Tagged: Halos

Big Bad Voodoo Vlady?

No one was happier than I was to see Vladimir Guerrero back in the line-up Tuesday night after his latest stint on the DL.  It wasn’t that the Angels desperately needed him back.  Their offense had been, as my grandma used to say, “cooking with gas” while he and Torii Hunter nursed their injuries.  But Vlady is an integral part of who the Angels are and we’ve all missed him.  From his twinkling, ear-to-ear grin to his indecipherable strike zone, Angel fans love the guy.

                       

Not to mention, the man cut off his hair in an effort to help his team!  I don’t know many men who would do that.  Vanity is not exclusively a woman’s vice.

                                manny-1.jpg picture by lafmyers

As much as I adore Big Daddy Vlady, I can’t help but notice the Angels have now lost two games since his return.  I’m sure it could be mere coincidence.  The Angels had been red-hot coming into this series and it was just a matter of time before they’d have to cool off a little, right?  (Did it have to be against the White Sox?!?)  Is that what’s happening?  Or, could there be more to this than coincidence?

                  

Could something else be going on?  Could other forces be at work here?  It would NOT have been a far stretch at the beginning of the season to have imagined that someone, somewhere had placed a curse on my team.  It’s not like these things don’t happen in baseball.

          babe.jpg picture by lafmyers

I know after two losses in a row, it might be a bit premature to speculate about black magic, spells or curses, but there’s no harm in being a little proactive, right?  If it turns out there IS something to this mysterious change in fortune, why not identify the usual suspects and examine their possible motives?  This could be especially helpful for the Anaheim PD, FBI, CIA or local Boy Scout Troop 312, should they be pressed into service on the matter.  (I always knew reading every Nancy Drew book twice would come in handy some day.)

Suspect #1

It doesn’t get any more obvious.  They hate us.  Someone start interrogating
the players, I’ll start on the fans.  Jane, you may want to consult with your attorney.  I believe there may be some circumstantial evidence in your blog regarding a “magic” pen?!?  Double, double toil and trouble; fire burn and cauldron bubble…does that line have any special meaning for you?

 

Suspect #2

Umpire Doug Eddings made the infamous call that lost the 2005 ALCS for the Angels.  Four years later, he is stilled booed at the Big A every single time he is announced.  Oh, and there may be a conspiracy angle involving AJ Pierzynski.  Bring plenty of back up.  That guy’s nuts.

 

Suspect #3

Jose Guillen makes no secret of his contempt for the Angels, specifically Manager Mike Scioscia, after the skipper benched him during the 2004 play-offs because of his hot temper and bad behavior.  Another loose cannon.  Have the psych ward on speed dial.

 

Suspect #4

Was a finalist in the Angels’ mascot auditions and is reportedly still bitter about losing out to a monkey.  Says he’s sick of singing to kids and was looking forward to picking up chicks at the Budweiser Pavilion during early innings.  He was recently taken into custody on a loitering charge at Coors Field in Denver where he was heard screaming, “Come on…I’m &%$#-ing purple already!”  We may need to involve Animal Control on this one.

 

Suspect #5

It was very easy to eliminate the Rangers from my list of suspects due to the fact that they also lost their last two games…to Oakland.  Clearly, they have nothing to do with this.

 

Okay, so it’s a start.  I truly hope I’m wrong about all of this.  I guess we’ll have to see what happens Thursday.  Until then, I’ll keep working on my list in my “Harriet, The Spy” notebook.  You can never be too prepared.  (Yep, I was a Girl Scout too.)  

 

Between love and madness lies…baseball. 

 

 

The Blame Game

Let’s talk about Sunday’s game, shall we?  There isn’t any point in coming down hard on Ervin Santana for his miserable 3 and 2/3 innings.  Why bother bringing up Shane Loux’s not so stellar 3 innings?  And is there any reason whatsoever to mention the icy cold Halo bats?  No.  The Angels lost, and lost hard, in a 1-10 pouncing by the Twins in the final game of their four game series.  But I know exactly who to blame for this loss.

    timeout.jpg picture by lafmyers

Ooops.  My bad.  I had absolutely NO business even typing the word “eight” in my last post.  I should’ve known it’d be the kiss of death for the Angels’ 8 game win streak.  I guess I just got overly confident and really thought it would be okay to give my boys a little pat on the back for the incredible way they’d been playing lately.  I will not make the same mistake twice so if you wonder why I fail to mention a winning or hitting streak or any other kind of pattern that may develop the rest of the season, just remember this post.  I apologize to anyone and everyone who may have been adversely affected by Sunday’s loss.  To all those who rejoiced or otherwise celebrated my Angels’ misfortune?  I give you the bird (X 5).

