Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Lost and Found

I hate losing things, I really, really do. Unfortunately it happens to me ALL THE TIME. I suppose there's a number of factors involved, small apartment, lots of toys for the rugrat, daddy's brain doesn't function as well as he'd like it to on occasion.

BUT WHEN YOU LOSE A WHOLE BINDER OF CARDS, that's just bunk. It's here somewhere. I know it is. I just can't figure out where. It's my Allen & Ginter Binder, which also has Topps Chrome and Political cards in it. It's a standard 3 ring view binder with both A&G Wrappers in the front cover. I know it's here. I just don't know where, and it's driving me absolutely bonkers. I've got like 7 packs worth of cards to put in the damn thing, and I can't do it. Is there ANYTHING more aggravating?

I suppose there is; such as crappy replacement redemptions, or that really awful co-signers card that Treasure Never Buried pulled out of his expensive box (note to self: do NOT buy boxes of Topps, ever), or starting Minnesota's Defense over Philadelphia this last weekend in Fantasy Football.

There are two positives though, yesterday I got a nice package of mostly Vlad Guerrero's from Mario at Wax Heaven which reminded me that I'm supposed to send him the Red Hot Rookie Redemption #7 and a bunch of Marlins for his collection. I would have done that on Monday, BUT, I've been sick all week with some sort of nasty upper chest/cough bug that DOES appear to have finally gone away. Unfortunately for us, my wife got it though. The other positive was that in my search for the binder I did find a small box of cards that I had been sent a little while ago, and it contained a pack of Allen & Ginter that I had purchased and completely forgotten about, and there was a Jermaine Dye Jersey in there as well!

The other day I went looking for Upper Deck Baseball Heroes packs, but came up short, because the card shop (which isn't one I normally frequent) didn't get any in (which is why I think I don't frequent them that often). I did buy a couple more packs of A&G and pulled a David Ortiz Jersey. I've pulled something like four jerseys out of A&G packs now, that's pretty darn good odds, considering I don't think I've bought anywhere NEAR four boxes worth of that product.

Normally I would give you a Kevin Jepsen update since he pitched last night, but, err...he stunk last night, so I'll save it for another time. I'm also still working on the 2002 Angels Playoff Review, which I should post before the week is out.

Speaking of playoffs, the Halos are having a couple of nifty celebrations to celebrate their winning the AL West. First on Saturday, September 27 they're doing Fiesta Angels at the Big A from 10 am to 5 pm, with free parking until 3 pm. Actually I think this was planned a long time ago, so it's not PART of the playoff celebration. However, Monday they're holding A Rally at the Big A from 6:30 PM to 8:00 PM, and that is certainly a celebration. I want to attend both, but will probably attend neither. Gas is pretty darn expensive these days you know. Sigh.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Various and Sundry

Kevin Jepsen Update: Game #5 & 6

Our budding rookie reliever, Olympian Kevin Jepsen got into two more games since last I blogged about him. He got into the game in the bottom of the 5th on Friday against the Rangers, relieving Darren Oliver with runners on 1st and 2nd. His first pitch was smacked to left by German Duran who scored on a wild pitch to Josh Hamilton who later doubled. Jepsen finally got out of the inning with a strikeout of Milton Bradley.

Fortunately he settled down in the 6th getting Hank Blalock to ground into a double play after Marlon Byrd singled. He struck out Nelson Cruz to end the inning and his night. His line, not very good, 1 1/3rd inning, 3 hits, 1 earned run, 2 strikeouts, no walks. The Angels ended up winning a wild one 15-13!

Jepsen pitched to one batter last night as well, getting Nelson Cruz to fly out with the bases loaded in the bottom of the 7th to earn his second hold of the season. Jepsen's season line is now: 6 Appearances, 5.1 innings, 4 hits, 1 run, 1 ER, 5 K, 0 BB, 0 HR, 1.69 ERA, .75 WHIP and a 2.11 BAA. If he keeps pitching this strong in the next week, I can't imagine Scioscia keeping him off the mound.

Halos Sweep the Rangers

The Angels march towards the post-season has not had any let-down so far. Back-to-back losses to the A's on Tuesday and Wednesday this week saw the Halos struggling and fielding make-shift lineups in order to get some of our backups some playing time, and also to rest some weary bodies. Vladdy hadn't played for over a week and skipped the two losses, but he was back Saturday, and raised his BAA to .299 today. If all is right in the universe he'll get .300 for the season for the 12th straight time. Oh and Frankie got his 60th save yesterday.

Team Trading Update

I know I have a couple more packages to get out in the mail, both are leaving tomorrow. IF you haven't received anything from me and you're expecting something, please LET ME KNOW ASAP. My public email is wmnoe at yahoo dot com. My spam filter is quite good though, but I'll go through and empty it right now.

I've restocked most of my team packages, so if you're wanting to get rid of your Angels cards, and have a favorite team in mind, I'd love to trade with you. My collecting philosophy for the last several years is that I love busting packs, but unless the players are Angels, I don't really care to keep them. I also don't put together very many full sets. This year I'm working on a 2008 Upper Deck complete set, and I might do a Topps one as well. I'm also keeping all my Heritage, Bowman Chrome & Prospects and Allen & Ginter. Pretty much everything else I buy goes into team lots, and that includes super-stars. So for example, the Mariners lots will have Ichiro, Red Sox have Manny, Big Papi, etc. Currently MOST of the teams have a lots containing 40 - 50 cards. All I ask for in return are a similar number of Angels cards. I don't particularly care about doubles, though I'm pretty sure I'm good on the last several years of both base Topps and base Upper Deck, so I don't need those. I'll even take your junk 90's stuff, because I got rid of all my junk 90's stuff years ago.

Special Card Trading

I do have several "relic" and other special cards to trade on a 1-1 basis. I'd much rather trade than sell them on eBay because I know I won't get much value for them.

