Wednesday, August 31, 2011

By David Saltzer, Senior Writer

How did you get to your last Angels game? Did you drive over Ortega Highway? Did you sit in traffic near Prado Dam? Did you enter the stadium off of Katella?

As you were driving to the stadium, did you ever wonder why Orange County ended up the way it did or how some of the places in the County got their names? Would it surprise you to know that Orange County was once part of the Wild West or helped the Union Army in the Civil War by producing wool for uniforms?

If you are like most people, history probably did not come easy to you. Think back to when you were in elementary school—were most of your history lessons just memorizing a bunch of names and dates?

What if you had the chance to change that for kids today? Would you do it? Would you want to make history exciting and fun?

Luckily, you have that chance right now. The Gift of History is an educational program designed to make history come alive for Orange County’s school children. All of Orange County’s 3rd grade students (over 35,000 total students!) are going to come to Angels stadium on Tuesday, November 8th, to attend an event to learn all about Orange County.

Each student in attendance will be given a copy of the book Nothing Rhymes with Orange, written by Stan Oftelie, which tells the story of how Orange County changed from its founding days up to one of the largest and wealthiest counties in the country. It’s a great and easy read, written for 3rd graders—but parents will find it just as fun. In it, you can learn all sorts of facts about the county, such as how Anaheim ended up with a German sounding name or how Katella started out as a dirt road named for John B. Rea’s daughters and ended up as a major road in Orange County. Along the way, you will meet many of Orange County’s cast of interesting characters, from Uncle Billy Spurgeon (the ‘49er who founded Santa Ana) and Dick Harris (the first Sheriff in Orange County who had an “unfortunate accident”) to John Wayne, Gene Autry and Arte Moreno.

Think about the energy that 35,000 3rd graders will bring to Angels stadium. For most, it may be their first trip ever to see the stadium. There will be representatives from all sorts of industries, such as Disney and the Angels, as well as many local public figures. It will be certified by the Guinness Book of World Records as the largest history lesson ever! If you thought that the snuggly blanket or wrestling mask events had energy, this will blow them out of the water.

With schools starting up across Orange County, now is the time to help with the Gift of History. As we all know, schools are short on money. Most do not have money for field trips. But, history, especially local history, needs to be taught outside of the classroom. Children learn best when they are engaged, and what better way to engage them than to bring them all together and to see how vast and how great the County really is.

You can help make this happen by donating to the Gift of History by clicking on this link. A donation of $10 is enough to support one child with transportation to and from the event and a copy of the book. For $350, you can support an entire classroom. And, for $1,000, you can support an entire school!

To give Angels fans an idea of the types of things that they can learn about Orange County, sat down with Stan Oftelie, the author of Nothing Rhymes with Orange. In our conversation, he tells us about how the early history of the team, how they came to Orange County, and how the stadium got built. For Angels fans, this is a must watch. Click here to watch our interview.
Consider this: Every Angels fan knows how important 2002 was to the team and to the community. But, today’s entering 3rd graders were born in 2003! To them, it’s just a bunch of history. If we fail to impart on them the importance of all the great things that have happened in Orange County, or why things came to be, it will be lost. They might not know who John Wayne was or why he was important. And, they might not know how Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer ended up creating a World Champion baseball team.

With just a couple of months until this event, please consider donating today. Click here to help however you can.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Jean Segura Returning to 66ers Lineup, Adam Younger Released by Angels

San Bernardino, CA – The Inland Empire 66ers have their starting shortstop back. Jean Segura is returning to the California League partner of Angels Baseball for the stretch run of the 2011 season as well as the upcoming playoff run.

Segura last played for Inland Empire May 27th. He has missed the last three months with a strained left hamstring. Segura was hitting .276 with three home runs, 19 RBI and, what was at the time, a team high 18 stolen bases before succumbing to injury.

In a corresponding move, infielder Adam Younger has been released by Angels baseball. Younger hit .236 for Inland Empire in 61 games. His seven home runs were fifth on the team this season. He leaves the Angels farm system with a lifetime batting average of .229, 110 career RBI and 103 career runs in 251 games.

