Who knew that Liv Tyler was so talented?

Err, wait … BASEBALL!

The Week That Was

LAA – 6-1

LAD – 3-3

Southern California’s Burgeoning Pissing Contest: The Leader In The Clubhouse

LOTS OF WINS. POSITIVE MOMENTUM. QUALITY STARTS. A (MOSTLY) FUNCTIONAL BULLPEN. AN OFFENSE THAT SCORES RUNS. IS THIS REAL LIFE?! I MEAN … I, WHAT?! THIS SEEMED IMPOSSIBLE.

/deep breath

This week’s winner is the Angels. No contest. They’re arguably the hottest team in baseball. (I see you, BARVES.) Sure, they’ve won eight of their last nine over a surprisingly poor White Sox team, the Mariners and a Royals squad that is in the midst of a major tailspin, but wins are wins, and the Halos will take them however they can get them. They have a massive hole to crawl out of, and beating up on teams that are floundering is a perfect remedy to an affliction (read: full-blown suck) that seemed interminable just last week. One would hope that things will only get better as they finish a up four-game set against the struggling Dodgers (who are basically the equivalent of driving a Lamborghini into a brick wall) and whatever the hell the Astros are disguising as a big league squad at the moment.

(Of course, as this column gets submitted for editing, the Halos blow a 6-2 lead and lost to a Dodgers team that started Nick Punto, Luis Cruz, Jerry Hairston Jr. and the ghost of Matt Kemp.

Box Score Of The Week

LAABilly Buckner: 5/25 vs. KCR – 5 IP, 2 H, 0 ER, 3 BB, 2 K on 74 pitches.

That line looks fairly mediocre until you consider the story of the guy who posted it. Last Saturday was Buckner’s first MLB appearance since 2010; and his first MLB win since Oct. 2, 2009, when he notched a W against the Chicago Cubs in a start as a member the Arizona Diamondbacks. The Halos have been (and still are) in dire need of solid starts, and his performance on Saturday afternoon at Kauffmann Stadium was invaluable to a team that has struggled to build any sort of momentum through the first two months of the season. He was handsomely rewarded by being DFAed the next day. Is there a “walk of shame” for journeyman starters?

LAD – Matt Kemp: 5/27 vs. LAA -0-for-5, 4 K (The Golden Sombrero)

Trying to keep this section positive is like fighting a brush fire with a garden hose. It’s difficult (and I’ll probably die in the process) so I’m not even gonna try.

AL & NL West Standings Update

LAA – 23-28 (3rd place, and 8.5 games behind the league-leading Texas Rangers)

LAD – 21-28 (LAST place and 7.5 games behind the Arizona Diamondbacks)

Headline Of The Week

Dodgers bosses get points for patience” from T.J. Simers’ column for the LA Times on 5/23.

In which our go-to troll suckles at the teat of a Dodgers organization that he was gutting just three weeks ago. The Dodgers scuffle? He’s up their asses. They continue to scuffle and the media and fans put Mattingly on the hot seat? Simers flips the script and starts backing Donnie Baseball and the Doyers brass.

Some selected cuts:

It’s disturbing. So many media types seemingly are in a rush to get rid of Mattingly as if he did something to them. Many of these people have spoken with authority, as if they really know the Dodgers’ thinking.

“Media types” … like a T.J. Simers perhaps?

I did so when he went ridiculous and said he felt better about his team after losing three straight to the Giants.

Sayin’.

I’ve been writing it for years: Ethier is the most selfish athlete in town and counterproductive to a team’s achieving success.

I thought the Dodgers’ off-season should have begun by trading Ethier, but that’s something for Colletti to explain later.

I’m not a fan of Ethier, but those are some harsh words, and I’m not really sure how someone would think that the Dodgers could have/should have moved a guy they inked to a five-year, $85MM deal four months after they signed him to said deal. But this is SImers we’re dealing with, and I’m not sure that logic is not a part of the equation.

How much of a difference did a coaching change make in the Lakers?

Check that. I’m certain that logic is not a part of the equation.

Quotes Of The Week

LAA

From Bill Shaikin’s “Angels, Anaheim try to bury the hatchet” for the LA Times on 5/25.

“The City of Anaheim and Angels Baseball have entered into discussions relating to the current lease agreement,” Angels President John Carpino said in a statement. “These discussions, which are in the early stages, are focused on maintaining a high-quality fan experience for many years to come.”

