Get Your Red on

“Get Your Red on” this is a slogan to the marketing campaign that the Angels have embarked on in the 2014 season. I like it a lot. No, it’s not because red is my favorite color since I was a kid, although to me that’s icing on the cake. Overall it’s a very smart marketing strategy especially when juxtaposed against the “Think Blue” campaign employed by the cross-town rival the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Perhaps the campaign is appropriate, until last night the Angels were a perfect 6-0 when wearing the red alternate uniform until their first loss last night in that uniform against the Oakland Athletics. The Angels have slightly changed their uniform, a change that I must say I like a lot. The Halos will wear red shoes and red belt during their home games this season at least when wearing the red uniform. I hope they include this change for road games as well. I believe that it adds to the team’s identity much like the blue shoes add to the identity of the Dodgers or the white shoes that add to the identity of the Athletics respectively.

The Angels may have lost last night, however I really enjoyed the excitement brought on by last night’s game between these two American League West rivals there something about this rivalry that cannot be duplicated with the rest of the teams in the American League West. Maybe it’s the proximity between the two cities, maybe it’s the fact that these are the two California American League franchises, or maybe it’s the best explanation of all, these two teams captured 10 of the last 12 American League West titles.

Perhaps the rivalry was magnified by the fact that Albert Pujols hit his 496 career home run, a shot that went into the beautiful night sky. The green and gold elephant seems to bring out the best in the Angels and vice versa.

These two teams also share another commonality, they are known as the “other” team in the region. They live in the shadow of their bigger more famous brother, the Dodgers and the Giants respectively. Yet, it seems that their little brother steals the spotlight and has had success more often than their older, cockier sibling. Our National League counterparts cannot say that they’ve traded shots with each other 10 of the last 12 years. They may be known as a bigger rivalry, but their rivalry hasn’t been as competitive over the years. I have a healthy hatred for Oakland, in other words, I love to hate them. It’s not the same if both teams are not at the top of their game. The best part? The baseball season is young and the Rally Monkey and Stomper have a lot of sparring yet to do.

-ICE

The Double-Edged Sword

It is the beginning of the 2014 baseball season, and I must say I’m pretty optimistic about the Angels chances this year. Yes the club is 3-5, however to paraphrase my good friend Roger Lodge; it’s still early. I don’t know that be claimed in late April to early May but for now, I think that’s the proper way to look at things.

Josh Hamilton is swinging the bat at nearly. 500 it’s very difficult to do much better, this is the Josh Hamilton the team was expecting when he signed that multiyear contract; he went down with an injury yesterday to his thumb but I’m hoping it’s a minor injury and his time away from the diamond is minimal.

Albert Pujols’ bat is starting to warm up, he hit a two-run home run yesterday, his first of the season. The question is, is the old Albert Pujols back? Maybe, he is getting older, while I don’t expect him to put up the ridiculous numbers he did in St. Louis I do expect him to have a solid year, although if he wants to revert to the Albert Pujols that was with the Cardinals I am not going to complain. Let’s not forget about Mr. Freeze (David Friese) who hit his first homer of the season as well, if the offense can live up to its potential and expectations, we Angels’ fans are in for a pretty exciting season.

I don’t have any delusions of grandeur because I know this team has a double edge sword associated with it. This season as always will come down to pitching, both the starting rotation and bullpen. The Angels were swept by the Mariners, simply because of both starting pitching and the bullpen. With the starting pitching was solid, the bullpen was shaky at best, and vice versa. As any true baseball fan knows, the key to having a successful season is the pitching. I haven’t made up my mind how I feel about Hector Santiago yet, Tyler Skaggs has potential, we have yet to see if the grind of the season will get to him.

-ICE

Farewell Friend Fregosi

His number 11 stands proud in the upper level of the right-field pavilion at Angel Stadium, retired to honor a man who gave his soul both as a player and a manager to the Angels; Jim Fregosi died yesterday as a result of multiple strokes, he was 71 years old.

