Friday, September 19, 2014

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Watch this amazing video put together by our friends at the MLB Network, on the Angels Path to the Postseason.

Congratulations to the Angels and all of their fans worldwide!

Thursday, September 18, 2014

By Glen McKee, resident grudge-holder - 

Karma is an interesting concept.  If you go by the Buddhist definition, what we do in this life is repaid to us in the next.  If you extrapolate that to baseball, it means that what a team does in the current season will be repaid to them in the next.  Not this one, but the next.  That seems pretty simple but it is apparently hard for fans and/or writers of/for some teams - let’s just call them Shoakland – to grasp.  That’s why I’m here, folks.  I have some ‘splainin’ to do.

There were two distinct instances recently where some people questioned if the Angels were messing with their karma.  The first was on July 21, when Mike Trout and Albert Pujols mocked the Mariners’ closer and annoying-hat-wearer Fernando Rodney, by firing imaginary arrows at him after he’d fired one into the dugout the inning before (Or in the stands, if you believe Rodney.  It’s possible, given that he can’t even get his hat on straight, but I still don’t believe him.).  Some people (as in at least one) on this very message board were certain that this taunting would doom the Angels.  Nope.  Enough said about that, other than watching the gif again because it’s right up there with the Aybar dance:

 photo Aybar.gif

The second incident was on August 29.  It was actually two incidents.  The first was the Angels, playing Shoakland in a tense game, encouraging the fans to do the light wave.  This was something that had been done before and nobody had complained about it, but suddenly Shoakland fans were as up in arms as if one of their many cats had knocked over their bowl of Coco Krispies.  It was a geographically-concentrated outrage!  Shortly after that there was a controversial play where Aybar was running to first and his path was blocked by two Shoakland players.  Rather than exit the basepath and be out, he decided to barrel through them, and was correctly awarded 1B.  More outrage!  It took about 10 minutes before Scarecrow Melvin left the field, and he filed a protest which he later withdrew.   It was a bold move, Cotton, but it didn’t pay off.

Now is when it gets personal, and where the instruction comes in.  If you followed me on Facebook you probably still wouldn’t know that at the time I was friends with somebody who does some writing for the A’s.  I’m not gonna name names, so let’s call her Judy Stormliquid, or Judy for short.  Judy had seen a piece I wrote for and liked it, and I thought it couldn’t hurt to have some writing contacts outside of the Angels baseball bubble.  We exchanged some posts a few times, nothing serious or even noteworthy.  However, after that game Judy went on a rant about how the Angels were cheaters and karma would bite them and their fans square in the keister.  This was in a facebook post, so I politely responded that there was no rule against the light wave and that it had been done before without complaint, and I mentioned why I thought the Aybar call was acceptable.  A friend of hers jumped all over me.  It was semi-polite at first but then she devolved into name-calling.  The whole time I was polite and respectful, while disagreeing.  That is possible, you know.  It was a back-and-forth between me and her friend that eventually stopped when both of us found something better to do.

Well, the next morning there was a message in the thread from Judy to me.  How DARE I talk to her friends and DISRESPECT THEM LIKE THAT!  I WAS A TOTAL A-HOLE!  Even though I was never disrespectful and I never stooped to name-calling.  It was a short but furious rant, with bouts of all-caps and promises that…wait for it…karma would bite me and the rest of the Angels fans in our hindquarters.  I wanted to get a screen capture but she unfriended me (insert sad trombone here).  Her ignorance of karma was matched only by her self-righteousness.

And here we are not even a month later.  The Angels, supposed future victims of karma, have just wrapped up the division and have their eyes on home-field advantage throughout the playoffs.  The team looks good, and Shoakland is fighting for their playoff life.  Since the karma game the Angels have averaged about 20 runs per game, and Oakland about -0.8.  The Angels look to be in a good position for an extended postseason run.  Hey, I get that this is baseball and anything can happen – I’m sure Baltimore fans and Washington fans feel pretty damn good about their teams and rightfully so, they are very good.  It’s not tempting karma to recognize how your team is doing and have high hopes for the rest of the season.  And even if that was tempting karma, it wouldn’t haunt us until the 2015 season, and that’s not even on my radar at the moment.  The point is: don’t invoke karma if you don’t know what you’re talking about.  It just might be bad karma to do that.  If you don’t believe me, let’s see what Erick Aybar has to say about it:

Yes, I know that’s from another celebration but Aybar don’t care.  He’s celebrating again, and so am I. Karma be damned.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

By Jonathan Northrop, Staff Reporter - 

Mike Trout is going to finish the year first in fWAR again - he's at 7.8 right now, with #2 being far behind at 6.2 (Jonathan Lucroy). For those who prefer rWAR, he's also at 7.8 but Donaldson is much closer at 7.3, so it isn't quite a lock but it is close.

