View from Spring Training: 2011 Los Angeles Angels

2011 Los Angeles Angels

NFL Equivalent – Indianapolis Colts: What position would Peyton Manning play if he were a MLB star? My first instinct says starting pitcher because of the arm strength and physical stature, not to mention the preparation that goes into taking the mound every five games. Manning would however drive his catcher and pitching coach absolutely bonkers with the way he obsesses over scouting reports and opposing player tendencies. One potential issue for fans, with the way Peyton likes to run the play clock down we could very well be looking at a 4 hour baseball game every time he takes the mound. With his lethargic, meticulous pace Manning should probably play for the Yankees and become best friends with Derek Jeter.

Google Search: This was supposed be the winter where the Angels opened up their wallets and landed a slew of high priced free agents. They offered Carl Crawford big time money to return home to SoCal, but not as much as the Red Sox. They were willing to pay Cliff Lee as well but he chose a much more comfortable living situation in Philadelphia. These two failed attempts to land a high powered, impact player forced Angels management to trade for a has-been high powered, impact player in Vernon Wells.  Canada hasn’t been this relieved since their men’s curling team won Olympic gold in 2010.

Famous Movie Quote: I’m sorry, did I break your concentration? I didn’t mean to do that. Please, continue, you were saying something about best intentions. What’s the matter? Oh, you were finished! Well, allow me to retort. What does Marsellus Wallace look like? – Jules from Pulp Fiction

Where do cinema snobs rank Pulp Fiction in the pantheon of Quentin Tarantino films?  Personally, I would put it right behind Inglorious Basterds but well ahead of Jackie Brown. It is amazing to think about the careers which were resurrected/preserved by this film, most notably John Travolta and Bruce Willis. Without Pulp Fiction, Travolta would be working on Look Who’s Talking 8: That Bird Can Sing! while Willis would have just completed Hudson Hawk Drowns in the Hudson River. The Angels are hoping Vernon Wells enjoys a similar resurgence this season.  Even still, the Angels will have to fight hard not to become yesterday’s news. 2011 record: 84-78, 2nd in AL West

view from Tempe Diablo Stadium courtesy of @heatherdettmann

A View from Spring Training: 2011 Kansas City Royals

2011 Kansas City Royals

2010 NFL Equivalent – Buffalo Bills: Passionate fan bases, small markets, and recent traditions filled with failures. These are the ties that bind. Each city also boasts a unique tailgating delicacy; