Monday, July 9, 2007

Midseason Report: AL West

This is the House of Georges, and this is the HoG’s Midseason Baseball Report. In it we’ll examine each of baseball’s six divisions with a fan of a team in that division.

Today’s selection is the American League West, and our divisional expert is my cousin Brian. You may remember this young man from our College World Series preview. He’s a lifelong Orange County resident and Angels fan.

Old No. 7: At the break, the Angels lead the division by 2 1/2 over Seattle, 9 over Oakland and 15 over Texas. I'll be stunned if you guys don't make it, and I think the Mariners are playing way over their heads. What's your take, and how do you think they'll respond to their manager quitting on them?

Brian: I think the M’s are way over their heads, but the great June the Angels had was a little misleading itself. Chone Figgins was like 55 for 110 (Editor's Note: actually 53 for 115)! Incredible! He’s not that type of a hitter. B.F. Colon wasn’t very good, but most of our pitching staff has performed extremely well. All and all, I worry most about the A’s. I see they have had their share of injuries, but they are always a threat when the race heats up in August and September (that’s towards the end of the season for you Rockies fans).

I don’t expect too much more out of the M’s. Having a coach quit like that must be demoralizing. I think all they can do now is hope that Bob Boone is hired to manage and he brings his unemployed, crying little bitch of a son Bret with him to poke the needle in Yuniesky Betancourt.

Old No. 7: Do you think that this Angels team is better than the one in '02? I personally think that the '02 team, while a deserving champion, was a bunch of guys simultaneously having career years. It seems like this season you're deeper and more loaded. Tell me, am I full of shit?

Brian: In 2002 (Angels broadcaster) Rex Hudler kept saying that we “caught lightning in a bottle”. What the fuck? Don’t Bogart that joint Rex.

I think the 2002 roster had hunger, these guys have more talent. Our pitching is much better this year as well. Shit, we had Kevin Appier and Aaron Sele back then. I’d take Lackey, B.F. Colon, Weaves(Jered Weaver), Esky (Kelvim Escobar), and (Ervin) Santana over any staff in the bigs. Shit, kill B.F. and Santana, promote (Joe) Saunders and (Dustin) Mosely and I’d still take us over anyone (except the Braves in the 90’s).

One thing (besides hunger) that ’02 had a lot of was power and come-from-behind-ed-ness. I recall many late inning comebacks and walk-off homers. Ahh, the glory days! If we can get (Juan) Rivera back soon, GA (Garrett Anderson) turns out to be a decent DH, and Naps (Mike Napoli) isn’t out too long, we should be safe though. Of course, I’m still holding my breath for an early Christmas present: Miguel Cabrera. Can you imagine having two Cabreras on the same team?!?!?!?!

Old No. 7: To acquire Miguel Cabrera you'd have to part with some top-notch prospects, something GM Bill Stoneman has been reticent to do. Do you think that philosophy will change this year? Do you want it to? How is it that Reggie Willits is white and Howie Kendrick is black? Is Kendrick for real? What about Brandon Wood? Will we ever hear from Dallas McPherson again? I'm going to the Triple-A All-Star Game Wednesday, tell me which future Angels stars I should be on the lookout for.

Brian: Mathis used to be my pick for a future star. Since he came up last year, hit a buck twelve, then was demoted, I think he’s lighting up Salt Lake for like .240, 10, and 32…

I couldn’t wait to see Troy Glaus and his glass body leave Anaheim, then he goes on to pull a mini Cal Ripken while D Mac falls apart. D Mac is a joke. He’s treated like royalty, management shuns Glaus, he’s handed the starting gig- then refuses winter ball to spend time with his new wife and build his piece of shit Georgia home in the sticks… I could go on. I hope he recovers, has a nice AA half year, and then gets traded for the rights for Darren Driefort and a player to be named.

As for Stoney; I get mad at him when he doesn’t pull the trigger, but he’s usually right. We needed a bat bad last year but Shields was our trade bait and he’s a nice rat-faced man. I’d part with Chone (even though he’s hitting like Ty Cobb), Santana (good fit for the Marlins), and we could unload a very talented Erick Aybar (once he’s healthy) if we re-sign OC.

