Friday, August 26, 2005


I was kind of afraid of this. A string of good performances, a hot opponent, due for a meltdown, and boom, in the fourth inning the floodgates finally opened and drowned the kid. Apparently you don't spell relief G-R-E-G-G, because he was just as bad.

Write this one off. I know I will. It's drinking in time in Oak Park.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Opportunity Knocks, but No One's Home

After a while, you've got to figure it's hard to leave so many men on base without even one crossing the plate. But the Angels found a way tonight. Last night's timely hitting gave way to tonight's timely screwing up. Lackey was as good as he's been lately, but one mistake, and he paid for it.

Vlad really did get fucked in the fifth. Strike two was never in the same zip code as the strike zone. I probably mentioned this on a site or two, including Rob's earlier today, but I think the intentional walks to Vlad have messed him up a bit. He's not a Bonds type who is very patient. He can, at times, try to do too much. And when you're a free swinger like Vlad, and suddenly your opportunities to swing freely are limited, you can get overagressive. Of course, Vlad swings at everything and tries to hit a home run every time as it is, so I'm not sure how we'd be able to tell the difference.

Anyway, this was another "work until 9:00 pm" night, so my observations were limited once again. Someday soon I'll be able to leave the office before the sun goes all the way down.

Angels 3; Orioles 1

Just kind of followed this one on the computer, as I didn't get home from work until about 10:00. Not much to say, really. Great performance from Big Bart, some timely hitting, and just enough from Frankie to get the job done. Maybe he just needs to pitch to Javier Lopez all the time.

Mr. Strike Out vs. Rodrigo Lopez tonight, who was roughed up a bit in his last outing, but has dominated the Angels in his career (4-1, 1.99 ERA). It would be fantastic to start this road trip out with a sweep, especially since they're heading into three meetings with the red hot Devil Rays, and no, I'm not joking. They really are red hot.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Angels 7; Orioles 6

So this is what is was like for the 1997 Mariners, a team whose bullpen singlehandedly (or, I guess, multihandedly) kept the Angels in the race for much of late summer. Wonder if Heathcliff Slocumb has cleared waivers.

Fine effort by Wash, going 7+ and getting out of trouble a few times. The starters continue to be excellent. That's a lot of consecutive quality starts. Too many for me to go back and look up. And once again, the bullpen was pretty crappy, this time with Kevin Gregg and Frankie combining to give up four in the ninth. Good thing they were up by five.

As the A's continue their slide, it becomes very important for the Angels to capitalize. High expectations, sure, but I think the Angels really need to take 3 of the next 5, if not 4. Of course, it was this stretch in 2002 that thrust the Angels toward the wild card while the A's were winning 20 in a row (the Angels went 18-2 in that stretch).

Juan Rivera is making his case for the every day DH if GA can play the field, and for the every day left fielder if GA can't. The good news is that such a move could force Erstad to center, instead of left field, as has been discussed. That's good news, because it means Kotchman for Finley as opposed to Kotchman for Rivera. It also means a much better fielder in center, even if Erstad has lost a step.

Big Bart on the mound tomorrow against Bedard, who got shelled in his last outing against the Angels. Let's hope that trend continues.

Monday, August 22, 2005

Little League

Anyone who has been watching the Little League® World Series this year will likely hear some version of the following discussion in pretty much every single game:
PBP Guy: Jones comes into play left field, which will count for his three defensive outs. he also needs one plate appearance under Little League® rules.

Color Guy: And that's a great rule. All the kids get a chance to play. It's really all about the kids having fun, and you come here to play, not to sit on the bench.
Well, I'm here to tell you that they're wrong. First, a little background. My dad has been involved in Little League® baseball since before my brother was old enough to play (he's four years older than me). He coached my brother's teams, did three one year terms as league president (my mother also did one of her own, and when she wasn't president, she was the league's official scorer), and managed a couple of my teams. He still serves on the district staff, and spends virtually the entire month of July at various Little League® fields monitoring the tournaments of champions and all star tournaments, the latter of which, at the 11-12 year old level, is what leads eventually to Williamsport. So I've been around Little League® for a long, long time.

My brother made the all-star team in 1981. At that time, sixteen kids were selected to the team. All sixteen got hats and snazzy nylon jackets with sewn lettering, which were worn in the July heat with a great deal of pride. After a couple weeks of practices, two players were cut and named alternates (my brother was one of them). 14 kids dressed for every game, putting on fancy uniforms with tackle twill lettering. Four years later I was selected to the team. Now, I wasn't all-world or anything, but I was pretty decent for a 12 year old. Once again, 16 players were selected and given their jackets at closing ceremonies. I'll never forget the moment. My knees buckled a little bit when my name was called, even though I was pretty sure I was going to make it (c'mon, my dad was a coach and my mom was the president - it was a foregone conclusion). I wasn't cut, but I didn't start, either. I knew my role.

We lasted only three games. We won the first game 3-2 in extra innings on a sac fly in the top of the 7th. In the bottom of the seventh, I went into right field, replacing the center fielder who had been pinch hit for in the top of the seventh. The other team (Alhambra National, I think) loaded the bases with no one out in the bottom of the seventh. The next batter hit one to me in right, I caught and gunned it to the plate (fired from the rocket attached to my right shoulder). The runner was called safe, and I was pretty upset. Seconds later, our pitcher stepped off the rubber, and appealed to the third base ump that the runner had left before I caught the ball. Amazingly, the ump called the runner out, we went back up 3-2, and won when our pitcher struck the next batter out. We were on cloud nine.

