Wednesday, June 30, 2010

I've done all I can captain...

I can't whore out this site anymore! She can't handle it!

Hmm, maybe that's my problem. Star Trek references on a sports blog.

Anyway, the site now has an official twitter page, the Facebook page is nearing a week in existence, articles have begun to pop up on Digg, and now, a site facelift, as well as a new (easier) name. Its really only a matter of time before Angels Nation makes it on SportsNation (c'mon! We share a similar name!)

I've decided to keep both the twitter feed for the site and for myself up on the page, mostly because I find my twitter musings so hilarious. Also, anyone who has any ideas for a bigger header to fit the new wider page settings, please comment or email.


Hey, lets actually talk baseball, considering the season finally started last night with our first real series against Texas (that two game trip to Arlington in the middle of a long, strange road trip doesn't count). Vlad got a big pop when he came up to bat for the first time, which was nice.

Piniero was incredibly lackluster on the mound, unless he needed to be spectacular, then he was. He pitched out of a bases-loaded, no out jam while only conceding one run. That really seemed to turn the tide of the game.

The Angels offense once again exploded for one huge inning last night, running up the score to 6-3, which Vlad put a dent in with a HUGE two-run shot.

Fuentes, however, came in and actually pitched like a closer, albeit a soft-tossing closer with a porno-stache (which he has recently turned into a porno-goatee).

Great game all around, entertaining from the first pitch to the final out.

The game tonight matches some Texas rookie against Scott Kazmir, who might be, at the moment anyway, our second most consistent pitcher. I feel good about tonights game as well, but tomorrow nights matchup between CJ Wilson and Jared Weaver could be another story.

However, Joe Saunders has a bobblehead giveaway tonight, so just the presence of that bobblehead could cause us to give up 8 runs once trouble starts.


6 more hours untill the beginning of NBA free agency. Its pretty safe to say that the next month or so is going to be far more exciting than actual NBA Basketball has been for the better part of a decade.

I honestly think I care more about what this means for my team in this years NBA video game than the actual NBA.


Coming Soon:
- In honor of the new (Old Spice sponsored) "Swagger" rating for the upcoming Madden NFL game, I will be handing out "Swagger" ratings for the current Angels roster (I got a good feeling about Kevin Frandsen, not so much for Brandon Wood).

- I will be doing a quasi-live blog post for both the Home Run Derby and the All-Star Game. I'll admit, its not an incredibly original idea. totally used this premise for his NFL Draft coverage, and I liked it so much, I stole it. Like every single picture I've ever used for the site. Come and get me, Sports Illustrated!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Good News, Everyone!

In a few short hours, you will need to type even fewer letters into your internet browser to reach Angels Nation! We will have become The leading source of grammatical errors and Los Angeles Angels Cynicism on the internet!

In more good news, the season officially begins tonight in Anaheim as the Rangers come to town (bringing our old friend Vladdy, whom they have held captive in an ugly blue uniform). Tonights matchup is Scott Feldman vs. Joel Pinero. I've got a good feeling about tonight. The rest of the series, on the other hand, not so much...

The division is at the point where whomever wins the season series between Texas and the Angels is going to win the division. These are as close to must win games as we will get in June.


Also, the Lebron James sweepstakes is only 2 days away, well, actually closer to 30 hours away. It will be interesting to see how the next few weeks shapes the next few years in a sport I care little about. I'll post facts when they arise.

I will also post absolute rumors when I think of them.

For example, The Lakers are rumored to be trading Lamar Odom for Miles Austin of the Dallas Cowboys, in order to get an attractive Kardashian sister attending games.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

There's Always the Next 4 Years.

Oh Damn.

In a heart-crushing defeat to Ghana, the US is quickly eliminated from the World Cup. Realistically, I knew there was just about zero chance for the US to win it all this year, but this was a match they should have won. There SHOULD have been a 1-0 or 2-1 defeat to a superior Uruguay team awaiting us in the next round, but instead, they got outplayed by a quicker Ghana team who seemed to want it more. Outside of a few familiar faces (Landon Donovan, Tim Howard), the US just didn't have the fire in their eyes.

However, there is always the old Chicago Cubs adage, "There's always next year". Well, Next year is four years out in Brazil (Hooray for Games starting at decent times). WC Qualifiers are a couple years out. However, there wont be much excitement there. The US team is only getting better in a weak Conference with the other North American/Caribbean teams.

I'll probably post the occasional thing about the World Cup here over the next few weeks, but with no horse left in the race, its just bandwagon time. (The Netherlands is usually my go-to Bandwagon team, due to their awesome Orange jerseys, GO HOLLAND!)


