Saturday, July 02, 2005

Angels 5; Royals 3

Nice job by Colon until the 8th. Still, that's a fair amount of rest for the pen after the last two games before this series, which they needed.

Honestly, I missed this one. The girl wanted to go to Taste of Chicago to see Carlos Santana and some band called Los Lonely Boys. Or rather, wanted to hear them, as we really couldn't see them. Nice day, though. Great weather, and fun was had by all.

Friday, July 01, 2005

Angels 5; Royals 0

What a great effort from Paul Byrd. After the leadoff single that wasn't, he really settled down, and gave the bullpen a much needed rest after the last few games. Another complete game, his second in his last three starts, on 105 pitches. I'll be honest, the power guys are fun to watch, but I love pitchers that don't walk anyone. I gotta think the fielders love it too. You know that almost every batter is going to put it in play, and you know that you aren't going to have to sit there as he walks the bases loaded. I once played on a softball team where our pitcher walked 6 straight batters on 18 straight balls (you start with a 1-1 count). It just deflated everyone. Man, that sucked.

More two out magic, as the first three runs all scored with two outs. The first run (which, quite frankly, I missed) came home on a Bengie single after some nice baserunning by D-Mac. It hasn't gotten a lot of pub, but he can run a little bit. That's three steals this season, and he had surprising stolen base numbers for a power guy in the minors. That might be something that the Angels find very valuable this season.

Nice way to start this series after the last two games. The Royals really suck, and the Angels just beat their best pitcher, so I wouldn't be surprised to see the Angels sweep this series.

Snuck in 18 at Pine Meadow today, my choice for the best publicly accessible course in the Chicagoland area. The course, as usual, was in great shape, but there some dry spots, probably due to the recent drought.* That, and I'm guessing the Jemseks, who also manage Cog Hill, have used all of their water budget on Dubs, home of this week's Cialis Western Open. The result is that the fairways play a little dryer, and the rough becomes thinner and much more playable. On the other hand, it was windier than it's ever been when I've played there, so that was a factor as well.

I was knocking it all over the yard on the front nine. Only hit two greens (2 and 7) but escaped with a 41. Started to put it together on the back, hitting seven greens (10, 11, 13, 14, 16, 17, and 18). Still couldn't get any putts to drop though, and three putts on 10 and 17 sunk me. I also blew some good birdie opportunities on 11, 13, 16, and 18. Came in with a 39 for a finishing 80 (from the gold tees - roughly 6,900 yards with a course rating of 73.4). And I did par what is, for my money, one of the toughest holes in the city, number 3.

I still think I'm not that far away. A little more consistency, and some better putting, and I can drop two or three strokes per round. Next year is the year I start playing in some events (Illinois amateur, USGA Publinx, etc.)

*For my West Coast readership, when we go about two weeks without rain in the summer, it's a drought. I know, it's crazy. I come from a place where we start thinking about droughts when we hit roughly the tenth year of no rain, but hey, it is what it is.

Thursday, June 30, 2005

The Plan

Looks like all we need is a cardboard box.

Rangers a lot; Angels not so much


I really don't think there's much else to say except, thank God I was at work and didn't have to witness too much of it.

And Maicer got robbed.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

I blame myself

They were doing fine until I left to go drinking with some law school friends. Next time I looked, the Angels were down 6-3. When I left the bar and checked the score again, they were tied in the bottom of the 11th. I just had to question it, though. I had to call my dad to figure out what was going on. And while on that call (I had since been passed to my mom), the Rangers won on a crappy little hit. So really, now that I think about it, I blame my mom.

Lackey apparently went back to his "be crappy for one inning" mode.

Other than that, I'll wait for some other recaps. Or feel free to provide your own in the comments.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Angels 5; Rangers 1

Pick your poison. Pitch to Vlad, who will most certainly drive in at least one run, or pitch to GA, who is gonna rip a grand slam.