The Inland Empire 66ers have a four game homestand to wrap the 2011 regular season. The series starts Friday at Arrowhead Credit Union Park as Inland Empire hosts the Stockton Ports. On Saturday, September 3rd, Inland Empire will host a Heroes Night, featuring a post game fireworks extravaganza. Tickets are on sale now both at the 66ers box office and online at Playoff ticket information is also available at the 66ers box office. For more information on the Inland Empire 66ers please contact Sam Farber, Director of Broadcasting, at 909-495-7632.

By David Saltzer, Senior Writer

Daniel Tillman was the winning pitcher as the IE 66ers clinched their first ever playoff appearance as an Angels affiliate. A rising star in the Angels organization, Tillman has pitched in a variety of roles for the Angels as he progressed up the ranks this year.

Taken in the 2nd round of the June, 2010 draft (81st overall), Tillman emerged as a closer with a power arm. With 10 Saves and 50 Ks in 32.1 IP in 2010, Tillman shut the door on the opposition, holding them to a .195 BAA and a 1.02 WHIP.

At the start of 2011, the Angels tried converting him into a starter to take advantage of his power arm. However, unlike teammate John Hellweg, the move to the rotation did not go as well for Tillman, and he returned to the pen. Recently promoted to the IE 66ers, Tillman had just taken over the closers role for the team when he earned the win to clinch a playoff spot. recently spoke with Tillman to learn more about his year to date as both a starter and reliever. Click below to watch our interview with another rising star. Interviews 66ers Reliver Daniel Tillman from on Vimeo.

By David Saltzer, Senior Writer

In their first season as an Angels affiliate, the IE 66ers clinched a playoff spot in perfect fashion. In the top of the 9th inning of a scoreless game, and one out, Kole Calhoun come through with his second hit of the night. He reached second on a passed ball and scored the winning run on a single by Casey Haerther.

All season long, Kole Calhoun has been an offensive standout for the IE 66ers. With a .321/.412/.538, Calhoun is 4th in the Cal League in OB% and 6th in both BA and SLG. He’s 4th in the league in walks with 73 and 7th in the league with 21 HRs. Calhoun brings some speed to the table with 19 SBs and 5 triples on the season.

Drafted in the 8th round of the 2010 draft (264th overall), Calhoun was a 4th year senior out of Arizona State. The left-hander has risen rapidly through the Angels organization, and might have earned a promotion to Double-A Arkansas earlier in the month if he had not been injured. recently spoke with Calhoun to learn more about this rising star in the organization. Click below to watch our interview. Interviews IE 66ers OFer Kole Calhoun from on Vimeo.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Team to Open Postseason Wednesday, September 7th

San Bernardino, CA – The 66ers are heading to the postseason for the first time since 2008. A 1-0 win over Stockton on Monday night has clinched Inland Empire a spot in the playoffs in the team’s first season as an affiliate of Angels’ baseball.

Inland Empire will open the post season on Wednesday, September 7th against the Lake Elsinore Storm with home field advantage still to be determined in the final week of the season. The team with the better overall record between the two rivals will host the final two games of the three game series. The team with the weaker record will host the opener on Wednesday the 7th.

Inland Empire still has four home games left in the 2011 regular season, including Heroes night on Saturday, September 3rd which includes a post game fireworks extravaganza. Fans can receive tickets for the remainder of the 2011 season, including all remaining giveaway dates, with the purchase of full season tickets for 2012. More information can be found online at or by calling into the box office at (909)888-9922.

For more information on 66ers baseball, contact Inland Empire 66ers Director of Broadcasting Sam Farber at (909) 495-7632.

Crowd Seats (, the first Daily Deals site for Sports Tickets, has just launched their second deal for Los Angeles/Orange County and it's a great one for Angels Fans! They're offering Right Field MVP Tickets for Monday, September 5th (Labor Day) against the Seattle Mariners for 50% off face value, with no added fees and free shipping. Face Value for these great seats are $26 and Crowd Seats has them for $13 - that's an unbeatable deal.

Crowd Seats is the newest Daily Deals site in Los Angeles/Orange County and is the first and only site of it's kind to specialize in sports tickets at 50% off or more. Think of it as the Groupon for Sports Tickets! It's free to sign up, all it takes is an email address, and you'll be the first to know about amazing deals like Angels Tickets at 50% off. Crowd Seats makes it affordable to attend live sporting events in Los Angeles and show your hometown spirit without busting your wallet.

Today's deal only lasts 24 hours so act fast! Just go to and you'll be able to get in the crowd and cheer on your Angels for 50% off - with no fees or shipping! 13 Bucks for Amazing Seats - you can't beat that. Just got word from the owner of the site that these are really great seats as well - Rows A-D (first 4 rows)!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

By Scott Stedman - Minor League Reporter

Salt Lake - First baseman Efren Navarro stays red hot over the weekend! 4 home runs in his last 8 games, 6 hits over the weekend, no matter how you look at it, he is on fire. His OPS on the season has now climbed to above .850 for the first time all year. Andrew Romine has also been swinging a hot bat. He is hitting .359 in his last 10 including 4 doubles. His great defense and eye could make him a useful MLB bench player eventually. None of the pitching performances in the last couple of days were noteworthy.

Arkansas - The buzz around Arkansas has been the relief corps, namely Loek Van Mil, Robert Fish and David Carpenter. Van Mil tossed 2 more scoreless innings on Friday. He has pitched 22 straight shutout innings! This in turn, has lowered his ERA to 1.76. Robert Fish himself has thrown 8 scoreless innings in a row. The lefty reliever, who can touch 100 MPH on the radar gun, has struck out 40 hitters in just 28 innings for the Travs. Finally, David Carpenter kept his 0.00 ERA for Arkansas continuing his scoreless innings streak to 18. Carpenter between IE and Arkansas this year has a 0.58 ERA. I would be surprised if we didn't see 1, 2 or all 3 of those guys when the rosters expand.

Inland Empire - It looks as if 20 year old outfielder Randal Grichuk is finally healthy and back to his normal self. Since being called up to the IE, he is hitting .292 with 3 doubles. If he has a very good final 2 weeks of the season, you could see him in Arkansas at some point next year. Johnny Hellweg, coming back from a blister which sent him to the DL, threw 4 innings of 1 run ball and struck out 8. He has 104 strike outs in just 84 innings!

Cedar Rapids - It's tough to find the bright spots on the Kernels these days, though a few players do stand out. Catcher Francis Larson is hitting .365 since joining the club from Orem. Larson, a 23 year old drafted this year, has a .902 OPS which leads the team by a large margin. Lefty Reliever Dakota Robinson now has a 2.97 ERA and has struck out 61 hitters while walking just 13.

Orem - On Sunday, Taylor Lindsey was named the Pioneer League MVP. His .370 average is near the top of the league. He also has 9 home runs, and an OPS over 1.000, all as a 19 year old. Congrats to Taylor! This weekend however, was all about the starting pitching for the Owlz. Lefty Ryan Crowley started it off on Friday night. The 20 year old threw the best game of his young career, going 5.2 innings just 2 hits and 0 runs while striking out 5 and walking none. Nick Maronde was next, going 6 innings, 1 run, 9 strikeouts and just 1 walk. Crowley's ERA is now at 3.19 while Maronde's is a meager 1.96.

AZL Angels - The AZL Angels will conclude their season on Monday. Jean Segura finished his rehab hitting .400 (looks like he's healthy). If he is indeed feeling okay, he should join the 66ers for the final 2 weeks of the season. Outfielder Chevy Clarke is finishing strong, now hitting a respectable .221. Hopefully he can continue this success into next year where he figures to be in a hitters league in Orem. Mike Scioscia's son, Matthew hit .239, but the real question is, how was hit squat?

DSL Angels - The Angels won the DSL championship on Saturday, defeating the Mariners. 20 year old Jean Carlos Santiago dominated the Mariners, tossing 8 1/3 innings of 1 run ball picking up the "World Series" win. Many consider this DSL team of the Angels one of the most talented teams to hit the DSL in years.