Here's the specials:

  • 2008 Goudey Mini Black Back Dmitir Young #196 numbered 02/34
  • 2008 UD Series 2 Dontrell Willis Jersey (Black swatch) UDJ-WI
  • 2008 Upper Deck Ben Sheets Jersey (white swatch) 97-BS
  • 2008 Upper Deck Mark Buehrle Jersey (white swatch w/pin stripe) 98-MB
  • 2008 Topps Series 2 B.J. Upton Jersey (white swatch w/sweat) HR-BU
  • 2008 Topps Red Hot Rookie Redemption #7 (Chris Volstad - Marlins)
  • 2005 Topps UH Carlos Beltran All-Star Patches Jersey #42/60

If you'd like one or more of those, please feel free to make an offer. I'd like to get Angels cards in return.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Angels Playoff History Part 3 - 1986

The Angels new logo for 1986, their 25th Anniversary Season, would be used until 1992. Borrowed from

Previous Installments:
Part 1: 1979
Part 2: 1982

In 1985 MLB expanded the first round playoff games from best of 5 to best of 7, a move that was long overdue. Unfortunately after 1993 they went right back to the first round being best of 5, because they effectively doubled the number of teams that made the playoffs. After coming in second in the AL West for two seasons in a row, the 1986 version of the Angels seemed poised to break out and enjoy post-season success. They improved their record by two games, winning the AL West by 5 games, which was a club record at the time (their current best is winning the West by 7 games in 2005, which will be broken this year obviously).

The ’86 Halos were the first team since 1979 not to have Rod Carew starting at first, the HOFer having retired at the end of the ’85 season. In his place was a 24-year-old rookie out of BYU who coined the phrase “Wally World” with a few monster shots out to left field. The venerable Bobby Grich at 2B joined Wally Joyner at 1B, though it would be his last season, Dick Schofield at SS and team veteran Doug DeCinces still at 3B. The starting outfield was Brian Downing still at LF, the speedster Gary Pettis who was in his prime and won a Gold Glove in CF, and an almost-retired Rupert Jones started in RF. Reggie Jackson typically was the DH as he was also in his penultimate season in the bigs, and last with the Halos. Perennial Gold Glover Bob Boone was still behind the plate. Pettis and Joyner were the Angels All-Stars in 1986, Joyner becoming the first rookie in 16 years to start in the All-Star game.

The starting rotation for manager Gene Mauch consisted of 41-year-old Don Sutton, and 25 year-olds Mike Witt and Kirk McCaskill. The trio was joined by John Candelaria, Ron Romanick, Joe Slaton and Ray Chadwick who all started games as well. Sutton, Witt, McCaskill and Candelaria all won 10+ games each, Witt leading the squad with an 18-10 record, with McCaskill right behind him at 17-10. In only 16 starts the Candy-man won 10 games and lost 2. The closer for the Halos was Donnie Moore, who led the team with 21 saves. Such luminaries as Chuck Finley, Doug Corbett and Terry Forster joined him in the bullpen.

After spending the first half of the season dueling with Texas for first place in the West, the Angels took over for good after the 92nd game in the season. With 9 games to go they held a 10 game lead over the Rangers and a 90-63 record. They would win only 2 of their remaining games, going into the post-season on a downturn that would ultimately be their undoing.

Game One showed a lot of promise however, with the Angels jumping out to a 4-0 lead in the second after two walks, a single, a double and another single. Turns out that is all they would need, cruising to an 8-1 victory. Mike Witt got the win over Roger Clemens in his first post-season appearance. Brian Downing had a stellar game at the plate going 2-5 with 4 RBI and Wally Joyner knocked two doubles to go 2-4.

Boston would come roaring back in Game Two with Bruce Hurst on the mound against Kirk McCaskill. The game was extremely close for the first 6 1/2 innings, but the Sox, who held a 3-2 lead going into the bottom of the 7th blew the game wide open with 3 in the 7th and 3 in the 8th, winning 9-2. Wally Joyner was the lone bright spot for the Halos with a solo homer in the 5th.

Splitting the first two games at Fenway was a great outcome for the Halos. They rolled into Angel Stadium and won the next two games 5-3 in Game Three with HRs from Pettis and Schofield behind a gem pitched by John Candelaria (7 IP, 1 ER, 5 hits, 3 BB, 5 K) and mopped up by Donnie Moore who got the save. Oil Can Boyd took the loss for the Sox. After the game Wally Joyner would sit out the rest of the series with a staph infection, moving Grich from second to first, and Rob Wilfong getting more playing time. No doubt that had Joyner been healthy, the outcome of the series would have been drastically different. Joyner was the Halos rally-spark that season, and had become a fan favorite.

Game Four was a come-from-behind affair, the Angels winning finally 4-3, after trailing 3-0 in the bottom of the 9th. Clemens started the game, going 8 1/3rd innings. The Sox scored a single run in the 6th and two in the 8th, and were one inning away from tying the series at two games apiece, but Clemens gave up a leadoff solo shot to DeCinces in the bottom of the 9th, and was yanked after giving up back-to-back singles to Schofield and Boone. With runners on 1st and 2nd, and 1 out Pettis delivered a double off of reliever Calvin Schiraldi that scored Schofield and put Devon White (running for Boone) on 3rd. With the bases loaded and two outs, Schiraldi hit Downing with a pitch scoring the tying run.

In the extra frames, the Angels blanked the Sox; Doug Corbett got five straight groundouts and didn’t give up a hit or a walk. In the bottom of the 11th new Catcher Jerry Narron led the inning off with a single. Pettis moved him over to second on a bunt. Rupert Jones was intentionally walked and Bob Grich in his 6th AB of the game finally got a hit, scoring Narron. The Angels were one game away from their first world series ever, and the Red Sox were reeling.

The Angels took a 5-2 lead into the 8th inning in Game Five on homers by Boone (solo) and Grich (two runs) and RBIs by Wilfong and Downing. Starter Mike Witt would be pulled in the top of the 9th in favor of Gary Lucas after he gave up a 2 run HR to former Angel Don Baylor. With the Angels ahead by only 1 run, with two strikes, Donnie Moore gave up a two run shot to Dave Henderson giving the Sox a 6-5 lead. The game would end up going to the 11th after the Wilfong drove in Jones to tie the game in the bottom of the 9th. Unfortunately for Moore he couldn’t keep the Sox off the scoreboard, and they won in the 11th 7-6 off of a sac-fly by Henderson.