Anyhow, this will be the third year in a row that Trout has been #1 in fWAR. Aside from the amazing fact that he's done it not just any three years, but his first three years (and will presumably have more years of being #1 ahead), the list of players who have led the majors in fWAR three or more times is relatively small. Here it is, from 1900 to the present (I was going to pick 1901 because that's the year we had two leagues, but I added 1900 to give Honus Wagner his full array):

10 Ruth
8 Wagner, Mays
7 Bonds
5 Cobb, Williams
4 Mantle
3 Hornsby, Musial, Yasztremski, Schmidt, Boggs, Henderson, Ripken, Rodriguez, Pujols, Trout

In other words, Trout is the 17th player to do it. That's pretty good company. Of note are some pretty amazing players that did not make the cut of 3, including Tris Speaker, Eddie Collins, Mel Ott, Lou Gehrig, Jimmie Foxx, Joe DiMaggio, Jackie Robinson, Hank Aaron, Frank Robinson, Joe Morgan, and a bunch of other greats and Hall of Famers.

Now again, Mike is just getting started. While we can't expect him to lead the majors in WAR every year, at least not forever, it would seem that he is like to at least surpass Cobb and Williams, and maybe vie with Bonds, Wagner, and Mays. Ruth? Let's see how things look in a few years. Consider it like a no-hitter alert - you can't really start taking it seriously until the 6th or 7th inning. I think in order for him to have a legit shot at Ruth, he's going to have to enter his 30s with at least 7 - that would mean winning it 4 out of the next 7 years. Possible!

By Joe McDonnell, Columnist - 

A year ago if you walked into the Angels' clubhouse, you immediately sensed that it was not the happiest place on earth. 

The Angels were finishing up one of the most disappointing seasons in their history, leaving owner Arte Moreno angry and frustrated with a fourth straight year of missing the playoffs. He had to be wondering why after spending nearly a half billion dollars to sign Albert Pujols, CJ Wilson and Josh Hamilton--his team was on the outside looking in, Again.

Speculation had both Manager Mike Scioscia and GM Jerry Dipoto on the chopping block, even though Moreno gave them the usually-fatal vote of confidence, they were both brought back with mandate of "Win Now."

They have responded, the Halos have clinched a playoff spot and both are serious candidates for post-season awards.

In his 15th year,  former catcher Scioscia has done one of his finest jobs, blending new players with the old players and keeping the team's confidence high during a serious run of injuries to the pitching staff. Garrett Richards and Tyler Skaggs were lost for the year and rookie sensation Matt Shoemaker is a question mark after an oblique injury Monday night.

This is where Dipoto has shined, when the bullpen needed rebuilding, he did it, acquiring Houston Street and Jason Grilli. Before the season he shored up roster depth and the bench, including a good veteran player and great teammate, John McDonald. Within a year, Dipoto has gone from getting crushed by the media & fans from being the favorite to win the Executive of the Year Award.

I sat down with Dipoto and we talked about the state of the Angels,

Joe McDonnell -- Quite a difference from a year ago, You must be thrilled,

Jerry Dipoto -- Certainly feel good about it and we're confident with where we are, I think the key to our season was starting off a little better than we have in the past few seasons, We had to battle through some injuries and adversity early and some significant injuries with Garrett and Tyler Skaggs going down, There's really something special about this team character-wise and Mike and his staff have done a great job keeping them all together,

Joe McDonnell -- How much of a factor is a player's character when you' putting together a roster?

Jerry Dipoto -- It's huge. It dates back to the off-season when we were formulating out plan for the roster, We wanted to add "makeup" to this club in guys like Raul Ibanez, Johnny McDonald. Houston Street and Joe Smith. players who were off-season and in-season acquisitions, And also Jason Grilli who brings that great personality to the team, There's so much quality and character that we brought in to go along with who we already had here.and it's manifested into such a good group. 

Joe McDonnell -- Just watching them interact on and off the field shows that they really get along.

