May 30, 2010

The Woe of the Halo

It's not often that you win 2 out of 3 games from a division opponent and you leave the weekend with sadness, but that's how I find myself today. I was seated out in left field for Saturday's Mariners-Angels tilt. A game that should have been known by Halo fans as the Kendry walk-off grand slam game, but will instead be known by all of baseball as the Day the Walk-off Celebration Died.

I'd like to tell you that I was there for the dramatics, but unfortunately over 7 innings of blistering sun, I was broken down by the whinings of wife and child and we headed for the parking lot and a chance to return to home with a refreshing pool and a few cousins to play with. I would have loved to have been there for the excitement of Kendry circling the bases and high fives with strangers, but watching your best player carted off the field just minutes later would have made it all for naught. Oh yeah, did I mention that Kendry Morales is clearly the best player on the Angels team now. It's not even close. I couldn't come up with an offensive player right now who is even close to his level. Saturday the Angels ran out a team with only two players hitting over .255. One, Torii Hunter was injured by a pitch hitting his hand early in the game, the other is now not likely to play until September at the earliest.

It's been a rough season for the Halo faithful. Year after year we are pounded in the offseason by sabermetricians and their ilk who tell us how bad our team is and how this is the year the Mariners or A's or Rangers will overtake us and leave us forever in the dust. Year after year we quietly fume and then yell out, "What now?!" on September as our squad flies another division championship flag. Of course the what now is quickly followed by "Ugh" as we're taken out by one of the big boys from the AL East. So when the Angels got off to a rough start eerily reminiscent of last year, I quietly observed and knew the boys would turn it around. What has seemed like a team with one foot in the grave for the last two months, now may be laying down with dirt shoveled on top of them. The one saving grace, the boys play in the AL West, a division that at the moment does not host a dominant presence. In fact, as of today, the Halos only find themselves 2 and a half games out of first.

2.5 games is nothing...until you realize that we may be treated to two months of Robb Quinlan seeing significant time at first base. Never a good sign when a player who you let walk is unable to get a sniff from another team and then ends up playing a significant role for your team. Maybe Quinlan will recapture the magic of 2006. Or not.

Oh and did I mention the Angels hit another walk-off home run today? Yup, I'm sure you saw it. In what may the most closely watched non-celebration of all-time, Howie Kendrick crossed home to a placid group of teammates all trying their best to avoid any physical contact with him.

So 2 days, 2 walk-off homers against a division opponent, 2.5 games back of first place Texas and I have a knot in my stomach.

Hmmm, I need to look for some positives.
1. Chone Figgins is hitting under .200. Sure, his replacement Brandon Wood has been horrible this season, but at least we're not paying him 8.5 million to suck.
2. John Lackey has an ERA approaching 5 and the worst WHIP of his career.
3. I've attended three baseball games this year. Two in Anaheim, one in San Diego and all 3 of them have been decided by walk-off hits by the home team. That has to be some sort of record. Put your money down on the Angels July 4th, when they'll almost certainly beat the Royals via walk-off.
4. My sun burn from yesterday's game has already started to morph into a sweet tan.
5. The AL West stinks. Every single hitter in our lineup is currently underachieving and outside of Weaver and Santana, the starting pitching hasn't been much better. If even a few players can start turning things around, we may be able to hang in there.
6. Most importantly, after all of the heartache of the weekend, my 4 year-old daughter informed me today that "All the other teams are stupid. That's why I like the Angels". I couldn't have said it better myself.

Go Halos!

Feb 17, 2010

Your Mom Threw It Out, My Mom Got It Back

The blogosphere has been inundated by Million Card Giveaway posts, but one more won't hurt. After posting my 14 card haul on the first day of card unlocking mania, I came across one last code card. As I read post after post I noticed a common phrase showing up time and again.

"Everyone and their mom is doing it."

Well, that got my gears spinning and I wondered just how many moms were actually participating in this madness. In what may go down in card blogging history as a first, I had my mom actually redeem a card for me. So now when you read that everyone and their mom is doing it, you can know that at least one mom is doing it and with pretty good results.

Unlocking this card was my mom's shot at redemption. Although she'll never admit to it, she's one of those mothers that Topps is warning us all about. A mom that at one time threw cards out. Sure, she'll tell you that I misplaced the boxes or that she hasn't gone near that crap in years, but I know the truth. My retirement fund aka "that box of junk commons from the 80's" currently resides in a landfill somewhere in Southern California.

So just what did my mom unlock? Was she able to reverse karma and nail down the '52 Mantle? Not quite, but I did get a rookie card of a Rookie of the Year winner. You can keep your '52 Mantle, that bum never won the ROY.

Read 'em and weep.

1965 Orioles Rookie Stars featuring John Miller and 1965 AL Rookie of the Year Curt Blefary.

Not too bad for a reformed card thrower outer. A special thank you to the woman who raised me for participating in this highly unnecessary, but productive event.