For those of you who aren’t in the know, the Angels’ lease in Anaheim has an option that runs out in 2016. Angel Stadium, while aesthetically pleasing (sans the ridiculous Thunder Mountain Railroad rockpile in center field … thanks, Disney), is kind of a dump. It’s 47-years-old, was once a beautiful baseball stadium, was (unfortunately) converted into a toilet bowl of a multi-purpose stadium, and was re-tooled into a baseball stadium again in 1997. They’ve had problems with rats, which led to problems with cats (rumors have it that there are literally hundreds of cats living on stadium grounds that are the offspring of the few cats that were enlisted to curtail the previous rat problem). The concourses (if you’ve been to any other MLB park worth its salt) are dingy, grim and not the kind of atmosphere you’d expect in a ballpark that houses a team with a massive payroll.

In short, the Big A is in need of major upgrades. And because of that, I don’t see Carpino’s quote as any sort of reassurance that the Angels will stay in Anaheim beyond 2016. Arte Moreno and crew are businessmen, first and foremost, and I’m fairly certain that they’ll look to find their investment a worthy home once their lease is up on Gene Autry Way. I wouldn’t be surprised to see them move (although finding public funding for a new stadium would be next to impossible), but I can’t see them staying at the Big A without securing a ton of capital to retool the stadium and its amenities.

LAD

From Marc Saxon’s“Don Mattingly fine for speaking his mind” for ESPNLosAngeles.com on 5/25.

Mattingly, on what we’re assuming is a heated clubhouse meeting between players and coaches in the midst of the team’s recent skid:

 “To me, it’s about respect to the game, it’s respect to your teammates, it’s respect to the organization and to the fans,” Mattingly said. “The guys in that room, they know who they are. Guys who play the game right, they’re not worried. They don’t have any problem with anything I was saying. I can’t even come close to backing off anything I said the other day.”

I get this. I really do. As a manager – especially one who is under fire – you have to be able to lay into your team from time to time. And you should, really. And that’s what Mattingly did. The baseball twittersphere made a lot out of Mattingly’s references to “grit” and “grinding it out” and other elements of player makeup that cannot and will never be quantified in a box score via traditional stats or advanced metrics. We (read: those of us who goof on “intangibles”, which I am totally guilty of) tend to poke fun at a manager or player’s citation of such things when the mention them, but those things actually matter. They really do. You’ll never ever fully understand them on a baseball-level, if you haven’t played baseball at a semi-high level, the same way a baseball player will (probably) never understand you griping about your shitty co-worker at Initech. (And I know this sounds a lot like the “if you never played the game, you can’t really comment on the game”, but I’m not really taking it there. Just bear with me.) Let’s deal with it on a work-level.

If you’ve worked – and I’m assuming we all have in some shape or form – you’ve worked with the kind of people who show up, clock in (probably a little late), they float through the day, they do only what is asked (or what’s expected), or less,  and that’s it. They clock out early, or the second their shift is done. They cannot wait to bail on their co-workers. Their off-off-the-clock focus is as far from work as it can possibly be. Hell, their on-the-clock focus is as far from work as it can possibly be.

If you’re work for a growing company that you give two shits about and work hard for, the half-asser drives you nuts, does he/she not? They won’t help you if you’re swamped with your own work, they won’t carry their own load to help your team meet a quota or realize its potential, they drag you and the rest of your team down. Right?

That’s essentially what we’re dealing with in the Dodgers situation. Mattingly is the boss of your struggling company, he’s identified the slackers, his ass is on the line because of underperformance by the team he’s overseeing, and he’s trying to separate the wheat from the chaff so that he’s not jobless in June. (Yes, I realize that Mattingly is not the best manager/boss ever, but roll with me here.)

If you’re gonna take a header – which given the Dodgers’ trajectory – Mattingly certainly is, wouldn’t you try to rally your troops, galvanize your strongest assets (or at least those assets that outwardly give a single fuck about said trajectory) and go down in a blaze of glory?

Of course you would. That’s why he’s looking for grit. That’s he’s looking for grinders. He’s looking for people who actually give a shit. I can’t (and nobody should) give him guff for that.

/end rant

With that out of the way … let’s make fun of people!

DERP Of The Week: Lil Jon

liljon

It’d be foolish for anyone to expect athletic greatness (or even mediocrity, really) out of a guy who looks like the byproduct of Bob Marley impregnating a muppet, so we’ll set the bar low. How low, you ask? Not “k-pop starlet low”, but maybe like “this guy has probably played in a celeb hoops or softball game at some point so it can’t be all that awkward”. I mean, aside from drinking crunk juice out of gem-encrusted goblets and probably smoking boatloads of weed, diminutive Jonathan looks like he might have a sliver of coordination tucked away in that 5-foot-6 frame. So we’ll go with that. Sound good? Good.

