Series Preview in Blog: Los Angeles Angels (3/31-4/03)

Light at the end of the tunnel
We’re almost there. (Image from Michael Cook)

It’s finally here. Opening Day! We’ve survived another winter without baseball. All winter long, we look forward to pitchers and catchers reporting, not because we really want to see starting pitchers throw two innings and call it a day, but rather because it means that opening day is another step closer. Spring training has always seemed like a concession to me. The fans would rather have more “real” baseball, but the players can’t be expected to just jump back in without a little bit of warm-up first. Actually, I bet some players wouldn’t mind a little less spring training either, but instead we all settle for an appetizer of spring training before we get to the good stuff. So, as has happened for years upon years, we eagerly await the team coming north to start the season.

That’s the thing about baseball. It is history, one of the joys of being a baseball fan is relating stories of the awesome feats that we witnessed. Whether it was Johan’s 17K game, or the 2006 miracle run of the Twins, we’re saving those memories for people who come after us who didn’t get to witness them in person. The coolest thing is that baseball history is getting longer and longer. Every year we add another season, and sometimes we find that baseball goes back a little bit further than we originally thought. Here’s a story of one of the oldest known baseball games, which occurred in 1843 and was hosted by the New York Magnolia Ball Club, not Abner Doubleday or Alexander Cartwright. It includes this image of a baseball game from around the same time, and this quote from Michael Walsh, one of the founders of the New York Magnolia Ball Club:

[P]arties of whole-souled fellows are going to express their gratitude to Heaven for its manifold blessings, to-morrow, by playing ball and eating chowder. They could not have selected a more appropriate and sensible method of doing it, as a man is never on so good terms with his God and fellow men, as when he is enjoying himself in healthy and rational manner.

So, grab a bowl of chowder and let’s start this thing off with a look at the Twins first opponent of the ’08 season, the LA Angels.

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Spring Training in Blog: Part III

Even though I’m still reeling from having my mind blown upon reading the solution to one of the great mysteries of our time, I will still soldier on to provide you with some interesting/amusing/inane links.

So, if you don’t have plans to go try out for the team and experience spring training up close, follow along and we’ll do the next best thing.

Now we’re starting to get to the point where people are starting to try to assess how the teams are shaping up. Their isn’t a lot of information to be had, so the ideal form is something quick and snappy, (say about 3 lines and about 17 syllables). The whole AL Central division gets the haiku treatment from Babes Love Baseball (Twins, Indians, White Sox, Royals, Tigers). If its good enough for Joe Posnanski, then I guess everyone loves a good preview in haiku, right? I guess not.

There’s still only been a few games played, so reckless extrapolation is still a dangerous game to play, lest you let your expectations get too high. It can be pretty easy to read too much into just a few at-bats or innings pitched, but mostly you just need to learn to laugh at yourself. If he can laugh after giving up 3 straight homers, I’d say Kevin Gregg is doing just fine at keeping an even keel. Of course, even if the games don’t mean anything, it’s never too early to start getting some bad blood boiling.

Spring Training marches on, pretty soon we’ll have cuts and demotions to analyze and deconstruct. Lineups will begin to set themselves up, in the optimal fashion, or perhaps less than that. Either way, we can always rely on Encyclopedia Sabermetric Brown, to help us sort it all out.

Fifty – A Family Vacation

Scrapbooks.

Old pictures and tickets of things that I did as a child. Family vacations in the summer, and the games we would play to pass the time on the long drive out to wherever we were going.

Fifty – A Family Vacation (@ Scrawlers)

Minnesota (first)

Iowa, Michigan, Dakotas, Nebraska, Wisconsin, Kansas (nearby)

California, Texas, Florida, New York, New Jersey, Ohio, Illinois (well populated)

Louisiana, Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia, Arkansas (Southerners travel)

Indiana, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Kentucky (big enough)

Kansas, Arizona, Missouri, New Mexico, Oklahoma (close enough)

Heading west, Colorado, Montana, Wyoming, Idaho, Utah, Nevada, Oregon, Washington (easy)

Conversely, New Hampshire, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Vermont, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts (rare treats)

Hawaii (Mount Rushmore, a long drive from Honolulu)

Throw in Alaska, two Carolinas, two Virginias; only one remains.

In a parking lot unremarkable to anyone else, a license plate declares ironically, “Delaware, The First State”.

Fifty!