Last week I went to Phoenix for my annual Spring Training trip. Family, friends, baseball…it was just what the doctor ordered. The atmosphere at the World Baseball Classic was incredible and seeing the USA lineup in person was a treat.
As always, the best part was spending time with my dad and my son. Having both at a ballpark is a blessing. Ranking right up there with that was meeting up with Jessica and her family and having some of our friends join us on the trip. We wrapped up our weekend with a picture perfect day at Camelback watching the Angels take on the White Sox. A great group of families on the outfield berm, under the shade, watching our kids have fun.
Speaking of the WBC, Team USA is moving on up to the next round thanks to a big night from Mike Trout. I can honestly say he received the largest ovation when lineups were announced before the Great Britain game. On Wednesday night he put the US on his back and carried them to victory.
Trout is loving the experience of being the captain of the USA. He’s clearly all in on this team.
While Trout justifiably gets a lot of credit for the win vs. Columbia, the US bullpen was lights out. The bullpen is a 15 headed monster that could get better as the tournament rolls on.
Sorry for the back to back links from The Athletic but they are doing great WBC coverage.
Trout is far from the only Angel impressing in the WBC. Patrick Sandoval’s performance against the USA impressed Phil Nevin and a lot of viewers.
And, of course, there’s Pool B MVP Shohei Ohtani who threw his fastest pitch ever against Italy.
Ohtani did have one hiccup, against friend of the site David Fletcher:
Perhaps the most incredible number I can throw out regarding the WBC:
This just goes to prove the “baseball is dying” narrative is lazy reporting. Honestly, I’ve seen the same in boxing forever. The sports are not as big here as they were a generation or three ago, but that is more than offset by growth internationally. 55,000 attended the Japan/Korea game and it pulled in that rating.
The Information Age has changed things. Ratings for everything are down, including most NFL games. But to say sports that are selling out the Tokyo Dome, Wembley, and Stadium Azteca with broadcasts reaching tens of millions beyond American borders are dying is folly at best. They are just changing and becoming more global. Which leads to more global talent entering the sports, perpetuating the cycle.
The Edwin Diaz injury will sadly overshadow this great tournament. It hurt to see, but please don’t change the WBC due to one unfortunate injury. There’s your longform reading.
All this WBC talk takes away from the fact it is Spring Training and there are some battles for playing time going on.
Chase Silseth struck out three and is getting more comfortable with his new cutter.
Griffin Canning is healthy, showing improved velocity, and pitched three solid innings in that Angels/White Sox game we attended.
This might all be for not as the out of options Tucker Davidson is pitching well this Spring.
Pretty cool to have a battle of guys who deserve to be in MLB battling for a spot. That old adage of the Angels not having enough pitching is starting to change. We have 4 of the top 100 starters in our rotation.
Matt Thaiss and Mickey Moniak are the guys who are really seizing the day IMO. With Thaiss also out of options, I think he’s in the drivers seat for the backup catching role to start the season.
And now for something completely different…
Diamond Sports Group filed BK as expected. Their goal is to restructure $8 billion in debt that was taken on when they acquired the sports networks. Buy it, promise to pay, file BK, don’t pay. Seems solid, right?
MLB has been gearing up for this and sources say the current plan is to stream games for free.
Bally, for their part, says they plan on operating as usual during the process and that broadcasts should not be interrupted.
The bottom line is that somehow, some way we should be able to watch the Halos.
In one last bit of bad news, Doug DeCinses son was found dead in Irvine yesterday. Dude definitely had his demons but he also leaves behind a young daughter.
From around the league:
The Steinbrenners are lower than Cheap Arte. The Yankees are one of only two teams to charge their players for in flight wifi.
The best way to wrap this week up is by posting the best thing I saw this week:
Enjoy the weekend, the Madness, and maybe even a little sun.