Prospect of the weekend - Jean Carlos Santiago

By Andre Castillo - Feature Columnist

Wow, is Peter Bourjos a great story or what? Just look at these numbers:

Stat line
(combines AVG/OBP/SLG, league average appx. 315)
(defense, min. 700 innings)
Bsr (baserunning)
Peter Bourjos '2011

I know this is Greek to many of you (bear with me!), so to give you an idea of how just good these numbers are, let's look at some rankings:

(defense, min. 700 innings played)
Bsr (baserunning)
Angels team ranking
MLB ranking among CF

On the Angels, Petey trails only Howie Kendrick in wOBA and WAR (who, it should be noted, has been the Angels' most valuable everyday player by a good margin, both in offense and defense).

In the majors, Petey has the best defense of all center fielders with at least 700 innings played using UZR/150. UZR/150 is a little different than UZR, which tries to measure the raw number of runs a fielder saves with his glove. UZR/150 prorates that raw number over the course of 150 games, which helps Bourjos a bit since he missed some time and otherwise would trail Jacoby Ellsbury when you look at only raw UZR.

Regardless, the fact remains -- Bourjos clearly deserves to win a gold glove. (It should also be noted that Brett Gardner has posted a much higher UZR than both him and Ellsbury, however, which means that there will be stiff competition for the award even among the statistically inclined).

Looking at Bourjos's WAR rankings, we can see that Bourjos has been one of the most valuable center fielders in all of baseball, and the 6th-most valuable CF overall. This is saying something. Just look at the All-Star cast of characters he currently trails: MVP-candidate Jacob Ellsbury (6.8 WAR), Matt Kemp (6.4 WAR), another MVP-candidate in Curtis Granderson (6.2), another (less-heralded) MVP-candidate in Shane Victorino (6.0), and then another soon-to-be MVP-candidate in Andrew McCutchen (5.6). Then there's Petey at 4.1. That's it.

That's elite company Bourjos is keeping, and I don't think he even realizes it.

Much of this is driven by his defense, and anyone whose seen Bourjos play knows his defense is simply spectacular. But my favorite part of the story right now is his hitting. He's already  become the second best hitter on the Angels, according to weighted on-base average (wOBA), which combines the standard AVG/OBP/SLG slash line into one weighted statistic. It is amazing in that he has shown so much progress since his slow start last year and earlier this year. But, to be honest, it's also a little disheartening because part of it is that the other Angels have done so little at the plate this year (Kendrick is 1st with a .358 wOBA, then Petey, followed by Branyan (.338), Hunter (.328), and Trumbo (.327)). At the least, It certainly reinforces how valuable Petey's two-way skills are to this team.

But Bourjesus's bat isn't just good by Angels' standards. If you look at another statistic that I'm about to introduce, you can see that he has been a clearly above-average bat not just for an Angel, not just for a center fielder, but by any measure. That stat is wRC+. wRC+ is like wOBA but with one difference -- it regresses the numbers according to the league average that year on a scale of 100. So if you have a wRC+ of 100, you are a league average hitter that year. If it is above 100, you are better than average, and below 100 is below average. This makes it really easy to see how a player is doing compared to league average for all hitters. Bourjos's wRC+ this year is a very solid 116.

But it wasn't always like this.

Petey started off the fear pretty well, but had an awful month of May. So bad that by by June 1st, Petey overall was hitting a lousy AVG/OBP/SLG of .236/.292/.382, with an OPS of .674. Today, he's hitting .280/.331.448 with an OPS of .779. So what happened?

The first thing that comes to mind when someone tanks like this is that OBP -- they're not seeing enough pitches. They need to be more patient and take more walks, you would think. Interestingly enough, this doesn't explain what went wrong with Bourjos.

August 1-27

Petey is a bit of an anomaly here. His best BB% was in May, which also coincides with his worst hitting month. Maybe he was seeing too many pitches?

Instead, his best hitting month has been August by a long shot, but that has only been his third best BB% this year. It has also been his lowest K%, which might explain some of it (though as you can see, striking out a lot hasn't exactly prevented Petey from hitting well in other months).

Let's look at his batted ball profile.