                                untitledHSHSHSSSHS.jpg picture by lafmyers

                                      (That’s Lucy, Lily, Lola, Liza and Leo-na.) 

At least I was spared the horror of it all.  My friend asked me to run to Long Beach with her to help her buy a new couch.  We left just as the game was starting and didn’t think we’d be gone long.  After five long hours in a large furniture warehouse that lacked A/C, we already knew it hadn’t gone well for the Angels because when we called home, Mr. Lucky (Bubba) and her son, Zachary (Little Bubba) would only say, “You aren’t going to like it.”  My friend remained optimistic and thought they might just be teasing us.  I knew they weren’t.  I am my husband’s polygraph machine.  I don’t even need to see his face.  I knew he was telling me the truth.  When we got back to the house, both Bubbas were at a neighbor’s so I began to play back the game on fast-forward.  Zachary stuck his head in the back door just as I got to Kendry Morales’s solo HR in the 4th.  He said, “Oh, so you saw their ONLY run?”  He slammed the door just in time and the remote control failed to smack him upside the head.  He’s quick, that kid.

                

I was looking forward to Monday night’s game with the Indians because the Angels have gotten very good at responding positively to an embarrassing smackdown.  Hmmm.  Joe Saunders gave up 2 runs in the top of the 2nd which didn’t rattle me at all.  Maybe one of those sweet come-from-behind wins was on the menu for tonight?

  menu.jpg picture by lafmyers

When Juan Rivera, Kendry Morales and Mike Napoli had back-to-back-to-back solo shots in the bottom of the 2nd, it certainly appeared that way.  It wasn’t going to be easy as the Indians kept hitting and hitting and hitting.  Up 6-4 when closer Brian Fuentes came out in the 9th, things were looking good for the Angels.  With 17 straight saves in as many opportunities, Fuentes just needed to do his thing to lock in another W.  I won’t go into the gory details, but the Tribe had a couple long balls of their own left in them and the final score was 8-6, Indians.  Fuentes’s ERA jumped from 2.78 to 3.79 and he was unable to get a single out before being pulled.  Hey, he’s a man, NOT a machine!  Just like any closer out there (think Joe Nathan), he was bound to have a bad night and tonight he did.  I just hope he got it out of his system and can erase it from his mind.  The Angels really did minimize the damage with solid defense including 4 double-plays.  Had it been the Angels who got 20 hits, I have no doubt they would’ve scored WAY more than 8 runs.  See?  I knew there had to be a silver lining somewhere. 

                

 

Baseball…we’ll give you something to smile about!

 

 

Eight Tastes Great!

What team doesn’t expect a lot from the meat of their order?  Who doesn’t want one of their big guns coming up to the plate with a couple men on and the game on the line?  Let’s face it.  With Torii Hunter, Vladimir Guerrero and Juan Rivera all on the DL, the Angels meat of the order has gone from looking like this:

                          

to looking like this:

                   burger.jpg picture by lafmyers 

But not like some cheap fast-food burger…more like one of those really good restaurant burgers where the server asks you how you want it cooked.  And you can get mushrooms on it.  Or bleu cheese.  Yum.

But much can be said for appetizers.  Sometimes you get to the restaurant and you’re starving, so you quickly grab the menu and order a couple of appetizers and you start munching on a plate of tasty little morsels and before you know it, you’re so full you don’t even need to order an entree.  Appetizers are delicious too and sometimes they’re just enough to get the job done. 

         appetizers.jpg picture by lafmyers

But every once in a while, you just want dessert.  Something decadent and rich to satisfy that sweet-tooth.  Maybe drizzled with something on top or oozing with a creamy filling.  Desserts are always less expensive than dinner but sometimes they sure do hit the spot, don’t they? 

             desserts.jpg picture by lafmyers

And then there are times when I go to a restaurant, I look over the menu and I still can’t make up my mind.  I just don’t know what I’m in the mood for.  That’s when I usually just go with whatever the chef recommends.   

                       

How can you go wrong?  The Angels are a veritable buffet of baseball talent.  In any given game, you just don’t know who will pack the biggest punch or pull off the unexpected.  They are multi-talented and oh-so flexible.  But more importantly, they’ve got chemistry and chemistry should never be underrated.  This is a group of men that obviously enjoy playing together and have tremendous respect for each other.  This hasn’t happened by chance.  The Angels organization puts as much emphasis on personality and sportsmanship as it does talent and ability.  We don’t hear about turmoil in the clubhouse or rivalry between players.  This, with a team that has rotating outfielders, two catchers and has started a dozen pitchers.  You’d think there would be reports of animosity or players jockeying for positions, but there’s none of that.  All we see is a group of guys playing hard together, then celebrating together.  Considering it wasn’t long ago that we watched this same group of guys mourning together, this recent streak of come-from-behind and edge-of-your-seat wins is all the more meaningful.  If any team has come from behind this season, it’s the Angels.  And this Angels fan is loving it.