In more bad news, The Angels lost in extra innings to the Rockies last night. It came down to bullpens, and while theirs was dominant, ours was far from it. If the Angels are going to win games in the second half of the season, they either need to do it before the Bullpen can ruin it, or pick up an arm at the deadline.

I also hate that I'm saying this, but I'm glad Eric Aybar will return to the starting lineup tonight. Wood has been struggling in the field, and continues to under-perform with the bat. Frandsen and Aybar need to anchor the left side of the infield while Izturis recovers from yet another injury.


Around the League, congrats go out to Edwin Jackson of the Arizona Diamondbacks who threw the fifth no-hitter (the fourth that's actually counted) of the season against the Tampa Bay Rays. Even though they continue to be one of the best teams in the American League, the Rays have now been no-hit three times in the last 11 months. Go figure.


In other Interleague action last night, the Yankees traveled to Los Angeles to play Joe Torre and the Dodgers. Before the game, members of the team from Torre's last season in New York, including Jeter, Cano, Posada, Rivera and Pettitte, went over to visit and shake hands with their former manager before the game. Noticeably absent from that pow-wow was Alex Rodriguez, whom Torre blasted in his book a couple seasons ago.

While not doing anything was probably the safe bet for Pay-Rod, it probably wouldn't have killed him to walk over to his former coach and shake his hand. A-Rod would have looked like the bigger man, and gotten a decent boost to his reputation from the baseball media.


For locals interested in going to the All-Star Game Fan-Fest at the Anaheim Convention Center, for the next few days, if you spend 20 bucks on Soda and Chips (Pepsi and Frito-Lay) at Vons, you get a voucher for two free tickets. Much better than spending 60 bucks and getting no soda OR chips, if you ask me.


Also, sign up for the All-Star Game 5k or Fun-Run, ya know... to help cure Cancer and junk. They recently announced that Jillian Michaels from The Biggest Loser will "host" it... whatever that means... So, if you like getting yelled at by a psuedo-celebrity, Sign Up Now!

Friday, June 25, 2010

The Greatest Sports Week Ever?

I think so.

Clearly, this does not apply if you aren't me, and don't follow the teams I do, but for me, its been fantastic.

Angels opened up the week by beating the Dodgers, clinching the season series.

Then Team USA gave me a great reason to wake up at 7am. I can honestly say that outside of Aaron Boone's Home Run in Game 7 of the 2003 ALCS, and Troy Glaus' double to give the Angels the lead in Game 6 of the 2002 World Series, that was the greatest sports moment of my life. I went from hating soccer to being the biggest futbal fan in America in the matter of seconds. I lost my glasses in my rush of excitement, and considered running around my apartment complex in my underwear.

Also on Wednesday, Phil Jackson announced his retirement, not really, but the way he said it, he wasn't coming back. I hate the Lakers, and nothing against Phil, but anything to make it so the Lakers don't find their way back to the Finals would be fine by me.

More Wednesday, I watched Tennis for the first time since High School, because two men were playing the longest game in the history of the sport. It was incredible to watch the back and fourth action. It always seemed like when one had a chance to take the upper hand and win the match, the other would respond and pick his game up to tie it again. Simply fantastic.

To finish off maybe the best sports day ever, the Angels beat the Dodgers, again, who lost the game by not knowing how to properly run bases (lol).

Yesterday, the Week got even better when Italy lost again, and was eliminated from the World Cup. Take THAT world!

Today, nothing has really happened yet. The Angels take the field against the Rockies any minute, and the teams who were supposed to win in the World Cup won.

However, tomorrow, the US takes on Ghana in their first Knockout Round game, and Sunday closes out the busy week with Mexico taking on Argentina. I can't wait for the US to make it out of the weekend, and for Mexico to not.

Hopefully the Angels can take 2-of-3 against the Rockies, because the Rangers get the lowly Astros again this weekend.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Meet the New Joe, Same as the Old Joe.

Let me clear up that title a bit. By "Old Joe", I mean the Joe we got to know very well at the beginning of this season. He is fine, up to the point when he starts giving up hits and runs, then the flood-gates open.

The Angels should consider just not showing up to games in which Saunders starts. Just him on the mound, with, lets say, Brandon Wood behind the plate.

Granted, the Offense didn't show up yesterday, but when you are down 8-0 by the time your second at bat comes, there isnt much to play for at that point. Just chalk it up as a loss, considering almost 100 games remain in the season, you can make it up.