Although I am too young to have seen him play in person, I was lucky enough to see him play on tape. To say that he was an extraordinary shortstop would be an understatement. He played with passion and dedication, Jim Fregosi loved the Angels, so much so, that when he was traded in the transaction that brought Nolan Ryan to Anaheim Fregosi was sad to leave the Angels.

It would be easy for me to talk about his accomplishments, for example he was the first Angel in history to hit for the cycle. However, I rather talk about the man that I got to meet in 2010 during All-Star fan Fest, as I remember there were very strict rules they asked the players not to leave the table for any circumstance. Mr. Fregosi made an exception to the rule for me and he spent a good amount of time talking baseball to my friends and I, no matter who was waiting for him.

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Mr. Fregosi was a class act, I am blessed to have met him. Perhaps it was fitting that he passed away on Valentine’s Day; no matter who he impacted he is remembered with nothing but love and respect. Rest in peace Jim Fregosi.

-ICE

The Repercussions of the Josh Hamilton Contract

“Hindsight is 20/20.” “You can’t cry over spilled milk.” “Monday morning quarterback.” These are all terms people use to express the feeling of what’s done is done; although these terms are very true, they can not be applied in my opinion to the Josh Hamilton contract.

Don’t get me wrong, I am ecstatic that the Angels did not sign Masahiro Tanaka. What’s really bothering me is the report that the Angels didn’t even extend an offer because they did not want to go over the luxury tax. It was indeed bad money management that put the Halos in the position they are today. A position they wouldn’t be in had they passed on Hamilton.

It appears this team is suffering from selective amnesia, the money that was used in the Hamilton contract was earmarked for pitching. They chose instead to ignore that, and sign Hamilton to a contract which ultimately led to patchwork repairs of the pitching staff. The cost? They lost a homegrown player with a huge upside in Mark Trumbo. They essentially let go of a young player for someone with inflated numbers who hit in a hitters park in Arlington.

The Angels had a backup plan, Matt Garza if and when the negotiations with Masahiro Tanaka fell through. Well, they did, and Garza signed a four-year contract with the Milwaukee Brewers. Now what? According to the Angels general manager they are “prepared to move forward with their current roster.” What does that mean? A fifth consecutive year without a playoff appearance? If that’s the case, how did the Josh Hamilton contract change anything? Did Hamilton make the Angels more competitive this past year? Of course not, so what’s going to be different this year? If the Angels would have been more careful with their money, The Halos would have money in the budget to sign a high quality pitcher without relying on a backup plan.

How will that translate when it comes time to re-sign Mike Trout? If the Angels weren’t competitive with Tanaka, how do they expect to be competitive with Trout? Will the Angels be willing to go over the luxury tax with a Trout contract? I sincerely hope so, I would be willing to go one more year without a playoff appearance if that meant the Halos would sign Trout to a long-term contract. On the other hand, how is this team going to remain attractive and a viable option for Trout if the Angels do not make the playoffs this year? It has yet to be seen if the current roster will make an impact this year, as a fan, I sincerely hope so. However, I highly doubt it.

-ICE
Related Articles: http://losangeles.angels.mlb.com/news/article/ana/angels-sit-out-masahiro-tanaka-sweepstakes?ymd=20140122&content_id=66964996

http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article/mlb/anthony-castrovince-los-angeles-angels-need-to-figure-out-what-mike-trout-is-worth?ymd=20140211&content_id=67635368&vkey=news_mlb

Top 100 MLB.com Blogs

ICE:

To my family, friends, readers, and supporters:

Due to your consistent and unwavering loyalty I once again made MLB.com’s top 100 blogs for 2013. These words cannot convey the degree of honor and gratitude that I have toward all of you. I am humbled to realize how much people enjoy my writing and my rants. I am thankful to God that he gave me the gift to express my love for the Angels through my writing. I am truly thankful to all of you. I’m curious to see how high I can make this website climb, thanks to your support I jumped 41 spots this year. My goal is to crack the top 25 next year, but I can’t do it without your support, again thank you. Go Angels!