BABIP (batting average on balls in play)
LD% (line-drive %)
GB/FB (groundball/flyball ratio)
August 1-27

It's kind of all over the place. Clearly in May Petey was done in by his low BABIP. Bad luck perhaps, but at least some of this was his fault -- he wasn't hitting the ball all that hard (low LD%) and he was hitting more weak fly balls (GB/FB of 0.74).

Interestingly enough, his great August didn't see much of a spike in either ground balls or line drives. His LD% and GB/FB are both significantly lower than previous highs. So why is his wOBA so high for August?

Well, you have to remember that wOBA also takes into account power. Let's look at the numbers, introducing another stat, Isolated Power (ISO). So what is ISO? It's very simple, you just take SLG and subtract AVG, to get rid of all the noise that slap hitting singles might create:

Home runs
ISO (Isolated Power, or SLG-AVG)
August 1-27

Now that's an ISO! A .300 ISO is Joey Bautista territory. While other months Petey has had more success on the base paths, on balls in play, and in walks, this month it's all about power.

Sure, a .300 ISO is not something that Bourjos is likely to sustain, but there's not reason he can't be in the .150-.200 range like he was in the minors. He hit for a solid .135 ISO last year after all, as well as .186 ISO in AAA and .142 ISO in AA.  Given that, it would only make sense that Petey would lash out for a .300 ISO every so often after posting a few months in the .100 range.

So, what are the lessons to take from all of this? That, simply, there are many factors driving The Awesomeness of Peter Bourjos.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

If you couldn't tune in this morning to listen to our live podcast, click on the play button below to stream our show from here.

Senior Writer and host Adam Dodge, Founder & Executive Editor Chuck Richter,’s Director of Social Media Geoff Stoddart -- Geoff runs our Twitter and Facebook accounts -- and Riley Breckenridge from the popular OC Band Thrice discussed the Angels' recent success, Friday night's 11-7 loss to the Texas Rangers, Santana and Weaver on short rest and what the Angels need to do to win the next couple games this weekend.

Riley Breckenridge also gave an update on their new album coming out soon and his experience on the field with Mark Trumbo (Trumbo uses Thrice's song "To Awake and Avenge the Dead". That and much more were discussed this morning, so make sure to stream the podcast and get caught up on all the happenings in Angels Baseball, and Thrice.

Listen to internet radio with AngelsWin on Blog Talk Radio

Once again the Subway® Baseball DeSIGNS auction is back to raise funds for the Little League ® Urban Initiative. Over 50 athletes and entertainers have signed uniquely designed and decorated baseballs that are being auctioned off.

Athletes and celebrities who participated this year include: Jake T. Austin, Lance Bass, Brian Baumgartner, BOB, Terry Bradshaw, Drew Brees, Courtney Cox, Johnny Damon, Gavin DeGraw, Bucky Dent, Carl Edwards, Jared Fogle, Jay Glazer, Selena Gomez, Shawn Green, Orel Hershiser, Ryan Howard, Eric Hutchinson, Enrique Iglesias, Robert Irvine, Josh Johnson, Jason Kidd, Adam Lambert, Shia Lebeouf, Evan Longoria, Kellan Lutz, Fred Lynn, Maroon 5, Joe Montana, Corey Monteith, Mitchell Musso, New Kids on the Block & Back Street Boys, Ryan Ochoa, Apolo Ohno, Katy Perry, Michael Phelps, Chris Pine, David Price, Hanley Ramirez, Jose Reyes, Barry Sanders, Ryan Seacrest, Jay Sean, Doc Shaw, Tony Siragusa, Michael Strahan, Yvonne Strahovski, Ndamukong Suh, Jessica Szohr, The Band Perry, Train, Justin Tuck, B. J. Upton, and David Wright.

Don’t miss your chance to score one of these special baseballs. The auctions will only be available until August 29th, 2011. All proceeds will be donated to the Little League ® Urban Initiative charity.

To bid on one of these baseballs, click here.

Friday, August 26, 2011

By Steve Haston - Feature Satirist

As all Angel fans are aware, earlier this week Jered Weaver signed a team friendly extension for the next five years.

