Way to go Troy Percival

November 30, 2007

percy.jpgTroy Percival, during his long career with the Angels, emerged as one of my favorite players. He was a consistently good closer for them, and I’ll always remember that intimidating squinting stare he had to read the sign from the catcher.

But that’s not why I’m writing this.

In this modern era of baseball, it’s becoming more common for fan-favorites to leave their teams at the end of their careers because either their team doesn’t want them anymore, or the player wants more money.

Percival has signed with the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, continuing a great trend of only playing for non-threatening teams that aren’t rivals of the Angels. He has never put me in the awkward position of having to root against him. Off the top of my head, I can think of Johnny Damon, Jeff Kent, Roger Clemens and Luis Gonzalez, who after playing the bulk of their career with one team, left for a division rival. I know there’s many more examples like them.

When Percival first left for the Tigers, they were awful, and when they got good, Percival got hurt. He came out of retirement to play for St. Louis, which wasn’t bad because they’re in the NL and former Angels account for half of their team anyway. And now he’s with Tampa, which has to be the most non-threatening AL team possible.

Way to go Percy. In the perfect world, I’d want him back on the Angels as their 4th or 5th best reliever after Frankie Rodriguez, Scot Shields and Justin Speier, but I get that he wants to pitch somewhere where he has a more important role, and where he can get some money.

I’m just glad he didn’t go to Oakland, Seattle, Texas, the Yankees, Boston or the Dodgers. Because then I’d have to root against him, and I don’t want to have to do that.

OK, this is getting ridiculous. Are the Marlins trying to make the Angels and Dodgers enter a bidding war against each other for Miguel Cabrera?

Arte Moreno has said his team had a deal in place with the Marlins, and they later backed away from it.

Why does this seem to happen to the Angels? The Miguel Tejada deal was supposedly done a year ago, now the Cabrera deal was agreed upon, only to be taken away.

Johan Santana to the Angels?

November 28, 2007

It’s a longshot, but after the last couple of weeks, I’m willing to believe anything.

The LA Times mentioned it is a possibility (Hat-tip to Halos Heaven).

So, is Arte Moreno turning into George Steinbrenner?

Houston Nutt’s last game — win over #1 LSU
Dennis Franchione’s last game — win over rival Texas
Bill Doba’s last game — win over rival Washington

All three of those men have resigned or been fired within the last week.

Dan Guerrero, are you listening? You can fire Karl Dorrell even if UCLA beats USC on Saturday. Let the overall body of work be more important than just one game.

Links of the Day

November 27, 2007

I’m not the only one who thinks that the UCLA/Oregon game may have been the worst game ever. (Rumors and Rants)

Johan Santana could be headed to the Yankees. Yeah, no one saw that one coming. Next you’re going to tell me Torii Hunter went to the Angels. (Babes Love Baseball and Twins Territory)

The Cubs have re-signed Kerry Wood to a deal that actually makes sense. Wow. (Bugs & Cranks)

Cooper Manning is better than Eli Manning. (Hugging Harold Reynolds)

There is no such thing as a moral victory in sports, including for the Philadelphia Eagles’ near win over the Patriots. (Larry Brown Sports)

My favorite baseball quote ever. Is it really still November? It seems like an eternity since baseball ended. (Center Field)

Two Torii Hunter links. USA Today did a great story detailing how the Hunter signing happened, and Sabernomics thinks the money in the Hunter deal was about right, and I hope they’re right.

rbowl.jpgI always thought going to the Rose Bowl would be an incredible achievement. I always thought going to the Rose Bowl was something to be excited about and proud of.

But even though UCLA would clinch the Rose Bowl with a win over USC and an Arizona State loss, it doesn’t feel exciting. I’m not in a blissful state like I am when my other teams have great seasons. It doesn’t really feel like UCLA has achieved anything. They’re 6-5 for crying out loud.

Should UCLA make it to the Rose Bowl, I’d feel kind of bad. I’d feel like they stole something that doesn’t belong to them. I’d feel like they didn’t deserve it, and someone else should be there in the Bruins’ place.