-ICE

Originally posted on MLB.com Blogs Central:

blogs-top100header

It’s hard to believe we are entering the 10th season of blogging at MLB.com! Now comes the annual tip of the hat to all of the best blogs in our community, or at least the ones who had what it took to draw the largest followings. Congratulations to everyone who made the Top 100 MLB.com Blogs list, based on page views from Jan. 1-Dec. 31, 2013. If you’re on the list, make sure you add your Top 100 MLB.com Blogs badge to your sidebar, with the link to this post. That goes for you active players, front-office crews, player wives, groundskeepers, fans, photogs, broadcasters and Idols like Scotty McCreery. The coming year promises to be even better, so a big Thank You to everyone in our community — whether you’re a veteran or a rookie.

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Once again the blog maintained by all MLB.com reporters claims the top…

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2013 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 6,300 times in 2013. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 5 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

The Detonation of TNT Has Explosive Effects Far beyond Just the Short-Term

Okay, I’ve had time to digest this whole fiasco of a Mark Trumbo trade and I can’t say I’m any happier. 35 Home Runs and 100 RBIs those were roughly his numbers last year, granted his OPS wasn’t that great, but in my opinion it is easier to find a player with a better OPS via free agency than it is to find right-handed power.

Mark Trumbo is a homegrown kid he graduated from Villa Park high school, he grew up an Angels’ fan and was a great presence in the clubhouse. What more does this team want? Inflated egos that have an overpaid contract to go with it? Superstars that don’t know how to play a team game? While I agree that the Angels need pitching, they needed a very specific type of pitching; that can step in and help the rotation right away. Tyler Skaggs and Hector Santiago don’t fill that hole, they need more development, if that’s the case, why not develop Trumbo? Now we will never know what Don Baylor could have done for him, perhaps he could have improved Mark Trumbo’s OPS.

While I agree that trade made the Angels’ payroll a bit more flexible, I’m afraid that if the Angels go after another free agent it will be more of the same. The proof? Vernon Wells, Scott Kazmir, Josh Hamilton, Joe Blanton, Ryan Madson, among many others, I am not a season-ticket holder myself, but I can tell you that I have considered it before, what stops me? I go to the ballpark and see the pain on the faces of the season-ticket holders.

This wouldn’t be a big deal if the franchise actually balanced the short-term and long-term success with sustainability, it seems that it is now it is one or the other all three elements don’t seem to coexist. I’m not a fair weather fan, I’ve been a fan of this team for over 30 years. I was exposed to the Angels before the Lakers before the 49ers and way before the Anaheim Ducks, this team holds a special place in my heart because it was this team that exposed me to the beauty of sports, as a young kid and gave me the appetite to explore other teams in other sports. Now with the detonation of TNT, (Trumbo and Trout) and TNT not being a part of the Angels arsenal it will be interesting to see where they Angels get their explosiveness from.

-ICE

Update: Mark Trumbo is a class act!

http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article/ana/even-after-trade-trumbo-celebrates-holidays-with-angels-fans?ymd=20131223&content_id=66120946&vkey=news_ana

Related Articles: http://angels.mlblogs.com/2013/12/10/the-angels-gain-a-iceman-but-more-importantly-lose-a-trumbomber

http://www.latimes.com/sports/la-sp-angels-trade-trumbo-20131211,0,729014.story

The Angels Gain an Iceman but More Importantly Lose a Trumbomber

Wow! What a whirlwind off-season it’s been in Major League Baseball. Prince Fielder is now a part of the Texas Rangers, and the Angels acquired David Freese this entry was originally intended to concentrate on that transaction more specifically on the effects of this acquisition on the Angels specifically how Fielder has resurrected his career in my opinion by joining a team that calls a hitters park home.

