First to Third

A run on sports...

Monday, September 19, 2011

Fin

Let me preface this by saying there is nothing wrong with being a cheerleader. It's just not for me.

Especially for this team. The Angels have the 4th highest payroll in baseball and they need to be accountable for it. I don't care if the players didn't negotiate their contracts or the Angels added up bad contracts; they need to play every single night.

Front office, you're definitely accountable on this... but I'll get at you at the end of this rant.

There were way too many games that they lost this year to bad, bad teams. I've said it all along, you don't win a division by beating up on bad teams, but you definitely lose it by losing to bad teams.

I'll tell you what, though. The young players stepped up and played their hearts out for this team. Starting with Peter Bourjos. Any time you're replacing an annual gold glove recipient you're going to have pressure on your shoulders.

And the kid stepped up without flinching. Prior to the season I didn't see him playing as well as he did this year. Petey gets an A.

Mike Trout. What can I say. 20.Damn.Years.Old. That's all I can say. And scary, this kid is going to be damn scary in the coming years. He provided a jolt to the team that was so sorely needed and got them back in the race.

It's going to be amazing to watch this kid grow into an all-star.

Which leads us to the rookie of the year. Mark freaking Trumbo. Bourjos' pressure was nothing compared to what was on Trumbo. And he exceeded any expectations to fill the shoes of Kendrys Morales. Hell, plenty of times I saw "Morales, who?!?" on my timeline.

Trumbo was supposed to be the guy that held down first base while Morales got better. Instead, he turned into the heart of the team. Whenever the Angels needed a homerun, his named was uttered by the announcers. When no one wanted to step up, he took the job.

And the pitchers.

Without the grit and guts of Jered Weaver, Dan Haren, Ervin Santana and Jerome Williams in rotation these Angels would not have competed. And as bad as the bullpen is, Scott Downs proved to be a reliable arm (which proved me wrong; I hated his contract).

But mainly the starting pitchers kept these Halos afloat. No thanks to Kazmir, who decided to give up on the bigs.

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Bad news bear time.

First, the thing that pisses me off the most.

Vernon freaking Wells. Where's your heart, guy? First year jitters? I better not hear that during the offseason. Don't promise us fans anything, either. We just want to see results.

Get in the cages, shag balls, do some HGH, whatever. Figure it out... because we know we're stuck with your contract. Like any work situation, we know we don't like each other, let's just get the job done.

Mike Scioscia. Ever heard of consistency? For two years running now you've been playing spin the wheel-o-lineup. How about letting your players adjust to their spot in the lineup.

The injury excuse couldn't be used because you had the majority of your guys every night. You're shuffling obviously isn't working, so stop.

And don't take a "we're glad we competed" line from Tony Reagins or Arte Moreno. These guys expected to win the AL West. Don't tell let them tell you any different. They can't say different because they took on a contract from an aging outfielder they didn't need. They can't say different because they paid a lot of money to "revamp" the bullpen.

They can't say because they passed up the chance to bring back Vladimir Guerrero.

Out of all excuses I hear during the offseason, the excuses out of Moreno's and Reagins' mouth won't touch the earwax on the outside of my ear. I don't want to hear it.

With time, this team will be at the point you two expected. And the expectations you created in our minds will be met.

Until then, I'll appreciate the players effort but I won't "ra-ra" them. Not this year. Not for what's expected of them.

I'll see you at the yard.

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Thursday, September 1, 2011

We Hold the Power


You hate how you're producing. Hate the way you're being treated. Sick of reading about how horrible you are in the paper. Why stay?

Vernon Wells is human. He has emotions. Let him hear us.

That's what Angel honks have to do to at least try to get Wells to leave. Yell. Email. Post. Tweet at him (@VernonWells10). Make him bag his own groceries. As Herm Edwards put it once, "put your name on it!" Don't be scared, what's he going to do, retweet a negative comment?

Who's going to back him up? Nobody.

