscure the full brunt of the cuss word while still preserving the effect and impact of the word itself. And yet, after witnessing the officiating disgrace in last night's Angels-White Sox game, I have but one way to describe it:

Absolute fucking horseshit.

By now, we've all seen the replay and we all know what happened. Kelvim Escobar threw strike three, A.J. Pierzynski swung at strike three, and Josh Paul caught strike three in the web of his mitt, no trap necessary.

However, the replay of the catch is irrelevant to this argument. As my friend Drew Brown pointed out last night on the Angels postgame radio show, the replay that provides the strongest and most compelling evidence in this controversy was not of the at-bat in question but of the previous at-bat when Aaron Rowand swung at a Strike Three in the dirt and was tagged out by Josh Paul. What this replay proves is that homeplate umpire Doug Eddings had unmistakably called Pierzynski out, regardless of whether the ball was trapped or caught cleanly.

"My interpretation is that's my 'strike three' mechanic when it's a swinging strike," homeplate umpire Doug Eddings said. "If you watch, that's what I do the whole entire game."

Doug, I'm not going to say you're lying but you are flat out wrong.

Rewind about five minutes when, in the bottom of the ninth with 1 out, Aaron Rowand was down in the count 1-2. Rowand swung and missed at the next pitch which was in the dirt and rolled away from catcher Josh Paul. Forgive me for sounding like I am dissecting the Magic Bullet Theory as I recount the body language of Eddings on this play...

1) As Rowand swung, Eddings extended his right arm straight out to his right, indicating that the batter had swung and missed.

2) Upon seeing that the ball was in the dirt and had rolled away from Paul, Eddings paused with his arm still extended and watched for Paul to field the ball.

3) With Eddings watching carefully, Paul picks up the ball and applies the tag to a stationary Rowand. After the tag has been made, Eddings lowers his right arm, closes his fist and pumps it forward, recording the out.

Two separate distinct gestures, a straight arm to indicate the swing, and after the tag, a fist to indicate the out. Watch the replay if you can because it is as plain a call as can be imagined.

Yet one batter later Eddings apparently changed his "mechanic" and, according to him, those same two distinct gestures both indicated only a singular meaning, the third strike.

Get your "mechanic" straight, you spineless worm. The truth here is obvious. Eddings recorded the out and then, under pressure applied by Pierzynski, unrecorded it and began preparations for an explanation that holds less water than a hula hoop.

I don't know what's worse, the reversal of the Out call or the total lack of integrity by the entire umpire crew at the postgame press conference. It's one thing to make a mistake. Of course, we all make them and umpires are as fallible as any of us. While it still would have cost the Angels the game, to hear Eddings admit his error would have at least given me some solace. The fact that the entire umpiring crew claims that, upom visiting the replay, they still stand by Eddings call makes me want to beat the shit out of somebody. Don't hand me a bullshit sandwich and, with a straight face, tell me that it's turkey and Swiss. That's nothing more than proud, ego-driven arrogance and ignorance. There is no room for ego in officiating. They should care more about getting it right than saving face. Is there anything more morally outrageous and intellectually sabotaging than a blatantly arrogant injustice?

If, and that's a big If, there is a silver lining in this controversy, it's got to be the way Mike Scioscia conducted himself and represented the Angels franchise. It was no more than fifteen minutes after the game when Scioscia sat down before reporters at the press conference. I was on the phone with my buddy Scott, ranting and raving like a lunatic with hemorrhoids when I saw that Scioscia was on and quickly turned up the volume. I was ready for a seething, scathing, fire-breathing statement from the Angels' skipper. I guess I forgot who Mike Scioscia was for a second. Despite having just cause to raise a protest against this game, Sciosh said the following:

"That's not why we lost the game...We could have been up 4-0, 5-0 going into the ninth, had we played better defensively and made better use of our opportunities at bat...There's a lot of focus on that play, but we didn't play to a high enough level to win the ballgame. That's the bottom line. You have to play at a high enough level that if there's something -- a call, a bloop, whatever -- you can absorb it."

That, my friends, is what I call class. It's easy to roam the dugout with a stern look and to be gracious when your team wins and loses, but for Mike Scioscia to watch his team positively robbed of a crucial playoff victory by a clueless umpire and still take the high road? It's rare to find such a splendid example of leadership and integrity these days, in sports or in life in general. My entry today is certainly not one. I already respected Mike Scioscia, but now I truly admire him.

I don't know why I was so surprised. His restraint and character is laced in the one-day-at-a-time, even-keeled attitude he preaches to his players all season long. I guess I unconsciously chalked it up to the usual media drivel that constantly pounds into us Steve Finley's possible breakout around every corner and Darin Erstad's so-called "football mentality." Mike Scioscia proved last night that his character and team concept is much more than a saccharin-sweet footnote for broadcasters to break out every time there's a lull in the action. Scioscia is for real. I can only hope that the Angel players' belief in his leadership proves to be equally genuine.

After such a bitter defeat, it will take the resilience, focus, and short-sightedness that Scioscia has tried to instill in order for the Angels to dust themselves off and win this series. They don't need to play for revenge and they don't need to play with a chip on their shoulder; they just need to play Angels baseball. I can think of no one I'd rather have leading the way.