Quite honestly, this one wasn't on extra innings tonight, and I was following it on MLBTV while also watching two Illini go in the first round (congrats to Deron and Luther). Since nothing really happened after the first inning, aside from some nice defensive plays by Kennedy and Figgins, I really don't have much to say about the middle innings. But after a huge double by Erstad, the Rangers didn't have much of a choice other than to pitch around Vlad. You had to assume Anderson would drive in a run somehow, but the grand slam was a little unexpected.

Scioscia tempted fate in the bottom of the 11th by bringing Frankie in with a 4 run lead in the bottom of the 11th. I still think that more often than not closers struggle in that situation, but after giving up a hit to Blalock, Frankie settled down and retired the side.

8.5 games up. Guarunteed a split in the series with Big Tex on the mound tomorrow night. Oakland is leading again tonight, so it's nice to see the Angels playing well while Oakland is hot. At least Seattle is getting buried over this stretch.

Ask and You Shall Receive

Earlier today, one of my favorite posters, Anonymous, asked for some comments on Jeremy Roenick's remarks about hockey fans, or really more accurately "to" hockey fans. Now, at first I had no idea what anonymous was talking about, so I had to look it up. Here's what he said:
""I will say personally, personally, to everybody who calls us spoiled - you guys are just jealous... We're trying to get this thing back on the ice and make it better for the fans. If you don't realize that, then don't come. We don't want you in the rink, we don't want you in the stadium, we don't want you to watch hockey."
He also said this:
"If we would have signed that deal in February, in terms of what we're getting now, we would have looked like heroes. Right now we look like a bunch of idiots. The deal in February beats the (expletive) out of the deal we're gonna sign in July. It's unfortunate we had to go through a whole year to realize the (expletive) that was going on. We've hurt our league, we've hurt the reputation of our league and the integrity of our league by sticking up for something that might not have been the right thing to do."
As to the first set of comments, which I think were actually second chronologically, but they're the first comments I ran across, I think he went a little overboard rhetorically. Obviously it's not very good business strategy to tell all of your customers to piss off. But quite honestly, the one hockey discussion site that I used to visit until I couldn't take the stupidity any longer were all VERY anti-player. It was all the fault of the greedy players, and sure the owners signed offered the deals, but it's the greedy players who accepted them. And as long as there are rogue teams like the Rangers and Capitals and St. Louis Blues (mid-90s version) signing players to huge contracts, how can teams like Calgary and Tampa Bay compete (pay no attention to the most recent Stanley Cup Final). And the owners are sure to lower ticket prices as soon as salaries go down, because they're all such benevolent human beings. Gag me. And let's face it, fans are jealous. Hell, I'm jealous. But I don't begrudge those guys what they make. It's how the market works. Everyone likes to trot out the "but teachers and firemen only make....." B.S., but (and I say this as someone with a family full of teachers) until 16,000 people per night pay $30 to watch my brother teach, he shouldn't be making as much as a pro-athlete. They have skills that society values for entertainment, and they're paid accordingly.

Essentially what we had last year was a group of owners saying "oops, we broke the system, and the only way to fix it is to have you guys bend over and let us shove a new labor agreement up your asses." The difference between this and the baseball strike, however, was that the owners had leverage. They actually had screwed up the system so bad that some of them actually were probably telling the truth about their losses. But this was never about getting a fair deal. This, and every other labor negotiation in professional sports (except for maybe basketball) has been about one thing and one thing only - busting the union.

But I digress. I think the second group of quotes is a pretty accurate statement. Much as I hate pretty much all of them, the owners hung together, passed up some very good deals that would have salvaged the season, got the players to capitulate on a number of issues, and now stand poised to sign a deal that really makes the union their collective bitch, assuming of course that hockey survives.