The two teams flew back to Boston, with the AL East Champions behind 3 games to 2. Boston dominated every aspect of Games Five and Six, winning them by a combined 13 runs. Game 6 ended 10-4 and Game 7 was over in the 2nd inning, ending 8-1. For all intents and purposes the series really ended with Game Five, as the Angels never really recovered, and neither did Donnie Moore, who had signed a huge 3-year contract extension (avoiding Free-Agency) after the end of the ’85 season where he became one of the league’s pre-eminent closers.

He’d spend the rest of his career with the Angels, being released after his contract expired in 1988. The post ’86 seasons weren’t kind for Moore; he blamed himself for the Halos not making the World Series, and spent a lot of time on the DL. After his release he tried to make one of Kansas City’s minor league squads, but was eventually cut. According to his obituary on July 19, 1989 he had an argument with his wife Tonya whom he was legally separated from. He shot her three times in their Anaheim home, and after she fled with two of their three children, he turned the gun on himself, ending his life at age 35, a tragic reminder of how seriously people take sports. Of course it’s impossible to tell, some almost 20 years later, how much that one pitch factored into the decision that Donnie Moore made to end his life. Reports are that substance abuse and depression over the end of his baseball career were just as much of a factor, as were continuing marital strife and allegations of spousal abuse. Accounts of the shooting also vary depending on the source.

The Red Sox would go on to play the Mets in the 1986 season; a team that many would say was a team of destiny. The Sox would have their own bad luck to overcome, and perhaps a greater goat in Billy Buckner who allowed a slow roller by Mookie Wilson to pass between his legs letting Ray Knight come in to score the winning run. The Sox had been one out away from winning their first World Series since 1918. They would have a long wait in between opportunities, even longer than the Halos. The Sox wouldn’t get another chance at a World Title until 2004, only two years removed from the Angels next chance at a World Title in 2002.

The intervening 16 seasons were a grab bag of middling success for the Halos. They would come in 2nd in the AL West three times during the 90’s, but their combined record between 1987 and 2001 was 81 games under .500 with 9 losing seasons out of 15 with nine different managers between Mauch and Mike Sciosia who took over the managerial duties in 2000.

Since 1986 the Angels and Red Sox have played twice in the Playoffs, the Sox sweeping the Halos 3-0 both times (2004 and 2007). If the Angels end 2008 with the best record in the league and the Red Sox make the post-season as the Wild Card, then they’ll play again this season, and the Halos have won 8 out of 9 against them this season. Both John Lackey and Joe Saunders have two wins against them, and one of those two should start two games in a five game series (probably Lackey).

Next time we’ll look at the Angels historic 2002 run to the title, a feat that we can only hope that they’ll be duplicating this season.

Post Season Starters (Games Started)

1B – Wally Joyner (3), George Hendrick (1), Bob Grich (3)
2B – Rob Wilfong (3), Bob Grich (3), Rick Burleson (1)
3B – Doug DeCinces (7)
SS – Dick Schofield (7)
LF – Brian Downing (7)
CF – Gary Pettis (7)
RF – Rupert Jones (5), George Hendrick (2)
DH – Reggie Jackson (6), Rick Burleson (1)

1. Mike Witt (2)
2. Kirk McCaskill (2)
3. John Candelaria (2)
4. Don Sutton

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

If I were Mike Sciosia

I posted a blog over at Halos Heaven containing the Halos playoff roster if I were in charge. Check it out and either comment there or here wouldya?


I have since removed said post from Halos Heaven because it got several unintended hostile comments, one from the BOARD OWNER, Rev Halofan, which was especially uncalled for. So I have removed the blog and if I could figure out how to do it, I would remove them from my SB Nation account. In fact, I will probably just terminate said account, since the other "blog" from them, Bruins Nation is just as hostile, if not more so.

Here's what I don't understand about all of this, we're all fans of the SAME TEAMS/COLLEGE, why does there have to be so much hatred and hostility? I don't know, but what I do know is that I'm not hanging out somewhere where I'm not wanted.

In any case, here's the playoff roster for the Halos that I would use if I were their manager:

My Playoff Roster

1. C Mike Napoli
2. 1b Mark Texiera
3. 2b Howie Kendrick
4. 3b Chone Figgins
5. SS Erick Aybar
6. RF Vladimir Guerrero
7. CF Torii Hunter
8. LF Garrett Anderson
9. C Jeff Mathis
10. IF Brandon Wood
11. IF Kendry Morales
12. IF Robb Quinlan
13. OF Gary Matthews Jr.
14. OF Juan Rivera
15. OF Reggie Willits
16. SP Ervin Santana
17. SP John Lackey
18. SP Joe Saunders
19. SP Jon Garland
20. RP Frankie Rodriguez
21. RP Scot Shields
22. RP Darren Oliver
23. RP Jered Weaver
24. RP Jose Arredondo
25. RP Kevin Jepsen

Kevin Jepsen Update - Game #4

I actually watched the game last night and remembered suddenly why I'm so interested in this pitcher; he's a great story after all. FIVE years at Class A mostly because of injury, and when he gets his first opportunity in the bigs, he shines like no one else has in QUITE a while.

Jepsen relieved starter John Lackey last night with one out in the 6th inning and a runner on second. Lackey had just given up his 4th earned run and had started to get wild, so the call went out to the kid. He got Jack Hannahan to strike out swinging and Cliff Pendleton to fly out to center to close out the inning. His line consists of 2/3rds of an inning, no runs, no hits, 1 strikeout and stranded the runner on second, and he showed a lot more promise than the next reliever, fellow youngster Jason Bulger, who started the 7th inning, gave up 3 walks, a hit and 3 earned runs, WITHOUT recording a single out.

For the playoffs the Angels should have at least one open bullpen slot that can go to one of the new guys. So far if you compare Bulger's numbers to Jepsen's numbers, Jepsen is the clear winner even though he hasn't pitched in nearly as many games.

Check it out:





































Most importantly, the Halos have won 3 out of the 4 games that Jepsen's appeared in so far, they've only won ONE out of the 11 games that Bulger's appeared in.

I'll continue to keep an eye on Jepsen and Bulger, I'm curious to see if either one of them makes the playoff roster.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Fantasy Footbal Update: Week Two

Good Afternoon Gents:

Sorry to be a tad late with this report, life as always intervenes, though nothing really that drastic occurred, I just didn't want to post an update yesterday because several of the games came down to Monday Night Football.