The problem with that train of thought seems to be that the Rangers refuse to stop beating the lowly opponents they get to face over the last few weeks (and the next couple of weeks). The Scheduling gods frowned upon the Angels this season, but this is worse than I thought.

It seems though, that if the Angels can beat Texas head to head, the division should be theirs for the taking. Seems unlikely, however, considering how pedestrian they looked in a two game series in Texas late last month.

Lets just hope Vuvuzela night is around the corner, to put some butts in those seats.


In site news, I created a Facebook page today, to make it even easier for all 3 of you to follow me (hah, look at me, getting big headed, thinking I have 3 readers). I looked into a Twitter account, but AngelsNation was taken by someone who posted twice, like 3 years ago, thanks bro. For the time being, JTRoberts12 will be the official site twitter, till I need to create one for the site.

Also, I'm looking in to buying a domain, so its easier for the site to be found. AngelsNation.Net is available from godaddy for like... 7 bucks a year. Let me know what you think.


Stephen Strasburg continued his major league dominance with 10 strikeouts against the Tigers Saturday. Looks like drafting him at the beginning of the season was the smartest fantasy sports move I've ever made.


One more day to vote your favorite players into the All-Star Game. We are at the point where teams are only pushing for players with enough votes to even have a prayer. On the Angels, that's only Torii Hunter, Bobby Abreu and Hideki Matsui. I think Hunter is a shoo-in, even if its not by votes, he should get in either way (sort of the city representative, and the game is in Anaheim this year). Matsui has a chance, considering the Japanese vote, and the New York vote (they sure as hell ain't voting for Nick Johnson). Weaver will probably get in, but Pitchers and Reserves are the choices of the Manager, who is Joe Girardi (another reason I think Matsui gets in). Morales would have made it, but instead decided to break his leg on home plate and take the rest of the season off (not a bad plan, if we continue to lose 12-1 to the lowly Cubs, I might follow suit).


In other sports news, Congratulations to the Lakers, on winning another NBA Title. I'm pretty sure between the Lakers and the Celtics, those two teams have about 95% of all NBA Titles (Jordan has the other 5%).

Also, in World Cup news (BZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ), North Korea lost 7-0 to Portugal. North Korea already hired Chinese actors to portray their fans in their first match, maybe after losing that first match, the team was executed, and more Chinese actors were brought in to portray football players.

Also, a very belated congratulations to the Chicago Blackhawks on winning the Stanley Cup. Not my favorite team, but hey, at least it wasnt the Penguins again.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Angels WiBzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz!!!!!

Oh my, these South African Footie fans sure are excited about baseball. Is there really no place the Vuvuzela isn't appropriate?

- ANY sporting event.
- Graduations. Can you imagine? "Michael BrowBzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz!!!"
- At work. "Josh, I'm going to need you to stay late to work onBzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz!!!". "Sorry, I didn't catch that."
- While driving. It can double as a horn, in case yours isnt working, or isnt quite irritating enough.

I bet Angels fans thought Thundersticks were bad, well they aint got nothing on the power of the Vuvuzela. Visiting players would run in fear. Visiting fans wouldn't show up. Announcers wouldn't be heard. At the seventh inning stretch, you will hear the buzziest rendition of "Fill Me Up (Butter Cup)" you have ever heard. It would be amazing.

I think I need to open up an official Angels Vuvuzela sales booth at the stadium, to earn some extra scratch. These things are going to take the world by storm. Get ready world.

Oh, and the Angels are still doing awesome without Morales, go figure.

Monday, June 7, 2010

I Wish We Could Play Seattle All Year Long.

Its almost at the point where you feel bad for continuing to completely wipe them off the field, but hey, if this is how we need to win the West this year, I'm all for it.

Two games in a row, the M's starter kept them in the game just long enough for the crushing blow(s) given up by the the bullpen to sting that much harder.

I'm not quite sure who Shawn Kelley is, but I'd like for him to get traded to Texas by the next time we play them.

The Angels are in Oakland tonight to begin a four game set against the A's. Last time we played the A's (at home), we played them like they were the Mariners, but they are a better team than that. I'm not thinking home field will be much of an advantage (getting those 12 people behind you for 9 innings can be tough), but they still have a great ballclub. This will be the Angels first true test without Kendry.

If the Angels can take 3 of 4 against the A's, I think its safe to assume that the Halos will be alright. I'd still like to see what they could do against someone like the Rays or Yankees, but we will just have to wait for that.