That has changed however, the details are still sketchy but Mark Trumbo is now a diamondback. The trade involved the Angels, the Arizona Diamondbacks and the Chicago White Sox. What is our general manager doing? Yes, it’s clear the Angels need pitching but he is the one that messed up the Angels’ pitching staff to begin with, he counted on the ability of our offense to negate any deficiencies there were on the Angels pitching staff by s giving superstar players to long-term contracts. He decimated our farm system in the process, and now the Angels have unproductive superstars while practically giving away young talent. Mark Trumbo was a key piece to the Angels success, with Albert Pujols and Josh Hamilton not producing Trumbo was the player along with Mike Trout that kept the Angels afloat. This is my raw immediate reaction. I did promise my readers that I would throw a few curveballs, this is indeed one of them. Frankly, I am speechless I don’t know where the team goes from here without decimating the few positives that are left about this team. I promise I will deliver a more analytical entry once I’ve had time to process. Unbelievable!

-ICE

postscript: I would love to hear what other Angels’ fans have to say about the team’s current situation.

Related Articles: http://www.latimes.com/sports/la-sp-angels-trade-trumbo-20131211,0,729014.story

The True Test of an Angels’ Fan: My Personal Tribute to My Fellow Fans

What is the test of a true Angels’ fan? Well, it begins by waiting and making sure all the bandwagon fans have jumped ship, the second step is to figure out ways to cope with the drought of four years of not making a playoff appearance. Today is my birthday, and as a birthday present to myself I’m not going to concentrate this entry on analytics; rather, I’m going to focus on something that deserves all the credit in the world, yet rarely gets any recognition at all, the Angels’ fan base.

For the past 10 years from 2003 to this past season in 2013 Angels’ fans have flocked to Angel Stadium, in this time span more than 3,000,000 fans per season have shown up in the ballpark. That is simply astonishing, some Dodgers’ fans stated on social networks that the Angels in their opinion do not have as strong of a fan base as the Dodgers, to them, I say, the statistics say otherwise; have the Dodgers drawn over 3,000,000 fans a season over the last 10 years? I highly doubt it. The sustained loyalty of our fan base cannot be easily matched. With such loyal and dedicated fans how could one even think about leaving Anaheim?

The Angels signed a lease with the city of Anaheim through the 2029 season however, the Angels can option out after the 2016 season; leaving more questions than answers.
Rumors over the last couple of years have hinted at just that, the Angels leaving Anaheim for greener pastors in the City Of Industry, where the Angels would get a new stadium on the same plot of land that was one of the proposed sites for a new NFL stadium designed to bring football back to the Los Angeles area, this bid was the eventual loser to the winning bid submitted by AEG to construct Farmers Field.

Luckily for Angels’ fans this doesn’t seem to be the case anymore. The Angels organization is currently in negotiations with the city of Anaheim to keep the team at Angel Stadium, one of the major points of negotiation is dropping the “of Anaheim” from the team name. This is something that the city of Anaheim seems to be amenable to; a complete about-face from just a few years ago.

The mind boggling question is why would the Angels owner consider moving the team? He has a very strong foundation in Orange County, 3,000,000 fans a season over the last 10 years is no small feat. If indeed he were to move the team, he would be risking a severe attendance drop by directly competing with the Dodgers. In my opinion, a lot of Angels’ fans would be left with a bad impression of the team, an impression of abandonment that frankly wouldn’t sit well with the majority of the fans in Orange County.

Still, we flock to the ballpark like a swarm of kids flocking to an ice cream truck on a sweltering hot day. Why would Arturo Moreno take the risk of moving the team to a city where frankly they’re not wanted? Gene Autry knew this, that’s why he moved the team from Los Angeles to Anaheim in the mid-1960s. In Orange County, this team is unequivocally loved. That is indeed why I will always have respect for a strong, unshakable, diehard fan base that I’m proud to say I’m a part of, so yes, four years have gone by without a playoff appearance and although that hurts it doesn’t hurt as much as the possibility of this team leaving Anaheim. This is why Angels’ fans are in the middle of an exam testing their strength, perseverance, and loyalty, a test that I know we will pass with flying colors. This is why I decided to write this tribute because although this team did not make a playoff appearance, we remain strong, now, and forever.

-ICE

The Halo is Burnt Out For the Rest of This Season

18.5 games back in the division and 16 games back out of the wild-card race. Barring some sort of miracle it safe to say that the Angels season is over. Yes they may be still mathematically able to make the playoffs, but to expect three teams to falter in the division and a plethora of teams to falter in the wild-card race is unrealistic. It is improbable, but not impossible.

