Welcome to the 100th Post of Angels Nation, the last post of 2010 (barring some amazing breaking Angels news, oh who are we kidding... its the last post of 2010). Also, the top 5 moments in the world of sports for 2010. Before we continue on with this list, lets start with 3 of the WORST moments in the world of sports.
3. Angels answer Cliff Lee trade by acquiring... Alberto Callaspo.
Yeah, he turned out to be ok, and a few weeks later, we got Dan Haren... but having lost Kendry Morales for the season, the team needed a big bat. Its not like their weren't powerful first basemen who were in the last years of their contracts... Lance Berkman, Carlos Pena, etc. Was it the worst move ever? No. But was it maybe the most meaningless? Probably.
2. Kendry Morales wins game, breaks legs.
Oh man... I just noticed this about the picture. It's got Brian Fuente's Porno Stache in full view, right above Kendry.... Those were the days... right Angels fans? Oh... Paul Konerko, Adam Dunn, the list goes on and on. Do your damn job, Tony.
1. US falls in World Cup to Ghana.
They won... in the 93rd minute. :'(
Ok, now that we have gotten all of that negative energy out and in the open, lets move on to bigger and better things. The Top 5 Sports Moments of the Year.
5. King James takes his talents to South Beach.
Did you hear that? That was the sound of my only Cleveland reader closing his browser, tossing his computer out the window, then kicking his dog. Now that Lebron is gone, Clevelandites have nothing better to do than get violent, set shit on fire, and just be angry dudes. I'll admit, watching the super team down in Miami grow together in front of our eyes has been the only thing keeping my interest in the NBA this season.
4. Angels acquire Dan Haren from Diamondbacks.
Was he lights out all season? No. Did he lead us to a Division Title? No. Did he have more wins than losses? No. But really, none of these things were his fault. He lost a couple games on dumb plays by the defense. He lost a few more games because he got ZERO run support. However, a whole calender year of Dan Haren in an Angel uniform is something to still get excited about. Only question now is, who starts on Opening Day?
3. Roy Halladay pitches second-ever postseason no-hitter in his Postseason debut.
Its as if the best pitcher in baseball somehow got better. He had already thrown a Perfect Game earlier in the year, and all but locked-up the NL Cy Young. Then, in his first postseason game in his career, he just goes out and no-hits the Cincinnati Reds. Granted, not the best team, but still a playoff team with a few great hitters. Its almost a shame the Phillies didn't make the World Series, because Roy Halladay vs. Cliff Lee in Game 1 would have been one for the ages.
2. Tracy Porter Intercepts Peyton Manning to seal Super Bowl victory.
It was America's Bandwagon team. The lovable Saints, who came from hurricane ravaged (six years ago, but still) New Orleans. The Drew Brees led Saints are probably the most likable Super Bowl Champs since the (then) underdog Patriots won it all back in 2002. Porters Interception return for a TD sealed the victory, and was a great way to end a great game.
1. Landon Donovan scores in the 91st minute to send Team USA to the 2nd Round of the World Cup
Its probably the most excited I've ever been during any sporting event ever. If the score stays 0-0, the US misses the second round of the World Cup, again. In extra time, out of nowhere (like some sort of soccer superhero) longtime National Team vet Landon Donovan slams a goal home in the 91st minute, securing the victory for the United States. I went nuts. My glasses were flung off my face, rendering me temporarily blind. I'm pretty sure that if I had gone any crazier in my celebration, I would have been arrested for disorderly conduct. Its a shame what happened just a few days later against Ghana, but this sports moment will always stick out as of of my top, all time.
Well, the time is here to hand out some thanks, seeing as this is my 100th post, and final post of the year.
Thanks to my Wife, for always supporting me.
Thanks to my Mother and Sister, who are my only consistent readers.
Thanks to my friend, Alex Gormley, for giving me not one, but three bitchin' headers for the site, and other various photoshop goodies.
Thanks to my twitter followers and friends, who will sometimes read what I've scribbled on this site.
Thanks to anyone who stumbles on this page accidentally, looking for ceramic angel statues, I apologize for the misleading title.
Thanks to the Los Angeles Angels, for giving me enough news and heartache to occupy 100ish posts (and the rest of the sports world, for filling in the rest)
Thanks to SportsIllustrated.com, for not suing me for using pictures from your website on a daily basis (Mlb.com got smart and made them impossible to hotlink, so thanks for making it so easy on me, too)
Thanks to Bill Simmons, and the writers of: Lookout Landing, I want to go to the zoo with Roy Halladay, fire joe morgan, True Grich, Rex Sanchez and any other sports blog I've used for inspiration.