Wells has an opt-out clause at the end of this season. And how does a man walk away from $60+ million? By not feeling welcomed.

It's a little mean, yes. But if you truly love your team you'd want to see them alleviated from the handcuffs that Vern's contract has put the Angels in. And yes, it's a little mean since it's not his fault that the Toronto Blue Jays gave him a ridiculous back-loaded contract. And it's especially not his fault that the Angels were stupid enough to trade for said contract.

But he has to have it in the back of his mind that he doesn't deserve this money. He's human.

Guilt is a strong feeling. Guilt from stealing is even stronger. Guilt from stealing while hearing about it from 50,000+ fans is the strongest.

Wells has to have brass stones to walk away from $60 million, but weirder things have happened; never underestimate a human's feelings.

And why not make Arte Moreno smile a little as he is hating himself about having to pay an aging outfielder $20+ million dollars for 3 more years. Let Moreno hear that we have his back. Let him know his general manager has used his last face card in the deck.

Not resigning Darren Oliver hurt. Not resigning Vladimir Guerrero and watching him become an all-star with your rival hurt more. And trading for back-loaded contract of an aging outfielder has hurt the Angels the most.

I didn't even want to bring him up because it stings so bad, but Mike Napoli, a player involved in the Wells trade could be the difference in this AL West chase. With Napoli, the Angels are leading the AL West right now. No doubt in my mind; instead, he's personally killing the Angels.

So please, please let Wells know how you feel. He doesn't care about you, why care about him? Do you think he cares if you made rent this week?

Don't get me wrong, he's a great guy off the field with his work in the community. But his $80+ million contract calls for work in the yard.

He's not the right guy for the job. Baseball fans know it. He knows it.

It's not personal, it's baseball.

Make it easier for all the parties involved. Leave Vernon. Leave. We'll act like it never happened. Just a bad dream.

A very expensive bad dream that helps Moreno realize Tony Reagins needs to go, too... but I'll get into that later.

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Thursday, May 5, 2011

Phil Jackson and his "Boys"


"Not this year, Pop. I'm getting too old and busy to keep doing that..."

It always comes at some point in a relationship... the time when what was important no longer is remembered.

That "it" has happened with these Lakers.

Call it lazy, call it tired. But "it" has infected this team.

The 2010-2011 Lakers team we're watching fall apart in front of our eyes has decided they've been on enough trips.

Three straight Finals runs, two of which ended with a Larry O'Brien trophy, and a lot of memories.

Phil Jackson is the father figure of these now men, who he has grown to love. Jackson and his "boys" have gone on fishing trips every year. Sharing mini-battles and laughs ... hitting the highest highs and enduring the lowest lows.

But this year is different. The "boys" are older, now men. These boys don't think the fishing trip is as important.

When Jackson decided to embark on this final journey before the season began, he had a vision of going out with that huge fish on the line. And sharing that final special fish with his boys.

Problem is, the boys forgot these young memories as they've developed into men. These boys, don't remember why they take this fishing trip every year. These boys, are too lazy and too caught up in their own lives to realize what lies ahead. Or should I say, won't lie ahead next year.

Right after the All Star break, Phil had his brand new fishing gear ready for his annual trip with his boys. But these men, who used to be his boys, forgot the importance of the trip. These men, are too busy, too lazy and too short-sighted to see what they're missing.

Yes, Jackson has made some mistakes in these playoffs, but these boys that he has turned into men are supposed to help him cover those mistakes. When the Father falls in the river, these now grown men are supposed to remember all those times he picked them up. And return the favor.

Somewhere between the All Star break and these playoffs, these "men" have forgotten who helped them get where they are today. These "men" are worse than those boys. Because those boys knew who guided them. Those boys wanted to impress their Father. Those boys, were more excited for the annual fishing trip than their leader.

It's been lost. But these men still have the opportunity to become boys again. Time is short, but the highway is still open.

One more time, to save Poppa's favorite annual fishing trip.