Which blew chunks for me. I went INTO the game with a lead AND a Tony Romo against Westbrook, T.O. and DeSean Jackson. I get outscored by 16 points and LOSE to Sharkey's because he scored the most points in the league this week. I scored the second most points. See that just SUCKS.

But in my OTHER league I won, so I'm 2-0 over there and have scored the most points so far.

BUT I digress.

This weekend's loss to Sharkeys' Fat Cats makes me 2-6 against them overall. James has my number I guess.

BTW - How are you all liking the 4 moves per week thing? I think it makes a nice deterrant to mass roster moves, and yet makes you think about your moves as well. Of course I gave everyone too many roster slots, but that's neither here nor there.

So we know what happened in MY game, let's look at the other four games in the WWFL:

The 49ers knocked off OmegaJaguars to pull his record to .500. Omega is now 0-2, and it doesn't help him that his best player is LT, and we all saw what happened to LT last weekend. Too bad he wasn't quick enough to grab Darren Sproules (and who did that I wonder?)

Kama Sutra Mallards ran through Best Team Ever, HOWEVER, the victory was by only three points, AND BTE's Kicker plays for Houston which had it's game postponed. I don't know how Yahoo is going to handle that one, perhaps whenever the game is played the points will go in retroactively. I don't know.

Actually, now I do know - I checked out the message boards, and the two teams Houston and Baltimore are treated like they had a bye week, so if you had a player on either team, they don't get any points.

Kind of sucks, but there it is.

That also applies to our next game: Pants Wearer showed that he certainly wears Electric Boogaloo's pants. Err, that didn't come out right. Anyway, EB has Baltimore's defense, that can be the difference in even a lopsided score. PW is now 2-0 and EB is now 0-2.

Pigskinz didn't need any unscheduled bye-weeks to kick AllDayEveryDay's you-know-what. To be fair, it's hard to win when your starting QB gets negative points. I'm playing you next week, and you had better bring the paint bud, 'cause I'm looking to make a statement here. A statement that my team is the DOMINATOR....of not sucking!

If you look at the standings, you can see a very alarming trend so far; the teams in the top six all have right around 200 points or more. The teams in the bottom four are all around 150 or lower. At least Omega is TRYING to get better, he's done 12 moves so far! Again, to be fair, it's been a VERY strange two weeks in the NFL, it should get a bit more stable in the next couple weeks. Someone who isn't on anyone's roster will have a career game and get snatched up via the waiver wire. Happens every year.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Grab the Broom - Halos Sweep Mariners

The Angels sure don't seem to be playing like a team that just clinched the division on the earliest date in their franchise history (and FOURTH earliest in MLB history, my blog the other day was incorrect because I didn't know what date it was. Today the Angels go into the bottom of the 9th tied with Seattle, Sean Rodriguez hits a one-out triple, and Figgy drives him home one batter later.

This just shows how good the Angels bullpen is this season: Reliever Jose Arredondo was credited with his NINTH victory this season, leading the majors. That's crazy. I noticed last week that he had 7 wins, which in of itself was awesome, but to get two more in a week, that's sheer madness. ESPECIALLY when you consider that Arredondo usually comes into the game with the Angels behind and runners on base. He now has 54 innings in 47 games, he's given up only 36 hits, 12 runs, 8 of them earned. His strikeout to walk ratio is 2.67 to 1!

Oh and he's a rookie.

His RC is a 2006 Bowman Chrome, which you can get for a couple bucks. I think I might have to do that.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Frankie is the Save-Master!

The Angels took a 5-2 lead into the top of the 9th against division rival Seattle, who were supposed to challenge the Halos for the AL West crown this season. Frankie ran in from the bullpen, fire in his heart and took a quick 0-2 lead on lead-off batter Miguel Cairo who then doubled to left. He walked Luis Valbuena, but once again took an 0-2 count on Ichiro who would end up grounding into a fielder's choice putting runners on first and third. He struck out Jose Valentin on a 2-2 change bringing up Raul Ibanez who he got on a 3-2 fastball looking.

Congratulations Frankie! You earned it the hard way. Let's hope the Angels reward you with a nice fat contract at the end of the season right after you hoist the trophy.

BTW that's his Topps Traded Rookie Auto up there, it WAS selling for about fifty smacker on eBay, but you can bet it'll go a bit higher now.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Jepsen Update: 3rd Scoreless Inning

Kevin Jepsen pitched the 8th inning tonight against the Mariners, gave up his first ML hit, but got his second strikeout. He threw 9 strikes out of 14 pitches for his third straight scoreless inning in three appearances. The "kid" is looking like he's got some decent stuff, and considering the shape of the Angels bullpen, might even make the playoff roster. We'll have to wait and see, but something's telling me to keep an eye on him; I'm getting an eerie reminder of 2002 at the moment.

Angels Playoff History Part 2 - 1982

Logo borrowed from Chris Creamers Sports Logo Page

The afterglow of making the post-season for the first time in club history did not last long for the 1980 Angels. In the off-season free-agent starter Nolan Ryan was allowed to leave and sign with the Houston Astros as the then-highest paid player in MLB history (four years for 4.4 million dollars!). Angel General Manager Buzzie Bavasi notoriously claimed that for what Ryan did in 1979 (16-14) he could get TWO pitchers who could go 8-7. Boy was he wrong. The 1980 Angels ended up in 6th place in the AL West, out of the pennant race by mid-season.

The 1981 version of the Angels wasn’t much better, coming in 5th in the AL West. However, several key moves would push the Angels towards another division win the next season. 81 was the first year for former MVP Fred Lynn with the Halos, and an up-and-coming rookie named Mike Witt made his debut with the team on April 11. Manager Jim Fregosi was let go during the season to be replaced by Gene Mauch.

Several key off-season transactions would push the Angels towards respectability again. Starting catcher Ed Ott was granted free agency (thought he would be later re-signed) and almost immediately replaced by Bob Boone whom they bought from Philadelphia. The biggest acquisition was that of Mr. October, Reggie Jackson from the Yankees in January, less than a week later solid fielder Dan Ford was traded to the Orioles for Doug DeCinces and Jeff Schneider. Later in the season the Angels traded for Tommy John and acquired Luis Tiant.