 

Baseball…it’s what’s for dinner.

 

 

Hit The Road

The Angels head to Toronto tomorrow.  Perhaps the change of scenery will do them good.  This last homestand was awful.  It started with a 3-17 bulldozing by the White Sox and ended with, well okay, so it ended with a win.  Yeah, a walk-off win in the 9th.  Woohoo.  I guess I’m still harboring some anger over Saturday’s ridiculous loss.  Closer (or more accurately, IMPOSTOR), Brian Fuentes, was handed Matt Palmer’s shut-out, 3-0 lead in the 9th and single-handedly incinerated it.  I’ll get over it…eventually.  But I am SO over Brian Fuentes.  I would like to personally put him on a flight back to Denver. 

   

What???  You don’t actually think he’s earned the right to fly commercial?  (Good luck clearing those Rockies, Brian!)  I am the furthest thing from a fair-weather fan but Saturday’s game really got to me.  I had trouble sleeping that night.  I kept re-playing that 9th inning over and over again in my head.  (Okay, I’ll admit it…only because I know he won’t go back and read this…not having hubby home to spoon me didn’t help.)  By game time on Sunday, I was toying with the idea of recording the game and indulging in a “General Hospital” marathon (a truly disgusting habit…I need an intervention).   

      

How loyal am I?  When the Angels were down 8-1 in the bottom of the 6th, I didn’t even turn the channel.  Was I my usual optimistic self?  Nope.  Can you blame me?  The previous 5 games were hard to shake. A lack of hitting, an unsteady bullpen and some really lame base running mistakes had taken their toll on me.  Everyone’s entitled to a bad day, including me.  

          

Sure, the Angels seemed to have something going on when they scored 4 runs in the inning but there was no way I was going to fall victim to false hopes again.  In the 9th, down two runs, Izturis and Figgins each managed to draw walks.  They’re on with 1 out.  In the past, I would’ve been up and pacing the family room.  Instead, I remain prone on the couch and actually feel my eyes roll.  Awwww…hate me if you want.  Tuesday night, tying run at the plate, ohhhh…game over.  Sound familiar???  Abreu flies out to left.  Here we go again.  Vlady hits a blooper to right and a run scores.  Huh?  I sit upright.  Mariner’s closer, David Aardsma, intentionally walks my Torii Hunter.  I move to the edge of my seat and start thinking, “Make him pay, make him pay,” like I usually do.  Juan Rivera comes to the plate…and walks!  In comes the tying run!  I feel my pulse increasing but suddenly, there’s a flash and I see…a week ago, Dodger game, tied in the 10th, Angels can’t score, Dodgers get their walk-off.  I shake my head like an Etch-A-Sketch to erase the image.  Kendry Morales is at the plate.  Now I’m on my feet.  And then…

    Kendry Morales mobbed

I knew they could do it.  Good luck in Toronto, guys.  I have faith.  I always do.

 

Baseball…believe in something better.

 

There’s No Need to Fear…

             It’s Friday morning, and all over the universe, Yankees fans are rejoicing. 

    yanksparade.jpg picture by lafmyers

I truly thought the Yankees beating the Angels last night would’ve been a much bigger news story today, but it’s not.  Swine flu, Chrysler in chapter 11, Justice Souter retiring…I guess in the scheme of things it’s not really that big a deal, especially given the fact that the Angels came into New York as the clear underdog in this series. 

     

Seriously.  Six pitchers AND Big Daddy Vlady Guerrero on the DL???  I can’t help but think this victory must ring a little hollow for the Yankees.  I mean, they can’t possibly be strutting through the club house, patting each other on the back today.  It wasn’t exactly a massacre.  Far from it.  The Angels had the Yankees in a respectable tie until the bottom of the 8th.  Not bad for a team who may literally be just an inning or two away from having Bat Boy #3 come in as a relief pitcher.  And how convenient for the Yankees to have had umpire Doug Eddings behind the plate.  His strike zone was harder to follow than a cruise ship outrunning Somalian pirates.  You see, the Angels have a history with Eddings that is quite notorious.

                       Wsox_angels_badcall

  The ALCS game 2 was spoiled for the Anaheim Angels when the home plate umpire Doug Eddings missed a critical call behind the plate.

Angels fans have very good memories.  There is still a chorus of “boos” that rises up whenever Eddings is introduced at the Big A.  Same goes for AJ Pierzynski.  Gosh, I can’t stand that guy!

