Wait until next year

Putting off what could be done tomorrow, today

Tag: angels

MLB play-offs braindump #1

It’s probably high time for a disclaimer. I don’t profess to be a baseball expert. Thinking about it, I don’t profess to be an expert in anything. I’m just another voice in the crowd, yelling the first thing that comes into my head. The power of blogging, eh?

Still reading? Wow.

I’d thought about putting up some sort of play-offs predictions/preview post earlier this week. However, I figured that there were already plenty of good, and plenty of bad, posts of that nature already floating around the ether. And who needed another one?

I also think the New York Yankees are probably going to win it all. And as a New York Mets fan, I couldn’t bring myself to dedicate a whole post to that.

So, I thought I’d just assemble some random ramblings on the baseball and see where it takes us. This could be ongoing over the course of the play-offs, or could sit lonely in the archive, a #1 without a #2, let alone a #3, for company.

Finally, here’s what you’ve been waiting for – some ill-thought-out thoughts from a self-professed non-expert. And fan of hyphens, if the last sentence is anything to go by.

Throwing logic out the window, let’s start with something from before the play-offs – that amazing Twins/Tigers game from the other night. What struck me in the aftermath was the fantastic sportsmanship of the Detroit Tigers. They had just lost an epic, classic battle. There had been suspect calls that would have changed the course of the game in their favour. They’d thrown away a three game lead with four games to play. Yet, somehow, they were able to take the loss in the proper sporting way. No sour grapes here.

I was struck by Brandon Inge’s comment, “No matter what we did, it seems like it wasn’t to be. This is the best game, by far, that I’ve ever played in no matter the outcome.” If only everyone in sport could be that dignified when losing…

OK, onwards and upwards to last night, the first night of the play-offs. I was pleased to see that bog-standard normal mlb.tv has returned for international viewers catching the game online. I’m not sure where I’m going to find the time to watch all the games, so the condensed game, while very much second best, is a handy substitute when time isn’t on my side.

No real surprises in the Phillies/Rockies game. The Phillies do look vulnerable in the later innings of games, but the Rockies need to still be in the game for that to be a factor. No chance of that last night.

The Yankees looked very strong. My first thought was who can actually beat them? My second thought was perhaps the Twins made them look good, as the Twins had been on the booze after their win against the Tigers, and then on an overnight flight to New York. I doubt that is the best way to prepare for any game.

The Dodgers looked promising, beating the Cardinals without too much strain, but I very much doubt this series is finished yet. Both teams finished the season badly, but have been amongst the best over the course of the year, so a bit of a weird situation. Who will get good again first? The Dodgers, by last night’s evidence, I guess.

The other play-off starts tonight with the Angels against the Red Sox. I think this is too close to call. Oh dear. The insight has dried up before it started. More tomorrow! Maybe!

In the meantime I’m not ignoring other sports, I just think it’s worth concentrating on the fun stuff. And I’m finding the baseball a lot of fun at the moment. But I’ll try and get some other non-baseball odds and sods up soon. Maybe even more man-crushes? Wait, don’t leave me…

Los Angeles Angels – a bittersweet victory


On Monday the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim baseball team clinched the American League West Division. As you can imagine, this was a moment of celebration. After six months of toil, they were not only champions of their division, but they were in the post-season play-offs, and one step closer to the World Series.

But this was not just a moment to mark a sporting achievement. It was an opportunity to remember and honour a teammate who was not there to celebrate.

On 8 April, Nick Adenhart made his season debut pitching six innings without giving away a run, as the Angels played the Oakland A’s. After the game, on his way to celebrate his performance, the car he was travelling in was hit by a drunk-driver, killing Adenhart and two of his companions, Courtney Stewart and Henry Pearson. Adenhart was 22.

It is hard to imagine such a loss. The Angels pledged to keep his memory alive this season, and did so by maintaining his locker and hanging one of his jerseys in the dug-out at each and every game. During Monday’s celebrations, his shirt was brought out, and tears mixed with cheers.

Following their passage to the play-offs, surely no neutral would begrudge an Angels World Series victory. It would be a fitting memorial to the young pitcher.

However, there was one aspect of Monday’s events that seemed a little odd. Adenhart’s shirt was drowned in beer and champagne by his teammates, to toast him and the division win. This seemed a strange act, considering the circumstances of his death.

Clearly there was an element of catharsis in the celebrations, and I’m sure in the moment they did not notice the irony of dousing a drunk-driving victim’s shirt in alcohol. However, there has been some criticism of their actions from some quarters.

Is such criticism too harsh? After such a difficult and stressful season, which the Angels have dealt with in a genuinely dignified manner, perhaps a misguided action at some point was inevitable.

I wonder, will any further victories be marked differently?

Photograph from Chris and/or Kevin via Flickr