Thank You…And Goodnite.

Well, in strange and interesting developments, I am shuttering this thing once and for all. This will represent my final post.

Go ahead and consider everything I ever wrote here complete and total bullshit; it would help everyone immensely. Just pretend that I live in my mom’s basement and made every last thing up. I’m just another anonymous fool on the internet (I seriously do not care at all if you know who I am, I really only ever thought Nolan Tanana and Daryl Sconiers were funny pen names (yes, that was me too)).

I’m a hack. I’m a highly opinionated Angel fan from way back who loves (loved) to write about the Angels. There’s no more to it than that anymore.

I am now but a memory, lurking very quietly at all of the Angel sites, retired from this forever.

Thank you for reading the good, the bad, all of it.

Go Halos!

NT

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Letting The Angel Dust Settle

I waited a few days. I didn’t play over there anyway (yes, the answer is yes), so it didn’t really affect me. I’ve been shuttered here for awhile, too, so I wouldn’t think it would affect me.

Or, at least I didn’t think it did. I can’t tell you how many people emailed or texted to ask if I had come out of hibernation without telling them. People actually thought that was me, which I took as unfortunate because that pained and forced and garbled and, frankly, uneducated voice was the primary reason I didn’t play over there to begin with (total lurker, I admit). And, of course, I’m compelled to note the irony of an admitted alcoholic attacking another over the fallout of addiction.

Insofar as I can, however, I agree with the funny little red-haired alcoholic, accidentally ironic, now highly toxic, Ronald McDonald-inspired, aged, piss-poor excuse for a punk rocker.

I said all along, from his signing to his flame-out, when asked (and sometimes when not asked) about Josh Hamilton, “never fucking trust a junkie.” That doesn’t mean that you can’t know one or love one or value one or wish one wasn’t the way they are. You just can’t trust them. And anyone trying to tell you differently has never been around one. I learned the hard way.

I’ve lost friends, good, long time good friends, to heroin addiction. I’m not insensitive. I don’t wish any ill upon Josh Hamilton. In fact, I hope he recovers and I hope he returns to being one of the best fucking baseball players on the planet. I truly hope that, even if it ends up being for the Texas Rangers.

Unfortunately, that is not going to happen because currently his wealth serves as the ultimate enabler for his addictive personality…and that’s only while he’s not hitting. Because when he’s hitting, there is not a single MLB franchise that would not put him in their lineup, drugs or no.

What am I saying? I’m saying that Josh Hamilton’s successes in baseball came not from being sober as the sappy narrative incessantly implied, Josh Hamilton’s success came because the Texas Rangers stumbled onto the best possible formula for Josh Hamilton’s success:

THEY JUST DIDN’T CARE THAT HE WAS ALWAYS HIGH.

You see, cocaine is really only a problem for the people that can’t afford it. If you can afford cocaine, and stay just on this side of the fence that is choking to death on your own vomit or sudden cardiac arrest, you can do cocaine every fucking day, all fucking day until you have to catch up with sleep and sanity before starting the whole cycle anew. And, again, if you can afford the financial aspect, and are willing to tolerate the come down (the “caine-over”) when it’s necessary (and only when it’s fucking necessary), cocaine can be your absolute best friend. And cocaine is Josh Hamilton’s best friend!

Oh…but all of the tests. Right, the tests. Yeah, those tests.  Not only is MLB’s testing ineffective, Josh Hamilton’s high-quality cocaine is through his system fast and I assure you he is really, really expert at cheating tests. That’s a great combination. And on the rare occasion that there is a chance of overlap and a positive test? Just know the rules of the JDA and be sure to admit your use prior to the test. He’s a fucking cocaine junkie and has been for years. It was part of the Texas Rangers clubhouse culture (looking at you Ron Washington), at least to some degree, and who among us is willing to ignore the (sorry in advance) “sniff test” and surmise that Josh Hamilton and Ron Washington never stumbled onto their shared proclivities for hookers and coke?

Okay, basically, Josh Hamilton was and is a junkie, and can’t be trusted. He probably is headed down a road, especially now that he’s further enabled, that will lead nowhere good. Mark my words, he will not be playing baseball for the Texas Rangers by August. Whether it’s a full-blown drug meltdown or a positive test or just a feigned injury necessitating geographically and emotionally distant rehab, he’s done, regardless of whether the Rangers continue to look the other way. His window of performing at that level of both world-class hitter and world-class junkie has closed. He is faced with a very difficult decision right now and from all appearances is choosing world-class junkie.

So, yes, the funny little circus-freak who couldn’t throw a baseball across the diamond to save his life and takes everything written more personally than it was ever intended, was sort of right this time. It’s just that he wrote from a personally dickish, totally butt-hurt, fan-boy fucking shriek that made it seem as though he felt that he and his wife were personally slighted and owed the actual U.S. dollars to Josh Hamilton. And, of course, it might have helped his cause had he shared with, or possibly reminded, his audience that it takes a junkie to know a junkie. But he didn’t do any of that because he was never really that good at what was basically a second or third job…or more aptly a hobby.

Truth be told, I was always a bit creeped out by that type of fellow Angel fan. I always excused my Angel passions as an extension of my baseball passion. The fact that I could play the game a little, and had been obsessed all along on that basis, made it seem more real. I know…that totally makes me an asshole. Whatever. When you bang the drum that loudly, dye your hair bright red, shriek at anyone who disagrees with you, look down your nose at fellow addicts, essentially embrace the role of creepy internet freak while not even bothering to really note how bizarre and worrisome the whole schtick is, well, the superiority complex begins to suggest an instability not far off of the brazen headlines. Sorry. That type of persona requires that you recognize the inherent irony in it all, have some fun with it, and maybe make it just a bit lighter…or else you look like a flaming red-haired douchey asshole with too loud a voice and too many unfortunate readers.

Ok…last thing in this post from, ah, yes, left field, where the Angel dust apparently gathers…

If you have any doubts whatsoever that Josh is using, have another look at that video above. I mean, he looks awfully “comfortable,” doesn’t he? He looks like a guy very happy to be back where everyone knows he’s high and nobody cares. See, accountability? That’s what this whole thing was about, it just wasn’t written very well. But watch that video and tell me more about “fan fiction.”

Enjoy that one, Mr. Daniels.

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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 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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