So, who is ready for 2011? My early prediction: 82-80... AWWW YEAH, .500 baby!
Friday, December 31, 2010
Thursday, December 30, 2010
First and foremost, we here at Angels Nation hope that you had a fantastic holiday season, and want everyone to have a safe New Year. I figured since the year that was 2010 ends tomorrow, AngelsNation.net should recap the 10 best sports moments of the year, as we saw them. Also, expect an even bigger extravaganza tomorrow, seeing as it will also be our 100th post.
10. Shaun White pulls off the Double McTwist 1260 at the Vancouver Olympics.
-It should be noted that I am no extreme sports fan... nor did I really understand what the move was before Shaun White pulled it off. All I know is that he had already won gold, but wanted to pull off this move so badly, he did it in his victory lap anyway. It was a great moment for Snowboarding, Shaun White, and America (a running theme, get ready for it).
9. Brett Favre throws interception, blows last chance at a Super Bowl.
-While everyone ended up being happy the Saints won the Super Bowl two weeks later, I still remember being bummed out that my last memory of Brett Favre was him throwing away the Vikings chances at being in the Super Bowl. Sadly, months later, I come to find out my last memories of him will be seeing his penis, then seeing him get smashed into what was basically frozen concrete in what will likely be his final game. Damn, and I thought that interception was bad.
8. USA Mens Hockey Team's run in the 2010 Winter Olympics.
-For weeks leading up to the event, everyone had picked Canada to meet Russia in the finals. Crosby vs. Ovechkin, etc... Most experts (read: Canadians) picked the USA team to finish between 4th and 10th. Thats right, tenth. Well, not only did we pick up a hard fought win over those damn Canucks in the qualifying stage... we gave them a run for their money in the Gold Medal game, including a goal with 25 seconds left in the game to send the game to overtime (where pretty-boy Sidney Crosby won the game, but who remembers that?!).
7. Howie Kendricks Walk-Off Bunt
-It was the beginning of an era. After that Bunt, AngelsNation.net began. Truthfully, it was entirely by coincidence that the two events coincided. I would have began to write that day if the Angels won or lost. It still remains the greatest Angels Victory of 2010. It's refreshing to remember a time when we still had hope as a franchise. Now, we are just hoping for Adrian Beltre and Scott Podsednik. Oh, how the mighty have fallen.
6. Robert Green hands USA the tie in World Cup Match vs. England.
-At one moment, the United States and England couldn't have been in more different moods. The USA having just scored on a harmless shot, mishandled by English goalkeeper Robert Green. I'm almost positive 90% of English people polled that day would have wanted him hanged (they still do that in England, right?). It was perhaps the most important goal scored in US Soccer History to that point (I have a feeling another goal will pop up on this list...).
What'd I tell you? This list is America heavy. What can I say? We are better at non-American sports than we should be. USA! USA! USA!
Wednesday, December 22, 2010
I don't care about Carl Crawford, Zach Greinke, Cliff Lee or even Adrian Beltre anymore.
All I want for Christmas is news. Any news. News that Mike Napoli had a successful filling on one of his wisdom teeth. News that Mike Butcher's Daughter's Christmas program was "Good, not great". ANYTHING. Something real. Not some BS that Scott Podsednik is someone Tony Reagins likes. Not some other BS that Justin Upton is "really close" to being an Angel.
Something factual, something solid. Not more speculation that Adrian Beltre is asking for Alex Rodriguez money. Or that as soon as Francisco Rodriguez is released from jail, the Mets will trade him back to us for some baseball's and a ham sandwich.
I also have hope that next season, Mike and the gang will be less stubborn about keeping in guys like Abreu, Rivera and Izturis, rather than calling up guys like Trumbo, Trout and Conger. As a baseball fan, and more importantly an Angel fan, I just hope that we field a team better than what was on display for most of 2010.
Angels Nation would like to wish you and your family the safest and happiest holiday season, from the bottom of our hearts. Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!
Wednesday, December 15, 2010
Angels Fans love to reminice about a time when we were Three-Time Defending Division Champions... or had won 5 of the last 6 Western Division titles. I remember like it were yesterday. Always having something to brag about to my friends who were Rangers, A's or M's fans. I loved always being a champion (even if it meant getting slaughtered by the Sox in October). But, as much as I'd love to relive those glory days, it doesn't mean I'm on the same boat as other Angels fans, who seem to want to bring back Vlad, Figgins, etc.
