The Big A...Beautiful

Entering the 2018 season, Angel Stadium or any variation of the name that you would like to use (Anaheim Stadium, Edison International Field, The Big A or The Big Ed) plays host to its 52nd season of Angels Baseball.

The fourth oldest ballpark in Major League Baseball only behind Fenway, Wrigley and Dodger Stadium. The Big A has seen its fair share of Major League Legends pass through and play on the grass and run on the dirt in Anaheim, it has seen its fair share of big games including 3 MLB All Star Games (1967, 1989 and 2010), and not to mention play host to the 2002 World Series games 1,2,6 and the deciding game 7.  The Big A since its renovation in 1998 has consistently been regarded as a great place to watch a baseball game, and its family friendly atmosphere is what its known for, from its Rock Pile fountain that shoots up water to its fireworks display and not to mention its newly added HD screens.  A very beautiful Stadium in its own way.

Beautiful, indeed. The greenest grass you have ever seen, the smell that you can’t describe but it’s the smell that lets you know that you’re at The Big A.  The entrance and exit ramps that zig zag you from level to level, and if you’re lucky maybe one of the rails of those ramps is chipped and it uncovers a bright orange paint that takes you back to old Anaheim Stadium and reminds you of running through that same ramp as a child. Beautiful…  the Sunday 1:05 pm games and sitting in $4 general admission, using your binoculars because you’re sitting so high up but your just trying to get a glimpse of Luis Polonia stealing a base. Beautiful… the old faded tan and orange seats and the pressbox in view level on the first base side. Beautiful indeed.

However the one thing that worries me is that many of us may take for granted just how beautiful The Big A truly is.  You know the saying, “You don’t know what you got till it’s gone.”   Now I’m not saying that The Big A is going anywhere but many times I have gone home after a game and realized that I was just at the game and that it blew by, and I was in and out.   Let’s just take the time to look around and appreciate what sits before us as we cheer on our Halos because it is BEAUTIFUL.

-Johnny Mags

The Ups and Downs of April

Coming into this season expectation was at an all time high. With the signing of Upton, Ohtani, Cozart and the trade for Ian Kinsler fans automatically felt that this was going to be the Angels year to make a splash in the postseason for the first time since 2014. The first week of baseball showed every fan what could be. The Angels started with a historic start to a season with a 13-3 record. At this point every Angel fan is feeling really good about this team. Riding in on an all time high and two days off, the Angels come home to play equally hot Boston Red Sox. (and if you listen to the podcast All Angels Podcast you know how we all feel about the Red Sox's) As quickly as the roller coster went up, it came crashing down. Getting out scored by Boston 27-3 and being swept in the three game series. Coming into that series the offense was red hot averaging almost 6.5 runs per game. The offense was on top of almost every team stat in baseball. It crazy to me to see how you can have all the momentum in a seven game winning streak and it hit a wall and get swept. Hoping to bounce back after the really hard series with the Red Sox the took on the SF Giants for a weekend at the Big A. Still the struggles continued with the pitchers not being about to go deep into games and the offense struggling to be consistent. They where only able to get one win for that weekend and being 1.5 GB in the standings. Some people thought the biggest test of the season was the Red Sox so far. Me on the other hand felt it was going to be the first series playing the World Series champions Houston Astros. With out a doubt if the Angels want to win a division title this season it is going to have to go thought the Astros. The Angels where able to get two out of three from the Astros and the roller coster of the first month was on its way up once again. Now finishing the month off playing the big bats of the New York Yankees. 

Some concerns of mine from the base month.

1. Starting Pitching: All the starting pitchers are having a hard time getting any length in games and help out the bullpen. The bullpen has been great so far this year considering how many innings it has had to pitch this season so far. 

2. Pressing Offense: Its hard to tell what the offense is. With the small sample size so far I don't think you can tell what is the real offense. Is it the one that lead most offensive stats earlier in the month or the one that struggles to get its pitchers any run support. 

Months will go by and games will be played and that will up us all figure out what this team really is. People can see when the Angels are on they can play with anyone in the league. And when they are off its ugly. You just hope for some kind of consistency from this team and keep them in the mix for the division.

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The Mystery of Shohei Ohtani

Much of this offseason news for the Angels and even MLB has been around one 23 year old kid. The first serious two way player to come into MLB since Babe Ruth. A right handed pitcher that is reported to reach up to 100 MPH. A left handed bat that can hit towering bombs. Ever since the Angels signed him on December 9 the expectations have been huge. Since day one Shohei has come up number one on experts top prospect list. Sometimes I think a little unfair. Everyone has penciled Ohtani in as a top line starter and a big bat that will hit DH. Spring Training came around and everyone started asking when he would make his pitching debut and his batting debut. His first debut came when he got to take the mound against the Brewers. A lot of experts say Ohtani will be a top flight pitcher a possible number one starter. The next big day for Shohei was his second "debut" when he stepped into the batters box against the San Diego Padres. Ever since his debuts in the beginning of spring training Shohei has struggled to show people what all the hype was about. Some Angels fan have full on hit the panic button. I'm not to worried about this 23 year old player. Part of me wishes the Angels could send him down to AAA to work on what he needs to work on. There is no chance that would happen with all the hype the Angels put on and around him. As a fan I hope my other fans would see that when the Angels signed him it was for a minor league deal. He will get around $4 million dollars total when you add a $3.5 million bonus this year. When you look at Yu Darvish when he came over he got $6.3 million and $10.5 million his first two year with Texas. Now look at what Shohei will get in his second season.....$545,000. Looks like its a good deal even if it take a couple of years to develop into the player that everyone thinks he can be. As the season is about to start the expectations of 23 year old Shohei Ohtani would be tempered down a little bit. I understand the hype behind him is crazy, but we as fans need to realize that it will take time and he is getting dimes compared to what he could of got if he waited two more years to come over to MLB. I can't wait to see what the final product will be and understand that it might take awhile to get to that point. Lets hang on and go for the ride. Without a doubt there will be ups and downs on the road to his prime.

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Spring Training

Its the beginning of March and the Angels have taken the field....Well kinda. Spring training is the first time baseball fans can see the new faces on the team and rekindle the relationship they've had with old players. As a fan one of the best part of going to Spring Training is be able to get unbelievably close to the players and sit in on the morning practices. Your able to get signatures from players that you might not see during the season. And if your lucky you might be able to get that Albert or Trout signature on a ball or hat. Sometimes getting the autograph of a rising star before they hit it big can be just as exciting. I seen a post on instagram (halo_haven) that made me think and summarized it perfectly. "It's not always about who signs your ball, it's about the experience of meeting a professional baseball player from your favorite team that makes it worth while." Another great part of spring training is the whole party atmosphere around the park. For people that never been to spring training its hard to explain but you're there to have a good time and you know there is a baseball game going on but the results aren't very important. A lot of time I've notice on my trips is that you see people that you see at the Angels game but might not have seen or heard from since the last game of the season. Spring Training is a must for any baseball fan. It doesn't matter if its for a week or just a quick Saturday and Sunday trip, everyone can find a reason to have fun and enjoy them selfs at a baseball game. To me the most important part of spring training is to have fun, smell the grass again, hear the crack of the bat, the pop of the glove. Make it a family trip because at the end of the day the best way for me to watch the game is around family and friends. There's always that one guy that takes it way to serious so for them I say this. In 2016 the Angels finished spring training 19-8, then went on to finish the regular season 74-88 and 21 GB in the division. In 2017 the Astros went 15-15 in the spring and well we all know how that ended. 

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