It’s Not All Mike Scioscia’s Fault…Unfortunately

We received a very long email earlier today from an old friend in the know, something that proved worthy of sharing with our fellow, currently frustrated, Angel fans. The email came as an angry, personal, venting message and included a wide variety of Angel-related topics throughout this season and seasons past.

The message in no way was related to this shuttered blog, rather it was a like-minded exchange between two longtime Angel fans and friends, one a semi-retired baseball blogging hobbyist and the other a “baseball insider,” both of whom have spent the last decade ranting and raving to each other about topics ranging from baseball to (yes, honestly) male pattern baldness, and perhaps everything in between.

This is delicate territory, though. We asked if we could share the email on this site and were told that we could share the sentiment but not the actual message for fear of him being unmasked. Out of respect, we are obliging his request, but we also felt the need to share his sentiment because it’s very telling about what happened this season and, mostly, before and during the ALDS.

As succinctly as possible, all is not well internally with your favorite squad. The email guaranteed a Game 3 Angel loss and explained that this team cannot go forward as it currently exists because too many people, players, coaches, and management hate each other. This ALDS was entirely an issue of “chemistry,” with the team folding up over management’s questionable decisions headed into the ALDS.

The entire team, almost to a man, despises Josh Hamilton and would have preferred a Cowgill/Navarro platoon in LF. They do not respect Hamilton and do not want him on the team, let alone in the lineup. The rumors of relapse swirled through the clubhouse all year, and Hamilton never tried very hard to fit in with his teammates or to assuage their fears that he was not present and committed. It is no coincidence that the Angels played their best baseball while Hamilton was out of the lineup during much of the team’s hottest stretch of the season. The players very badly wanted to prove that they could win without Josh Hamilton and his moody, distant, indifferent, personally combative attitude(s). The rumors of relapses came in large part because of his erratic behavior, his general indifference, and his “druggie eyes.” Wow.

And as much as we were eager, and happy, to blame Mike Scioscia for playing Hamilton during the ALDS, today’s email made it abundantly clear that the order to play Hamilton came directly from Arte Moreno. Apparently, when you pay a guy $25 million per year, you feel some pressure to play him. Scioscia got into a very heated argument with DiPoto and Arte about playing Hamilton and found that, for Moreno, the issue was a non-starter, or a starter as it were. And thus was born the company line of Hamilton’s breakout potential. “Arte was more interested in Josh playing than was Josh.”

Similarly, Scioscia and Butcher wanted to start Santiago or Rasmus in place of CJ Wilson in Game 3 of the ALDS but were told that Wilson was their man because of his significant postseason experience, er, big contract. Scioscia and Butcher are of the opinion that CJ Wilson is not capable of throwing strikes and may never be again, that he’s done as a Major League starter and wouldn’t fit the lefty specialist bullpen role. Scioscia was so fed up with Wilson’s pitching that his dugout commentary while Wilson was on the mound during the regular season became a running gag filled with insults and profanity. The best team joke about CJ was that his big necklace was referred to as a “choke collar” behind his back. Ooh, harsh.

There is speculation among many in the organization that Scioscia’s return to the sacrifice bunt in game 1 of the ALDS was a direct needle at both DiPoto and Moreno for forcing him to play Hamilton (Scioscia only wanted him on the roster, in fact, as a bench bat) and start Wilson. After the Game 1 bunts failed so miserably, DiPoto and Arte were livid, especially DiPoto. From all indications, either DiPoto or Scioscia will be gone before the winter meetings; they cannot coexist and the attempts to force such have destroyed the team’s best World Series chance in the last decade.

Summarizing: Scioscia hates DiPoto. DiPoto hates Scioscia. Pujols hates Hamilton. Weaver hates Hamilton. DiSar hates Hamilton. Somewhat surprisingly, Scioscia hates Hamilton, too, and also Wilson. Weaver hates Wilson as well. It’s an absolute clubhouse mess that one longtime club employee described to our friend as, “like Terry Collins but with winning.” Ouch. Firing Mike Scioscia is an actual possibility at this point, despite the 98-win season.

