Welcome to Opening Day take 2

It’s been a long week for those of us that love baseball. Games have been put on hold since Sunday to signal the midsummer classic and all of its happenings. What a first half of the season it has been hasn’t it? Let’s take a quick recap in what has happened since the first week of April to the early weeks of July shall we!

Angels have been a rollercoaster. From being absolutely god awful to leading the wildcard standings they’ve had a little bit of everything in between. Mike Trout, thank you to all of you supportive fans that helped front the #freemiketrout movement on twitter, it worked. At least giving social media and the fans credit for the choice to bring him up to the bigs feels nice, we knew it was going to happen. If the season ended today, the kid would be the AL MVP and ROY. WINNING! Thanks Charlie Sheen, who Trout actually tweeted about meeting in Kansas City, awesome?

The Dodgers, could you of flopped anymore the opposite way? They were making the Giants look like fools in the beginning of the season and in the last couple of weeks they even lost their first place standing to the boys from the bay only to battle back and forth with a half game lead. Injuries to star outfielders Matt Kemp and Andre Either are proving to hurt the Dodgers. While those two will be coming back, the young star of the team, Dee Gordon is now out due to injury, guess everyone will have to wait and see what happens when all of them are healthy again.

The American League East, YOU KILL ME! The Orioles started out super hot and were games ahead of the rest of the division. But oh wait, look who’s in first by 7 games now, those Bronx Bombers, like usual. Who knows if anyone will surge back but it is pretty disappointing to see those teams start to fall apart after starting so strong.

How about those Pirates? First time they’ve been in first place since 1997, ’97!!! Andrew McCutchen you deserve it, it’s been hard to watch someone with so much talent be on a team that lacked the ability to win, I hope they make it to the post season.

Sure there are about a MILLION things that could be listed in this post about exciting things that have happened in the first half, but that would take all day. Props to Weaver with a no-hitter, Matt Cain with a perfect game, and Johan Santana with the first no-hitter in Mets history (how is that even possible?).

I will add that it was painful to watch the All Star game on Tuesday but I will discuss my thoughts on that matter in a separate post.

Well wishes baseball fans, the second half is about to begin, may the best teams make the post season!

If it Isn’t Obvious Yet

In case nobody has picked up on it yet, I am an Angels fan. This has been the most painful start to a season I have ever seen! I’ve tried to be positive but, it still hasn’t improved with my optimism.

While they finally put my stud back on the roster, Mike Trout, the rest of the team has been lack luster.

Vernon Wells is officially out for 8-10 weeks with thumb surgery. Torii Hunter is on the restricted list to be by his family. While this opened up the outfield for the incredibly crowded bench, nobody has stepped up to the plate.

Two of the youngest people on the team, Trout and Trumbo have been the catalysts of the team. They can only do so much and get the team so far. So who is going to step up to the plate and contribute. So far nobody tonight against the A’s.

Let’s go Halos, lets turn this around.

My Opinion on Bryce Harper

Okay, so he’s been the topic of conversation for the last two weeks, here’s my little slice of opinion on Mr. Harper.

He’s got an awfully large ego for someone so young. Not to mention he’s got a bit of an attitude. I couldn’t help but laugh hysterically when I heard about him slamming his bat into a wall only to have it hit him back in the face, resulting in him getting stitches. Really guy? Not professional. I know players throw hissy fits, but nobody has gotten hurt like that. Not in baseball anyway, please cue your attention to playoff basketball for reference to injuring yourself.

Sure, he can hit. But in my opinion, Mike Trout on the Angels has your number. He’s consistent. Once you get that under your belt and tuck the ego away, maybe I’ll reevaluate my feelings toward you Bryce. But for now, I’m not impressed by your play, and I am most certainly not a fan of your persona. Let’s work on that, you’re too young to act that way.

CJ Wilson Faces Former Team For The First Time

CJ Wilson will make his first start in Arlington tonight since signing with the Angels in the offseason.

Wilson spoke to the Orange County register and made references to how well they are hitting and how he’s always known they’ve been good hitters after being in the Rangers organization for so many years. Wilson is looking forward to facing his old team and has no regrets about becoming an Angel.

The Rangers are on a tear and currently the best team in baseball. As for the Angels, they’re trying to pull out of their start of season slump they’ve fallen into. Albert Pujols finally hit his first homerun of the season last Sunday and hopefully some competition will ignite a spark for the right handed first baseman tonight.