In case it wasn't clear in the last post, I'm not interested in picking up a replacement First Basemen in an "Emergency Trade". Napoli looked almost great at first on Saturday, and when he needs to catch, it looks like Robb Quinlan has finally found his stroke this season (It usually takes him till June, I dont know what everyone was so worried about). Not to mention Kevin Frandsen, Michael Ryan, Brandon Wood (who, uhoh, is coming back soon), and Maicer Izturis could all play a few games at first. The Lineup is hitting just fine, and the defense at first doesn't need to be spectacular, just good enough for it not to cost us games.


Scott Kazmir is on the mound tonight. As an Angel fan, this trade has seen me do a complete 180. I was excited he was coming to the team, and his first half a season was pretty good, then he choked a couple playoff games. Now, he seems to have gotten into this funk where he seems far too content just to be the most average pitcher he could be. Two or three years ago in Tampa, Kazmir looked like a perennial Cy Young candidate, and we have gotten maybe 5 or 6 innings of THAT Kazmir this season.

I'd like to see him turn this around, but if he can't, it might be time to shelve him for a few weeks, and give someone like Trevor Bell a few spot starts.


Vote for the All-Star Game, Fools! Time is running out.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Love Connection: Angels First Basemen Edition!

Angels won, 7-1, last night. But local "experts" keep thinking that we need this huge bat to replace Kendry Morales untill he returns in September (I still have my doubts that he will be back before next spring).

I dont understand why. Napoli has proven that he is more than capable of being a decent defensive first basemen. Mathis will be coming off the DL soon, and he can catch while Napoli plays first, and if one or both need a day off, Michael Ryan and Robb Quinlan are more than suitable replacements at first for a game or two.

But then you are going to say, "Oh, but Josh, what about the offensive output they are going to miss from Morales being in the lineup?" The Angels have plenty of offense, so much so, that Hunter, Rivera and Matsui (Finally) have started to pick up the slack, even in just the 6 games since Morales has been out. Not to mention Kendrick, Izturis and Ryan have all been solid offensive contributors, and Mathis will soon return from the DL, and that should be one more productive bat in the lineup.

But, lets humor the local "experts", most of whom watch about 3 Angels games a year, while spending most of their baseball time wasted on our "special" cousins to the north, The Dodgers.

I've heard rumors floating around for Paul Konerko, Lance Berkman, Adam LaRoche, and, most recently, Derrek Lee. Lets take a look at each of of them.

Paul Konerko leads the American League in home runs, and has always been successful in Anaheim, but he recently got added to my fantasy team, and unless I drop him, his production will be way down.

Lance Berkman has spent his entire career in Houston. He has always put up pretty solid power numbers, but that was in the National League, where the pitching isn't as good. Not to mention he would probably be just as average as Mike Napoli as a defensive replacement.

Adam LaRoche. Terrible Hitter, Terrible Defender, Terrible Clubhouse guy. He gets lucky about 25 times a year and hits the ball out of the ballpark. Thats the only way I could figure that this guy keeps getting work. Whoever thought this would be a good idea should be fired.

Derrek Lee has been a Chicago Cub for the better part of a decade now. That much fail alone should be enough reason for the Angels to not want to trade for him.

Also, we arent just going to get given a first basemen by a crappy team out of charity. We would probably have to give up a substantial amount of minor league talent, especially for the only two guys worth a damn, Berkman and Konerko. I would expect Trevor Bell, F-Rod, Hank Conger, Mark Trumbo, Peter Bourjos and Rich Thompson to be the names thrown around in exchange for one of these sluggers. I wouldnt mind losing a guy like Trevor Bell, but F-Rod is the closer of the future. I'm still upset we traded S-Rod for Scott Kazmir last season.

Trust me, doing something is not always better than doing nothing. While Bill Stoneman seemingly refused to make ANY moves, while Tony Reagins seems to be the polar opposite.. making moves for the sake of making moves. Neither way is perfect, and thats probably why we haven't gotten back to the series since 2002.

I wouldn't hate Berkman or Konerko as an Angel, but I have a strong feeling that they would be more Steve Finley or Shea Hillenbrand than Mark Teixeira or Bobby Abreu.

Friday, June 4, 2010

What a Long, Strange Trip it's Been.

Since I stopped writing a few weeks ago, the Angels had been a .500 club, give a game or two here and there. But regardless of record, they always looked like the were a team that was struggling to stay in ballgames, even with below average clubs, like Seattle, St. Louis and the ChiSox. However, they began to turn their season around on the unlikeliest of events. When coming into home plate to celebrate a walk-off Grand Slam last Saturday against the M's, Kendry Morales landed funny coming down from a jump, breaking bones in his leg. He will be fine, but will be out, more than likely, for the rest of the season from surgery. Some doctors predicted a September return, but I doubt it.