Band together, to share the joy of landing Phil's final fish, and send him up a Montana river ... to rest, knowing his men never forgot what it was to be his boys.

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Friday, February 18, 2011

2/18/11 - In N Out Battle

So I guess I was a little late on finding out In N Out doesn't make any burger bigger than 4x4 (four patties/four cheese slices). But I still had some fun discussing it with them.
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To Whom it May Concern,

Could you please provide a list of In N Out's in the Fullerton (southern California) region other than the location off Harbor Blvd.?

What I am looking for is the locations that are willing to serve me bigger than a 4x4 size. I tried to order a 6x6 yesterday at the Harbor Blvd. location in Fullerton and they informed me that "we don't do that here."

Why not? I have seen pictures on the internet where they do three times that amount. The reason I want to be able to order a 6x6 is because two double doubles don't satisfy me.

I finish those two delicious hamburgers and want more, immediately. Instead of going through all that bread I thought to myself "what easier way than ordering a 6x6?"

Not only am I saving the time it takes to put together three separate hamburgers, I am also saving bread that can be used to feed the ducks.

Please kindly let me know what locations I can order a beautiful 6x6 and I will forever be grateful.

Love your burgers and look forward to handling 6 of the best hamburger patties in one burger.

Thank you,
Jon
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Dear Mr. Jon Castillo:

Thank you for your e-mail. We recognize customers like you have made us the company we are today, and we sincerely value your comments and interest.

In response to your inquiry, In-N-Out BurgerĀ® is firmly committed to maintaining the quality and presentation of the food we serve. It is with this commitment in mind that we have set serving sizes for our burgers, and the largest burger we prepare is a 4x4. However, you are welcomed to order a 4x4 and two cheese patties on the side.

We are sorry for any disappointment and will share your comments with our management team.

Thanks again for taking the time to contact us, and for giving us an opportunity to respond. We hope you will consider giving us the continued privilege of serving you in the future.

Sincerely,

Andrea
Customer Service
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Dear Mr. Jon Castillo:

As a follow up to my previous e-mail, I would like to encourage you to order from our "not-so-secret menu." An easier way to order may be to order your delicious 4x4 and a Flying Dutchman. The Flying Dutchman is similar to our Double-Double but does not have a bun or any condiments. It only has two meat patties with two slices of cheese. This is the same suggestion I made earlier, but I thought it may be easier to order by name.
If you are interested in seeing our "not-so-secret menu", please select our "MENU" option from our website and a hyperlink for our "NOT-SO-SECRET MENU" appears near the bottom of the page, on the right-hand side.
If you are unable to access this information, please call our toll free Customer Service line at (800) 786-1000. We would be happy to provide the information.

Thank you again for contacting us and for providing us an opportunity to respond.
Sincerely,
Andrea
Customer Service
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Thanks Andrea,

I understand you have a secret menu and I knew of the flying dutchman. Problem is I have this thing about being scared of the Dutch every since they destroyed my world cup team. Later, I had a Dutch friend key my car for no reason at all. Then when I confronted her about it, she sent her mini-doberman pincher on me. Any way, the reason In N Out exists is because people want a quick, delicious meal without having to cook on their own.

Your idea of building my own burger doesnt sound too enticing. Actually, it might work. I think it's called Fuddruckers, where you build your own burger. Funny that I came to that solution all on my own through this reply. guess ill tell all my friends about this... so in summary: 1. In N Out is not a build a burger place and wants you to do it on your own by giving you the tools to do so. 2. America is slowly dying.

Sadly yours,
Jon
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Dear Mr. Jon Castillo:

Thank you for your e-mail, and for giving us an opportunity to respond.

We respect your feelings and will share your comments with our Executive Management and Company Owners. We hope you will consider allowing us the privilege of serving you in the future.