The American League West continues to be competitive and this will be the first test for the Angels to see if they can handle the pressure their division opponent presses on them.

It will also be interesting to see Wilson throw to Mike Napoli after the two got into a little bit of drama during spring training. Wilson posted Napoli’s cell phone number on twitter and caused the catcher’s phone to ring off the hook and eventually get a new phone number.

Cheers to the first series of the division rivals!

 

Unexpected Beginning

Well folks we’re three weeks into the 2012 season and what in the world is going on?! The unexplainable and unexpected has taken over. Okay, it’s a little dramatic, but, everyone is still stunned at the madness that is currently the MLB standings and performance by some of the most anticipated teams in the league. Let’s look shall we.

Since I am California grown and an angel fan, why not start with the team that is currently breaking my heart.

-Albert Pujols, home-runless, still. Come on guy! I was giving you the benefit of the doubt at the beginning because you hadn’t faced most of these pitchers but the grace period is over, seriously, get going already. Plus the Halos can’t sweep a series with the Orioles? Struggling, hard here guys. I won’t lose faith, in 2002 the Angels only won 6 games in April and we all know how that season ended.

-Boston Red Sox, just as disappointing as the Angels. It’s painful! The two teams are similar in that pitching seems to be the root of all evil here. One good outing followed by two terrible ones. Plus the injury of Jacoby Ellsbury doesn’t seem to be helping at all.

-On a surprising note, what in the world is going on in the nation’s capitol?! The Nationals are 12-4?! Please someone help me here. They have most of the team returning from last season of course with Strausburg now being healthy their pitching staff is immaculate. Must be nice to have pitching.

-Another surprise, the Dodgers. Only lost one game in their first 10, what in the world?! I’m still skeptic though as the teams they played did not impress. Such as the Giants when Lincecum took the mound and got knocked around, hard. But on a sincere note, the Dodgers have talent. They’re starting rotation is really impressive and can’t complain about their outfield either. In case anyone was wondering, Either and Kemp get me the most points in my fantasy league, thank god they’re both on my team.

So, will the tides change soon? God I hope so because the slack I am getting from Yankee fans is starting to get unbearable and I would really like to actually catch up to the Rangers that are officially 6.5 games ahead of the Angels at this point. 

The season is still young!

Reasons Why Everyone Should Go To Spring Training

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There are some die hard baseball fans in this world, and spring training should be the highlight to any fans season. Why? The things you see at training camp, never occur during the regular season. So here are some reasons why every fan should go to spring training at least once in their life!

1. Practice days=the starters down in the training facilities that anybody can go and attend. This is usually where the minor league guys are during games but if there’s a work out and it’s open, this is the most happening place to be. Fans can line fences and backstops that look like regular park fields and watch the players. Albert Pujols is 15 feet away than the usual 390.

2. Minor league games aren’t lame. When the big team has a game and they decide to call up invitees to start, where do you think the starters go? Not home if that’s what you’re thinking. Usually they’ll get tossed into one of the minor league games. Maicer Izturiz was 10 feet away from me when I was there. CJ Wilson was the starting pitcher and Mike Trout just strolled between games. It’s awesome.

3. The players are more available to the fans. These guys are signing autographs with 5 minutes til game time. They realize if their fans make the trek to the stadium, they’re in it for the long haul so they treat everyone with so much respect.

4. You might just stumble upon one of the best hitters in the game hitting before the game and signing autographs. Surprise Stadium has batting cages on the main deck. Josh Hamilton steps in to warm up a bit more before game time. Only about five feet away. The picture at the top of the page doesn’t do it justice. Not to mention he signed autographs afterward and posed for plenty of photos!

5. Literally more than half of the people at the games are baseball fanatics, they LOVE making friends. Never have I encountered such awesome conversation than when I spoke to these people, it’s absolutely awesome.

6. While we’re all stuck in winter mode, you get to soak up some sunshine while watching the best sport known to man. Can’t lose there.

While I have a laundry list of reasons why I love spring training so much, these are just some main reasons why I think more people should take advantage of it the whole month of March. You get to see the game in a whole new way and it’s one of the most exciting things to a baseball fan. While it was fun Arizona, I’m ready for you regular season. Less than a week away everyone!

Do you have what it takes to be a manager?

There’s been plenty of moments where fans sit in the stands asking themselves, “Why are they starting HIM at first?!” Just then the thought creeps in, “I can coach better than that guy.”