Choked up as he thanked his parents and the team, his heartfelt press conference endeared in a way that I’m sure was missing when John Lackey had his press conference in Boston. But beneath all of this, the joy, loyalty, money and game, beneath all of this is the reason Jered really signed that contract. He did it for Jeff.

Out of options, staring down the barrel of finding a back up position with a low end national league team befitting his offensive skills, Jeff spent many mornings praying that things would change. Jered answered that prayer, “The contract was for $95 million over five years. I told them to cut out $10 million and make sure Jeff stays.” The team considered all options and agreed. Jeff Mathis, likely to make league minimum or close to it with any team he signs with, would cost the Angels in the neighborhood of $3,000,000 over the next five seasons. The balance, Arte Moreno considered, was a futility tax.

On Monday’s off day before the press conference, Jeff could be found sitting in the Angels locker room. Smiling from ear to ear, he looked up at one reporter and smirked “Squat, Inc is back in business.” Sure, Jered could have signed with the Yankees, Phillies or Red Sox for two years and $60,000,000 more. That would have been the Borisian strategy. But there is something to be said for keeping the man that puts down the fingers defensively, and signals when the other team is about to bat every time he steps to the plate.

Speaking unusually candidly about the situation, Mike Scioscia commented “Jered has a very youthful outlook to both the game and life. With that come some quirks. He needs a security blanket. Jeff Mathis is Jered Weaver’s security blanket. Come to think of it, he’s mine too.” With the loss of Robb Quinlan over this past offseason, Mike has become even more attached to Jeff Mathis. Even going so far as to replay post game interviews while thundering from Thousand Oaks to Anaheim during his daily commute.

So, for now, all is well. Jeff is safe and sound, our staff ace is happy and opponents know they’re only facing 8 major league hitters when Weaver pitches.

The views expressed in this publication are the writer's and do not necessarily reflect the views of

By David Saltzer, Senior Writer

Under Eddie Bane, the Angels selected plenty of “toolsy” players. They operated with a high-risk/high-reward mentality and took players who had the raw potential to become difference makers.

One of the players who fits that mold to a “T” is Travis Witherspoon. Drafted in the 12th round (384th overall) of the June, 2009 amateur draft, Witherspoon is a 22-year old centerfielder who is really coming into his own.

Recently promoted to the Inland Empire 66ers, Witherspoon combines a healthy mix of speed, power, and defense. With 44 bags swiped so far, Witherspoon currently has the most stolen bases in the Angels’ organization. During the Midwest League’s homerun derby, Witherspoon showed off his power when he won the shootout. recently sat down with Witherspoon to find out more about his game and about him as a person. Click here to watch our interview. Interviews Travis Witherspoon from on Vimeo.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

By David Saltzer, Senior Writer

When created our list of the Top-50 Greatest Moments in Angels History, three homer uns stood out above all others. Coming in at #2 was Scott Spiezio’s blast to bring the team back from the edge in Game 6. Coming in at #7 was Tim Salmon’s shot to give the Angels their first ever World Series win.

Coming in at #8 was a grand slam by Dick Schofield on August 29th, 1986. He both started and finished the greatest 9th inning rally in Angels history. With the Angels trying to hold onto a 4.5 game lead over the Rangers, the Angels found themselves losing 12-5 in the 9th inning against the Tigers. What happened that night was history and cemented in the minds of all fans that the Angels were for real and could overcome any deficit. They became known as the “Comeback Kids” and were loved by the fans.

I was at that game against Detroit, and was one of the 500 or so left in the stadium to see what happened that night. It was truly magical. That was the year I became a life-long Angels fan.

Now the batting coach for the IE 66ers, I caught up with Schofield to find out more about the Minor Leaguers and his thoughts on being a batting coach and the game. Of course, I had to ask the man himself to walk us through that amazing inning.

Click below to see our interview with Dick Schofield. Interviews Former Angels Shortstop Dick Schofield from on Vimeo.

To read more about the #8 Greatest Moment in Angels History by, click here.

Listen to "A Fish Like This" Tribute song to Mike Trout's Greatness

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