Go Angels.

P.S. Can somebody do us all a favor and wake up Vladimir Guerrero?


Tuesday, October 11, 2005


Fearful Prediction: Angels in 6

I'm picking the Angels to win the ALCS in six games...I just can't figure out how exactly.

The news just came down that Bartolo did not make the roster which is obviously a huge blow to an already awkwardly aligned rotation. The Byrd Man in Game One on three days rest, a sickly Washburn in Two, presumably Lackey and Santanna in games Three and Four. The White Sox are rested and fully loaded where as the Halos are going to be jetlagged to say the least. Couple that with the absence of Colon, and it doesn't seem to stack up well for the Angels.

What the hell, I'll take 'em anyway. I'll flip it and say the Angels are excited to travel across the country overnight and start this series as soon as possible because I don't think they wanna get off the field right now. They appear to be having such a good time out there and to be playing with such confidence that, despite the odds being against them, I don't think they believe they can be beaten right now.

I completely agree with Super Blogger Rich Lederer who said if the White Sox drop either of the first two games of this series, they are in serious trouble. If we can eek out a win in Byrd-vs-Contreras or Washburn-vs-Buerhle on the road, I have great confidence that Lackey and Santanna will bury the Southsiders in a 3-1 hole.

If the Angels had lost Game Five last night, would the sporting world be ripping Vlad Guerrero as they are Alex Rodriguez? I doubt it since ARod's postseason poverty goes back further than these five games while Vladdy carried the Angels down the stretch last season. Still it's worth mentioning that the Angels' best hitter had a terrible series at the plate. The Angels still pulled it out of course, but the Angels are obviously going to be much tougher to beat if Vladdy is doing his thing.

Another 5 p.m. start tonight to torture the West Coast Working Man. I wish I had put in for vacation time so I could really rest up for this series, maybe channel my rest to the team somehow or at least just be able to savor every pitch. There is no traffic as painful and frustrating as traffic that keeps you away from a playoff game. Yeah, it sure would be nice to take a nice long nap right about now, maybe wake up and have some ants-on-a-log before settling in for Game One. Oh well, I guess I'll try doing this Estimated Final Cost report; that could be fun too.

Okay, more as it occurs to me. Go Angels.


Move Over, George...Angels Now Own Yankees

Do you see the W?


Ya know, that's not really champagne. Unless it comes from the Champagne region of France, it's sparkling white wine.


Mmmmmm....drink it in....It always goes down smooth.


Monday, October 10, 2005


Fearful Prediction: Angels Over Yanks

I predicted that the Angels would rock The Big Unit.

Of course, I told no one of this so it counts for nothing. Thus, I will now go on record with my prediction for tonight's Game Five.

Angels 5, Yankees 2.

Obviously, a prediction for tonight's game from an unabashed Angels fan is not something to take to your bookie and put any money on. I admit, I am somewhat biased....but I am only biased in the sense that this has been such a great series, a real see-saw battle, that it's hard to make any realistic prediction for its final outcome. What do you base it on? It all depends which versions of Colon and Mussina show up, doesn't it? The same could be said for Garret Anderson, Vlad Guerrero and Alex Rodriguez.

In the event of a pick 'em, I might as well go with my team. Sabermetricians, get ready to laugh your asses off....

When "the numbers" make it too close to call, I'll take the team that plays more like a team over the roster of high-priced mercenaries. I'll take the team that still gives two sh_ts about pitching and defense. I'll take the organization that grows talent from within. I'm going with the team that has a reputation for their day-by-day approach and their notoriously quick turnarounds. I certainly won't take a team that makes excuses and lashes out at other teams' managers for what they should have done to help the mighty Yankees. I'm going with the team that's still playing to create its identity over that which sits comfortably atop its historical high-horse, looking down on all the other teams without "mystique," "aura," and a $200+ million bankroll. Yeah, I said it. I'm taking the Angels.

Mussina's magic pixie dust should have well worn off by now. It's a big game/pressure situation so ARod will take care of himself. Bartolo takes pride in his role and knows that, now more than ever, he has something to prove. A Cy Young Award will mean very little if a loss tonight is its asterisk. Vladimir is due. Figgins has got to be counting down the minutes until his redemption. In my heart of hearts, I have to believe that Darin Erstad cannot be struck out by Al Leiter three times in a row.

As I type this, there are twenty sixty-second eternities to pass before the first pitch. Tonight's Game Five is the perfect opportunity for the best team to win. I just hope the best team shows up and plays like I know they can.

Go Angels.


No Excuses.

It's simply time to get it done. May the best team win.


Wednesday, September 28, 2005



That's just a waste of good American beer.


Tuesday, September 27, 2005


"It ends tonight."

Ervin Santana takes the hill tonight for the Angels as they take their first shot at clinching the AL West


Monday, September 26, 2005


Too Much Huff-ing and Puffing

Aubrey Huff shhh-ing the Anaheim crowd Sunday....My question is, Shouldn't such a gesture be saved for the playoffs or at least for a team that is likely going to the playoffs? Should a guy hitting .262 on the second-worst team in the American League really be shhh-ing anyone, especially after a solo shot in the 3rd inning? Should a player on any team be shhh-ing if his first name is Aubrey?


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