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Thursday, February 09, 2006

Pickoff Moves

Gagné Feels Fine, Won't Be In WBC

How's that arm, Eric?
"He's throwing great, his fastball is hopping and his changeup is really good," said Russell Martin, a top Dodger prospect at catcher.
Will the last player to appear in the WBC please turn off the lights?
Gagne is pitching more than baseballs to Martin, a fellow Canadian. He is also dispensing advice, beginning with a suggestion that Martin decline an invitation to play in the World Baseball Classic in March.

Gagne has all but made up his mind that he won't play.

"Most likely not," he said. "I don't want to rush anything. I want to be healthy for the Dodgers and I feel good right now. I want to be smart about it."

Fernando Can Still Bring It -- In Mexicali

In that same article, 45-year-old Fernando Valenzuela, retired now for nine years, posted a 4-2 record with a 4.21 ERA for Mexicali in the Mexican Winter League. Don't think that'll get him a look in the bigs, though.

Jim Abbott Speaks

Angels system pitching coach Jim Abbott on how he made it to the majors:
"It was a step-by-step process for me," Abbott said. " My goal was to make varsity ... then I was like 'maybe I can pitch in college' ... then when competing in college I thought I if these guys are going pro, why can't I. Along the way there were questions about whether I could do it and fairly so. When I look back on it ... it was an incredible journey. It really was. I'm proud of my career and the places it took me and I wouldn't trade a moment of it."
The Rev made a good point when he said that "everyone wanted the underdog of all underdogs to win, the big picture's script never seemed to cooperate entirely." Still, the fact that he was there at all for ten years was just amazing.

Calling All Angels To The Jury Box

The Anaheim of Los Angeles case is in the jury's hands now, and if I were the jury I'd be mighty pissed about the combatants absorbing four weeks of my life. This case really isn't that difficult, but the molehill long ago became a mountain when PringleCo resorted to the court system. It's a coin toss as to who wins this one, if you asked me. The good news is that there could be some actual justice involved:
If the jury finds the Angels broke the lease and awards damages, Polos could deem a financial penalty appropriate but refuse to issue the order to drop "Los Angeles." He also could award the city damages for last season and return the name to Anaheim Angels, thus nullifying any future damages the jury had awarded.
If I were on the jury, I'd likely find in favor of Arte. If the jury broke the other way and I were Judge Polos, I'd fine Arte a dollar and send the Anaheim boys on their way. I find the Angels' argument that the city's damages are all smoke, while the Angels have been sending real checks to city hall, to be entirely reasonable.

The Tango Of Love

TangoTiger (Tom M. Tango in real life) just dropped a note to let me know he's disgorged that book stuck inside him, Mitchel G. Litchman and Andrew E. Dolphin, entitled simply, The Book: Playing The Percentages In Baseball, and with a forward by renowned sabermetricist Jim Palmer. In it, the principles dissect thirty of the most common baseball strategies: And, as they tell us, much more. Looks like it should be good reading, or would be if I could cut back on my pile.

Saving New England From The Yankees, One Uniform At A Time

Red Sox single-A affiliate Lowell Spinners are working to erase Yankees teams in New England, offering uniforms and playing time on the Spinners' home field.
"When you are a kid playing baseball it is pure fun and worrying about what team you are on should be the least of your concerns," said Tim Bawmann, General Manager of the Spinners. "It becomes an issue where kids are devastated when they find out they are on the Yankees. Many kids actually pray they will not be on the Yankees when the rosters and teams are announced.

"We figured the easiest and best solution was replace those Yankee teams with the Spinners, who are part of the Boston Red Sox system. We would like to make a point that this promotion is all in good fun and is merely meant to appeal to Red Sox Nation in New England."

According to the club, about half the leagues in New England have a Yankees-named team.

My "best-case-scenario" for the trial outcome:

The jury finds for the city.

The judge fines Arte a dollar

They force the team name back to the Anaheim Angels.
Bengie Molina is pissed!


"I think I built a good relationship with them," [Molina] said. "They never let me know. They just threw me like a piece of trash."
I've heard that before elsewhere... I just didn't blog about it at the time. He was mad -- and I think justifiably, mostly -- that the Angels didn't say anything about him. It was kinda lame that Stoneman refused to call him.

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