Brandon Wood is one of the best hitters in the minors but I haven’t seen much beyond that. I’d love to say “I can’t wait to see him play a full year next season at third, but from what I’ve seen of him this season, he looks scared.

Reggie (you know his son’s name is Jaxon?), Howie (yes, he is for real- he was a stud in the minors and will be a stud in the bigs)… How is Troy O’Leary black???????????????????????????????????????????????

Watch out for our minor league groupies- they’ll leave you a gift that will keep on giving whenever you’re stressed, exposed to UV light, or get a fever.

Old No. 7: I do agree with you on the pitching, it's sick. And deep with Saunders and Moseley waiting in the wings. Does Scot Shields still have it like he did the last couple years? I see Justin Speier as a nice upgrade from Brendan Donnelly, is he healthy yet? I tend to think you're delusional when it comes to Rivera and GA. One "caught lightning in a bottle" year, while the other is completely done.

Old No. 7: Shields is solid, he just needs more innings and something to pitch for. I’d rather him close for us than Frankie- I’d have a few less ulcers.

Speier is pitching. He needs to watch what he eats and who he blows, but I guess he’s on his way back. He was a nice surprise in April, too bad he dates Giambi.

GA is done? Rivera is done? Please clarify. It’s typical for foreigners like you to trash GA. I don’t like his hustle-less demeanor, but he’s been there for us and I guess loyalty is a four letter word for Colorado sports fans (except if your name is John, you wear number 7, and you have a horse mouth).

Rivera was a nice player last year. Godspeed and quick recovery to you.

Old No. 7: Explain the A's to me, because I can't figure them out. I know they've had hellish injuries, but come on.

Brian: I think that they’ve proven that the ability to grow facial hair and mullets translates into great baseball talent.

Old No. 7: Have you read Moneyball?

Brian: No. I really want to start reading more, but I seem to only have time to read the paper for 30 minutes in the AM. Buying a home, getting married, and preparing for Italy is killing me right now- If I picked up a book and started reading I think my head would explode.

I recall reading an article about a guy who has the largest collection of baseball books… if I could pick a book to read, it would be his top pick: Veeck, as in Wreck.

Old No. 7: Even if you haven't read Moneyball, its philosophy is well-known. Billy Beane, in order to compete with big-money teams, has come up with a strategy that emphasizes on-base percentage over batting average (because you pay more for free-agent BA) and blows off steals and sacrifices (because they "waste outs").

Brian: And “Moneyball” has been quite successful up in Oakland. Personally as a fan, I would not want my team to be a perennial second place mulleted disaster. In addition, the small ball style is more interesting than a station-to-station baseball.

I differ the rest to a man sitting in the cube next to me, Michael Maris. Michael Maris grew up on the unsavory side of Oaktown. He stole loose change from old ladies to afford his Pabst and deviled egg diet, and he once snuck onto the field during pregame warm-ups at the coliseum to get a quick game of catch with none other than Gene Tenace. Like most Oaklandeers, he appears disheveled and unkempt most days, and his mullet could use a trim. Mike is a frustrated Oakland fan because he sees the young stars emerge from the farm system with a twinkle in their eye, only to become trade bait in the season prior to their free agency. He doesn’t mind the “station to station” approach; however he is enamored by the speed and agility of teams such as Los Angelitos.

Old No. 7: This is, obviously, the opposite of what Scoscia does. He's an old-school, NL-style small-ball manager. What's your opinion of the A's approach? Other than hitting the jackpot with pitching prospects like Barry Zito,Tim Hudson and Mahk Muldah, what's been the key to their success in the past decade?

Brian: Other than the pitching? Other than the pitching? Are you saying that without said pitching that they still would have been as successful???? Offense doesn’t win championships 7. The success of the A’s in the past decade has been a direct result of a staff that has seen Muldah, Zeets, Huddy, (Dan) Haren, etc. To diminish the prowess of these guns would insult Peter Gammons to no end. Please direct your attention to the Red Sox if you want to talk about baseball games in which the pitcher mind as well be a Canseco brother.

Old No. 7: Outside of kidnapping several All-Star pitchers at gunpoint next week, can anything save the Texas Rangers? Or are they doomed to suck forever?