Don't get me wrong, Vlad seems like a decent fit, but his power numbers only went up last year because he played in a hitters parks, the opposite of what Angel Stadium is. Chone Figgins had, by far, his worst statistical season last year. He had career lows in Runs, Home Runs, Batting Average and Slugging, and career highs in Errors and Strikeouts. Not to mention he grounded into 19 double-plays... that's more than twice he ever had in any other single season to date. Mind you, the Errors would probably decrease when he moves back to Third Base (to make room for Brendan Ryan), but the numbers don't lie. Figgy is not the lead-off hitter he used to be, nor should he be considered for the job.
But the Angels need someone, don't they? Well, someone at the OC Register today kicked around the idea of trading Arbitration eligible Alberto Callaspo and AAAA Player Brandon Wood to the M's for Figgins. I suppose in a worst case scenario, Figgins would work, but we wouldn't be a playoff team. At this point, I'd rather have Erick Aybar (*shudder*) or Peter Bourjos (He can't hit .204 forever, can he?) lead off for the Angels. Don't get me wrong, I'd welcome back Figgy with open arms, and I'd cheer for him whenever I made it out to the ballpark, but I don't think the right move for this team is to revisit the past with players past their prime.
Tuesday, December 14, 2010
Don't look now, but the American League West just got a little bit worse. When Cliff Lee decided to take his talents back to the City of Brotherly Love, the Texas Rangers slid right back into mediocrity.
This feels very familiar to a week ago when the Angels let Carl Crawford slip right through their fingers, and another team came out of nowhere and scooped him up with a better deal in a "better baseball city".
So, after a month and a half of off-season deals, the Angels and Rangers have gotten little to show for it. A few relievers and a couple of huge miscues on the top two free agents available. In essence, both teams have got nothing to show for the huge amount of money the supposedly had available to spend this off-season.
In the end, the West comes out the losers, once again. The Angels, Rangers and other West Coast teams just aren't as attractive a local for prospective Free Agents. I've begun to come to terms with this, and hope that the table scraps like the Beltre's and Guerrero's of the world can produce better than I think they can.
Friday, December 10, 2010
Lets just go ahead and hand Tony Reagins GM of the Year right now. He knew one thing about the Angels last year. They had no lefties in their bullpen. When Arte told him to fix the problems with the club, he took him quite literally.
Sure, he had pressure from Arte, Hunter and the Fans to sign Carl Crawford, but hey... he had to get some left-handed relievers, and nothing was going to stop him, especially some loser outfielder from Tampa Bay ((Not) Real quote from Tony Reagins: "Tampa Bay? They have a Team now").
Well, even with the Red Sox and Nationals throwing Hundreds of Millions of dollars at All-Star Outfielders, I think its pretty clear that the Angels are going to win this offseason hands down. First Takahashi from the Mets (remember 1986? They are like Red Sox killers over there!!) and now Downs from the Blue Jays (Joe Carter!!!!).
When Arte Moreno calls Reagins into his office after the rest of the Hot Stove season has settled, and starts barking at him for not doing enough, Reagins is going to have a the best defense ever. "Dude, Arte, man... The team didn't have, like, any Left Handed relievers last year... and we like... lost a bunch! *giggles* Well, now I went out and got like, 4 of 'em... how can we lose now?!"
Arte will have to bow down to the superior baseball mind and Tony Reagins will then negotiate his $123 million dollar raise (leftover money from the Carl Crawford fund).
Thursday, December 9, 2010
Carl Crawford did the unthinkable last night. He signed a 7 Year, $142 Million deal to sign with the Boston Red Sox. Tha'ts right, folks, he has become public enemy number one here in Anaheim. John Lackey and Mark Teixeira, you guys are off the hook.
I've got no problem with big market teams making big market offers. I'm more upset with Crawford, Angels GM Tony Reagins and Angels Owner Arte Moreno. Crawford because, well, he was just leading us on the whole time, and bolted the second Boston threw crap-loads more money in his face.
Reagins because he isn't a very good GM when it comes to dealing with Free Agents. He always under-appreciates players in value, and then offers them deals that look like jokes compared to Boston and New York.
Lastly, I'm mad at Arte for not putting up the money he said he would. He said "oh, I'm mad about losing, so I'm going to spend money to make us look good again", then didn't spend enough to get the top offensive free agent on the market. Mind you, Offense is where we need the help. So if you are going to be a tough guy, and puff your chest, and talk a big talk... back it up with dollars, Arte.
I need to move on from being mad about this, but that likely won't happen until the Angels make a damn move this offseason. And no, while he is a nice piece, the no-name lefty specialist from the Mets isn't going to cut it.