This season has not been fun and exciting. It has been frustrating and depressing. UCLA fans came into the season dreaming of a potential national title run, and the team was ranked as high as #11 early on. Now, the Bruins are a mediocre 6-5, barely becoming bowl-eligible.

The only UCLA win that has been inspiring and thrilling at all was against Cal — and seeing how Cal has collapsed down the stretch, that win doesn’t really mean as much anymore. The Oregon game was quite possibly the worst display of offense the sport has seen. UCLA was playing badly against Oregon State until the 4th quarter, when the Beavers had the worst quarter of football by a decent team ever. And BYU should’ve beaten UCLA, but beat themselves more than the Bruins outplayed them.

And those are just the wins — you know all about the historic losses. They got demolished 44-6 to a Utah team playing without its starting quarterback and running back. They lost to the worst Notre Dame team of all time. They lost to perennial Pac-10 doormats Washington State and Arizona. They did play Arizona State close, but when only one of your five losses isn’t demoralizing, that’s bad.

So yeah, this hasn’t exactly been a season to remember.

All that being said, I’m a fan, and I will be rooting for UCLA (and an Arizona State loss) on Saturday. I can’t not root for this team, especially when they’re playing USC and with the Rose Bowl on the line. I know full well that a Rose Bowl berth would also likely secure Karl Dorrell’s job security for a while (even though it shouldn’t), but I can’t bring myself to root against UCLA and for USC. Who I root for doesn’t affect what happens on the field, and I’m confident in Karl Dorrell’s ability to screw up this game somehow, so I can root for the Bruins without hesitation.

I thought going to the Rose Bowl was supposed to be exciting. Instead, I’ve spent all season getting my hopes up only to be let down, then fearing the worst every time UCLA has a lead. Is this what going to the Rose Bowl is supposed to feel like?

hunter2.jpgI was gone most of Thanksgiving weekend, so I didn’t get to post about this earlier. As fellow bloggers Ben and Larry Brown Sports have already written about, the Angels signed Torii Hunter to a 5-year, $90 million contract.

I’m of a different opinion than they are though. I actually don’t mind this deal. Is it a great deal? No. Is it a bad deal? No. But for the short-term at least, it does help.

Hey, it’s not my money.

As long as Arte Moreno doesn’t decide to cap the payroll in the next few years, signing Hunter is a good thing.

His walk rate, OBP and age do worry me. But he has been a consistent above-average offensive player the last few years, and will likely be one in 2008 and 2009. 2010 and beyond are a different story though, and I fully expect Hunter to decline then.

But hey, if Moreno is willing to fix that mistake in a couple of years, why not splurge now? With A-Rod gone, Hunter was one of the best hitters available in free agency. The Angels didn’t have to give up any prospects for him. And they can now put Garret Anderson and Vladimir Guerrero at DH regularly, something both of them need.

This signing does have the potential to be horrible in a few years if Moreno decides to cut payroll. But if he has an unlimited budget, there is no such thing as a bad free-agent signing. If the player does horribly, just sign someone else. The Yankees and Red Sox have been extremely successful over the last decade with that strategy. Why not the Angels?

Torii Hunter: WTF??

November 22, 2007

I am beyond trying to understand the Angels. Last year, they pay $50 million over 5 years to an overrated center-fielder coming off a career year.

This year, they pay $90 million over five years…to a slightly better overrated center-fielder coming off of a career year. WTF?

Thats $140 million of waste. And this team is still paying good money to Garrett Anderson!

I’m not saying Hunter won’t be a good player for the Angels this year- he probably will. Actually, he probably makes the team a little bit better. What is frustrating to me is that if they did not have Anderson, Matthews, or Hunter, their outfield of Rivera, Willits, Guerrero would be almost just as good.

The best part about it is that now, Matthews is going to be used as a designated hitter/corner outfielder. Maybe it’s just me, but I thought a huge part of the reason the Angels paid him so much was because of his center field defense, which is stellar. Obviously, Hunter is a pretty incredible defensive center-fielder too, but basically, the Angels are now paying Matthews 10 million a year to be an average major-league hitter.

