LA Angels Weekend News Crash: Day One

In just over 48 hours from this posting the Angels will take the field for the first time in 2021, taking on the San Francisco Giants on Day One of the Cactus League.

The Angels have a full schedule on tap for March despite the lack of split squad games this year. That is one of several changes on tap for Spring Training this year.

Here’s a look at the master schedule for the Cactus League and one for the Grapefruit League as well. Many teams have announced broadcast schedules and this is usually MLB Network’s time to shine. They kick off 30 Clubs in 30 Days today with the Detroit Tigers. The Angels are one of the last clubs featured, on March 24th.

The players are looking forward to playing in front of fans again. And I know fans are anxious to see baseball. Here’s a look at the Giants getting prepared for butts in seats. Don’t plan on being one of those butts unless you already have a ticket as the Giants have already sold out all of their games.

If you are thinking of heading out there, between big demand and limited seating four teams are already sold out of tickets and Cubs are nearly there. Many Angels games are sold out based on chats I’ve had with a few fans. Bite the bullet on StubHub or the like or be left to scalpers on game day.

Honestly, it is kind of killing me to not go out there this year. I usually get through the short days of “winter” here in SoCal by looking forward to day games in Phoenix. It’s a small sacrifice compared to what so many have made, but I love Spring Training and hope this is the last one I miss.

Spring Training storylines abound. Scott Kazmir (remember him?) is attempting a comeback and Fangraphs gives it some digital ink.

Coming back from surgery to repair a high five damaged shoulder, Cody Bellinger say’s he’ll now be a handshake guy.

Getting back to the Angels, Felix Pena has dropped 15-20 pounds and is ready to roll. Also in the best shape of his life is Shohei Ohtani.

Moving from Braves camp to Angels camp is infielder Jake Mayfield. Robel Garcia now enters DFA limbo.

I keep wondering when/if Jake Odorizzi will be heading to camp, preferably ours.

In honor of both Day One theme and Black History Month, let’s remember the Angels were integrated from Day One as an MLB franchise. That pic above is of Leon “Daddy Wags” Wagner, the first clubhouse character of the reborn Angels.

This weekend’s longform read is on his great career and the sad ending of it. I wasn’t around back then but I think I’d have cringed at his play in the field yet loved his demeanor off it.

Anyone who saw him play, please share some storied below.

For now, let’s enjoy the sights and sounds of baseball. 2021 is finally here. Thank you so much for spending your off season here. We appreciate you and look forward to another year of Angels baseball with you.

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HalosFanForLife
Trusted Member
3 years ago

1 – Fletcher – 2b
2 – Jay – DH
3 – Walsh 1B
4 – Adell RF
5 – Lagares CF
6 – Rengifo SS
7 – Ward LF
8- Bemboom C
9 – Thaiss 3B
Quintana on the bump.

Last edited 3 years ago by HalosFanForLife
Mia
Legend
Mia
3 years ago

Sending our best player out for the first AB of spring is…bold.

OMAHALOFAN
Trusted Member
3 years ago

Baseball game today, excitement abounds!!!!!
(no /s)

Last edited 3 years ago by OMAHALOFAN
Mia
Legend
Mia
3 years ago

We made it!

comment image

Cowboy26
Legend
3 years ago
Reply to  Mia

You know us Angel fans can multi task, right?

Mia
Legend
Mia
3 years ago
Reply to  Cowboy26

Girls and baseball definitely take up the majority of brain power.

Cowboy26
Legend
3 years ago
Reply to  Mia

What else is there?

Mia
Legend
Mia
3 years ago
Reply to  Cowboy26

Not a damn thing.

Fansince1971
Legend
3 years ago
Reply to  Mia

Girls, baseball and food.

Mia
Legend
Mia
3 years ago
Reply to  Fansince1971

I need this on a t-shirt.

WallyChuckChili
Legend
3 years ago
Reply to  Mia

#metoo

Mia
Legend
Mia
3 years ago
Reply to  Mia

LOL

comment image

WallyChuckChili
Legend
3 years ago
Reply to  Mia

You had me at Tacos!

HalosFanForLife
Trusted Member
3 years ago
Reply to  Fansince1971

And beer.

WallyChuckChili
Legend
3 years ago

Ohtani reaches 100mph in today’s bullpen

Mia
Legend
Mia
3 years ago

League is f*cked

WallyChuckChili
Legend
3 years ago
Reply to  Mia

Damn Perry had an Ace up his Sleeve.