Let’s go to the video!


Fuuuuuu … OKAAAAAAY.

WHAT?

More like “Noooooo.” Amirite?

Let’s ignore the fact that he decided to wear stormtrooper boots with shorts or shants or dwarf slacks or whatever the hell those are. Let’s not ignore the fact that he tried to hype a fraction of the ten thousand folks who actually showed up early enough to see this circus about something that produced such a disastrous payoff. This is tragic. Almost as tragic as a guy building a lucrative hip-hop career based around yelling three words.

Because I Can’t Not Include This Photo In This Week’s Column

lazzzzzorda

This is the 2013 Dodgers season frozen in time. A Hollywood star (who looks alarmingly like an alpaca) seated in primo seats with his blonde-haired arm candy, witnessing abject failure by a team that was supposed to be a Los Angeles baseball powerhouse, while a Dodgers icon falls asleep … framing his bulbous gunt.

SciosciaFace(s) Of The Week

Despite the Angels’ current winning streak, there was no shortage of 80-grade SciosciaFace this week, especially after he (rightfully) ripped blind shitpile home plate umpire Marty Foster a new o-ring on Saturday. (This is the same Marty Foster who tossed Royals DH Billy Butler for no reason earlier in the game, and made a brutal game-ending third-strike call on the Tampa Bay Rays Ben Zobrist in the ninth inning of a 5-4 game against the Texas Rangers in April, aaaand – considering you know him by name already – is not very good at his job.) After Scioscia’s tirade, there was no way in hell that I could settle on just one SciosciaFace for the week, so I made you a motherflippin’ montage. YOU’RE WELCOME.

Also: I just duped you into listening to Limp Bizkit for the first time since 2000.

Sorry. (Kinda.)

Ah, screw it. For continuity’s sake, let’s shoehorn this in …

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim v Kansas City Royals

What caused this version of SciosciaFace?

  1. Marty Foster being Marty Foster.
  2. INVISIBLE PHONE CALL.
  3. No, but seriously … Marty Foster you guys.
  4. Heated argument heats the wrong body part. Pants get filled with mud. Panicked outrage ensues.
  5. Nothing. Nothing at all.

MattinglyFace Of The Week

mattface

Jack-O-Lantern status: Dec. 20.

An aside: Those camouflage hats would be super helpful if you were swallowed by your Atari 2600, transported into an 8-bit desert landscape and really needed to disguise your forehead. Otherwise, they’re just ridiculous. I’m all for honoring the troops, but I think an armband or patch would do the trick just fine (and be less of an attempt at a cash-grab by MLB merch).

Who Controls The Future

The first semi-meaningful (in that everything should be meaningful in some regard), but mostly depressing Battle of Los Angeles 2K13 is upon us! (Also: Jered Weaver is back!)

Tuesday, 5/28: Joe Blanton (1-7) vs. Hyun-Jin Ryu (5-2)

Wednesday, 5/29: Jered Weaver (0-1) vs. Chris Capuano (1-3)

Thursday, 5/30: Jason Vargas (2-1) vs. Ted Lily (0-1)

Prediction: Angels take two-of-three.

Following the Free-meh Series, the Angels will dive deeper into an eight-game homestand as the welcome the Astros (and their -99 run differential) to Anaheim.

Friday, 5/31: Jerome Williams (3-1) vs. Dallas Keuchel (1-1)

Saturday, 6/1: C.J. Wilson (4-3) vs. Bud Norris (4-4)

Sunday, 6/2: Blanton (1-7) vs. Jordan Lyles (2-1)

Prediction: Angels sweep.

And the Dodgers will presumably shuffle away to Denver with their collective tail between their legs to take on the NL West-leading Rockies.

Friday, 5/31: Clayton Kershaw (5-2) vs. Jon Garland (3-5)

Saturday, 6/1: Greinke (2-1) vs. Gustavo Chacin (3-3)

Sunday, 6/2: Ryu (5-2) vs. Jorge De La Rosa (6-3)

Prediction: Dodgers take one-of-two.

Until we meet again … maybe Southern California will fall into the sea and those of us who have invested time and energy into these two teams will be able to focus our attention elsewhere.