There are few things better in this world than a successful phone prank.  The best one I’ve ever executed was to put my friend’s family phone number in an ad for “Free Purebred Rottweiler Puppies” in a local free classifieds newspaper back in high school.  I didn’t admit to causing the mischief or instigating the phone number change until years later.

Yesterday, several times during the Los Angels Angels Spring Training game against the Oakland Athletics, a message popped up on the right-field scoreboard inviting fans to call “Mike Trout directly with your baseball questions.”  Of course, the top prospect’s actual cellphone number was included in the message.

The culprit, according to Kevin Baxter of The LA Times, was none other than Angels ace Jered Weaver.  Well played.

In another part of Arizona, the San Francisco Giants were taking on the Milwaukee Brewers where the atmosphere wasn’t quite as lighthearted.  Giants pitcher, and I use the term loosely, Barry Zito took vengeance on Prince Fielder in last year’s Spring Training opener with a deliberate pitch that hit Fielder between the numbers after the big Milwaukee first baseman’s bowling ball celebration routine after a walk off win against the Giants in 2009.  When the two players faced each other yesterday, Zito walked Fielder, but asked the plate umpire if ball four was close.  Fielder took exception and began yapping at Zito all the way to first base before another umpire finally stepped in.

When asked what Fielder was saying to him, Zito responded:

Prince was letting me know that it was a ball. Yeah, we talked a little bit. Caught up. Asked him how his offseason was. Family’s good. No new tattoos.

Fielder’s story was a little bit different:

I like Barry, I really do. Scott [Boras, their shared agent] called and we have dinner tonight. I asked him which one we were going to. I said Houston’s. He thought Fleming’s. It wasn’t serious. It was just talk.

It seems as though the players are almost as bored with Spring Training as we are.

And The Rest

Joe Posnanski remembers Duke Snider.

FanGraphs has faith in an Adam Lind bounce back season.

Today in meaningless news: Bryce Harper’s Spring Training debut wasn’t setting any world on fire.

Andrew McCutchen hates losing.  Boy, did he join the wrong team.

Frank Robinson vs. Andruw Jones.  Who ya got?

Yesterday, we mentioned that Carlos Beltran has requested a move from center field to right, a switch that his agent, Scott Boras, had suggested a couple years ago.

The Baseball Analysts talk about Roberto Clemente’s autograph.

Even if he looks like a right handed Buster Posey, expect Brandon Belt to start the year in Fresno instead of San Francisco.

Joe Savery is switching positions in hopes of rejuvenating his career.

Derek Jeter is taking baby steps, er, uh, baby swings.

Atlanta Braves hitting coach Lee Elia remembers his profanity laden outburst while with the Chicago Cubs.

Finally, the best Bleacher Report baseball article ever this week today in the world of all time.

Comments (7)

  1. You lie! That wasn’t a very good baseball article of all time. I actually feel kind of disgusted with myself for clicking on the link, and even more so for reading the entire thing (I refuse to call it an article).

  2. I’m not sure I really agree with the Fangraphs article about Lind. I think he’ll bounce back, but the author’s reasons for thinking so are basically the opposite of mine, suggesting that Lind improved in the last few months of 2010 because:

    He pulled the ball with much more authority in the second half, much in the way he did during the 2009 season.

    It seems to me that Lind’s biggest strength in 2009 wasn’t pulling the ball, but rather hitting to the opposite field and up the middle. I know that less than half of his 35 homers that year were to RF and his strength was his ability to spray the ball to all fields, something he got away from in 2010.

    Farrell said recently that they’re working with Lind on getting back to driving the ball to left centre, which to me is a great sign. Cito seemed to want to turn him into a pull hitter but his breakout season came when he was comfortably hitting the ball the other way. He already has a couple of opposite-field doubles in the fake games so far, so that’s promising.

  3. If you look at hittracker though, the whole Cito turning him into a pull hitter is sort of a myth.

    I agree that the Fangraphs article doesn’t make the best case. It’s almost like: here are a bunch of reasons why he shouldn’t bounce but I think he will anyway.

  4. I don’t know about “myth”. Cito talked about it in interviews so at least the intent was there; to me, the hittracker data just confirms that Lind wasn’t very good at it, not that he didn’t try.

  5. I think that we see the same sort of decline in Lind and Hill and assume that the same reason caused it. Hill’s problem was he was obviously trying to pull the ball with authority all the time, and it resulted in a lot of lazy fly balls. So since Lind had a similar dropoff, we assume the same thing.

    Lind’s problem is that he was striking out a lot more and walking a lot less. He was swinging and missing a lot. I’m not sure how fixable that is. (He also had a lower BABIP then he probably should have.)

    • I didn’t hear any interviews where Cito said he was trying to get Lind to pull the ball, but I did hear Buck Martinez and Pat Tabler say it over and over again.

  6. Cito talked about it a lot during the 2009 season, before Buck was even around. He kept saying things like “I’m going to leave Lind alone for now because I don’t want to mess with his head, but next year I’ll try to get him to pull the ball more.”

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