The irony in the stance taken by the pro-owner fans is that the deal really solves nothing. Ticket prices may come down initially, but that's not due to lower labor costs. It's due to lower demand, the result of practically destroying the league. And the lament that the low revenue teams couldn't compete because perennial cup hoisters like the Rangers were going to steal all of their players will just be sung to a different tune. As a Kings fan, this really pisses me off, because they've got a bevy of young, talented players in the pipeline. If those guys pan out, they'll be gone because of the cap. What's the point in building for the future if it means you're forced to let some of your best players go due to the salary cap? It's gonna hurt when it happens, but there will be some serious schadenfreude when guys like Visnsovsky, Gleason, and Brown are shipped out because of cap restraints. Be careful what you wish for.

I'm of two minds about the (hopefully) upcoming hockey season. On the one hand, I love hockey, and I love the Kings, so I'm looking forward to it with great anticipation. On the other hand, hockey still has huge problems, including owners who are far too short-sided to make real improvements to the game, like increasing the size of the ice. No long term vision for the sport. And with the new labor deal, I'll have a hard time finding any part of the last shred of respect I had for management.

Monday, June 27, 2005

Angels +7.5; Rangers -7.5

I'll be honest. Games like this scare the crap out of me. They swung the bats great, scored a ton of runs, and they'll probably score two more runs over the course of the series. I should point out, though, they not only knocked the Gambler out of the last game early, they knocked him out of tomorrow's game early. Rogers broke a bone in his right hand punching the water jug after the Angels rocked him last week. So I'm of two minds. On the one hand, it's the type of game where Rogers would toss a one hitter. On the other hand, they'll start some kid that should get shelled, and he'll toss a one hitter. I hope I'm wrong. I am the eternal pessimist.

Bart was throwing a lot of strikes again, and didn't seem to be working too hard. Lots of fly balls, though, except of course for the one that bounced off his shin. Vlad and AK went deep to just about the same part of the ballpark. Tough start stonight for CJ Wilson, a kid who grew up in Fountain Valley watching the Angels. I think that would be tough. You root for a team your whole life, then you have to go out and pitch against them. I'm guessing the loyalty dissipates pretty quickly after you sign that contract, though. The first four Angels reached base, and they plated three in the first. The Angels were relentless, scoring in 7 of 9 innings.

Hank Blalock had the magic stick for Texas, belting two homers and driving in all three runs. He's a cornerstone the Crown City Guzzlers, the only fantasy team I care about, so this is just the type of game where I like to see him blow up. Between he and Grady Sizemore, I picked up some serious points tonight, which is great for a night without many games, and for a week in which I'm only getting five starts.

Worst case scenario, the Angels will leave Arlington up by 4.5 games. If they win one more, that goes up to 6.5. They could conceivably leave Texas up by 10.5 games, at which point Oakland becomes a bigger concern. Without a doubt, the credit goes to the pitching staff. With Vlad back in the lineup and killing the ball, we can see just how important the staff was in keeping the team above water during his absense. Hat tip to those guys.

Man, I've alluded to it before, but Jeff Davanon really runs a lot of bad routes in the outfield. It's like he's been taking lessons from Bernie "L Route" Williams. Call me crazy, but I still have more faith in him out there than Finley. And Maicer Izturis continues to make Bill Stoneman look like a genius and a moron at the same time.

Good game, guys. Let's get one more tomorrow.

Sunday, June 26, 2005

Angels 5; Dogers 3 & Cubs 2; Sox 0

Didn't see much of the Angels game, but I got back in time to see Vlad single up the middle, and Garret pick up his 999th and 1000th RBIs, pushing the Angels to a two run lead that they wouldn't relinquish. Congratulations, Garret.

Frankie has been very shaky of late, and he didn't get any help from Davanon on the Olmedo Saenz popup that El Jeffe lost in the sun. After putting the tying run on base, Frankie recovered with a ground out to complete the sweep. This puts the Angels 6.5 clear of Texas, who lost to Houston, and gives them double digit leads over Seattle and Oakland. The worst case scenario has the Angels up two and half after their trip to Arlington, and if they stay hot, and Texas stays cold, they could lead by as many as 10.5. That's a nice position to be in.

