Friday, December 09, 2005

JC is an Angel

Link is in the title.

JC Romero for Alex Casilla. He had a very good part of the year this season, and at times was really considered a break out candidate, although the Chronicler will be able to tell you more than I could. Here are his numbers from last season. Pretty good at Cedar Rapids, with, predictably, less success at the higher levels. He's 21, so those numbers at Cedar Rapids aren't at super prospect levels, but that's not too bad.

Romero helps the bullpen, provides solid lefty relief, and didn't cost a whole lot to get. Let's face, theh Angels are swimming in middle infielders. Looks like a good deal to me.

Thursday, December 08, 2005


Wow. I know it's only 2-0 after one period, but I feel comfortable saying that this one is pretty much on the way to being over. This Kings team is S-L-O-W. They're being outplayed in every facet of the game for the sixth straight game, only one of which they've won thanks to Mathieu Garon. They're being outskated, outpassed, outhit, outshot, and just plain outclassed. Their special teams are special in that 'short-bus' sort of way. What's really amazing is that their opponents seem to know everything Kings players are going to do as soon as the Kings get the puck, which is really surprising, because I don't think the Kings have any clue what they're going to do when they get the puck.

It's too bad it's a Thursday, because if this game were tomorrow night, I could be drinking heavily. It looks like I'll be sick either way.

The snow falling outside is at least a nice diversion.


Better second half of the second period, and much better third period, but not enough, and the Kings lose their fifth in six games, and the sixth in eight games. Frolov = nothing. Conroy = nothing. Demitra = less than nothing. The Kings will not win, ever, if their top line can't produce.

Inside the wacky mind of Bill Stoneman

Bill Stoneman in today's LA Times on the decision to not offer arbitration to Bengie Molina:
"We were leaning toward arbitration with Bengie, but with the emergence of Mathis and right behind him, Mike Napoli, I didn't want to throw up a roadblock that would impede them,"
Bill Stoneman, last week: Offers Paul Konerko a five year contract which would have effectively blocked Casey Kotchman and/or Kendry Morales.

Bill Stoneman last year: Signs Orlando Cabrera to a four year deal, at last one year of which (if not two) will block Brandon Wood, Erick Aybar, or Alberto Callaspo, and hell, we'll throw in Howie Kendrick too, since he's another middle infielder.

Honestly, I don't get this deal. Mathis had a decent year, but it wasn't like he was really busting out and creating a big problem for the Angels. Another half year or so of seasoning in AAA couldn't hurt, although he's probably ready to be on a major league roster. Plus, the Molina boys haven't exactly been unbreakable. One, if not both, will break down a bit at some point this season. Worst case scenario with Bengie would have been a one year deal. My objection to retaining Bengie going into the off-season was the likelihood of it taking a multi-year deal to bring him back. With that prospect out of the way, I honestly don't see why this decision was made. It's a poor decision.

In other news, Wash is done for good, as we've known. I can see his point, though. He seems to have not been treated well by the top brass for whatever reason, but then again, he's the only one talking, so we're only hearing one side of the story. Good luck in Milwaukee, Jarrod. I'll never forget the gem against Minnesota in the 2002 ALCS, nor will I forget his first win, a fight marred evening in KC when Felix Hernandez Martinez sucker punched Frank Bolick and sent the entire Angels squad into rabid dog mode.

The Angels are working on a deal to send Josh Paul to Tampa Bay. Honestly, I can't imagine what it would bring in return. But if it brings anything of value, it's a good deal. He has a cool wife, though, one that isn't afraid to make jokes denigrating her husband's star status on the air.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

About Ready to Quit

I haven't put a lot of stock in any of the rumors floated by the LA Times this off-season, but if the reported negotiations for Mike Sweeney are true, Stoneman deserves to fired, then beaten to a bloody pulp on the rocks on the rocks in the outfield. According to the latest rumors, Kansas City asked for Kotchman AND Brandon Wood, which the Angels said was too steep. That's the good news. The bad news is that the Angels are said to have told KC that if they'd settle on a lesser prospect than Wood, a deal could get done.

Let's be honest. Kotchman for Sweeney straight up is a bad, horrible, awful, indefensible move by the Angels. Casey Kotchman will provide similar production to Sweeney over the next two seasons, and he'll do it for about $20MM less, and when those two years are up, the Angels will still have him for a few more years before he hits free agency, eliminating the need to make another insanely stupid trade in two years. And that doesn't even take into account the fact that they'd be giving up ANOTHER prospect in this deal. And the really bad news is that if this is what they're considering for Sweeney, if you want Manny Ramirez, say goodbye to Kotchman, Wood, and Ervin Santana or Howie Kendrick, because it's gonna take more to get Manny than it will to get Sweeney. According to the Times, they're kicking around the idea of including Cabrera in a deal to Boston, who would trade Renteria to Atlanta to replace Furcal. This is something I could get behind. I like Cabrera, but I'm not wed to him. Let's just say that any trade that involves shedding their top prospects is going to send me over the edge.