Eric_in_Portland
Legend
3 years ago

“Shohei Ohtani continues to prove that he’s healthy and ready for two-way status in 2021, as he reached 100 mph during his 35-pitch live bullpen session at Tempe Diablo Stadium on Saturday”

https://www.mlb.com/news/shohei-ohtani-hits-100-mph

Last edited 3 years ago by Eric_in_Portland
Fansince1971
Legend
3 years ago

This has me a bit giddy.

Cowboy26
Legend
3 years ago

But can he Hit?

gitchogritchoffmypettis
Legend

Obviously washed up as a pitcher.

WallyChuckChili
Legend
3 years ago

Yes! He should only be a hitter!

Senator_John_Blutarsky
Legend

Buttercup

Cowboy26
Legend
3 years ago

Banned!

Cowboy26
Legend
3 years ago

Well of course the Stros did: https://twitter.com/LAAngelsPR/status/1365785278498004992

But I think we are losing out on this “trade” ending up with a reserve infielder with a lifetime OPS of .481. Thats Adell territory

WallyChuckChili
Legend
3 years ago
Reply to  Cowboy26

So Astros don’t think Mayfield is worth a 40 man spot but Robel is and we paid Cash for Mayfield.

Cowboy26
Legend
3 years ago

Since last July, Robel’s been waived by 4 different teams so hopefully he doesn’t have a problem with rejection.

matthiasstephan
Super Member
3 years ago
Reply to  Cowboy26

This is only because they know that Altuve is done, and Correa is oft injured 🙂

Cowboy26
Legend
steelgolf
Super Member
3 years ago
Reply to  Cowboy26

1st UCL injury of the 2921 season. The Angel way!

Rallymanatee
Trusted Member
3 years ago
Reply to  steelgolf

trAdition!

Fansince1971
Legend
3 years ago
Reply to  Cowboy26

Guess it’s time to Packy up and go home!

Senator_John_Blutarsky
Legend
Reply to  Cowboy26

Glad it’s no one we were expecting to contribute in 2021 or 2022

red floyd
Legend
3 years ago
Reply to  Cowboy26

I guess whatever we paid for him was all for Naughton…

WallyChuckChili
Legend
3 years ago

Jeff why doesn’t weekend links get posted at 4am like Monday-Thursday links do?

WallyChuckChili
Legend
3 years ago
Reply to  Jeff Joiner

Thank you buddy.

It’s the little things…

Guest
3 years ago

After his first three years in the Majors as a part-time player, Leon Wagner realized that he would never be a full-time player until his defense improved, so he put in the work (chasing down fly balls flung out by a pitching machine, etc.) so that when he joined the Angels in 1961, he had greatly improved his defensive skills.

He made a fantastic sliding catch in shallow left field during the 2nd 1962 All-Star Game.

Three weeks prior to that, Wagner had made the greatest catch of his life during a tense game against the Yankees while both teams were battling for first place.

In the fifth inning of this one, Wagner had hit a two-run homer off of Ralph Terry to make the score 3-2 to bring the Angels within one run of the Bombers.

In the sixth inning, with two outs and runners on the corners, Yankee left fielder Hector Lopez lifted a high fly ball over to the short porch in right field. Wagner rushed over to the wall and thought he had a chance at the catch. He leapt up as high as he could and gloved the ball. His momentum carried him over the low wall and he disappeared into the crowd of Yankee fans.

Unfortunately, while Wagner was figuring out how to get back on his feet and back onto the field, a Yankee fan took the ball out of his glove, so that when the umpire saw Wagner emerge from the stands empty-handed, he declared the play a home run.

The next day in the LA Times, there were three photographs on the front page of the sports section that showed the ball in the webbing of Wagner’s glove and then of Wagner closing his glove around the ball.

Manager Bill Rigney had this to say: “That was the greatest catch of Leon’s career and one of the greatest I ever saw by anyone. If it’s in the park in right field, Leon will catch it now. He wasn’t always like that, but he is now — nothing’s too tough for him to get.”

Last edited 3 years ago by BoyWithApple
Guest
3 years ago
Reply to  Jeff Joiner

Thanks!

In the interest of Black History Month, while Wagner was the first Black regular player and the first Black star the Angels ever had, he was not the first Black player to suit up for a game.