Really think that just anyone could be the manager of a baseball team? No time like the present to try and create your own fantasy baseball squad!

For a crash course in how this works, follow these simple steps:

First, head over to ESPN, create an account on their free fantasy section. After that has been done, go look for a league to join, it’s crucial to pick one that isn’t too much upkeep for the time you’re willing to spend on it. Pick one that only allows for lineup changes once a week.

Prepare for the draft. Some have live drafts that require participants to be online to get the players they want. Look for an auto draft where a list can be made of top picks to low, so if sitting in front of a computer isn’t an option, the computer has an idea of what players to snag for the team.

Draft Kit

Often called a "Draft Kit" this is where people can see stat lists, top 10's for each position on the field and other necessities before selecting their teams. -Photo from aol.com

Of course, most will want to draft their team’s favorite players but this is a time to learn about others and possibly find new favorites! Let’s see how well everyone coaches their own team, good luck!

 

Ready to ace the trip!

When it’s time to travel out to see the teams in action, there are a few tips that are vital in making the trip flawless. Some simple dos and donts provided can help make that possible.

Do check the weather! These training camps are in Florida and Arizona, the hottest places this time of  year in the U.S. which is why the teams temporarily make it their home. This will help to pack the proper wardrobe.

Don’t forget the sunscreen. Yes, the sun is out, and nobody’s been able to bask in it for months. The skin will be most prone to burning now so don’t forget it.

Do scope out the cities and what they have to offer before heading off. There are sites available to help everyone find things to do before and after games instead of waiting around.

Do check out more than just one team. The neighboring cities are more than likely to be hosting a team as well, and these training facilities are awesome.

Arizona Facilities

A map of the teams in each city along with the stadium name in an aerial view so fans can plan trips to multiple games in one day. Photo from discoverazspringtraining.com

Don’t arrive late to any game. The players are excited to see fans out to support them and they’re more willing and able to sign autographs during spring games, wouldn’t want to miss that!

Spring training is a great getaway, but needs to be done in proper spring ball fashion!

Workouts With a Photo Shoot Intermission

Looking at the schedules for the ball players first week of spring training, it is blank but workouts are in full force. Photographs and videos start to sprinkle the Internet and the guys have been working the camera.

Spring training media day photos need to be taken in the first week so they can be ready for media kits the following week. Before anyone starts thinking glitz and glamor, it needs to be known that these photo’s aren’t taken in a studio. The New York Yankees had their media photo’s shot in a bathroom. Yes, the wall inside one of their restrooms served as the backdrop of pictures as seen here.

Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez poses in one the the team's spring training facilities bathrooms in Tampa, Florida for spring training media day photographs. Photo from thecrimsoncrow.com

While some had photos taken in goofy places, others were just being plain goofy. The Texas Rangers took their promotional shots while filming commercials for the upcoming season. Plenty of outtakes were needed while pitcher Derek Holland tried to film his commercial.

Derek’s Outtakes

Other teams like the Miami Marlins were ready to take photos in their newly designed uniforms for the 2012 season. Any tweaks and new additions to the uniforms will be showcased for the first time in these photos so the guys are all looking sharp.

The media day provided the players a break between their workouts and to have fun. Spring training do’s and don’ts next week!

It’s That Time Again

Pitchers and catchers. Arizona and Florida. It’s all starting to look a lot like baseball season and that all starts with spring training, what every baseball fan has been anticipating since the season ended in October.

Photo courtesy of HaloHeaven.com

14 teams have headed to the southeast all over parts of Florida while 15 teams are settling in to the greater Phoenix area. Pure baseball utopia for anyone like myself who can’t wait until April and opening day.

For prospective players this portion of pre-season is important. Invites are extended to players not currently on the active roster to try and win a spot as part of the 40-man team that will start their season in a little over a month. The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim have invited 20 ball players to participate in training camps and games during the month of March.

Besides all the new players trying to make their way onto new squads, freshly acquired players are starting to meet new teammates for the first time. The Angels have the most talked about additions, Albert Pujols and C.J. Wilson. All eyes have been on their training camp with updates daily how the pair are fitting in with their new team.

So what does it take for the fans to get to spring training? Next time we can put together a travel package for all those wanting to make the trek out to Arizona. For now, some input from C.J. Wilson.

A Minute with C.J. Wilson

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