Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Larry B Checks In

After weeks of our desperate emails pleading with him to just give us the slightest sign that he was alive--not being tortured in a vietnamese prison camp, or washed up on some rice paddy's shoreline riddled with malaria--Larry B finally contacted us. He contacted us to player hate on Scott Miller.

The following are the words of Larry B, who has apparently gone native a la Colonel Kurtz:

Been a slow month here on the blogg.  I've been on vacation for most of it, and will be until the weekend but I decided I might as well pop in and throw something up very quickly.  And when you haven't been on the internet in a while and need to quickly find bad sportswriting to make fun of, there's only one person to look to: Scott Miller.  (The answer is no longer Simmons because he doesn't write anymore and I refuse to listen to his podcasts.)  You can always trust Scott to write poorly and uncleverly from a boring angle about a lame topic.

We know the sun sets in the West.
But is it setting on the Angels' Empire?
Yeah, their run of winning 93 games in an easy division and promptly being bounced out of the playoffs in the divisional round is finally coming to an end.
Coming off their first lower-division AL West finish in eight seasons, the Los Angeles Angels are stepping into their most pivotal summer since Mike Scioscia moved into the manager's office in 1999.
Overdramatic? Not with a team that is getting neither younger nor quicker.
Is quickness highly valued when building a baseball team?  Similarly valuable attributes: height, intelligence, ability to recover quickly from hangovers.
There were legitimate reasons why the Angels last summer stumbled to their first sub-.500 mark since 2003.
This just in: the Angels were not merely an unlucky team in 2010, a year in which they fielded a considerably less talented team than they had in previous years and subsequently won about 15 fewer games. 
Just as there were legitimate reasons (hint: $$$) why they whiffed on their No. 1 free-agent target last winter when Carl Crawford signed with Boston. And why they swung and missed on Mark Teixeira (Yankees) and CC Sabathia (ditto) three winters ago. And why they bade farewell to Chone Figgins, Vladimir Guerrero and John Lackey two winters ago.
But is regression in the standings mutually exclusive from their recent run of unseasonably cold winters?
Could their recent shittiness have something to do with the fact that they have lost a bunch of good players and replaced them with shitty ones?  Your guess is as good as mine!
The Angels are betting a hard yes on that.
Which is a reflection of the fact that they're one of the most overrated organizations in baseball.  Specifically their front office and their dickhead “GRRR DERP HUSTLE GRIT PLAY THE GAME THE RIGHT WAY” manager.
Without Figgins and, after slugger Kendry Morales fractured his lower left leg in late May, their offense dipped in the severe, lose-your-stomach manner that the Matterhorn causes its riders at nearby Disneyland.
Unclever, shitty writing.  And coincidentally (OR DO I MEAN IRONICALLY?) Figgins went on to have a pathetically horriawful barftastic offensive season in Seattle.  But yeah anyways. 
They were so off-balance that they scored 202 fewer runs in 2010 than they did in 2009. Not only was that the largest drop in the majors, but their 681 total runs were the Angels' fewest in a non-strike-shortened season since 1992. Hello, Luis Polonia.
HELLO, IRRELEVANT EARLY 90s PLAYER REFERENCE!  Scott just got his honorary degree from the Jeff Pearlman school of baseball writing.
The fix? With Morales back in the middle of the lineup this summer, the Angels are sure a clogged offense again will flow.
Classic Scoscia-esque word choice regarding those offensive problems.  “The reason our offense went in the shitter has nothing to do with losing a bunch of good hitters- it's because we're clogging things up too much.  Gotta get them to FLOW again.  Gotta get from first to third on singles.  GOTTA DO THE LITTLE THINGS.”
"He's very important," says Jered Weaver, the projected opening day starter. "Obviously, having him go out last year put a damper on our season. Anytime you lose a guy like that, it's tough."
Teammate acknowledges hurt teammate's relevance.  And zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz
But on opening day, Morales will not be in the field behind Weaver. He instead will open the season on the disabled list. And nearly 11 months following his ankle surgery, that's worrisome.
"One thing we've talked about is that Morales is going to be more important at the end of the season than at the beginning of the season," hitting coach Mickey Hatcher says.
Right, it'll be much better for them to start cold and then get hot in August and September to win 80 games than to start hot and then fade down the stretch.
The addition of veteran outfielder Vernon Wells is a big upgrade over Juan Rivera in left field all the way around -- with the bat, in the field and in the clubhouse (especially work ethic).
Burnsauce on Rivera.
But by missing on Crawford, the Angels' leadoff position remains unsettled (Maicer Izturis and others). And by missing over the winter on Adrian Beltre (Texas), third base likely will remain a revolving door (Izturis, Alberto Callaspo or, ahem, Brandon Wood).
Hopefully some of those shitty hitters can help the offense start to flow again.
Which puts a target squarely on Morales' back. If the Angels don't want to watch defending champ Texas run away again, or even emerging Oakland, Morales must have two good legs and one mean bat.
Unclever, shitty writing. He'll also need at least three mean teeth!
His biggest issue now is not running in a straight line, but cutting and turning on the run (such as on the bases or in the field).
Such as while playing baseball, or doing any of the things you do when you play baseball. That's a great parenthetical.  I love it.  I enjoy blogging about bad sportswriting (such as you might find on the internet, or in newspapers, or in magazines, or in books). 
Which means the next issue is this: After nearly a year away, is Morales' bat capable of picking up where it left off?
"I think he's got the personality where it can," Hatcher says. "This guy, he's like Guerrero. He loves the excitement, he loves the challenge.
More evidence that the Angels are run by diptards.
"Anybody else, I'd be concerned. But I'm not concerned about him getting in the box. There may be some times when he looks ugly, but he can still hurt the pitcher."
There were enough ugly moments last year with the Angels' lineup that simply limiting them in 2011 will be an improvement.
Which will be super easy once Morales comes back from his injury, sometime in late Whoknowswhen.
"There were a number of components," Scioscia says. "First and foremost was the dynamics of trying to set the table with some guys in front of the middle of our lineup, and Figgy was part of that.
He always took the extra base!  That's what made him so good!
And then losing Kendrys, it changed everybody's roles in the lineup to where I think guys were trying to do a little too much.
Clogging things up!
And guys we anticipated, Rivera had a tough first half, Erick Aybar and Bobby Abreu struggled.
Erick Aybar struggled because he sucks.  Juan Rivera struggled because he pretty much sucks.  Bobby Abreu struggled because he's 37.  But again, these are the Angels, so they didn't see any of that coming.
"A lot of stuff was related. I don't think it was one thing."
The best analysis I've ever heard Scoscia offer on any topic.
As for 2011, it all starts with Morales' recovery.
"He's fine," Hatcher insists. "There ain't nothing wrong with his hitting."
Other than the fact that he can't do anything after he hits the ball besides run in a straight line to the right field foul pole.
Maybe not. But few can hit in the majors without two good feet. And the quicker Morales gets to that point, the quicker the Angels will be able to stand tall on their own two legs.
Unclever, shitty ending. 


dan-bob said...

The frame device on this post is an elaborate tactic, CW. Clever.

Jeter's Head said...

Does it strike you as ironic that you, the author of this column, can't write for shit?

cs said...

Quite an amazing position you put your body in during the 2001 ALDS Game 3, sir.

Did you get any of the Gatorade royalties for that? Or just the body?

Adam said...

Things I learned from this article:

1. Wins in September are worth more than wins in April.
2. The key to scoring a lot of runs is limiting your ugly moments.
3. Kendry Morales will drive in 202 runs this year.