At the end of the regular season, apparently, “two pitchers” nearly came to blows in the locker room, with only THREE players “interested in breaking it up.” Our friend was not told who the pitchers were. Guesses? Our guess is Weaver and Wilson (assumably after Wilson’s last, pathetic, regular season start) but we have no way of knowing for sure.

So, the sac bunts are clearly on Scioscia, as is starting CJ Cron all three games of the ALDS. But playing Hamilton and starting Wilson were not on Scioscia. And here we were blaming him for everything!

Who would have guessed that there was an entirely different meaning to “October drama?” Wow.

Next, Torri Hunter did not re-sign with the Angels directly because of Albert Pujols. Those two absolutely hated each other and Hunter’s contract was up while Albert’s 10-year albatross was just beginning. The two of them had to be separated at least twice during the 2012 season, with Hunter actively interested in kicking Pujols’ poohole ass to prove a point. Pujols didn’t like Hunter’s leadership style and Hunter didn’t like Pujols’. Pujols apparently also resented that Trout was leaning so heavily on Hunter rather than him. Between the emergence of Mike Trout in 2012 and Torri’s popularity with fans and media, Albert’s very fragile ego (“smallest dick in the locker room” for you meat peekers out there) could not handle it. Torri had to go for Pujols to be happy, which made Trout upset after that first season. Scioscia wanted Hunter back, he got Hamilton instead, and he’s not let DiPoto forget about that.

Last item, and this one’s a real doozy…almost unbelievable in a way but so intriguing as to elicit some wonderment. Pujols was [allegedly lawyer dude] tied up with Biogenisis! When MLB bought/stole the evidence and company records, Pujols was [allegedly, fact checker] implicated heavily. MLB was then faced with a very difficult decision. They enjoyed felling AROD over it, but Pujols was [totally allegedly as we're sure you by now understand] too big to fail, to be implicated, so MLB [yep, allegedly again] struck a deal with “Mr. Alcantara” that involved Albert [allegedly, totally allegedly] agreeing to miss the rest of the season with his “plantar fasciitis” injury (one that did not require surgery and one with which he was curiously, at the time, committed to playing), an unofficial and entirely precedented form of backchannel MLB suspension.

Arte, Albert, and MLB [of course allegedly] agreed to protect the product and, in the process “Mr. Alcantara.”

Caveat emptor: Since “Mr. Alcantara has never knowingly used performance enhancing drugs,” of course, we feel compelled to mention that these rumors of Albert Pujols being a lying, cheating, overly litigious asshole are exactly that…rumors. So we are not in any way suggesting that “Mr. Alcantara” used steroids while mentored by Mark McGwire, or that his decreased production of recent years is any way related to him protecting his legacy by giving up the juice. We give him the benefit of the doubt and know in our hearts that he must, given his birth certificate and pseudonym, be entirely legitimate. Did we mention that he totally gives money to charity and that he’s very religious and that has a special needs child? Really, we are just passing on some information that reminds us that there are some pretty interesting rumors…speculation…out there that some people (not us, of course…of course not us) find believable, or at least see as passing the PED sniff test. (Hello, Martin D. Singer, Esq., and thank you for joining us here at our mostly defunct Angel blog. Let us help you by reminding our readers that “Mr. Alcantara has never knowingly used performance enhancing drugs.”) We would also like to remind you that the St. Louis Cardinals were most likely incorrect about their concerns regarding “Mr. Alcantara’s” real age. Seriously, who in their right mind would possibly believe that “Mr. Alcantara” lied about his age or knowingly took PEDs? Certainly not us (Mr. Singer, you are a gracious and attentive and highly skilled attorney and we appreciate and respect all that you do for you client(s)).

Well, here’s to 2015 being a season of solid team chemistry and more winning…and less sweeps.

Go Halos!

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Scioscia Rides Cowgirl Into The Sunset…Hopefully

Mike Scioscia should be fired.

Colin Cowgirl should be released.

Josh Hamilton should never appear in another Angel game. Ever. Seriously, ever.