Go Halos!

Feb 15, 2010

Million Card Giveaway Results

Not since the great Billy Ripken F#@* Face fiasco of 1989 has there been this much buzz about obtaining commons. Not that I'm scoffing. I was right there with the rest of the obsessives reloading the Topps site over and over waiting for my chance to complete a 1987 Topps set merely through these redemptions.

So what were my results? We'll count down in reverse chronological order. For those of you tired of looking at commons from the last 20 years, scroll down a bit.

14. 2008 Jamie Moyer

13. 2005 Cleveland Indians Team Card

12. 2005 Oscar Viarreal

11. 1999 Andy Pettite

10. 1993 Cris Colon

9. 1987 Ozzie Smith

8. 1987 Rod Scurry

7. 1987 Joe Hesketh

6. 1985 Dave Von Ohlen

5. 1985 Gary Redus

4. 1975 Dave LaRoche

3. 1971 Steve Hargan

2. 1960 Bob Oldis

1. 1956 "Bud" Podbielan

Not the most amazing haul and certainly no huge scores, but I was pretty excited to see a couple of cards from the 70s show up, so then seeing a 1960 and a 1956 were just awesome. 1956 Topps is easily on of my favorite baseball card sets ever, so getting a card, even of a very marginal player, is pretty sweet.

Go Halos!

Jan 31, 2010

The Best Thing About 2010 Topps

Photos are decent. The design works pretty well for me, I'm a sucker for team logos incorporated into the design. The inserts are far too numerous, but I like a few of them. Pictures on the front and back, but to top it off, the pictures are different. A definite plus. Add it all up, and we've got a pretty good base set to chase after.

All of this is nice, but I didn't discover the best part of 2010 Topps until I started sorting my cards tonight and flipped them over. Believe it or not, you can actually read the numbers of each card on the back. And I'm not talking by having every light in your home on, bifocals in place and straining your eyes. All you have to do is glance at the number and you instantly know what it is. A big white number, surrounded by a black background. Thank you Topps. This is quickly becoming one of the few sorting experiences I've truly enjoyed.

Hopefully you're enjoying your 2010 Topps experience as well. As you come across those Angels inserts, gold cards, black cards, etc. just remember your buddy over at I Heart Halos. He'd be happy to send you whatever he can in return. You see he has made the stupid decision to chase after an Angels master set, short of any 1/1s.

Go Halos!

Jan 27, 2010

The Frustrations of Technology

Finally, after a week of watching everyone east of California open packs of 2010 Topps found at their local Target, yesterday I was able to get a handful of packs for myself. I ripped them open with glee, happy to have my hands on a new product and a new set to pursue. New Angel cards to look at with happiness, really like the look of the Howie Kendrick and Kendry Morales cards, and also a few to look at with disgust, f'n Lackey.

After going through my stack a few times, I was excited to scan a few cards, put my thoughts down on the ol' I Heart Halos blog and entertain the world with my thoughts. I hooked up the scanner to my old laptop (the only one that's compatible with the scanner) and set off to work. Then...nothing.

All the excitement was quickly drained from my body as I stared at error message after error message, telling me my scanner was unable to connect to the computer. All my fantastic insights and clever musings would have to remain in my head and never be shared with the world. Truly a tragic day and this is a problem that must be remedied. The quests for a new scanner shall begin shortly and if I'm able to obtain one before too long, you just may be privy to my delightful musings.

Go Halos!

Jan 9, 2010

A Depressing Off-season Continues

First Figgy heads off to our rivals in the greater Northwest. You kinda knew he was going, but it still stings a little. Seeing him play against us will be painful, especially since we probably won't have the same luck in throwing him out while stealing that every other team seems to have.

Then, Lackey bolts for Boston and goes from adored winner of Game 7, to hated turncoat. Nice to know being in ace in Anaheim wasn't nearly as important as being a #3 in Beantown. Whatever.

Finally, the last of the big 3 is headed out of town and of course going to another division rival, this time Texas. I know that statistically Matsui should be an upgrade, but it just doesn't feel right. Vlad was fun to cheer for and of course incredibly frustrating at times as well. You can only watch him swing at pitches 2 feet out of the strike zone so many times before you start to question his hitting IQ.

The bigger problem with Vlad was that he was the face of the franchise. Sure, he had no business hitting cleanup for the last half of the season, but would it have been so hard to just move him down in the order and reap the benefits of a hitter in the 6th or 7th hole who had some pop?

One less smiling face to adorn Angel cards in 2010.

As far as baseball decisions, I can understand letting Figgy and Vladdy leave, I can even make the case that Lackey wasn't worth nearly that much money, especially over 5 years, but the problem is I'm a fan. And so is my daughter. Every time she sees me watching football she asks when the Angels will be back on. I try to explain the calendar how there is a season, but that has little effect. So as she scampers away she chirps about seeing Figgy and Vlad. Not sure that explaining the free market and the dynamics of free agency is going to go over well.