The ’82 Angels won a club-record 93 games. Infield anchors Bob Grich and Rod Carew were joined by DeCinces at third and Tim Foli at short. Former catcher Brian Downing had moved to the outfield and played alongside Lynn and Reggie. Don Baylor remained the team’s DH. Jackson didn’t disappoint that season, knocking in 39 dingers tying for the league lead and would join Grich and Lynn as All-Star starters, with Carew as a reserve. Their style of play was similar to the “small-ball” style that Mike Sciosia employs

The Milwaukee Brewers held the best record in baseball going into the playoffs, winning 95 and losing 67. The team featured a couple of HOFers in Robin Yount and Paul Molitor and also had the power-hitting Gorman Thomas and the sturdy Cecil Cooper. Four of their starters won 11 or more games, including Pete Vuckovich who went 18-6.

The ALCS started promisingly enough for the Halos. Their ace Tommy John started Game One, giving up only 3 earned runs in a complete game. Downing scored in the 1st on a sac fly from Baylor making it 1-0. The Brewers roared back in the 2nd and 3rd taking a 3-1 lead, but the Angels would respond in the bottom of the inning with 4 big runs, Downing walked to lead off the inning, DeCinces and Grich each followed with an RBI single, then Baylor tripled to center scoring 2 more. The Halos chased starter Mike Caldwell in the 4th when he gave up an inning opening single to Bob Boone. They would score 3 more to win the game 8-3. Center Fielder Fred Lynn went 3-4 with 2 singles and a solo HR.

Game Two was more of the same from the scarlet clad boys from Anaheim. The Angel starter Bruce Kison pitched another gem of a complete game, giving up only 5 hits and 2 runs. Angel batters made do with only 6 hits total, 4 of them singles. Reggie blasted a solo HR in the 3rd that ended up being the winning run, and they would go on to win 4-2. Lynn had another stellar game going 2-4 and scoring a run.

The series shifted to Milwaukee for the remainder of the playoffs before Game Three. Turns out that all the Brewers needed was home field advantage because they swept the next three games. Geoff Zahn started for the Halos, only lasting until the 3rd, giving up 3 runs and a walk. The difference in the game was a 2-run homer by Molitor in the 7th off of reliever Mike Witt, and the Angels went down 5-3. Venerable Don Sutton picked up the win throwing 7 & 2/3rds giving up 3 runs and striking out 9. Fred Lynn continued his marvelous series (he would end up the series MVP with a 2-3 performance, including a walk, a run and an RBI.

Tommy John again started Game Four, but spotted the Brew-crew a 6 run lead by the fourth. It ended up being all that they would need in an error filled slugfest. The Angels came close in the top of the 8th with Baylor hitting a Grand Slam to make it only a 2 run Brewer lead, but would eventually come up short losing 9-5. Lynn’s’ line: 1-3 with a double, a walk, a run scored, an RBI and a strikeout.

The closest that the Angels got to the big dance was when they took a 3-1 lead in the top of the 4th. They had manufactured single runs in the 1st, 3rd and 4th with 2 RBIs from Lynn and one from Boone. Brewer pitching then shut them down for the remainder of the game. After the 5th the Halos only managed two singles, and no one got past first. The Brewers cut the lead to 3-2 in the bottom of the 4th on a solo HR by Ben Oglive; they took the lead for good in the 7th on a 2 RBI single by Cecil Cooper. Lynn’s’ Line: 3-4 with 2 RBI.

Unfortunately for California the Brewers simply needed their raucous home crowd to get them going, and they simply outplayed the Halos. Manager Gene Mauch did his best to keep up, but ultimately small-ball couldn’t out-maneuver the big sticks of the Brewers. They would go on to lose the World Series to the Cardinals in 7.

The Angels would come close to the post-seasons in two out of the next three seasons, coming in second in the AL West twice, in 1984 going a perfect 500 at 81-81 and in 1985 going 90-72 both times losing out the West to the Kansas City Royals. The ’85 season was heartbreaking because they led the West for much of the season, and as late as October 1, ultimately falling behind by one game.

Starters (All started each game)
1b – Rod Carew
2b – Bob Grich
3b – Doug DeCinces
SS – Tim Foli
LF – Brian Downing
CF – Fred Lynn
RF – Reggie Jackson
C – Bob Boone
DH – Don Baylor

1. Tommy John (2 starts)
2. Bruce Kison (2 starts)
3. Geoff Zahn

Next time: Tragedy and One Strike Away from the Series. Or…The OTHER major event that happened in the post-season in 1986.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Frankie Rodriguez Ties Save Record

K-Rod got his 57th save tonight by getting the last three outs of the Angels 7-4 victory over the Mariners. Sure, it was kind of a cheap save, but hey, a save is a save. This ties Bobby Thigpen's 18 year old record of 57.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Angels Playoff History Part 1 - 1979

In honor of the Halos winning their 7th AL West title, I'm going to do a series of articles looking at each one of the Angels previous post-season appearances.

Logo borrowed from Chris Creamers Sports Logo Page

1979 was a watershed year for this particular blog writer, it was my last full year of living in Los Angeles before my parents would uproot us to San Diego in 1980. I remember being 8 years old in the Summer of '79, attending a couple of games, and being very, very excited about the Angels that season.

1979 was a year of firsts for the Angels; they won their first AL West Division Title, and got their first MVP performance from Don Baylor. They made their first playoff appearance, and they won their first playoff game. Unfortunately they lost the ALCS to Baltimore in four games.

Finishing the season off with an 88-74 record that was good enough to edge out the Royals by three games, the Halos sent six players to the All-Star Game in Seattle, including starting pitcher Nolan Ryan. I personally remember attending two games that season, one very early on where the Halos scored a ton of runs in the first inning and sailed to an easy victory. I still have the programs for those games, and I’d dig them out, except they are in storage with all my other Angel memorabilia.

Meanwhile, their opponent the Baltimore Orioles had the best record in baseball with 102-59 (there was a 45 day umpire strike that caused a few games to be lost and another 7 weeks worth of games to be called by scabs). Despite the powerful lineup, the Angels were out-hit and out-pitched in the post-season.