The Yankees may have won the first round, but the Angels are playing with one hand tied behind their backs.  There’s really no arguing that. Yankees fans should be absolutely outraged if the Yankees DON’T take advantage of the Angels when they’re at their most vulnerable.

     phelps.jpg picture by lafmyers

But Angels fans love it when their boys in RED are the underdogs.  It makes each victory all that much sweeter.  Especially when it’s in New York. 

              Underdog.jpg picture by lafmyers

 

Baseball…kid tested, mother approved. 

 

It Takes Two (Teams) To Tango

Since the Angels were traveling to Seattle today, I had no game to watch tonight.  Now, let me be clear about one thing.  THIS:  

                           cherylgiles.jpg picture by lafmyers

                                     

is NEVER a suitable substitute for THIS:

                  

Since I’m guaranteed the remote control at least 162 times during the regular season (I’m pretty sure I wrote it into my marriage vows), I’m forced to hand it over to my hubby on travel days.  Fair is fair, I guess.  Well, if I can’t watch it, I can at least discuss it.  And yesterday did provide plenty of action to hold me over until Tuesday.  I hope so, anyway.  One of my very good friends is a single mom of a 9 year-old Little League phenom.  I take full credit for his obsession with baseball, having sat him down in front of his very first Angels game at the wonderfully impressionable age of 1 & 1/2.  (Thankfully, he is blessed with amazing natural talent, but of course, I had no hand in that!)  One day my friend told me that she’s happy her son has such a love of baseball but she hates it when he’s exposed to the “violence” of the game.  Violence??  Yeah…she doesn’t like those bench-clearing brawls and thinks it sets a bad example.  This is one subject we don’t see eye-to-eye on because, completely to the contrary, I think a big ol’, bullpen-emptying mix-up in the middle of the game actually teaches a young player about what it means to be part of a team.  No one fights just to fight.  (That sport is called “boxing”.)  When a fight happens in baseball, it’s about defending a team member who has been wronged, plain and simple.  I think any player who remains on the bench while the teams duke it out on the field should be fined and suspended!  Being part of the team means being ready to throw a punch or two in a fellow player’s honor.  Which brings me to Sunday’s game against the Red Sox.  I do not believe that Josh Beckett intentionally threw at Bobby Abreu’s head.  He was in the middle of his wind-up (finally…geez!) when time was called and there was no un-ringing that bell.  His aim was unfortunate.  But what came out of his mouth later was, indeed, poor sportsmanship.  Given the emotional state of the Angels following Nick Adenhart’s death, making a remark about it was, well…it just wasn’t cool.  It could have been much worse than it was and I give the Angels credit for exhibiting some real self-control.  And they did get their revenge on the score board.  So, all’s well that ends well.  But something tells me this isn’t over.  Teams have very good memories and it wasn’t entirely fair that the Angels were the only team that had ejections (4).  Beckett may want to watch his back in May.  He upset the Angels and their loyal fans.  And it doesn’t help that he looks an awful lot like condemned killer, Scott Peterson.  Or is it just me?

                                beckett.jpg picture by lafmyers

 

 Baseball…with us, it’s personal.          

                                                                                                                                        

 

Opening Day…Finally!

The first pitch is just hours away and I’m excited.  Yesterday I was not excited.  Not at all.  You see, I lost my Dad three weeks ago and Angels Baseball was a huge part of our lives.  We counted the days during the winter until the players started showing up at spring training.  We couldn’t wait to get the schedule so we could pick our games based on first, what the giveaway was and second, who the Angels were playing.  If we weren’t at the games, we were home watching…every game.  And when something exciting would happen, we’d race to see who could dial faster.  When Mom would answer the phone, she’d just say, “Just a minute…I hear your Dad cheering” and pass him the call.  I have no doubt something exciting will happen tonight.  But I won’t have anyone to call.

                           meanddad.jpg picture by lafmyers

So that explains why I haven’t been excited.  I haven’t picked up a sports page since March 10, the day before Dad died.  I haven’t opened an angelsbaseball.com email.  I’ve changed the channel any time the sports report came on TV.  Less than an hour ago I honestly didn’t know when I’d be ready to watch an Angels game again.  And then it hit me…like a Lackey fastball in the face.  If I DON’T watch, if I DON’T care, if I DON’T enjoy my beloved Angels I would really disappoint my Dad.  He’d be so mad at me.  I can hear him telling me how stubborn I am.  I can’t and I won’t let him down.  I will watch every game and I’ll love it all…good and bad.  Because that’s what he would want.  After all, this season I have my very own Angel…my Dad.  And since I know he’s very happy to be where Mike Scioscia can finally hear him, it should be especially interesting!  So…let’s play ball!!!!