Oddly enough, however, the Angels seems to use this to spark a remarkable run over the last 5 games. Turning around and hitting ANOTHER walk-off homer on Sunday, this time by the "Other Howard", who celebrated a little more conservatively. Then taking 3 of 4 in Kansas City, the first stop in yet another long Halo road trip.

Could it just be that the Angels got lucky, and played a really bad team? Its possible. But at the same time, they seemed to have a spark. Its hard to explain, but it almost seems like this team rallies around tragedy. I don't want to sound morbid in the least, here, but I honestly have my doubts that this team would have won the West last year if it wasn't for the tragic death of Nick Adenhart. This team, on paper, was just as good as last years team, especially when you figure in that they were getting all five starting pitchers for the whole season. But they started off slow, and it seemed like whenever we got close to the Rangers, something fell apart and they lost 2 or 3 in a row.

However, when Morales broke his leg, the team came out Sunday with seemingly a renewed vigor. They kept that through the series win in Kansas City, and one can only hope it carries over to Seattle, in to Oakland, and then in an important weekend in Chavez Ravine against the Dodgers.

The Angels get a favorable match-up this weekend against the M's. Not only are they one of the worst hitting teams in the league, but they don't have to face either of the teams premier pitchers, Felix Hernandez and Cliff Lee. I don't think a sweep is out of the question, but in a road series, if you can take 2 of 3, thats a great series.


Remember about a month ago, I was clamoring for Fuentes to lose his job to Rodney, well, I changed my mind. I still want Fuentes to lose his just, but now to Francisco Rodriguez. No, not the one we let walk in Free Agency two years ago, whose only suitable replacement was clearly a copy of himself. Rodriguez, or "F-Rod" as he will now be lovingly referred to as, has been simply dominant in his last few appearances, and looks like he is already a clutch pitcher. I say, give the job to him now, before Fuentes pitches out of too many more wins, like he tried to do now. If he doesn't get the job done, I was wrong (wouldn't be the first time), and you can throw Failtes back into the closing role.


In a special extended version of "Around the League", I have a ton to talk about.

- By now, most of you have seen the blown call that cost the Tigers Armando Gallaragga a perfect game on Wednesday. Jim Joyce, who has the greatest 'stache in the history of umpires, blew the call, calling a clearly out runner safe. Well, Armando, Joyce, the Tigers and their fans all surprised me in how good they were about it. In a day and age where sports stars get into the stands to punch fans (Oh Ron Artest, how far you have come), Allegedly rape more than one woman (Really, Big Ben, you didn't learn the first time?), and their fans aren't much better, its refreshing to see all parties involved in this situation handling it so well. I think everyone, except for Bud Selig, is willing to admit that Armando Gallaragga threw the 21st perfect game in major league history. Thats good enough for me.

- Vladimir Guererro hit himself in the face with a batted ball off the batting cage durning batting practice before Wednesdays game against the White Sox. That's some black and blue justice for any Ranger fans making fun of Morales...

- Everyone SHOULD be voting for the 2010 All-Star Game right now. I don't really care whom you vote for, as long as its not Alex Rodriguez or Mark Teixeira. Just 'Cause.

- Also, the Angels All-Star 5k and Fun-Run, of which the proceeds benefit cancer research, still have spots available for sign up. Here is a link, for those of you without Google: All-Star Game Charity 5k and Fun Run

- Ken Griffey, Jr was probably the greatest player that anyone under the age of 30 has ever seen play live. He retired Wednesday. As a member of the Seattle Mariners, he was one of the hottest prospects/young players that anyone has ever seen. He took baseball by storm, and with good reason. He was a pure hitter, with some great speed, and an amazing glove. He had maybe the prettiest swing in baseball, and was charismatic like none other. He had athletic clothing lines, video games, breakfast cereal and many other endorsements. He WAS 1990's baseball. He was impossible to hate, even though he played for the Angels biggest rival, and almost as impossible not to love. Also, in an era where just about everyone was caught with or accused of using steroids, he was the one slugger was never mentioned, by anyone. After stints in Cincinatti and Chicago, Griffey returned to Seattle last year for one last hoorah. After getting off to the slowest start of his career, he knew his body (which since leaving Seattle in 2000, was always letting him down) couldn't take much more, and he decided to quit baseball on his own terms. When Griffey retired, the last part of my childhood that I attached to baseball was gone. He should, and will be, a first ballot hall-of-famer, and will go down as the greatest Seattle Mariner of all time. Baseball already misses you, Ken.