Back from Tempe!
A great time was had by all as AngelsWin.com members met up for a weekend of spring training games. It was awesome getting to see old friends and meet new ones for the first time in person during the dinner at "Hail Mary's".
A special "Thank You" to Angels broadcasters Terry Smith and Rex Hudler for stopping by. Smith & Hudler seemed to enjoy themselves quite a bit and us fans were very happy to have him. Rex held court, telling stories, signing autographs, posed for every picture and even left some messages on cell phones for those who didn't make the trip to Arizona.
Hud made my day posing for a photo while letting yours truly try on his 2002 World Series ring. Baseball geek fantasy fulfilled.
I also had time to sit down with Robert Goldman, former Angels bat-boy turned author who wrote one of the most insightful books about the Angels available called "Once They Were Angels". Robert has some great stories to tell, if you haven't gotten a copy of his book you're missing out. Here's hoping his Tim Salmon project becomes available to Angels fans as soon as possible.
If you have the chance to join us, we'll be back in AZ again in 2010. The next AngelsWin.com meet up will be in Anaheim over the July 4th holiday. Planning is already under way!
Catching up of the news. It appears the Angels may have a distraction on their hands as Gary Matthews Jr. finally plays the "playing time" card.
"I sacrificed by changing positions, not making a stink about it and playing when I was hurt, with a pretty significant injury," Matthews said. "I did what I was supposed to do and kept my mouth shut. "Now that I'm healthy, I want to go back to playing every day. I don't think anybody would fault me for that."
Maybe Matthews should have produced better than a .323 on base percentage in 2007 when he was healthy. Perhaps, like other players who get injured he should have produced when he was given the benefit of the doubt and allowed to stay in the line up in 2008.
There are plenty of players who grind it out and are still productive when injured. I can vividly recall Tim Salmon playing all season with plantar fasciitis and putting up his normal stats while it felt like he was standing on a nail all year. I can also recall Garret Anderson hitting .300 in 2004 while dealing with the same foot condition and trying to come to terms with a mysterious form of arthritis.
My take, the Angels did the correct thing signing Bobby Abreu. The team is much stronger with an outfield rotation featuring Abreu, Hunter, Guerrero and Juan Rivera. If Matthews wants playing time he should produce when given a chance (like he did in the Angels 12-5 win today over San Diego) and see how it works out for him. Or, maybe he should waive his no-trade clause and see what GM Tony Reagins can do for him. I guess I just don't appreciate his "sacrifice" of moving to left field when the Angels acquired one of the best defensive center fielders in the game.
Kelvim Escobar likes the Angels rotation. Once he and Santana return from injury it will be one of the deepest starting staffs in the game. John Lackey looks to be rounding into opening day shape cruising through 5 innings and 50 pitches today. Lyle Spencer takes a look at the competition for the two rotation spots currently up for grabs.
Hall Of Famer George Brett and his brother will be purchasing the Angels Cal League team, the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes.
On Wednesday the Angels will be in Glendale to take on the Chicago White Sox. Dustin Moseley will be getting the start.