The Year of the of the Mystery Team?

Way to go Tigers, coming out of nowhere to land the big free agent bat! That was almost…well…Angelic. 😉  …Ooooh. Kay. And reminiscent of many other teams in other seasons too. But this is an Angels blog. I’ve kind of got this slant going on. And with that slant I have to say, I don’t know which outcome of the deal amuses me more, the fact that this move keeps Prince Fielder out of the AL West? Or the thought that with Migueal Cabrera moving to third base according to today’s reports, Angels fans are likely to see a lot more of Justin Verlander’s “That’s bushleague!” scowl? Pssssst…Angels players bunt. Often and generally very well. Pass it on.

In all seriousness though, I do like the way this offseason is turning out and the role this deal played in it. The Tigers and the Rangers, both already strong teams, were able to make improvements without outright dominating. The Tigers filled the potentially devastating void left by Victor Martinez’ season ending injury in a way that also bumped up their offense. The Rangers did not further bump up an offense that was already pretty much the scariest in the AL, but they did improve their starting rotation. Yes, I know Darvish is unproven, but I just can’t imagine a pitching acquisition that Nolan Ryan approved of so highly turning into a flaming failure.

And the Angels? The Angels made sure they can compete, adding power to a lineup in serious need of just such an infusion and restoring their starting rotation to the promise it had at the beginning of the 2011 season. Remember, for all that our pitching was impressive last season it was primarily spots one through three that did the impressing. The four and five spots were a rotating mixed bag of frequent awfulness speckled with the occasional gem. Other teams patched potential problem spots too. I like the Yankees pitching additions…all the more because they’re both pitchers the Angels hit. I find it interesting and potentially beneficial that the Red Sox have gone out of their way to add good clubhouse guys into the mix with their All Stars. Don’t worry, I’m not going to beat a dead, repeatedly reanimated as a zombie and then beaten dead again and again and again, Bostonian horse here. But suffice it to say, I think this may prove to be a more powerful strategy than folks are currently giving it credit for.

And no, this isn’t me being some sort of Mary Sue saying, Yay, everyone is equal now. Let’s get out there, give the other team a big hug, and don’t bother keeping score.  This is me, the passionate baseball fan saying, I see a lot of well matched, hard fought, competitive as all get out, great baseball games on the horizon in 2012, and that prospect makes me downright giddy. Spring training, you slacker. What’s taking you so long to get here? Come on, pick up the pace already!


*     *     *     *     *

So, I’ve been less than present in the MLBlogs community for the past week now and probably will continue to be so for a few days yet…or not, who can say. No, I’m not one of the bloggers packing it in. And I didn’t finally go off the deep end from some sort of baseball depravation induced psychosis. Heck, I would prefer that. I lost a close friend Sunday. The guy both Seth and thought of as brother. The third of our goofy Three Musketeers band of degenerates. He was only a little older than me, which is to say way, way too young…as if there were a good age for this. He’d been in the hospital all last week and devastated doesn’t even begin to cover it.

My friend – the best bad influence a girl could have, as I called him with fondness – was, among other things, the gent who taught me how to play blackjack. Not the rules, but how to really play – strategies, calculating probabilities, fearlessness. But as anyone who has ever spent serious time at the tables knows, no matter how well you work the probabilities, sometimes the cards just don’t fall in your favor and you need to do something different to change your luck. I haven’t been able to put pen to paper in days. Not for work. Not for blogging. Not for nothing. But today, I made myself bang out this post in response to news that genuinely excited me, in an attempt to “change my luck” by doing a few “normal” things. To quote Marcellus Wallace, I am pretty f-ing far from okay. But I think I am moving closer to a place where I am better able to honor his life with memories that bring smiles rather than floods of tears.


  1. WrigleyRegular

    Sorry about the loss. Losing friends can be even tougher than losing family. Those are the people that you choose to spend your time with instead of them being chosen for you by birth.

    • This is a very simple game...

      Thank you, Jeff. Well, proactive and practical. Writing may be a religion full of blogging, artistic truth and the most clever word plays of our time (I mean in general, not mine!) but it’s also a job (here I do mean specifically mine) and in the end I needed to force it so I could function at work.

      — Kristen

  2. Mateo Fischer

    My sympathy is with you, Kristen. It was within the past year that I too lost my best friend. That best friend also happened to be my father. To pretend to know your situation, or know what you should do, would be to invoke arrogance on so many levels. However, it was the diamond in its various forms throughout my life that served as my escape. I can only hope you find your “diamond”. It is important that those who have died not be forgotten, as they never really die as long as there is someone with memory of them. However, we must be sure not to “die” along side them. We must not lose sight of what is ahead and keep moving forward. “It is a gift; that’s why they call it the present.”

  3. Mateo Fischer

    Let me actually clarify something. I don’t see you as any of the characteristics I described. That said, it’s hard enough to tell a person’s true inner workings while you’re around them, much less from a couple sentences of writing. It *seems* as though you are handling well (and by that I do NOT mean feeling well). There is a large percentage of people, though, where such an event consumes their life. It certainly did to me, but not from inside, but rather all the circumstantial logistics problems it brought about since my parents were divorced, and I was at the most important juncture of the most important year of high school. Anyway, good luck.

    • This is a very simple game...

      Thank you for both of your kind, thoughtful comments Mateo. What you say is very true, it’s important to remember and grieve, but also to flourish and grow ourselves. I am sorry for your loss as well. I can’t imagine how difficult it must be to lose a parent.

      — Kristen

  4. Michael David

    So sorry for your loss, Kristen, honestly. It’s never an easy time, and words rarely hold what we’re truelly feeling. All the best to you, your friends, and family.
    Please don’t blame Verlander for not knowing what a bunt is…he plays in Detroit and Leyland really isn’t sure how those things work, either. That’s why they went and got Prince, because they don’t know how to produce runs, other than bashing them in….

    • This is a very simple game...

      You made me literally laugh out loud, Mike. Too funny. I actually like Verlander, and I certainly admire his talent but it’s hard not to enjoy peeving the heck out of a rival team’s ace. I’ll forgive him his bunting ignorance, but I can’t promise not to laugh.

      Thank you very much for your kind words.

      — Kristen

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