What’s even worse is that this move pretty much makes Juan Rivera, who is a much better hitter than Matthews (he is also making a hell of a lot less money than Matthews), a part-time player. Juan Rivera has proven that with consistent at-bats, he can be one of the most productive hitters in the league- and now there is no place for him at all. I’m just praying that the White Sox are interested in trading for Gary Matthews.

Whatever. If the Angels want to waste a bunch of money and the team still wins- and they will win the West again next year- I guess I shouldn’t care as a fan. What bothers me is that they could be saving this money for Miguel Cabrera or another legitimate hitter that would essentially book a ticket to post-season play for years to come and help their chances to get to the World Series.

Absolutely Awful

November 22, 2007

Even with the recent struggles of a few conference teams, it’s easy to argue that the Pac-10 is the best top-to-bottom conference in college basketball right now.

Unless you are talking about the very bottom.

Oregon State is absolutely awful. I mean beyond bad. I don’t know how they are even going to win one game in conference play this year.

The Beavers lost to the Alaska Nanooks on Saturday in the Top of the World Classic. Alaska is a Division II team that lost by 58 points to Cal – another team picked to finish towards the bottom of the Pac-10 Standings. They also lost by 35 points to IUPUI in the same tournament. And they somehow beat Oregon State.

Granted, Oregon State will get former Kansas starter C.J. Giles for conference play, but to watch this team try and compete in the Pac-10 this year should be nothing short of amusing.

Dump Kurt Streeter

November 21, 2007

I would’ve dropped this issue after I first wrote about it, but Kurt Streeter just keeps on going.

He has posted a response on his blog which makes him look even more like a fool than his original column. Using the style of one my favorite blogs, Fire Joe Morgan, I’m going to bold what Streeter says and then respond to it afterwards.

As I pointed out in the piece, Dorrell wins and he wins at pretty much the same pace that UCLA football has won for decades. He’s a bit under .600. His two immediate predecessors were a bit over .600.

Wrong. Dorrell’s winning percentage is .567, Bob Toledo’s was .609 and Terry Donahue’s was .640. And Toledo was fired for his poor performance — shouldn’t Dorrell, who has been even worse, also be fired then?

I could better understand the harsh reaction to this coach if he were the head guy at a place like Florida, Michigan, Texas or even, dare I say it, USC. Let’s face it, at UCLA football is not king. It is on those other campuses.

Florida just won two basketball championships. I don’t see why being in good one sport prevents you from being good in the other.

UCLA has a different feel to it than those monster football schools, and it always should.

Why? Just because you said so?

Believe me, to reach the level where a school is constantly challenging for the national title, academic standards are going to take a beating. A serious beating.

Cal has the exact same minimum standards as UCLA, yet has been a much better football program over the last five years — and their coach inherited a program that was in much more dire straits than UCLA.

Finally, has anyone noticed what’s happened up at Cal? Wow, I thought guru Jeff Tedford walked on water. What happened? Once a genius, always a genius, right?

I’m glad you brought up Cal.

Cal in the five years before Tedford: 16-39
Cal in Tedford’s first five seasons: 43-20

UCLA in the five years before Dorrell: 35-24
UCLA in Dorrell’s first five seasons: 34-26

Cal in Tedford’s first five seasons: 43-20
UCLA in Dorrell’s first five seasons: 34-26

While Dorrell inherited a program much better than Tedford’s, Dorrell has done much worse since then. Note that Dorrell is slightly worse than his predecessor, who was fired for his poor performance.

It’s pretty sad that there’s not a higher standard of civility in the blogosphere, but I guess that’s the way our society is these days. As for me, I’ll stay above the fray.

You’re staying above the fray? Really? You’re the one igniting the fray! You’re the one who brought up race and essentially accused UCLA fans of being racists in the first place. And don’t hide by saying you only said “some”, we know what you meant.

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