Game One was a star-studded affair that featured two HOFers as the starting pitchers, Ryan for the Angels and Jim Palmer for the Orioles. Dan Ford hit a solo shot off of Palmer in the first and got a second RBI when he drove home Rick Miller in the third. The Orioles tied it in the bottom of the third with two runs, one unearned and took the lead in the fourth. They were tied in the sixth with a run produced by HOFer Rod Carew and fan-favorite Bob Grich. The game would stay tied and go into the 10th when reliever John Montague gave up a three-run dinger to PH John Lowenstein. Ryan pitched 7 innings, gave up 4 hits, 1 earned run, 3 walks and 8 strikeouts in the first game in Angels post-season history. The game would be a harbinger of things to come.

The Halos made quite an effort in Game Two attempting to come from behind, but were thwarted in the top of the 9th by Don Stanhouse who got Baylor to ground out with the bases loaded and the Angels lost by a single run. The game appeared to be over in the third inning when the Orioles took a commanding 9-1 lead, but the Angels roared back with single runs in the 6th and 7th, then three more in the 8th.

The series shifted to the West Coast for game three, the first ever playoff game to be played at The Big A. The home team thrilled the crowd with a manufactured run in the first courtesy of Carney Lansford and Dan Ford, who had a great series. They’d take a 2-1 lead in the 4th on a Baylor homer, but in the 7th the Eastern Division Champion would take a 3-2 lead, which they’d hold until the bottom of the 9th. Oriole Starter Dennis Martinez gave up a one-out double to Rod Carew and was pulled by manager Earl Weaver in favor of Stanhouse, who proceeded to walk the next batter Brian Downing. Bob Grich hit a fly ball that was dropped and Carew tied the game, putting Downing on 2nd. Larry Harlow batted next and doubled home the winning run, the Angels had won their first playoff game ever and cut the lead to 2-1. There was hope yet for the Halos.

Unfortunately that hope quickly diminished in the closing Game Four. No Angel batter got past second base, and the Orioles cruised to an easy 8-0 victory going to their sixth World Series, where they would become the victims of the “We Are Family” Pittsburgh Pirates with Willie Stargell and Dave Parker, whom some would say were a team of destiny.

Starters (Games)
1b – Rod Carew (4)
2b – Bob Grich (4)
3b – Carney Lansford (4)
SS – Jim Anderson (4)
LF – Larry Harlow (2), Bobby Clark (1), Don Baylor (1)
CF – Rick Miller (4)
RF – Dan Ford (4)
C – Brian Downing (4)
DH – Don Baylor (3), Merv Rettenmund (1)

1. Nolan Ryan
2. Dave Frost
3. Frank Tanana
4. Chris Knapp

If you’d like to take a more detailed look at the 1979 AL Championship Series, click here.

Angels Clinch AL West

With a 4-2 victory over the Yankees and Texas losing to Seattle 7-8 the Halos have officially clinched the AL West - September 9, 2008. Earliest in their history and tied for third earliest date in MLB history (The earliest date was September 7 by the 1975 Reds). Four Division titles over the last five years, and K-Rod gets his 56th save of the season with a full three weeks left. He'll be breaking the record in no time flat, and one has to think that he has the Cy Young sewn up. Dan Patrick earlier said that he might even get some MVP votes, which in my mind would be fantastic.

Of course the L.A. Times has to rain all over our parade and point out that early clinching is no guarantee of playoff success, as only the aforementioned '75 Reds and '98 Yankees have gone on to win the World Series after clinching on September 12 or earlier.

I'll have a look at the Halos' playoff fortunes later, as I am actually old enough and a big enough fan to remember them all.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Budget Spotlight: Kevin Jepsen

Instead of a Monday Night Football double header featuring two games that I really didn't care about one iota, I watched the Angels/Yankees tilt in Anaheim last night. Yes, I know, something is wrong with me, but the fact that I watched football all day Sunday kind of mitigates my strangeness. See, I can get away with a single baseball game every night, but I cannot get away with two straight days of nothing but football (and that's not even counting college). Even though the Packers/Vikings game looked pretty good I was having more fun watching the Halos pound the living snot out of the Yankees, because ANY TIME the Angels beat the Yankees it's a good thing.

Starting pitcher Jon Garland spotted the Bronx Bombers a run in the first inning when Johnny Damon scored on an A-Rod single, fortunately they left the bases loaded and that would be all the scoring the hated ones would get. The Angels meanwhile got four homers; one from Vladdy, one from Sean Rodriguez and a career game from Brandon Wood who hit two. There was also a benches clearing mini-fight when Pudge and Torii Hunter got into it in the longest sixth inning I've seen awhile. Being the PC 21st Century, both men apologized later and kissed and made up. Personally I would have liked to have seen a bigger fight, but maybe that's because I've watched too much hockey over the years.

In the seventh a new Angel pitcher took over for Garland, making his major league debut at age 24, Kevin Jepsen faced Derek Jeter, Bobby Abreu and A-Rod in that order, and got two of them to ground out, A-Rod flying out. Heck of a first inning for the late-season call-up from Salt Lake City on Saturday. Jepsen has actually had a great season all things considered. Just a couple years removed from a season ending shoulder surgery, Jepsen was on the U.S. Olympic team in Beijing winning a Bronze medal for his efforts.

Jepsen was drafted in the second round (#53 overall) in 2002 by the Halos and is an Anaheim native. He's 6'3" tall and is listed at 215 lbs and attended High School in Reno. In the official Press Release from the team, manager Mike Sciosa is quoted as saying: "He's a kid who came into the organization, really threw hard, had a setback with his shoulder and came back..." His fastball is in the mid-90's and he showed absolutely no sense of unease in throwing to two sure-fire first-ballot HOFers in his MLB debut.

After being drafted in '02 Jepsen went 1-3 in five starts for the Arizona League Angels. His '03 campaign was much better going 6-3 in ten starts for Cedar Rapids with a sterling 2.65 ERA. His '04 season, again with Cedar Rapids, saw his start 27 games going 8-10 with a 3.43 ERA. He missed most of the 2005 season with the aforementioned shoulder surgery, returning to
the bullpen for the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes (Class A). His record was 4-4 with 16 saves in 47 appearances and a 3.58 ERA. Last season with the Quakes he appeared in 44 games going 1-5 with a 4.19 ERA and 3 saves. So far in 2008 he has spent time with Arkansas in the Texas League where he was a mid-season All-Star, going 2-1 with 11 saves in 25 games and a sparkling 1.42 ERA. That got him a promotion to the Salt Lake City Bees in Triple-A, where he went 1-3 with 2 saves and a 2.35 ERA in 15 games.

Checking his cards, we find that he's got the obligatory Bowman Prospects (2002 Bowman and Bowman Chrome) and a 2002 Upper Deck Prospect, and nothing since. Topps in their infinite wisdom will probably slap that Rookie Card logo on his next issue, since he's now actually PLAYED in a major league game, even though his first MLB cards are now six years old. There's also a Just Stars Minor League card from '02, and a couple of minor league issues as well. I can't tell if there are any certified autos out there, there might be a Just-Stars one, but I'm just not too sure.

There are a couple of listing on eBay now for his singles, but if he has another performance like last night, you might expect his rookies to go up in price pretty quickly. Then again, maybe not, you never know. Personally I'm just hoping that he can become a good middle reliever as an option to the spotty Scott Shields and Jose Arredondo, since one of those two may have to move to the closer position next season if K-Rod flies the coop.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Fantasy Footbal Update: Week One

WildWill’s Weekly Fantasy Football Update

Welcome to Week 1 of WildWill’s FFB Update, I’ll either do this update on Monday or Tuesday mornings during the season just to keep you all informed as to the state of the league. If this gets too tedious please let me know.

2008 represents the 9th season for my Yahoo league, and the 19th season that I’ve been playing FFB overall. My first season was 1990 when I worked for the Dana Inn and Marina, and back then we did everything by hand. It was a lot more fun back then I think, since every owner worked for the same place and we all trash talked throughout the season. I remember I lost in the Fantasy Bowl two out of the first three seasons.

This season I had five owners return from last season, and we lost a couple of long term owners (Rob was invited back, but declined to sign up, and Rems was finally not invited after years of last place performances). We welcomed five new owners mostly from the sports blogs that I’ve been reading lately.

So let’s take a look at week one shall we?

Game 1: Kayee’s Knights vs. The 49ers.

My first game was against the 49ers, a returning owner from last season who got the second pick in the draft. Instead of taking Adrian Petersen like he should have, his auto-draft picked, wait for it….Tom Brady. Yup, the 49ers season is basically over. His neglect let me pick up AD, and I’m as happy as a clam. His players are all finished and he scored 54.88 points, his best player being the Steelers D which scored 23 points. I have two players still to play tonight, AD and the Vikings Defense, and I’ve already won. My total going into tonight is 55.86 with my two best players so far being Tony Romo (14.9) and John Kasay (15). I’m hoping that AD and the Vikes D score a bunch of points, because when you’re tied in the standings points are the first tie-breaker. This was the only game featuring two returning owners against each other. This victory evens my record against The 49ers to 1-1, as I lost to him by 3 points in our only other meeting last season. We play again in Week 10.

Game 2: Pigskinz vs. Sharkey’s Fat Cats.
Sharkey’s team is owned by James, my daughter’s Godfather, and he’s been in the league now since 2005, and has done quite well over the years, winning in 05 and coming in third in 07 (we won’t talk about that 7th place finish in 06). Pigskinz is a new owner this season who despite having the last pick in the draft put together a formidable team. This game wasn’t even close, despite getting great performances from Brett Favre (17.76), T.O (11.13) and Brian Westbrook (18.24) Sharkey’s lost by over 30 points, thanks mostly in part to Michael Turner’s star making 26 points in his debut for his new team (Atlanta). I knew Turner had the chops after watching him backup L.T. for so many years, so it wasn’t a surprise to me that Turner went off. Pigskinz also got double digits out of Kurt the ageless Warner (12.34), Nate Burleson (11.13) and the New England D (17.44). This game is a final 95.07 to 64.91. Sorry James you’re 0-1.

Game 3:Pantswearer vs. OmegaJaguars
OmegaJaguars is a returning owner from last season, and in fact he got the first pick in the draft because he had the worst record amongst returning owners, basically winning the L.T. sweepstakes. Pantswearer is also a new owner and he got the 7th pick in the draft. Right now this game is too close to call, Pants has a slim lead and two players going into tonight’s double header (Darren McFadden and Mason Crosby), while Omega has just one (Greg Jennings). Anything can happen, but I think Pantswearer has the edge.

Game 4: Electric Boogaloo vs. Best Team Ever
BTE is a third time returnee (though we don’t really count his 2005 campaign since he stunk on ice and he was therefore skipped iin 2006). Electric Boogaloo is a new owner who had the 8th pick. This game is pretty much over, even though E.B. has Ryan Grant still to play, I seriously doubt he’s going to make up the almost 35 point lead that BTE has, especially with a sore hammy. Most of BTE’s lead was made by Willie Parker who had a career day with 28 points, and both of his wideouts scored double digits.

Game 5: Kama Sutra Mallards vs. AllDayEveryDay
Our last game is a bona-fide blow out with KSM (I’m not spelling that out every time) enjoying a 53 point victory courtesy of his QB, his WRs, one RB and his D all getting double digits. Both he and and AllDay are new owners, AllDay is Gellman of Sports Cards Uncensored, the site that I occasionally write for, and I’m also part of his Yahoo league (more on that in a sec). I actually feel bad for Gellman, because NO ONE deserves huge blowout in one league, only to get creamed in another. Sorry dude.

I mentioned I’m in a second league, I won’t give you the full details on that league since it’s not mine, it’s Gellman’s, but in week one, I played him, and am beating him 111 to 46 at the moment, though we both have players tonight (I have Mason Crosby, he has Sidney Rice). My insurmountable lead was built by SIX of my players scoring double digits to his one. Ouch. I love going 2-0 in my opening week of play, but I sure hate to see Gellman going 0-2.

Pick ‘Em

Besides two Yahoo FFB leagues, I’m also in a College Pick ‘em and a Pro Pick ‘em group. I started both groups when I worked for, but have since turned them over to others. In the Pro Pool I got 9 out of 14 missing Tampa/N.O., Buffalo/Seattle, Jacksonville/Tennessee, San Diego/Carolina and Indy/Chicago. Of course, those were ALL upsets, with the exception of the New Orleans victory, so I don’t feel bad. Tonight I have Minnesota and Denver, though I hate Denver, so I won’t be upset at all if the Raiders manage an upset. Still, 9 out of 14 is good enough for second place in week one, but missing that many is really bad.