At this point, the best offensive free agent is Adrian Beltre. Some Angel fans are welcoming him and agent Scott Boras into the Angel family (I know very well that Boras represents players on the Angels, but Jared Weavers hold-out is part of the reason we hate Boras so much) with open arms. I'm more hesitant. Can he still hit? Was last year in Boston a fluke? Was it a result of the tiny ballpark? Is he going to get back on the Roids? I know he will be a terrific defensive third basemen, and at this point, he is still an incredible step above a platoon of Callaspo, Izturis and Wood, but will he be worth the stupid money we are going to throw at him now that we've been burned by Crawford?
Wednesday, December 8, 2010
As the Winter Meetings come to a close, and more players are getting signed, the Angels have stood firmly planted on their stance of not signing anyone you've heard of. Since signing former Mets Reliever Takahashi, the Angels haven't done much of anything, except continue to be in the talks in signing Free Agents Carl Crawford and Adrian Beltre. Well, last night, Angels GM Tony Reagins was in contact with Professional Yankee's Daddy Cliff Lee's Agent Darek Braunecker (I've give you a second to catch up with that run-on.... ok, lets go). If for nothing else, just to ruffle the feathers of the Yankees and Rangers (the only two teams considered to be true contenders for the Cy Young Winner). However, there are a number of great reasons for the Angels to sign Cliff Lee, lets go over them now:
1. Our biggest rivals, the Rangers and Yankees, won't have him. This is easily the most important, as Cliff Lee has always had a good track record against the Angels and in Angel Stadium.
2. Between Lee, Weaver, Haren, Santana and Pineiro, the Angels would have maybe the best rotation in Major League history. A man can dream, can't he?
3. It would likely force the Yankees or Rangers to acquire Zach Greinke from the Royals. Therefore making 100% of the games the Angels play against Kansas City a complete waste of time for everyone involved.
While its simply a pipe dream, and to be honest, I'd rather have Crawford and Beltre than just Lee, its still something pretty amazing to think about. Maybe someday, we will get a GM with the balls to pull this off.
As it is now, though, Cliff Lee and his agent are keeping the other top Free Agents hostage. The Yankees aren't going to pursue Crawford or Beltre too strongly until they know if they've got Cliff Lee or not. The Rangers aren't going to do a damn thing either. The Red Sox seem to have made their moves, and everyone seems too poor to make a run at Crawford right now.
Moving on to other Hot Stove news:
-Carlos Pena has agreed to a one year contract with the Chicago Cubs. I don't think it will be enough to make them contenders, but at worst, it makes them better.
-The Kansas City Royals sign Jeff Francouer. Oh man... I know who my 2011 World Series pick will be now.
-Jack Cust signs with the Seattle Mariners. Oh man... I know who my 2011 World Series pick will be now.
-Paul Konerko is staying in Chicago to play for the White Sox. With how high they were speaking of him, and how no one else really showed any interest, I'm shocked... to say the least.
Monday, December 6, 2010
Thats right, 7 Years, $126 Million... for Jayson Werth. I love Jayson Werth... especially his beard, but damn... thats a ton of money, Washington. If they are going over-pay people this badly, the president better put together a bail-out package together for Nats. I think it speaks volumes to Nationals fans that this team wants to win now. They lost the strikeout machine (and on-base machine) Adam Dunn to free agency, but they still have youth in guys like Strasburg and Harper, and Vets like Ryan Zimmerman. Not to mention they are interested in Tampa's Carlos Pena.
But what does this mean for the Angels and Carl Crawford? 8 Years, $180 Million is what is being thrown around rumor sites and the like. Something the Angels could afford, but would they have anything left over for a guy like Adrian Beltre or Rafael Soriano? That is really up to Arte Moreno and how much he wants to dig into that wallet of his. Then it comes down to if Moreno and GM Tony Reagins really want to go out and buy half a team, or if they are just going to target one key guy, and put him into the situation the team is currently in.
If Moreno goes nuts, signs Crawford, Beltre, Soriano, and a couple other role players, does that make the Angels a new evil empire? Would we be as hated around the country as Boston and New York? It would be an interesting thing to consider for the Angels front office.
Something else to consider: Guys like Napoli, Mathis, Aybar and others still have arbitration to go through... which means even less money in Arte's pocket.
Lets go over some other non-Angels Hot Stove goodies:
-Adrian Gonzalez will be swapping coasts and Leagues. The Padres and Red Sox agreed to trade the All-Star First Basemen, and the Red Sox will also give Gonzo a fat new, 7-year Contract, to keep him in Bean Town for the foreseeable future.