The first would be Julio Becquer. He was a Cuban-born first baseman whom the Angels selected in the 1960 expansion draft. He was the only Black player the Angels would select in that draft.

He played in the first ever Angel game on April 11, 1961 in which the Halos beat the pennant hopeful Orioles in Baltimore (Gene Autry said that winning this game was the biggest thrill of his life). Becquer entered the game in the seventh inning as a defensive replacement for Ted Kluszewski, whose two home runs that day had helped the Halos to a 7-2 lead.

With Steve Bilko and the Big Klu platooning at first base (they combined for 35 HRs and 98 RBI that year), there was nothing for Becquer to do but pinch hit and serve as a defender late in a game.

Becquer was let go on May 10th in an exchange for cash from the Phillies. Wagner had been acquired by the Angels in a trade on April 13th and appeared in his first Angel game on April 17th.

Jim Atkins
Super Member
3 years ago

We just signed Jesse Chavez to a minor league contract per mlb trade rumors. He wasn’t much back in 2017 as I recall.

HalosFanForLife
Trusted Member
3 years ago
Reply to  Jim Atkins

He’s had a much better career in his later years, but we shall see.

AnAngelsFan
Super Member
3 years ago

Really? The peak of his career was clearly starting for Oakland. He flopped with the Angels but found was able to revive his career as a bullpen piece in 2018 but is back on a downward trend.

He’s depth, but not somebody I would hand the ball to in a close game.

Eric_in_Portland
Legend
3 years ago
Reply to  Jim Atkins

well it’s like I was saying in my “If I were PTP” that I never posted, we need to ignore the high priced guys like Bauer and anyone who can get guys out and sign some bounceback candidates like (and these were the names I suggested) Quintana, Cobb and Chavez. And lo! So it came to pass.

My thought was that by not paying too much for pitching we’d be able to splurge on outfield guys like Jon Jay et al.

FungoAle
Super Member
3 years ago
Reply to  Jim Atkins

FOJ – Friend of Joe. Played with the Cubs for a brief season while Joe was managing. Pitched well, so obviously Joe Has rose colored glasses on. Bottom line: hearts have overtaken minds here.

Last edited 3 years ago by FungoAle
2002heaven
Super Member
3 years ago
Reply to  Jeff Joiner

Middle relievers are usually guys who haven’t figured out how to be a good starter or closer. Usually a Joe Kelly type who had a showcase career year ( 2018 Boston Red Sox ).
We shood lern to nott kownt on those kynduv guyz……espeshally if ther over 25 yrs old. Thatz whut duh last GM did and thot hee kood get awaye withit. Hee didnt…. BTW how is it that those other guys who just won the WS can get away with handing out 3 yr deals to good players ( Greinke & Bauer ) while we keep shooting ourselves in the foot with bad longterm deals ( LF Upton take a bow )……..Arte take notice for damm once!!!!

Last edited 3 years ago by 2002heaven
gitchogritchoffmypettis
Legend
Reply to  2002heaven

How does paste taste? Honestly it smells a little like NECCO wafers but even as a kid I could never bring myself to shove a glob of it in my mouth.

Cowboy26
Legend
3 years ago

I have no idea how it tastes, but according to 2002Heaven it would appear to have the same side effects as sniffing glue.

Last edited 3 years ago by Cowboy26
WallyChuckChili
Legend
3 years ago
Reply to  Cowboy26

But have you tried Gorilla Glue?

Cowboy26
Legend
3 years ago

Only as a hair gel.

Fansince1971
Legend
3 years ago
Reply to  Cowboy26

Hahaha

Rallymanatee
Trusted Member
3 years ago
Reply to  Jim Atkins

Oh boy. Glad I get to see his face more. He’s breathtaking.

bigviz
Member
3 years ago

I think you forgot one thing. Albert Pujols is in the best shape he’s been in years and has had a normal off season which means we get the St. Louis version. We can all get excited for one last time!

AnAngelsFan
Super Member
3 years ago
Reply to  bigviz

In fact, he’s feeling so great he’s going to show he deserves another contract until he is 50.

Eric_in_Portland
Legend
3 years ago
Reply to  AnAngelsFan

so another 5 years

HalosFanForLife
Trusted Member
3 years ago
Reply to  bigviz

Well done bigviz. I can hear the needle of the record skipping and repeating. And then he gets around that clubhouse food and inflates as fast as a bouncy castle at a kids’ birthday party.