In my College pool I’m doing much better, scoring 19 out of a possible 20 this week, and 17 out of 21 last week. Everyone is tied with 19 though because that pool drops the lowest total (my week one so far). This week I’m pretty much sticking to the favorites, with the exception of Kansas over South Fla (though I think that Yahoo has the favorite screwed up on that one) and UCLA over BYU. I really don’t think it’s going to happen, but I don’t pick against my Alma Mater, so there.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Wanted - Rex Hudler

I don't think that it's any secret that I'm a die-hard Angels fan. I've been watching them since I was in the freaking womb after all, seeing is that my Dad lived in Los Angeles pretty much his entire life and was a huge fan of the old Cowboy's MLB team. For years the only baseball I even bother to watch had been Angels games (and actually that's still pretty much true). The Angels have had some great announcers over the years, including one current Dodgers skipper Joe Torre, but by far, my favorite color guy has to be the Wonder-Dog Rex Hudler.

Listening to a game with Hud on the commentary is pure joy, the man loves the game of baseball and isn't unwilling to share his "passion bucket" with the fans. From what I understand he's also extremely approachable and congenial. I've never met him myself, but I intend to rectify that situation sooner than later.

Each time that Bad Wax posts a listing of free autograph signings, I'm always looking for Angels that I might be able to go out and get. Unfortunately most of the signings are down in the OC, and most days I really don't feel like driving that far. During the season when the Angels are having a Friday home game Hud does his weekly radio show from Roscoe's Famous Deli in Fullerton, which is about 45 minutes away. Now I know that doesn't seem like it's very far, but we're talking Los Angeles traffic, and that just sucks.

I would definitely take the trip sometime in the future if I had some Rex Hudler baseball cards, specifically ones of him while he was with the Angels (1994-1996), but alas, I don't have any. So here's my plea - I need some Hud cards. Anyone got some, please let me know.

And now back to your regularly scheduled Sunday morning. Enjoy this Sports filled day, what with the first full day of NFL games starting in about FIVE minutes, and a full slate of great baseball games, including an important Dodgers/D-Backs tilt that might actually be the deciding factor of who wins the NL West this season.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Contact Information

I was recently told that it's a bit difficult to contact me regarding my blog entries here or over at SCU, so I'll post this again for you all.

My Email is


This is my general public email address, and the spam filter works quite well. If you try to email me and I don't respond, it's probably because your missive hit the spam filter. Leave me a comment and I'll get back to you.

When Budget Collecting Sucks

While I'm still in the afterglow of the UCLA victory over Tennessee last night, currently I'm in a funk when it comes to budget collecting. Sure, there's plenty of outlets where you can buy fresh, new product for current prices, but there just aren't as many "discount" card packs lately. Or at least there don't seem to me to be very many.

This last weekend we went camping up in Ojai at Wheeler Gorge Campgrounds, a very nice place that has a cool stream running through it. (If you'd like to see pics, go to my Flikr account at On the way up we stopped at Subway to get lunch, and as I did last month when we camped there, I ran into Blockbuster to see if they had any Fairfield repacks. They did, only this time the only Baseball they had was 2007 Upper Deck. For $4.99 I got two packs of Series 1 and two packs of Series 2 and a "bonus" pack of 2007 Topps Series 1. Here's the thing, all together, five packs of cards - 32 in total, and I pulled bupkis. Well, not really bupkis, I did get two Angels (GA and Darren Oliver), but I think I had them both.

Then today I make my weekly visit to Target and notice that they've bulked up on Excel $1.59 el-cheapos. These are great for me, since I spent most of the last two decades ignoring Baseball cards completely. I got a pack of 06 Upper Deck Update (Holy crap, they have cards numbering in the 1,000s!) and a pack of last year's Topps Chrome. In the Chrome I pulled a Schilling X-Factor, which isn't bad, but the Upper Deck pack had nothing good in it, unless you like 90's era full bleed cards with Skybox like graphics. Well, I take that back, of the 8 cards, 7 of them had the dreaded "rookie card" logo. But since they're '06 cards, and I've yet to hear of any of them, I'd say they were busts.

I did also pick up a pack of this year's Upper Deck First Update, why I have no idea. Well, it's only a buck a pack, so that must be why. So far I've bought 4 packs of that product, and I'm sure I'll buy a few more, but I'm really only looking for Angels, so most of the cards are useless to me, except for trade bait.

Here's the real rip-off though. I bought a pack of Bowman Chrome Retail - for three bucks, with a whopping THREE cards in it. Now I could have SWORN that I already bought a pack of this stuff and it had four cards in it. Now, it's still cheaper than Hobby, which is about five bucks a pack for four cards, but if they can do Topps Chrome with the SAME number of cards in both Retail and Hobby, why can't they do the same for Bowman Chrome?

I did get a prospect, Zhenwang Zhang who is the first player from China to be signed by a major league team (The Yankees of course). The other two cards: Alex Rios and Derek Lowe, oh joy. Was this pack even worth three bucks? No way, no how, and it will be the LAST pack of Bowman Chrome that I buy. I'd rather buy Topps Chrome, at least I get four cards there, and I have a chance to pull something NICE, rather than crap. Another nasty thing I just noticed, the Autographed Prospect cards are numbered as an extension of the prospects set (which began in regular Bowman if you remember). That's going to piss off a lot of set collectors.

I was going to update my team trading, but I think I'll let that sit until tomorrow or the next day.

Monday, September 1, 2008


Lincoln misses the field goal in OT, and the Bruins take home the first game of 2008! Ben Olsen who? Holy crud what a great game!


Dammit, the Vols tied the game. Now we get the weird-o College Football version of OT.


Upset City?

My UCLA Bruins are on the VERGE of upsetting #18 Tennessee up by 3 with 27 seconds left. Kevin Craft, the THIRD STRING QB looked exactly like that in the first half throwing FOUR picks, but the second half was a different story.

ALL in the second half, Craft has led the Bruins to TWO Touchdown drives of 80 and 71 yards respectively (both in the 4th qtr) and a FG drive.

BUT the game isn't over yet, the Vols are going to kick a FG to tie at 47 yards.

The FG kicker for the VOls has missed TWICE today.

Let's hope he goes 0 for 3