Showing posts with label Kendry Morales. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Kendry Morales. Show all posts

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!

Jul 2, 2009

The Night Owl Strikes

While some would say that Night Owl's best quality is his writing skill, which can be seen over and over through his entertaining posts, others would argue that his generosity takes the top spot. I, on the other hand, find something else to admire about the man. His penchant for pulling Halos! The man is an Angel magnet, which while unfortunate for a Dodger fan, means a windfall for this Angel fan. Greg, thank you for making me your dumping ground. I truly appreciate it.

So what exactly did Greg send along, a heaping of Halos. Here's a small sample.

A number of 1985 Fleer cards were sent along, that I can only hope were part of some Dollar Store finds.
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I love everything about this Bobby Grich card. The giant mustache, the flowing mane, the bat awkwardly staged in his lap. Beauty.

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1989 Donruss is one of my favorite sets. I remember open a ton of packs as a kid and I always enjoyed the borders and their fading in and out of colors. Combine that with the boyish charm of Wally World and the ostentatious use of MVP on the card and you have a winner.

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Garret the Brave, still pictured as a Halo. As Garret's career winds down, it's tough seeing him with another team. When Angel fans would criticize Garret it was okay, because he was one of our own and we all still had the memories of his bases clearing double in game 7 of the 2002 World Series. It's a lot tougher to hear Braves fan railing against GA, knowing that their only memory of him will be as an aging outfielder, struggling to keep up.

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Words can't describe how I feel about this. On the day after Thanksgiving, we will be putting up our Christmas tree as we do every year. The first ornament going on the tree will be Mr. Glaus.

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I have no idea how this game works or what the point of it was, but I enjoy its oddball appeal.

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This is my first and only 2009 Topps Finest card and getting hold of it made me really appreciate the set this year. I normally try to open at least one box of Finest each year, but budget hasn't allowed for that this year. I was okay with that, until I got this beauty.

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A second shiny Saunders from the Night Owl. If Joe could just avoid ever pitching in Texas again, we might have a chance this year.

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It's especially odd to see a 2008 card that still features Bart as an Angel, but Timelines had more than a few of these. I pulled a Randy Johnson "Mariners" version of this relic. I'm fine with the flashback, but then why not just put Angels on the card?

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I can't imagine how disappointing it must have been for Night Owl to open a blaster of Timelines and pull Bart the Angel and a blaster of UD and pull a K-Mo relic. Sorry about your luck Greg...wait, no I'm not. I thoroughly enjoy your rotten luck.

Greg also sent a long a number of other Angels, which have found a very warm home out here. Thanks again Greg for your generosity and best of luck with your Halo radar in the future.

Go Halos!

Jun 30, 2009

Halos From a Friar

With only a couple of days to go until I head off for a family vacation, I’ve got to kick the lazy habit for at least a few days and get some writing done. What better to inspire me than the kindness of other bloggers. Over the last few days I have been the very fortunate recipient of some great cards.

Today’s cards come from Rod of Padrographs. This is the second package that Rod has sent me and as always the card choices are well thought out. Rod is extremely generous and his packages are always filled with fun. This one included a postcard that scared the crap out of my daughter and a book survey/questionnaire/autograph holder that I completely misread and thus flubbed. My students would be thrilled. So here’s a small sampling of what the man sent along.

First up from the faithful Friar fan, a few 2009 Upper Deck cards. I chose these two to show off, because they both deserve a little love.

Mike Napoli
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Naps is having a great offensive season, splitting time as the DH and catcher. You gotta love Napoli because he rarely has his jersey buttoned above the first three buttons and just looks like an 80s power hitter. Love his offense, wish some of it would rub off on Jeff Mathis, he of the better defense, but toothpick bat.

Kendry Morales
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Much of the Haloverse was up in arms when Mark Teixeira bolted for the cash. I had a feeling from day one that he would be headed to the highest bidder, so even last August I was thinking about our future replacements. I’m a big Kendry Morales fan. Kendry hasn’t hit for a great average this year, although he’s hovering around .280. What’s been nice is that his power is definitely coming around and he’s on pace to hit somewhere in the high 20s. Not bad for a guy getting his first real run in the majors. And while few if any first baggers pick it like Tex, he’s been pretty steady in the field.

Next up, a current Halo, making his way back from injury.
Vladdy.
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Vlad’s struggles the last couple of years can be frustrating, but when he’s on, there’s very few players that are easier to root for. When Vlad finally busted out of a slump last week, hitting his second home run of the season, he entered the dugout to no fanfare. Instead, every player and coach was sitting quietly on the bench. Vlad proceeded to head right down the aisle towards the clubhouse, cracking all of his teammates up as they chased after him. He returned to smiles, backslaps and camaraderie. Gotta love baseball.