Jerry Dipoto -- This may be the most cohesive group I've been around. This is the 26th different team I've been associated with in my career, and the way this group gets along, the way they pull for each other and pick each other up when they're down is extraordinary.

Joe McDonnell -- You took a lot of heat from the media and fans the past two years. Would you consider this a season of redemption?

Jerry Dipoto -- That's just part of the gig. You are going to take heat. And next year if we don't (win) I'll take heat again. That's the nature of the business. I always tell the players that pressure is what you make of it. Pressure, to me, is not being able to pay the bills. The guy who doesn't quite make enough money and has to live paycheck to paycheck. That's pressure. What we do here is fun. I'd be lying to you if I said there were never times when I'm a little edgy. There are. But when you have a job in the public eye you have to let stuff roll off  of you. Me, Mike Arte--we're going to get criticized. But we pick each other up and play as hard as we can and hopefully we win.

Joe McDonnell --  There's been lots of talk that you and Scioscia don't get along. True or false?

Jerry Dipoto -- I think what a lot of people don't know is that the first day Mike and I met was the first day we worked together. I came in with philosophies and ideas  from my baseball life and Mike came in with the things he had done in his baseball life. He believed firmly in the things he believed in and I believed firmly in the things I believed in, and we had to figure each other out along the way. That doesn't happen in a day or even a month, but we got to know each other along the way. I don't think we ever had a problem with each other personally and frankly I think we got along fine personally. Once we started to understand each other's baseball, everything became balanced.

(After the interview with Dipoto, I asked Scioscia the same question.)

Mike Scioscia --You have guys with strong opinions in Jerry and I, and a lot of that is healthy. Its's said that we don't get along and that's erroneous. There are some things we talk about that we don't agree on, much like any manager and GM, I think we've become a better team in terms of our manager-general manager relationship. The lines of communication are kept open and I think it's worked out just fine.

Joe McDonnell -- Why has this team been successful in 2014?

Jerry Dipoto -- A lot of factors have made us successful. Mike and his staff have been great. They have so much knowledge. They've payed the game, coached the game and managed the game. We have people in the front office who understand the game, know how the read the numbers, make judgments and get us the right players. And of course the players themselves. We've got a great bunch of guys who play hard every game and all of them have made big contributions. The Mike Trouts', Albert Pujols' Josh Hamitons', Jered Weavers' and Garret Richards are great players and get well-deserved recognition. But this is a TEAM, and if we keep playing like we have, this could end up being a very special year. That's what we're hoping for.

See's Q & A session prior to the start of the 2014 season held in Tempe, AZ, at our Spring Fanfest Event.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014


This week we celebrate our 10th anniversary with an interview with long time member, AngelsJunky. The New Hampshire resident is a passionate Angels fan who brings intelligent topics for discussion to our forum and has posted some of the most in-depth blog articles over the years at 

Let's dig right in and get to know AJ better in this week's member appreciation post. When and how did you first come to

Angelsjunky: I was a fellow participant with Chuck Richter on an old site called "BigDel's LATimes Angeltalk Refugees Board," which was just that - a place for folks that got displaced when the old LA Times board went down – about 15 years ago, I think. I can't remember for sure, but I think I had just started up at the LA Times board so I followed the migration led by BigDel.

Anyhow, I hung out there for a few years--including enjoying 2002 with that community--and then eventually moved over to Angelswin; I think it must have been in 2005 or 2006, a year or two after Chuck opened his doors. What keeps you coming back to the site?

Angelsjunky: First and foremost the community, in particular on the forums. It is a fun place to hang out, to laugh and cry, and follow the Angels together through all the ups and downs. Furthermore, I enjoy the diversity of perspectives found there. While there are certainly different "fan temperaments," and you get to know the cast of characters of the forums over time, there are a wide enough range of participants that it doesn't get boring. Also, while people squabble there's an underlying sense that, in the end, we're all Angels fans. What have been some of your favorite articles and threads?

Angelsjunky: It is probably too difficult to pick out just a few, and as soon as you do that you start unintentionally forgetting people. Let's just say that while I'm often considered a stat guy, I appreciate the fact that there are some writers and participants who focus on the more human aspects of the game, and I enjoy reading that stuff as it is all too easy to forget about the real human beings wearing the uniforms. What in-person events have you attended from (Spring/Summer Fanfests, Charity Golf, Charity Softball)?