And Arte Moreno should eat a giant shit sandwich for thinking that Hamilton was a better fit than was Torii Hunter.

Think about it this way: The Angels are a $1B business…and they are being run by a stubborn, stupid, uneducated jackwagon like Scioscia.

The acquisitions of Pujols, Hamilton, and Wilson were the three worst free agent signings in the history of the organization, hands down.

It’s always been tough to be an Angel fan, with the exception of 2002-2009, but never more so than now. The reason the Angels don’t draw fans anymore is because they are a very, very difficult team to embrace. Other than Mike Trout, who is turning into more and more of an idiot meathead with each passing day (dude, you are going to get exactly one pitch to hit with your current approach, the first pitch of every at bat; swing your fucking bat you roided up fuckstick), who on this team is someone that the fans get behind…or would want to?

Arte, you’ve embarrassed yourself and the organization. Fuck off.

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Pujols’ 5-Hole

Take a new number, Mr. Pujols.

Put the current number up on the wall above right field, Mr. Moreno.

Problem solved righteously, various slumps busted.

Take it to the bank.

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The Mike Napoli Trade – Scioscia Weighs In

Well, we flicker the lights back on merely in order to vent again about the Mike Napoli trade and, lo and behold, visitors old and new find us. The traffic surge almost makes us want to make another go of this thing…

So we’ll do just that, at least for the duration of time that the entire baseball world is wondering how in the hell anyone jettisons a player like Mike Napoli. We received a few messages from readers yesterday lambasting us about the clarity of hindsight. Of course, we flickered the lights briefly at the time of the trade, too, to let everyone know that we thought it sucked, so we feel compelled, and justified, to pile on now.

Every real Angel fan knew that trade sucked. The Mike Napoli trade, in fact, sucked even before it involved the division-rival Rangers (remember, the Angels traded Napoli and Juan Rivera to Toronto for Vernon “Not So” Wells before the Rangers then made a separate trade with the Blue Jays to acquire Napoli). Napoli was the only Angel besides Bobby Abreu capable of working a count and drawing a walk. Mike Napoli was the only Angel capable of, say, stepping up in the ALDS and hitting two light-tower bombs off of Josh Beckett in Fenway. Mike Napoli was the only Angel who every fan knew deserved to be in the lineup every day against every kind of pitcher. Those of us who watch the Angels intently knew all of that; it could not have been more clear, which is why the consistent benching of Napoli by Mike Sciosica, during Napoli’s Angel tenure, was so damned maddening, and so obviously personal.

Scioscia chose Jeff Mathis over Mike Napoli, though Scioscia can easily explain that away by saying that it was more a product of Napoli lacking durability and the Angels being flush with first basemen (Kendrys Morales was at the time penciled in to return from his ankle injury and Mark Trumbo was waiting in the wings). Uh, okay, fine…then the Angels chose Mark Trumbo over Mike Napoli.

But, you know, Mark Trumbo’s a light-tower kind of guy, too, (even though he struggles so far to get on base…guy’s an out machine), so we’ll buy that for a moment. Then we’re left with the notion that the Angels are filled with aging outfielders, which makes the DH position reserved for, well, Bobby Abreu.

Well, then…the Angels chose Bobby Abreu over Mike Napoli.

The point is that Napoli, coming off a 2010 season in which he struggled a bit (curiously, though, he posted nearly identical offensive numbers in 2010 as did Abreu), was still far and away the Angels best power threat. Added to that, Napoli was the only player aside from Abreu able to go deep into counts consistently and even draw walks.

So the Angels had exactly one player who could both work counts and hit for power. One. Ironically, everyone in baseball recognized that those two skills were exactly what the team was so sorely lacking.

So the Angels traded him. And no amount of justification can change that fact. It was an awful trade that made no sense then and it’s obviously looking now as though it might be the worst trade in Angel history (and that’s actually really saying something).

The fact is that Mike Scioscia fucked this up beyond comprehension, beginning in 2008 when he decided that Jeff Mathis was his guy. Mathis doesn’t hit and he doesn’t throw runners out…never has. But, still, he was Scioscia’s guy.

