Baseball is back! The season begins tonight as the Red Sox host the defending World Champion New York Yankees. Unfortunately I think the Angels were a Fuentes 0-2 pitch away from being the defending World Champions this season. If Fuentes would have done what most little leaguers are instructed to do on an 0-2 count instead of giving A-Roid a pitch that he could clobber, the Halos would have come back to Anaheim for 3 games with a 1-1 split in New York. The Halos former closer Francisco Rodriguez would always throw his slider in the dirt on an 0-2 pitch. How I would have loved to have seen him doing that instead of Fuentes grooving one. My son even commented “I wonder who misses who more, Frankie the Angels or the Angels missing Frankie”.
Tomorrow night is the Angels season opener so it is time to move past what could have been last season. Opening Day is a special day for every team (well maybe not the Pirates, j/k). Tomorrow I’ll be participating in the flag ceremony on the field as I’ve done for many years now. It is a tradition carried on by the friends and family of my high school classmate Steve Ambriz. He was an Orange City Council member that was tragically killed by a driver under the influence on May 25, 2006.
I’ve got a five day weekend to celebrate the start of the season. I attended the two preseason games in Anaheim this week. On Thursday, my mother took me into a suite for Wells Fargo for the game against the Padres. We got autographs after the game from former Angel David Eckstein. On Friday, I had a tailgate with a classmate that I’ve known since elementary school. My son got a ball at the game which he was quite thrilled with.
I’m looking forward to the 2010 season. I was disappointed that the Halos let Lackey go. He has such a great pitching mentality. He is quite a gamer as illustrated by his reluctance to leave ALCS game 5 last year. I think the Halos made the right decisions with regards to Vladimir Guerrero and Chone Figgins. Figgins has been a complete disappointment in the postseason and he is now on a team where it won’t matter 🙂 I am excited to see what Brandon Wood can do this year and hopefully Kendry Morales can meet or exceed what he did last season.
It’s been a while since I’ve posted on my blog so there are a couple of offseason things that I want to update. In January, my friend Tom Duino ‘s wife Kathleen baked him a cake for his birthday. It is quite an impressive cake so I had to share it.
Another event that happened during the offseason was a visit to our little league fields from my favorite Halo player, Darin Erstad. Darin spent a couple of hours going to all of our fields and meeting with all of the players. He had signed photos that he handed out and he signed everything that the kids brought for him to sign. He posed for photos and everyone really enjoyed his visit. It was pretty amazing that he took the time for the kids and I couldn’t believe he brought 350 autographed photos for all of the players. They were all signed with his name and an inscription of “’02 WS Champs”. He also was kind enough to bring me a bat that he used when he was on the Angels. Darin is as great a guy off the field as he was on the field. Below are some photos from that day.
I received a copy of the 2010 Angels Promotional Schedule already. There are some great promotions for the upcoming season. Some of the more interesting include a couple of bobblehead nights (Aybar, Saunders, and a Kids Angels Snoopy bobblehead), a Torii Hunter Gold Glove figurine, an Angels garden gnome, an Angels candy jar, an all-star banner, and an Angels fedora. The kids get some pretty interesting giveaways that are strictly for kids including a pool raft, a Rally Monkey soap dispenser, an Angels pillow case, a camouflage hat, and an all-star jersey.
I created a PDF of the promotional schedule and it also include the 2010 season schedule for the Angels on page 2. Click here to download it.
The Angels have traded Gary Matthews Jr. to the Mets for reliever Brian Stokes. The Matthews signing was a terrible move by the Angels. I voiced my displeasure to anyone that would listen from the day it occurred. Unfortunately it sounds as though the Angels are going to be paying $21 million of the $23 million remaining on his contract.
I mentioned the trade and what a bad signing it was on Facebook today and one of my friends commented about Mo Vaughn being the worst Angels signing ever. Mo actually had two 30+ HR seasons for us but basically his signing will be remembered as a flop as well.
Ironically we traded Mo Vaughn to the Mets for a pitcher as well. We traded him for Kevin Appier before the 2002 season began. It was funny that Mo and Troy Percival exchanged words in the media after Mo’s departure. Percival stated that Erstad was the clubhouse leader and Vaughn’s leadership wouldn’t be missed. Mo shot back that they haven’t done anything, there ain’t no friggin’ flags at Edison Field. That first season without Mo changed that. The Angels of course did win the World Series that year, something that Mo never accomplished.
The Mets were also involved in what was undoubtedly the best ever trade in Angels franchise history. The Angels traded Jim Fregosi for Nolan Ryan. So perhaps it is a good omen that the Angels are making this trade with the Mets. Only time will tell.
It appears that there will be new batting practice caps for all MLB teams in 2010. I’m not sure why but the Yankees, Tigers, and Devil Rays have home and road variations. Click here to see all of the new caps.
Click here to go to the new Angels BP cap order link on mlb.com. Below is a photo of the new cap:
My wife called me home from work today because our game room was flooded with water. The second of three storms came through today and it was quite powerful. Tornado warnings were even issued which is a rarity in this area. I got off of the freeway and drove until I had to stop at a stoplight. I looked to my left and there was a full rainbow above the Big A. I grabbed my iPhone and took a quick snap. Below is the photo:
The Big A at Angel Stadium had a tribute up to Rory Markas today. Below is a photo I took while heading to the Anaheim Ducks game.
The Anaheim Ducks had a tribute on the scoreboard just before the Ducks-Red Wings game with a moment of silence and the following image:
Rory Markas, an Angels radio broadcaster when the Angels won the 2002 World Series has passed away. He was 54 years old. He had just been promoted to the television broadcast booth this offseason.
Rory’s famous call of the last out of the 2002 World Series: “Here’s the pitch to Lofton. Fly ball centerfield. Erstad says he’s got it. Erstad makes the catch. The Anaheim Angels are the champions of baseball”. The audio clip of this was immortalized in the Angels Talking Bottle Opener.
I’ve seen Rory interact with fans many times over the years and he was always a class act. It was very obvious how thankful he was to be in the position that he was. He was a great talent and will truly be missed.
I imagine that the Angels will probably wear a patch on their uniforms to commemorate Rory this upcoming season. Below is a design I put together that I think would be a fitting tribute. I added a little extra glow around the Halo. I think the patch should be rectangular to differentiate it from the diamond patch for Preston Gomez and the circular patch for Nick Adenhart that were worn on the 2009 Angels uniforms.