I'll say again, if the Angels make the Sweeney move, I quit. I'll root for the Padres or something. But I can't continue to support a team this stupid.

Kings 2; Leafs 1

Earlier this year I wrote about how the Kings goalies were doing their jobs by keeping the Kings in games and giving them a chance to win, but that they weren't winning games by themselves. Last night, Garon won this game by himself. He was tremendous, stopping 35 shots while allowing only one, which was good, because the Kings only got two.

Dustin Brown, who hadn't made much noise on the offensive end in a while, got a few extra whacks at one in the first period, giving the Kings a 1-0 lead. He poked home the trickling rebound of a Matty Norstrom shot in the second (set up by a pretty pass from Belanger) on the power play in the second to make the score 2-0. Toronto got one back on a 5 on 3 after Craig Conroy, who without a stick killed two+ minutes of a double minor to Frolov, and had to be absolutely exhauste, closed his hand on the puck in an attempt to clear. From that point on, the Kings withstood the deluge, clearly outplayed for much of the rest of the game, but they hung on to win.

They were fighting Kerry Fraser in this one as well. Late in the first period, Mats Sundin took the puck in behind the net. Weaver was absolutely leveled while chasing him in one of the most blatant examples of interference I've ever seen. No penalty was called, and 10 seconds later, Norstrom was off the box for tripping. Earlier in that period, Alexander Frolov had been taken down in the Toronto zone. Frolov was called for tripping as a Leaf skated over his leg. Toward the end of the third period, A King was flagrantly tripped by a Leaf skating out of the zone, which resulted in no penalty. But, that's Kerry Fraser for you, who's always been a prick of a referee ever since he cost the Nordiques a trip to the Stanley Cup Finals in 1985.

Back home now for some more Eastern teams. Finding a way to break the losing streak was a positive step. The Kings need to build on that and string a few wins together.

And if someone can find Frolov, Demitra, and Conroy, let them know they have a game on Thursday. They've missed the last few.

Monday, December 05, 2005

The High Dials w/ Le Concorde and Charlemagne @ Schuba's - 12/4/05

You may remember that I mentioned this band in my review of the Brian Jonestown Massacre show a few months ago. The High Dials opened for BJM that night (as did Richard Swift), but I missed pretty much all of the opening stuff, and got there in time for probably their last two songs. They sounded good, so I searched out some of their stuff, and I really like it. So a good band at a great venue for only $8? Couldn't pass it up.

The combination of the brutal cold and the fact that it was a Sunday meant that the crowd was pretty small. There couldn't have been more than 25 or 30 people for Le Concorde, about twice that for Charlemagne, and about 80-90 for the High Dials. While it would have been nice for the bands to have more people there, my selfish gene was just fine with the small crowd.

Le Concorde opened the night, and they were pretty good. Nothing earth shattering, but a nice way to pass the time. Charlemagne struck me more or less the same way. Finally at about 11:00, the High Dials took the stage. My very incomplete and very out of order setlist (more or less some stuff I remember them playing):
  • Regeneration
  • Fields of Glass
  • TV Mystic (maybe)
  • Holy Ground
  • Soul in Lust
  • Our Time is Coming Soon
  • Strandhill Sands
  • Sick With the Old Fire
  • Things are Getting Better
Plus a few more. Honestly, the titles of most of their stuff aren't quite burned into my head enough to really remember all of it. And I've been listening to both A New Devotion and War of the Wakening Phantoms so much lately that it's hard to remember if I heard the songs last night or at some other time (like today at work for example). They closed with the last one on that list, and it's really an impressive number in person. Rishi, the bass player and backing vocalist, is of Indian descent (I think). He busts out the sitar for that one, and it's about a 15 minute instrumental jam around a melody from the sitar.

These guys have been touring since something like March, so I'm sure they're ready to take a break and head back to Montreal. But even after a late show on a Sunday night (they took the stage at about 11:15), they were nice enough to hang around and chat afterward. The downside was that they were pretty much out of a lot of their merch, so although I've been listening to New Devotion on Rhapsody, I couldn't buy it last night, and I'll have to get it from their website or Amazon or something.

Chatted with Thax Douglas a little bit too last night. If you've spent any time going to small venue shows in Chicago, primarily at either Schuba's or the Metro, you've probably seen Thax. He's the heavy set guy with the big beard who reads really odd poems that are supposed to somehow relate to the band that's performing. I don't get him, really, but he's a nice enough guy, good to talk to, and it's some local color, so that was kind of cool.

Honestly, I can't reccomend these guys highly enough. If you have a soft spot for jangly psychelic-style pop/rock, they're right up your alley. The new album is a little less on the psychedelic side, but the first three tracks are really a tour de force and not to be missed. So go buy their new album. You won't be disappointed.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Make that four straight

It's panic time. I missed this one because of a friend's birthday, but the Kings lose again, the "big" line doesn't do shit. It's looking like an ofer road trip. It's a long season, but it's time to start worrying. Maybe all of the pre-season predictions were accurate.