The next game, we lost 18-0 on a one hitter with 15 strike outs. I got to the plate once, walked, and went to second on a passed ball. It was the farthest anyone on our team advanced all day. The pitcher would later be drafted by the Angels and would play in their system for a while. And he was their #2. That team would later get screwed out of going to San Berdoo against Mexicali, who eventually played in the championship game.

But to bring this somewhere back near the point, I was the type of player this rule was aimed at. I was the kid who the men in Williamsport were so worried about. The only thing is, I didn't care. We were a collection of the best players from the five teams that made up Temple City National, and I knew that nine of them were better than me, or at least eight, but I'm not going to quibble about the ninth. When you sign your kid up for Little League®, you want him to play. You paid your money, and your kid paid his (or her) dues, and he (or she) deserves his (or her) three innings (the regular season rule). That's only fair. But all-stars is different. It's an add on. The league, and Little League®, didn't owe me anything. I'd already gotten everything I was promised. And I knew the team had the best chance to win when the best players were on the field. And you know what, 99% of the kids playing today know that too, and probably 80% of the parents.

"But Seitz", you say, "how can you be against a rule that simply ensures every kid gets a chance to play?" And I'd say "Haven't you been reading?" And you'd say "yeah, but you haven't done anything but pat yourself on the back for a couple of measley innings and a runner you failed to throw out!" And I'd say "Oh yeah, sorry about that."

Anyway, here's the point. This is a bad rule for three main reasons:

First, it's unnecessary. All-star teams don't carry kids that can't play just because they have a roster to fill out. Although most teams will enjoy as little success as mine did, you have to build a roster to go all the way. Hey, you never know. So generally, every kid on that roster can play. And over the course of the tournament, they're all going to get in. Look at me, I didn't start, but I played in all three games, and had a fairly significant role in one of them. There was no player on our team who did not play, and we dressed 14 guys, and only played three games. Circumstances dictated it, and we had a coach who wasn't a total asshole, although he did look pretty cool after our big loss when, in a fit of controlled anger, he bit the filter off his cigarette and spit it out before lighting up. I should note, he was the only coach who didn't have a kid on the team, which was for the best. His son was an 11 year old, and was a lock for the team the next year. So rule or no, over the long, or short, haul, everyone is going to play, and the kids who aren't playing know they probably shouldn't be playing.

Second, it can lead to stupid results. A year or two ago, a game in District 18 (our district, which included teams from El Monte, Alhambra, Temple City, Rosemead, South Pasadena, San Gabriel, etc.) ended in forfeit when one team beat another through the slaughter rule (which didn't exist when I played). The only problem was the game ended much sooner than the victors expected, and they couldn't get everyone in the game before it ended. That's a violation of the rule, and the much better team went home with a loss on a technicality. Rules are rules. Even dumb ones.

Finally, the rule actually limits opportunity. I know, that sounds funny, but I'd bet nationwide, you could probably count on one hand the number of teams that still dress 14 kids. That's two kids in the western San Gabriel Valley who don't get to make the team anymore. And I'm guessing it's a hell of a lot more kids across the country. What coach wants to have to worry about getting five extra kids into every game? Three is tough enough as it is.

So to sum up, the "everyone plays" rule as it relates to tournament play 1) is unneccessary, 2) makes for stupid games, and 3) actually limits kids opporunities to play. So ultimately, it sucks, which is why I will cringe and yell at the screen everytime I hear the ass-kissing anouncers tell me what a great rule it is.

Sunday, August 21, 2005

Another reason to hate lawyers

Just kidding, of course. As a member of the bar myself, I don't blame the lawyers. I blame the descendants of Fred Astaire (there's something I don't write everyday). I just thought this was kind of a weird story. A few months ago I wrote about seeing Ivy at the Double Door with a band called Astaire. Well, tonight I was messing around with Rhapsody a little bit and noticed a band in my library that I'd never heard of. Some band called Blondfire. This isn't completely off the wall, as there are a number of bands in my library that I've probably listened to maybe once (like some crazy assed band called Ken Layne and the Corvids). But I had no memory of adding this band at any time, and I'm usually not listening to Rhapsody when I'm drunk, which would have been the most logical explanation.

So I clicked on their EP, and turns out that Astaire was short-lived, as brother and sister team Bruce and Erica Driscoll had to change their name due to legal threats from the estate of the late Fred Astaire. Apparently huge throngs of people were showing up at their concerts expecting to see the corpse of the late dancer magically go into the old soft shoe. Alright, that's obviously a lie, but seriously, this is pretty stupid. What if their last names were Astaire? Or what if they had just changed their name to "A Stair"?

Anyway, not that this is a big deal or anything, and I know this happens with some regularity, but this is the first time I've ever seen a band play under one name, only to have them be forced to change to something else.

Red Sox 5; Angels 1

Well, that was fairly predictable. It was a Steve Finley game, so the Angels started with one foot in the whole to begin with. Byrd was strong for his first 100 pitches, then wore a little bit in the 8th. As has happened so many times this season, just when it looks like an Angels pitcher is going to escape a jam, he can't get the third out, this time ending with a back breaking three run homer to Edgar Renteria.

Papelbon was impressive, but quite frankly, it looked more like a return of the crappy Angels offense had more to do with his success than great pitching. Take nothing away from him ,though. It was a fine performance.

The Angels end the week no worse than 1 game up on the A's, losing at most a half game while going up against one of the league's best teams. Six games coming up against crappy teams, and a chance to make some hay.