Angelsjunky: Seeing as I live on the east coast, behind enemy lines in "Red Sox Nation," I don't get a chance to be at any of these events. Still, I hope to someday be able share a beer or two with everyone. Why is your internet home for the Angels?

Angelsjunky: I covered some of this above, but it is THE community to talk about Angels baseball. I also like the fact that while there are sometimes disagreements on the boards, Chuck and the moderators are always willing to listen. They really do care about the community. In your opinion, what is’s best feature: the articles, charitable events, game-day chat, message boards, Fanfests, podcasts, etc?

Angelsjunky: There are lots of good features but as I said above, it has to be the message boards. By way of example, it is an amusing experience to get in on the Gameday thread to complain about, say, Pujols grounding into a double play with one out and the bases loaded, and then seeing that in the time between when you pressed "reply" and "post," there were a dozen other posts made - all some kind of anguished rant. There is shared comaraderie in suffering.

Lighter Side Where do you live and what do you do?

Angelsjunky: New Hampshire* currently, although I lived out west in Colorado and Oregon for about fifteen years so feel equally at home on both coasts. I am a teacher and counselor at a small private high school.

(*That's right, tdawg87, you're not the only NHite) Why are you an Angels fan?

Angelsjunky: I'm one of the rare Angels fans that didn't grow up in Southern California. But my story, in brief, is that I went to visit my grandparents in Palm Springs back in 1980 when I was a little kid. It was spring training and the Angels were there for part of it and when I saw all of the paraphernalia, I was mesmerized. I had grown up listening to my father and older brother talk baseball (mainly Red Sox, as we lived in Vermont at the time), and so was just getting into it; the Angels just imprinted on me and it has been love ever since. Yes, I am a native New Englander who is a fan of the Angels. We must be few and far between.

Anyhow, it wasn't until 1987 when I was 13 years old, though, that I got really serious about following baseball. As long-time fans know, from 1987-2001 was a bit of a dark age for the Angels, and I remember once or twice trying to switch allegiances to a more successful franchise. But I couldn't do it and quickly gave up and accepted my fate as a life-long Angels fan, and was eventually rewarded for it in 2002. What was your first Angels game that you remember? Who’d you go with?

Angelsjunky: I've actually never been to Anaheim, so have never seen them on their home turf. But the first time I saw them was during Spring Training in 1989. I was visiting my grandfather in Palm Springs for a week and he got me tickets for the whole week. It was a lot of fun; I remember being impressed by Devon White, and also seeing a 19-year old Ken Griffey Jr.

But I don't think I went to see the Angels in a regular season game until 1995 (yes, I mentioned The Year That Should Never Be Spoken Of Again). It was September 3rd and the Angels were amidst their historic collapse. I went with my girlfriend and we sat in the Fenway bleachers. I was probably the only Angels fan there and when I cheered after the Angels scored their only run in an 8-1 loss—their 15th of the last 18 games--a snotty-nosed punk of a Red Sox fan (that is, a 13-year old kid) in front of us complained "the only Angels fan in the park and he has to sit behind me." My girlfriend, irritable in the sun and not at all a baseball fan, told him "If you don't like it, you can leave." He didn't, but didn't peep another word for the rest of the game. Sort of a fond, funny memory amidst an otherwise horrible couple months of baseball. Who have been your favorite players? Why? Any great stories or interactions with them?

Angelsjunky: Growing up I liked Rod Carew and Bobby Grich, then Wally Joyner and Devon White. But then in the 90s it was Tim Salmon, Jim Edmonds, and Darin Erstad, and of course Chuck Finley was the old standby and I loved watching Chili Davis hit, as well as Tony Phillips' Rickey Henderson-esque performance in 1995. A bit later, Troy Percival was so much fun to watch. Of the current team, aside from the obvious Mike Trout, I really enjoy Kole Calhoun, who I've had my eye on since he was drafted and always had a hunch would be good. For pitchers I just love watching Garret Richards, and Matt Shoemaker has really grown on me. How do you survive the offseason?

Angelsjunky: The offseason in NH largely means "winter," so I've got bigger problems to deal with than the lack of baseball. But aside from other non-sports related interests, in the sports world I also enjoy football and tennis, and of course there's always Hot Stove season! What’s one thing you’d like everyone in to know about you?

Angelsjunky: Ha ha, I'll have to sleep on that. But probably the less the better.

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