Sincerely,

Marianne
Customer Service
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Thanks, Marianne.
When you present my comments to them can you also include the following links that show how happy customers are when you make bigger than 4x4s?

http://www.badmouth.net/in-n-out-the-20x20/
or
http://la.foodblogging.com/2006/01/20/the-75x75/

I want that happiness.

Hungrily yours,
Jon
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Dear Mr. Jon Castillo:

Thank you for your response. We hope you won't hesitate to contact us if we can ever be of assistance in the future.

Sincerely,

Liz
Customer Service

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Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Emma

I've been lucky enough to have two Grandmother's in my 29 years on this Earth... Not everyone can say that.

A grandma's love is different than your mother or father's - they're more patient ... they have the missing wisdom of your parents ... and no matter what, you can do no wrong in they eyes.

Both of my grandmothers are special women. But there is one in particular that is undeniably the rock of our family. Hell, she's a rock of a city. My grandma Emma has had cancer for 50-plus years. It's eaten at her body over the time and all the while she quietly goes about her life. Loving us grandkids ... loving her children ... loving her life.

She still works to this day (a majority of the days allow her, but she does have to take it easy from time to time).

The cancer has completely taken over one of her legs. I remember growing up I was scared to look at it because I didn't understand. Now, I look at her leg and am proud to be the grandson of this strong angel. I've never heard her complain, never heard her want to give in.

No matter how much she hurt, she'd get up to make me her delicious dishes when I went over. I needed a place to stay? Her door was wide open ... and I wasn't a burden. I was welcomed and treated like royalty.

It's rather humbling to have her in my life. I have no reason to complain, I don't have cancer eating away everywhere it'd like she does.

At the moment, she's in the hospital ... and my visit to see her is the reason for this post.

For the first time in my time in her life I felt she was tired of the pain... tired of dealing with it. Now, I'm not saying that she's giving up. But there was a calm scared/tired/peace over her.

She'll be 80 a month from tomorrow. And I can't wait to see her on her birthday.

Her quiet smile. Her distinctive "hello." Her quiet strength.

Emma. Four letters, stronger than you or I.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Best Catch Ever -Hiroshi Tanaka is Jealous

Harry Doyle: [drunk] So, Hiroshi "Kamikaze" Tanaka, recently of the Tokyo Giants, knocks himself cold for the second time this week. Maybe in Japan, that's actually better than catching the ball. Personally, I think he's just trying to get out of the lineup.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Where Has Boxing Gone? Missing Modest Athletes


I grew up with two main sports in my household growing up: Lakers and Boxing. I was born in 1981 and was blessed to be brought up in a great decade of boxing that continued into the 1990's.

Pops didn't watch much baseball on television and football Sundays were pretty mellow. Friday and Saturday nights were filled with uncles talking crap in the living room, food all over the place, and boxing lighting up the dark scene.

We're now in a Mixed Martial Arts era. I heard an interview today with UFC owner, Dana White, and he laid it out perfectly regarding the state of boxing: people are no longer training to box, they want to do it all. Why train to learn just to box when you can be multi-skilled?

White makes a great point... and he's run a tight ship.

The years of boxing I was blessed to watch growing up caused the downfall we have today. There were super fights that have given boxers their big heads today. The 80's we got to watch Roberto Duran and Sugar Ray Leonard, Mike Tyson's fights, Spinks-Holmes, Leonard-Hearns to name a few. Oscar de la Hoya, Whitaker-Cesar Chavez, Roy Jones Jr., Holyfield, Hopkins, dominated the 90's.

Now, I'm not saying that we don't get super fights in boxing today... but the boxers have taken control. That's why the UFC has been so successful, White decides who fights who and when... the fighters don't decide like in boxing. We don't get to see Mayweather-Pacquiao because FLOYD decides if and when he wants to fight.

The best don't fight the best in boxing. In the UFC, if you've paid your dues you get your shot and the big time fighters can't decide who they fight. The boxing association needs to take control of the sport again if they want to resurrect a dying sport.

And can we please get some heavyweights back in boxing?!?!

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