We're gonna miss you Vlad and Figgy. Hope you choke on your chowder Big John.

Go Halos!

Dec 14, 2009


Needless to say, this is a dark time in the I Heart Halos home.

Dec 5, 2009


Reason #283 it's rough to live and die with your team.

Nov 18, 2009

3 On Card Autos: Baseball Outside of Anaheim

It started over at Dinged Corners and has since spread like wildfire through the card blogging world. The question they posed, "What are your 3 favorite on card autographs?". I was intrigued immediately, but realized right away, I'd never be able to narrow to just 3. So, being the rule breaker that I am, I decided to break mine into categories. My 4 categories: Angels autos, Baseball outside of Anaheim, Football and non-sports.

Today: Baseball Outside of Anaheim

I know it's hard to believe, but they do play baseball outside of Anaheim and over the years I've liked and respected a number of players who never donned the Halo.

1. Kirby Puckett
This card is one of my favorites for a number of reasons. The 1985 Topps Puckett was one of the first big rookie cards I ever got my hands on in my early days of collecting. It's almost impossible for a young kid to not be won over by a chubby guy named Kirby and when he ends up being an extremely exciting player at bat and in the field, you've got a perfect combination. This actual card is of course a reprint from the 2001 Topps Archives release and features a huge autograph from Kirby. This autograph couldn't be a better match to the man. Large, bold and rounded.

2. Bip Roberts
Readers of this gutty, little blog are well aware of my infatuation with Leon "Bip" Roberts. This card was sent to me by Rob of Padrographs and instantly became one of my favorites. Before Rod, I was Bipless in the autograph department, but thanks to his generosity I now have 2. Bold signature - Check. Hat placed lazily atop head - Check. The grin of a young man who knows he's destined for greatness - Check. What's not to love?

3. Ken Griffey Jr.
This card will get a more proper treatment in the near future, but I couldn't just ignore this card when it comes to favorite on card autographs. As you might be able to tell by the monolithic encasement, this card is my holy grail. At the age of 12 my father took me to my first baseball card show in Anaheim and the headliners doing the signing were Ken Griffey Jr. and his father. I had no interest in Sr., sorry to the old-timers, but he wasn't even on my radar. For me it was all about The Kid. This card went from Ken's hand, to mine and within minutes into this monstrosity of a case. Ever since that moment I've been paralyzed by fear every time I've even considered removing it. Because of the case, the scan is horrible, but trust me, this card is as good as it gets.

And so ends my on card autograph journey. Thanks to the ladies of Dinged Corners for making this all a reality with their fabulous idea.

Go Halos!

Nov 16, 2009

3 On Card Autos: The Angel Autos

It started over at Dinged Corners and has since spread like wildfire through the card blogging world. The question they posed, "What are your 3 favorite on card autographs?". I was intrigued immediately, but realized right away, I'd never be able to narrow to just 3. So, being the rule breaker that I am, I decided to break mine into categories. My 4 categories: Angels autos, Baseball outside of Anaheim, Football and non-sports.

Today: The Angel Autos

Choosing just 3 Angel on card autographs proved to be too difficult for me, so I went with 3 and an honorable mention. Even so, I could have filled up this page with another dozen. Restraint isn't exactly one the traits that come to mind when speaking of me.

We'll start with the honorable mention, Wally Joyner.
The scan doesn't do this card justice, but since it's still encased in the plastic tomb provided by Topps, this was the best I could do. In person, this card just looks so clean and the signature pops out. Speaking of the signature, would you expect anything less elegant from the Mormon slugger?

Now onto the main event. In no particular order.
1. Jim Abbott
Unfortunately, this is another card in which the scan does it no justice. For whatever reason, chrome and scanners never quite work correctly. Had I been a bit less lazy, I'd have used the camera, but oh well, this is what you get with me. Love the signature, love the uniform, love the pose. There was something about watching Abbott as he transitioned from pitcher to fielder that just left you in awe. I still can't figure out how a guy with one hand makes the decision to become a pitcher and then not only does so, but becomes a successful major leaguer.

2. Garret Anderson
I've already espoused my love for Garret Anderson, but this card is cool for more than just the player featured. The card is a commemoration of perhaps the greatest moment for us Halo fans, the 2002 World Series. If you're an Angel fan you already know why Garret is labeled as "World Series Hero" on this card, if you're not an Angel fan, well, you should be.

3. Luis Polonia
Was there really any doubt that this card and this player would end up on my list? This card was the first ever entry in my series of "Cards that Define Me". A series that never really took off and I really need to get back to. Luis signed the card for me at a fan appreciation day and instantly became a centerpiece of my collection. I could go on, but there's no need. Spend more than two minutes on my site and you'll become fully aware of my love for the man with the jheri curl mullet.

There you have it, 4 Angel on card autos for the price of 3. How could you go wrong?

Go Halos!