We’re a week into spring training games and one thing is very clear, the Angels twitter account really takes these W’s seriously. While seeing the team play well and picking up wins is nice, they don’t mean a whole heck of a lot. As long as everyone continues to get their work in and remains healthy when the bell rings, I’m good. I’m pretty sure they don’t give out trophies for best overall record in either the Cactus or Grapefruit Leagues but if you’re really that into these wins, then go ahead and be happy…I’ll just save the real #LTBU’s for the regular season.
It was great seeing Matt Shoemaker take the mound yesterday against the Brewers. It was his first ‘real’ game action since being hit in the head last September in Seattle. I can only imagine what it’s like for any of these guys (Shoemaker, Brandon McCarthy, Alex Cobb, etc) to not only suffer through getting hit with a line drive and its recovery process but also having to get back out on the mound and be able to keep negative thoughts from creeping in while trying to do their jobs. Shoemaker yesterday was able to get through it and early on, you could see the adrenaline flowing. Shoemaker said after his outing, “I got out there, and I got a little excited. There was so much excitement that, especially in the first inning, I was overthrowing everything.” We get it, Shoe…we’re all just happy that you’re ok and this first hurdle is in the rear view mirror. And if you want a postscript to this story, look no further than Danielle Shoemaker’s tweet after yesterday’s outing…icing on the cake!
On a side note:
- In yesterday’s game, Huston Street made his first appearance of the spring and it didn’t last very long. Street, who had a couple of issues last year with an oblique injury as well as a knee problem that required surgery, lasted two outs before coming out with what the Angels called ‘right triceps irritation.’ There were some questions heading into camp about the back-end of the bullpen and something like this certainly doesn’t help clear up the picture. The hope is, of course, it’s nothing serious and Street can get back on the bump and on track for Opening Day.
- Angels 3B Yunel Escobar left camp for a couple of days this week to head back to Florida in order to take his U.S. Naturalization test, thus starting the process of becoming a U.S. citizen. Escobar, who defected from Cuba in 2004, is going through the same process my parents did when they decided to become citizens after fleeing Cuba during the regime change. Escobar’s journey is an amazing one and I can only imagine how wonderful he feels in wanting to become a citizen of a country that has accepted him with open arms after leaving so much behind.
- Sports Illustrated’s Tom Verducci sat down with Albert Pujols to talk about his career and the upcoming milestone of 600 HR’s (he’s sitting at 591 going into this season). It’s an interesting read that talks about the first five years of Pujols’ contract with the Angels and the injuries he has endured to date. I know everyone likes to talk about the contract and whether or not Albert was ever going to live up to it but the truth is no one ever really ‘lives up’ to monster contracts. Expectations are through the roof when word gets out on deals like this and I know at the end of the day, all fans care about is winning and championships. To date, that obviously hasn’t happened for Albert and the Angels and while you may not want to hear about the ‘other stuff’ Albert brings to the table, they’re factual and they’ve impacted this club in ways you may not be able to see and/or justify and that’s cool, it’s your perogative. But I will tell you two things…first, you’d be hard-pressed to find anyone that’s ever worked harder at his craft and in trying to help his team win games than Albert Pujols. The man cares more than you’ll ever know. Secondly, and at that moment in time, you couldn’t have picked a better person/player in the game of baseball to bring into your organization to mentor Mike Trout. And I still feel that way today.
- Speaking of Trout, can we finally put to rest all of these hypothetical articles about the Angels trading him and/or ‘wasting’ his best years? Uncle!
- The World Baseball Classic is starting up and man, can’t you feel the excitement? I mean, everyone’s so pumped up about this tourney. I’ve never ‘gotten into’ this whole WBC thing even though I did call a round of games in Toronto while I was at MLB Network (I was getting paid). While fans from around the world may get excited about their own country’s players/chances, it’s never really taken off here in the States…at least that’s my feel. I couldn’t tell you who won the last WBC…should I know this? It’s very difficult to replicate the excitement/enthusiasm that you see in the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, Venezuela, Mexico…that’s because it’s genuine love of the game/team/country. Better yet, there’s a passion behind it. If you ever get a chance to go see a winter ball game in one of those countries, do it…you’ll have the time of your life. Until then, I guess you try to catch some of the WBC action that occurs during spring training to get your fix but it’ll never come close.
As always, feel free to reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Livin’ the dream…