I could feasibly sit here and write a novel sized entry describing in detail what went wrong this year, but I don’t think my readers would have time for that, nor do I have the energy to speak into the microphone for that long. I took some time to concisely think about the factors that led up to such a disastrous season and it came down to two things, bad personnel decisions and bad contracts. My loyal readers already know that given the choice, I much rather see the Angels be eliminated from contention in early September rather than mid to late July. That is unfortunately what happened this year.

Bad Personnel Decisions

The Angels’ General Manager did a horrendous job in putting this team together this year. Our pitching staff as a whole is in shambles; with the exception of Weaver, Wilson, and Vargas no one else on the pitching staff has preformed consistently. Signing Joe Blanton to a contract magnified the Angels’ General Manager’s poor decision-making. In my opinion, Joe Blanton didn’t add much intimidation factor to this pitching staff. That was my feeling when the Angels gave Blanton a contract, and his performance this season simply proved my point.

The Albert Pujols injury situation was handled very poorly by the Angels organization. I realize that Albert is a competitor; however it’s the Angels’ responsibility to step in and do what was in the best interest of the organization if they had put Albert Pujols on the Disabled List in the beginning of the season. Perhaps we would now have him available for a late postseason run, but as the old saying goes, hindsight is 20/20; however it would be impossible to argue that the Angels could not foresee the situation as a possible scenario. They should have done what they could to avoid this scenario from developing.

Bad Contracts

Ryan Madson, the Angels gave him $3 million for him to sit and do nothing. I questioned his contract from the very beginning. I personally would be very hesitant to sign a player coming off Tommy John surgery. He ended up not playing one inning for the Angels this season which ultimately led to his unconditional release. In other words, the organization paid a player $3 million to be a spectator. I wonder if the Angels’ organization would be willing to give me a 3 million dollar contract for just one season, I wouldn’t be able to play a single inning either, but at least the team can rest assured that my love for them is unconditional.

Josh Hamilton, for those of you that read my earlier entries, you know that I’m not a big fan of the Hamilton contract, $120 million over five years is a lot of money I had several concerns, my chief concern was his inability to handle a big market pressure situation, he is nowhere near the player the Angels expected to get, but the organization cannot say that they didn’t see this possibility developing. I publicly stated that this exact situation was a possibility, and I’m not a General Manager or a professional baseball scout.

A better business decision in both cases would have been to offer an incentive based contract given each player’s respective history. This type of contract would have protected the Angels’ long-term interest; unfortunately this wasn’t done in either case.

To exacerbate this matter even further, it has yet to be seen how these bad contract decisions affect the Angels ability to re-sign Mike Trout and lock him up to a long-term contract. If anybody deserves this type of money it is Trout, who in my humble opinion is the current and future face of the franchise much like Tim Salmon was in the 1990s and the early 2000s.

What is Mr. Moreno going to do? Obviously things cannot remain status quo; he has invested a lot of money in the long-term success of this team. I am sure he is very frustrated, I’m sure he knows that the Angels’ fan base is also very frustrated.

-ICE

Related Articles: http://angels.mlblogs.com/2012/12/13/josh-hamilton-trades-in-his-cowboy-hat-for-a-halo

http://angels.mlblogs.com/2013/05/09/keep-the-trum-bombs-coming

http://angels.mlblogs.com/2013/07/31/trying-to-fix-a-dim-halo

http://angels.mlblogs.com/2013/05/05/the-angels-use-the-home-run-boom-to-dodge-the-broom

http://angels.mlblogs.com/2012/12/12/zack-greinke-has-gone-from-being-anakin-skywalker-to-darth-vader

http://angels.mlblogs.com/2013/02/13/i-dont-want-peanuts-or-crackerjacks-give-me-the-baseball-glove-and-the-baseball-bat

http://angels.mlblogs.com/2012/12/07/youre-a-mean-one-mr-grinch

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