Brian: Anything George W. Bush touches turns to stinky, messy, baboon semen. First the Rangers, then Texas (state), then Harriet Myers, then Iraq, now amnesty. The Rangers are one big heaping pile of neo-con, Sammy-fied, fecal matter. You could dig up Christy Matthewson and they’d still trade him for Gabe Kapler.

Old No. 7: Which league will have home field advantage in the World Series, and which team will win it? I expect you to say the Angels, of course, but which team outside of Anaheim has the best chance?

Brian: The Tigers are still nice (I can’t believe I said that). And I’m scared shitless of the Red Sox. I can only hope that the Sox are eliminated in the ALDS so we don’t face them.
Outside of the Halos- the Red Sox take it all.

AL wins home field.

Too soon to tell which National League team gets beaten by the Angels in the WS. I can only hope that we punish the Dodgers.

Old No. 7: What's your read on the DH? Pete Rose in the Hall? Tying home field in the WS to the All-Star Game result? Revenue sharing/salary cap? The electoral college? What about all these states that are pushing up their primaries?

Brian: DH- Hate it. I abhor it. I wish it would go away just like I wish the “style” of pulling the pants over the heels that some players rock.

Pete- He belongs in the Hall just like Babe, Hank, Willie, and Ty. He was the greatest hitter of his time. I miss his hair.

All Star win = home field- I hate that. WTF? This was Selig’s little “oops” for the tie game we all witnessed. I wish it would go away just like I wish Selig would go away.

Rev sharing/cap- It’s not going to solve the problem Royals, Twins, A’s, D Rays, and other small market fans have. If an owner refuses to pay, the fans will get what they get.

Electoral College- We’ve never been a direct democracy, so why has this suddenly become something to discuss? Do you want Colorado to have no influence on presidential elections? Would you like to see California, Florida, and New York choose every president? I would agree that the current system is flawed, but not due to the Electoral College system. I believe that third party candidates are shafted in the current system and something needs to be done about that.

Primaries- I can’t speak for all states, but in California, there is an underlying motive for the early primary. The date the primary vote will now be taken just happens to be the same date a “special” election will be held statewide. This “special” election is chalk full of pet projects the Communists errrrr Democrats in the People’s Republic of Sacramento have engineered with the help of public employee unions and pinko lefties. Having rejected a non-partisan redistricting proposal 2 years ago, the Stalinists in Sacramento have retooled the map yet again to ensure we will never be able to overthrow the guvmint. Also, I believe we will be “voting” on a Michael Moore/French/Cuban style socialist health care plan.

Save the Republic- Vote Ron Paul.


Cecil said...

That's funny. In Colorado, our Gerrymandering pols are fasci--I mean, um, Republicans.

blairjjohnson said...

Yes. That exchange was stellar, until all points illustrated by Brian were rendered meaningless by his backing of a Republican. Hey, Californiheim -- refer back to your own words where you mention Bush turning things into baboon semen. You could replace the word "Bush" with any other Republican figure in the last 30 years. Come on.

old no. 7 said...

I'd be careful barking up that tree with my Libertarian co-author...

Cecil said...

Libertarians get snippy easily. Especially when they start thinkin' about all those dollars wasted on local police forces and school lunches for poor kids...

I, on the other hand, like to think of myself as a "liberaltarian."

Unknown said...

Ron Paul is a constitutionalist running on the Republican ticket. Be careful what you choose to paint the man.

I understand that the predominant attitude (politically speaking) in the HoG is some sort of quasi-Maoist Naderfest with unbridled (and involuntary) taxation of all things deemed to be "earned". I read the comments posted about my politics and I see that I am the minority. No problem.

Question for Cecil: Where does the constitution allocate power to the feds to serve said school lunches... or better yet- school?

Banky: I agree. 30 years of swine. Prior to Nixon, however, we find a shining example of limited guvmint, Liberty, and states rights- Barry Goldwater.

blairjjohnson said...

Well said, sir. I'll agree and add that I am the polar opposite of what you might call politically educated. Thus, any government-related statements I make can be discarded and/or chalked up to the lack of a Super Bowl celebration in my lifetime.

Unknown said...

Thank you Banky. Cecil, your turn to apologize...

Unknown said...

People's Republic of Sacremento!? That's grand.
Hey, isn't that where the Queens play?