From the current right field sensation, to the old right field sensation.
Timmy Salmon.
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I never get tired of receiving Salmon cards in trades, etc. Salmon became the biggest of Angel stars during a time when I had quit collecting, so I’m seriously deficient in the cardboard of Mr. Salmon. For Angel fans, Salmon could do no wrong and it’s just enjoyable to have a player in your team’s history who never played for anyone else and never brought any kind of shame or shadiness to the team.

Going back a little further, just an 18-time all-star, no biggie.
Rod Carew.
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1. This photo is just perfect for the card.
2. All of Rod’s career stats are on the back. Love it.

Now, it’s not a package from Rod if it doesn’t include some Padres, but they do serve a purpose.

Mike Scioscia
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When looking at Scioscia’s career, it’s easy to remember his days as a gritty catcher with the Dodgers, or as the World Series winning manager of the Angels, but it’s about time Mike gets some love for his time with the Pads. Well, maybe not. The photo on this card is one of the few featuring Mike during his Padre days, as he tore his rotator cuff in spring training and never played with the Pads.

And of course, the highlight of any Rod package for me are the Bips!

Shiny Bip.
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What’s shinier than this card? Only the infamous Bip smile. You gotta love this guy.

Tiny Bip.
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On the right, regular sized Bip. On the left, tiny 1991 Cracker Jack Bip. This card is ridiculously small and is without a doubt in my top 5 favorite Bip cards of all-time.

Autographed Bip.
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Just freaking sweet. Any cardboard featuring Bip is awesome, but a piece signed and touched by the man himself…LOVE IT!

Thanks a ton Rod. This package came out of nowhere and I’m thrilled to add all the cards to my collection. While I’m somewhat hard on the Pads, I do appreciate their shutting down the Rangers twice this weekend and helping my Halos get back into first. I guess the Pads do have a few redeeming aspects.

Go Halos!

May 21, 2009

2009 Topps Series 2: The Quest Begins

Thanks to the efforts of the wife tonight, I was able to rip into some series 2 packs and finally quench the desire for some new cards. Outside of series 1 Topps and UD, I haven't bought packs of any new cards this year. A combination of budget and just dislike for much of what's out there has led to a fairly dry year. Thankfully, the venture into blogging has provided a number of new Angels cards which have more than filled in the gaps.

The wife was able to snag 8 packs at Target, so I figured I'd show off the Halos and Legends cards today and hopefully the rest of the highlights tomorrow.

The HALOS!
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Sure, it's just a ToppsTown card, but at least it's a TT card of Vlad wielding imposing wooden stick of doom.

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For once all of the unnecessary signage and clutter in dugouts today has paid off by revealing that this picture was taken in Cleveland. OK, so it's not much of a payoff, but I'm always a little bit curious of where the card pictures originated from.

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I like the horizontal and feel like it's one of the best parts about this set, but couldn't Topps have found a picture from the regular season for Kendry. I realize cards like this happen for players new to the team like Abreu (below), but K-Mo deserved better.

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Outside of Torii Hunter, Abreu has pretty much been the offensive highlight for the Angels this season. With his zero home runs, that should tell you a little something about the Halo offense. Even without the power, this signing has been really important for the Angels this season. Hopefully a healthy Vlad can start driving him in upon his return.

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Love the angle that this photo was taken at. Matthews will never be a beloved Angel, but at least he has a card that I will look back on fondly on 55 million dollars later.

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Vladdy the Legend. I hadn't looked through any of the checklists for Series 2 or glanced at many blogs lately, so this was a very cool surprise. It's easy to get frustrated watching Vlad swing wildly at balls in the dirt or over his head, but it's also nice to open a pack of cards and see one of the players from your team on a card designated for legends.

Speaking of legends...
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Cy Young. Apparently this guy was good enough to have an award named after him.

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Mel Ott. 511 home runs for a guy who stood 5'9" and weighed 170 pounds. Obviously it was a different game in Ott's era, but it's fascinating to look back at these accomplishments.

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Campy. 10 seasons, 3 MVP awards. Campy was a man of efficiency.

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Rogers Hornsby. The Career Best cards are interesting in that they show you the best a player did in each offensive category at some point in their career. The numbers on the back of the Hornsby card are incredible. A season with a .424 average, 250 hits, an OPS of 1.245, 42 homers, 152 RBIs, 47 doubles, 20 triples, 156 runs scored...and it goes on. Incredible.

And finally, the legendary SP
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I really enjoy these SPs and wish I had the money to chase after them. While the legends cards in general are a highlight to me in 2009 Topps, these cards are even more interesting in that they just blend in with the set. My eyes did a double take when I realized this was a Jim Palmer card and unlike the Mickey Mantle cards of past years, these cards look natural and like they should be part of the set. This one really has me tempted to go after more.

That does it for part 1 of the 8 pack break. Some nice Halos and some even cooler Legends of the Game. While the photography for '09 has been lauded often, it's the Legends that put this set over the top for me. After opening packs I tend to spend another half hour on the internet looking up information on the players and reading various writeups. These cards make me feel better about baseball and that's always a good thing.

Part 2 tomorrow...hopefully.

Go Halos!