And now Scioscia is telling bald-faced lies to try to justify all of this. He and Napoli did indeed “butt heads,” on numerous occasions, both directly and indirectly (Scioscia alternated between dressing Naps down and staring him down). Scioscia consistently rode Napoli about defense and used the bench to dole out the punishment for perceived defensive transgressions/shortcomings. Scioscia is a master of old-school baseball double-speak but he’s fooling nobody with this, not even as he tries to take implicit potshots at Naps.

The fact remains that Mike Scioscia, purportedly the best evaluator of catching talent in the game, has watched this year’s and last year’s World Series from home while his former catchers have played critical roles in each of those Series. And this seems like a good time to mention, too, that in one of the biggest games in Angel history, he had Josh Fucking Paul behind the plate.

Step up and be a man, Scioscia. This is about Napoli’s catching, even though it shouldn’t be and even though you’re trying to pretend that it wasn’t. As the Angels’ gatekeeper, you chose to make a stand about catching defense rather than simply acknowledge that Napoli deserved to be in the offensive lineup no matter what, be it as first baseman, DH, or catcher. In an organization where there is such a critical dearth of key offensive talent, there is simply no excuse for scuttling a player like Napoli (who even in his weakest year (2010) led the team in slugging).

It’s inexcusable, Mr. Scioscia, so please stop trying. You’ve reached the point now where you’re insulting everyone’s intelligence, insisting that you didn’t butt heads with Naps, that you’re “just a manager,” and that we should only judge this trade after “a couple years.”

You blew the Mike Napoli trade, pure and simple. Just admit it already and then give Mike Napoli his due. And when you do, go ahead and let everyone know what both the statistics show and everyone’s eyes can see:

The sad and ironic truth is that Mike Napoli is actually a better defensive catcher than is Jeff Mathis.

Okay, now let’s go ahead and accept as fact that anyone who has Josh Paul in that game AND thinks that Jeff Mathis is a better baseball player than Mike Napoli, is no better an evaluator of catching talent than anyone else in the game (and, in fact, his superiority complex on the subject may just make him worse). Heaven help Hank Conger, who must now be the most anxious catcher in all of baseball.

Tony Reagins, Ken Forsch, Gary Sutherland, how many scapegoats does it take to put this awful trade to bed?

You’re not fooling anyone here, Scioscia, and you’re only making yourself look pathetic in your attempts. One catcher with the “intangibles” is not more important than an offensive lineup capable of getting on base. We sure hope that, if nothing else, you’ve learned that lesson in all of this…lord knows the Angels need you to learn that lesson.

Of course, Scioscia is too proud a man to ever admit any of this. Just as he defended the Josh Paul fiasco to the bitter end (and still will) while quietly abandoning his strategic 3-catcher roster, he will continue to posture about this Mike Napoli trade.

Yeah, let’s look at this trade in “a couple years,” when Vernon Wells is even older, and see what it looks like then. Great idea.

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Mike Napoli – Fireable Offense

The Angels essentially forced Tony Reagins to resign his postion as GM, with many inferring the reason to be his orchestration of the worst trade in Angel history.

But every baseball person alive knows that Mike Scioscia runs the Angels, both on the field and off, at least in terms of baseball personnel. That trade is on Scioscia (even if we give him the maximum benefit of the doubt, his favoring of Jeff Mathis over Mike Napoli over the last few seasons enabled Reagins to view Napoli as somehow expendable).

So why the free pass?

It could be argued that Mike Napoli should be the AL MVP. But it cannot be argued that he should be anything but the World Series MVP of 2011.

There’s no doubt whatsoever that Mike Scioscia ran Mike Napoli right out of Anaheim.