FungoAle
Super Member
3 years ago
Reply to  bigviz

I hope he plans to play in 2022. Don’t want to see the team having to endure a farewell tour this year as he travels around the league. Joe would feel obligated to get him ABs. F-that. I’m hoping the finishes it out in St.Louis.

eatgrasslikegoat
Member
3 years ago

i hope i hear from the boy i like this weekend

eatgrasslikegoat
Member
3 years ago

😔

steelgolf
Super Member
3 years ago

I may not be able to make it to spring training, but I will be at the Little League fields tomorrow morning for my kids tryouts for the Little League Majors, then find out next week which team drafted him and get ready for practices and games !!! last season he got 3 games in at AAA before Covid shut it all down (he was actually drafted for the Majors last year at barely 10 but chose to play at least a year in AAA). Baseball is back !!!!

Eric_in_Portland
Legend
3 years ago
Reply to  steelgolf

I want to sign up. I did pretty well the last time I was in Little League. How long ago was that? My team was sponsored (are they now?) and so was called Englewood Coal and Lumber. Coal. I don’t know if you can just go down to the lot these days and pick up a bunch of coal.

Anyway I’m thinking maybe I can trick my way in like that 14 year old did awhile back.

Charles Sutton
Editor
Super Member
3 years ago

Ha! I’m probably a little better at throwing and batting than I was back then, but if I so much as tried to do a feet first slide I would probably wind up in the emergency room. At least my Medicare would cover most of it.

Edit: I’d probably pull a hammy the first time I tried to run to first base.

Last edited 3 years ago by Charles Sutton
AnAngelsFan
Super Member
3 years ago
Reply to  Charles Sutton

Sadly, I had a noodle arm and was a master of the full swing bunt, but at least I had the range and glove of a centerfielder.

My son appears to have inherited all his athletic ability from my wife and should be a much better hitter than I was. He might even have the arm to pitch. This will be his first year of getting to actually play. Last year he had 5 practices and 2 game-day rain outs before the shutdown.

Last edited 3 years ago by AnAngelsFan
steelgolf
Super Member
3 years ago
Reply to  AnAngelsFan

My kid is a really good fielder, whether infield or outfield with a good arm, bats lefty, throws righty. Hits 60 mph at the batting cages and wants to try 70 mph. Not a power bat though, more of a David Fletcher type, hit over .800 the last two seasons. He will be facing tougher pitching and defense this season but he is fired up for it.

max
Trusted Member
max
3 years ago
Reply to  steelgolf

Man I really miss those times with my son!

steelgolf
Super Member
3 years ago
Reply to  max

I’m enjoying every moment of it, even when I have to be the score keeper or do field maintenance.

gitchogritchoffmypettis
Legend
Reply to  Charles Sutton

I pitched a lot when I was young, so now my elbow hurts if I just hold a baseball…. or even say the word BASEBALL three times. I was warned my arm would go to crap when I stopped throwing regularly. I laughed and flexed my young rubbery arm. Now all I can do is sort of weirdly shot put a baseball 40 feet or so. I have no kids. I think deep down the main reason is I know I’d have no way to save them from soccer. Better they were just never born.

Rallymanatee
Trusted Member
3 years ago
Reply to  steelgolf

My son is 7. Taking him to LL practice today. He’s in what they call mini minors, facing a pitching machine at about 35-40. He’s not a natural by any means, but we’ll see with lots of repetition what happens. He has fun, and that’s what’s important. He’s a lefty (like me and my wife), so he’s already got that advantage.

steelgolf
Super Member
3 years ago
Reply to  Rallymanatee

My kid wasn’t necessarily a natural. He decided he was interested in baseball when he was 6 ( I think because his friend at school was), so I bought him a mitt and we practiced catching and fielding balls. Needless to say there was a lot of crying, especially when a fly ball missed his glove and clocked him in the face. He started LL at LL year 8, live opponent pitching, no machine, was plunked 5 times and hit .080 the first half. We worked on hitting at the cages and standing closer to the plate, and boom, second half he hit over .800. Coach moved him from last in the line up to 4th. Last weekend we were at the cages and he hit 200 balls in the 60 mph without a water break. We were talking about his journey in LL today after his tryouts.