-The Diamondbacks have traded slugging Third Basemen Mark Reynolds to the Baltimore Orioles in exchange for two minor-league relievers. Expect both his home run and strikeout numbers to increase in the AL East and Camden Yards.
-White Sox resigned Catcher AJ Pierzynski to a two year, $8 Million deal... even though he still sucks.
-Both the Red Sox and Yankees have expressed interest in Twins Reliever Brian Fuentes. I don't normally speak in "Internet Speak" around here, but there is only one word to convey my thoughts on this rumor: LOL!
Dallas Cowboys Legend Don Meredeth passed away today at the age of 72. I am too young to have been able to see him play, but I saw a few years of his Monday Night Football announcing career, and Hank Hill was always quite fond of him. Anyone Hank Hill thinks so fondly of is ok in my book.
Also passing over the weekend was Chicago Cubs legend Ron Santo. He was 70, and always seemed like one year away from making the Hall of Fame. Hopefully the voters rectify this for 2011.
Thursday, December 2, 2010
The Angels and Left-Handed Vet Hisanori Takahashi (most recently of the Mets) are close to inking a multiyear deal with the Japanese southpaw. Takahashi was 10-6 last year with the Mets, including an ERA of 3.61 and 8 saves (after former Angels Francisco Rodriguez hurt himself beating up his step-dad). In his time as a reliever, his ERA was considerably lower. He seems to finally be a solid replacement for Darren Oliver, whom the Angels missed dearly as he helped lead the Rangers to the World Series.
The Angels have also contacted agent Scott Boras regarding Free Agent Closer Rafael Soriano (of the Rays). It seems that in addition to going after big-time outfield bats in Carl Crawford and Jayson Werth, the Angels are very serious about solidifying their shaky bullpen. As any Angel fan can tell you, the two things that needed the most help last season were the Pen and outfield offense (even All-Star Torii Hunter had a down year in many categories).
The second really big off-season acquisition was made today when the Chicago White Sox signed slugger Adam Dunn to a four-year deal worth $56 Million. Dunn, who has played his entire career to date in the National League, will probably see most of his time at DH, but if the Sox fail to resign All-Star Paul Konerko, Dunn could also be asked to fill in at first base.
Its a big deal for the White Sox offense, but the team still has a ways to go before they can compete (on paper at least) with the Tigers and Twins for the Central Division crown.
Wednesday, December 1, 2010
Eh, maybe thats a slight exaggeration. Miguel Tejada is taking his talents to the Bay Area, to replace Juan Uribe on the defending Champion San Francisco Giants. Man, I'd never thought I'd have to type that sentence.
In more hot stove tid-bits:
-The Dodgers (who signed the aforementioned Uribe) traded Ryan Theriot to the Cardinals for a right-handed minor league pitcher.
-The Texas Rangers bolstered (we'll see...) their bullpen by signing Japanese Side-Armer Yoshinori Tateyama, formerly of the Nippon-Ham Fighters (my favorite team name in all of sports) of the Japanese Pacific League. Tateyama had a career low 1.80 ERA in 58 appearances last season.
-The Oakland A's have reported interest in former Astros/Yankee First Basemen Lance Berkman. When asked about the Athletics interest, Berkman was quoted as saying "Woah, someone is interested? Did they not see my 3 month Yankee career".
-The Texas teams signed a couple of lackluster backup catchers this week in Yorvit Torreabla and Huberto Quintero (to the Rangers and Astros, respectively), the rest of the league was reportedly unaware these guys still played baseball.
-The Colorado Rockies handed all-star shortstop Troy Tulowitzki a blank check Tuesday. It ended up being good enough for the 8th highest contract in MLB History. Thats right. 1 time all-star of the Colorado Rockies, Troy Tulowitzki, is going to be one of the 10 wealthiest men in baseball history. Go figure. Tulo is guaranteed $157.7 Million Dollars over the next 10 years. Insane.
-The Rangers (again with the Rangers? I had to talk about you for all of October, its time for you to go away now) reportedly were interested in signing long-time Yankee Lefty Andy Pettitte, but have recently denied such claims. Rumor has it the Yankees were upset that they were even talking to the winningest pitcher in post-season history, and threatened to offer Cliff Lee even more money to leave Texas. If the Rangers stay relevant, this could be a great rivalry for years to come.
-No word yet on Carl Crawford, but the most recent report I heard was that most GM's and Experts would be shocked if, at this point, he didn't end up an Angel by the first of the year.
I've already written far too much, and for that, I apologize. Oh, and yes, the picture is taken from The Sims, but that was the best picture of a stove on fire the internet had to offer.