With Mike Napoli representing everything that the Angels need offensively, and Mike Sciosica so belligerently anachronistic about what defines a good offensive baseball player, it’s readily apparent that Scioscia’s stubbornness has cost the Halos the best offensive talent that the organization has developed since Tim Salmon. Worse, though, Scioscia’s opinion that Jeff Mathis is more valuable to the Angels than was Mike Napoli makes him look like one of the worst talent evaluators in baseball. Hyperbole? Not at all. Simple fact. That decision cost the Angels the wild card…at the least…and handed the team’s division rival the World Series championship.

Scioscia had a great run for a few years LAST DECADE. And now it’s quite clear that his brand of baseball simply doesn’t compete in the modern game (though it can clearly overachieve in the modern game). Stubbornly, though, he sticks to his guns in the face of all contrary evidence.

Thanks for 2002, Mike…it was great.

Now, please go back to the Dodgers with that 1960s/1970s brand of Dodger baseball. It simply doesn’t work anymore.

Jeff Mathis?  Seriously, Jeff Mathis? No, really…Jeff Mathis?

Who in, or out of, the baseball world ever thought that Jeff Mathis was a better option than Mike Napoli? What scout thought that? What SABRmetrician thought that? What GM thought that? Only one man in the entire world ever thought that.

It’s disgusting, it exemplifies Scioscia’s lack of intelligence and stubborn-headedness, and it should result in the man being sent packing.

It would in any other line of work.

Nobody else will say it, but we will…

FIRE MIKE SCIOSCIA.

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Just A Quick Halo

Before you get too excited, or too disappointed…

No, this post out of nowhere is of no significance. We’re not putting the band back together, we’re not dusting this thing off, we’re not clearing the cob webs.  Sorry.

We received an e-mail from a visitor (yes, we still have those nearly two years after shuttering) today informing us that we were using a photo of his and demanding money to keep using that photograph.

So we were reminded that this dusty little blog sits here at a time when many of us Angel fans are becoming restless, what with pitchers and catchers reporting in only a few short weeks. So, we owe thanks to the assclown who’s currently slumming defunct websites in hopes of collecting royalties on a by no means extraordinary photograph. Without you, we may have never posted here again…and we certainly would never have changed the header image.  Now we’ve done both…

Even though we actually didn’t have to…that’s just how we are.

Couple of quick thoughts for any of you still with this blog on your RSS feed:

1. The 2010 Angel season was torturous, but at least the bandwagon bounced around enough that a few stragglers were shaken off.

2. Surprise to us, but Vladimir Guerrero, washed-up as even we thought he was, was the difference-maker in the AL West. On that basis alone, he could have easily been the AL MVP. Maybe should have been. It still hurts our knees to watch him play, but he somehow stuck it to Moreno something big, in a way that probably didn’t get the coverage it deserved. We still think that a Vladimir puppet could bring the Kohner puppet company a resurgence…any athlete with bad knees sort of reminds us of a Kohner puppet. No, they don’t drug test here.

3. It sure is difficult to see a player like Napoli go. Either Mike Scioscia really is as obtuse as he seems when it comes to quality offensive players or it was personal. We’re actually supporting the latter of those two theories. We have it on very good authority that Scioscia saw Napoli’s hard-partying ways as standing in the way of him becoming an adequate defensive catcher, or at least that he was dedicated too much to drinking and not enough to defense.  Two stubborn-headed meatheads, really, failing to see the other’s perspectives.

4. The Angels won’t compete for Carl Crawford but they’ll take on the contract of Vernon Wells? Well, at least Wells tears the cover off of the ball at Angel Stadium. Oh, wait, he doesn’t at all; he has a career .607 OPS in Anaheim. Hmmm. What an interesting trade.

5. We’re having a go on Twitter. No guarantees there because life and a real job beckon…

Before we switch the lights off again for awhile…

Go Halos!

NT

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Loyal Readers

The loyalty of our readers continues to astound us.  Three months after deciding to take this prolonged respite, we still receive comments and e-mail imploring us to resume our blogging activities.

Fear not, loyal readers, we are planning a return.  Details at this point remain unclear, but we will be back….perhaps even soon.

Thank you for continuing to check in and, most of all, for remembering us.

We look forward to bringing you what you’re looking for.

In the meantime, of course….

Go Angels!

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