Another fine day on the mound, with a quality start from Byrd, and solid relief from Donnelly. The pitching staff continues to surprise and impress.

A packed house at Comiskey saw the Cubs beat the White Sox 2-0, a solo home run from Corey Patterson (redundant, I know) providing the Cubs with all they'd need. Garland and Prior were both outstanding, and the infield defenses were excellent, turning numerous double plays.

It was hot. Damn, was it hot. And humid. Seriously, as a west coaster, I just never understood how uncomfortable 88 degrees can be. But the train was nice and air conditioned on the ride home. This was the first Cubs-Sox game I've been to in three years, the last one being on my birthday at Wrigley in 2002. Coincidentally, Garland also started that game, but that was when he sucked. Honestly, I don't remember much of anything from that game, except that the start was delayed by a little rain. We met up at Goose Island for a couple of beers beforehand. Then we never actually took our seats. We stood in the SRO section next to the beer cart and got pretty tanked. That was followed by a trip to Sluggers for a few more beers. Next we headed to my friend's then girlfriend's (now fiancee, and in four weeks, wife) apartment, where I consumed a couple of glasses of wine. After that, we picked up some tapas at Emilio's, where I also downed about a pitcher of Sangria. We figured we hadn't quite had enough, so we headed across the street to one of the bars on Clark Street for another beer. So you can see why the details escape me a bit. None of that today, though. Just a Polish Tailgate* before the game, at which I arrived late, no drinking during the game, and well, that takes us to right about now. Gotta stay sober for that softball game tonight.


Not my best game, but we won by the slaughter rule in about a half hour. 0-1 with sac fly, a line out, a walk, and a run scored. I know, I hate guys who walk in softball, but if I don't get anything to hit, I'm not going to swing at bad pitches. I also made one play in left, and, I'll admit, should have made the play on a ball that hit the top of the fence and came back into play. I didn't play the guy deep enough, but the air was heavy and ball wasn't carrying very well. It ended up being a long single, because the runner on first had to hold in case I caught it. I'm guessing he was on the bag thinking of tagging up (which would have been a good decision). Oh well, at least I didn't hold onto the ball looking for somewhere to throw it, before finally chucking it in after giving everyone an extra base or two, then blaming my weak arm on being "flat footed".

*Instead of driving, you take the train with a case of beer in tow, stake out a spot, preferably in the shade, and suck it down before heading in to the park.

Angels 3; Dodgers 1

It's a crazy game, ain't it? The Angels got four hits and three runs in the second inning and it was all they needed. Good thing, because it was all they got. Three runs on four measly hits. Ervin Santana, on the other hand, gave up a bomb to Jason Werth, and two more shots that would have been home runs if hit anywhere other than dead center, scattered 7 hits over 6 and 2/3, escaped from a bases loaded one out situation in the third, and cruised to his third victory. He did look sharp over his last 3+ innings, finishing with seven strike outs, including one which featured a very serious Jeff Kent twirling like a fool.

The Angels not only got timely hitting, but they got timely pitching as well. Santana induced a double play grounder after giving up a leadoff single in the seventh, and Shields started a 1-6-3 double play to end a threat in the eighth, retiring Jayson 'foul-o-matic' Werth in the process.

Another nice night of listening to Vin Scully. Really cool that he works without a color guy, although I thought he and Joe Garagiola made a good team on the national games fifteen or twenty years ago.

Angels still lead Texas by 5.5, and they're guaranteed to come out of their four game set in Arlington with a lead, no matter how bad it gets.

Probably very little in the way of a recap tomorrow, as I'll be at the Cell for the Cubs-Sox tilt. Although I guess I could recap my softball game tomorrow night. I know that would be almost as exciting for most of you as my golf post was today.