Welcome to the first edition of Monkeying Around of the 2013 season. If you're new here, this is a post in which I compile random thoughts because they are either not fully formed or I am too lazy properly research them. Enjoy my half-assery!
--It appears that I might be the final holdout for the Angels turning this season around. I'm not sure if that makes me a shining beacon of hope or a massive dunce. I just know that I refuse to give up on a team in May and by that I mean I refusing to give into panic notions on firing the coaching staff or engaging in a fire sale, both of which are articles I saw today... MAY 3RD! I'm not stupid, I see this team's flaws and know how hard it is to dig out of a 10-18 hole, but I don't see the point in writing a eulogy for a team with 134 games left to go.
--One thing I keep hearing about is the team's lack of "fire." This, of course, is something we merely assume based on demeanor and body language. None of us are in the dugout or clubhouse but infer how the team is playing based on what we see on TV. This might be my biggest pet peeve, especially when it devolves into statements like "Look at these guys, they don't even care about winning!" Unless you are a psychic, shut the hell up.
--Here is an example of where the paradox of reading body language comes into play. Look at Josh Hamilton after he strikes out, he seems so unaffected by it that he might as well prance back to the dugout while whistling Zippity-Do-Da. Because he's struggling we assume that he "doesn't care." We claim we'd feel better if he was acting upset about his struggles. I would posit that if he were throwing helmets, breaking bats over his leg and pummeling the Gatorade cooler what we'd actually think is, "WOW, look how frustrated he is! He is out of control! He needs to calm down and relax." So, again, zip it.
--If you want to read into something, read into something a player says like Mike Trout's recent comments about how the team needs get out of the "I MUST get a hit right here" mindset. That is a legitimate and real thing. Armed with that evidence, I have no problem with the comments about how Trout no longer looks like the giddy, fun-loving kid he was last year.
--Speaking of Trout, given his sophomore slump both at the plate and, oddly, in the field, can we all just repeat this a few times: HE IS ONLY 21 YEARS OLD. I think people forget this. He may not be amazing right now, but he's still pretty damn good for someone his age. I guess you could say that he has fallen from Superman status, but he ain't Clark Kent either. Wait, does that make him Aquaman? Hmmm.
--By the way, the Angels are in full spin control over the perception of the team right now. Watching last night's game, the stadium looked pretty empty yet they announced a paid attendance over 35,000. This despite the fact that they carpet bombed their own website, social media and my email inbox with pleas for people to buy tickets to this series. What is even more curious is that attendance is actually up over 5,000 per game over this time last year even though the team was curiously quiet about how many season ticket sales they had. Teams juke attendance numbers all the time, but I'm beginning to wonder if the Halos are doing so in egregious fashion right now.
--The lack of steals from this team continues to confuse me. Stolen bases are down across the league, but the just looking at the Angels, something is going on. Either Scioscia is not giving guys the green light or the players are in their own head and worried about making a baserunning mistake and thus not running. I really don't see what they have to lose at this point. Seriously, what their doing isn't working, try something different.
--I am having an existential crisis. I was born and bred to have unhealthy mancrushes on speedy, defensive ace outfielders. This is why I have loved Peter Bourjos and thoroughly enjoyed his stellar start to the season. But I am also someone who has a strong appreciation for someone who is capable of self-analysis and shows a willingness to buck conventional wisdom. After the recent stories about how Mark Trumbo has gone about improving his game, I fear that my allegiances are shifting. Or maybe I just have a wondering eye now that Petey is on the DL.
--You know a season isn't going well when you find yourself saying, "Gosh, I really hope Alberto Callaspo gets healthy soon."
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RE: Attendance -- There are a huge number of tickets that are labeled "paid" which are really just giveaways. Buy two get two free = four paid. I've noticed the drastic increase in no-shows over the last few years. I was a season ticket holder from 1999-2010, and stopped buying them when I couldn't GIVE away tickets to games I couldn't make.
I think a huge contributing factor is ticket prices. My original seats were in Club 318. They were $18/ea - now range from $72-$150 a 400%-935% increase. I had those until they got up to $25/ticket. Then I moved to Right Field, which were $6. Same seat now sells for $20-$55. Now I go whenever I can, and get tickets through the exchange for a fraction of their face value most times.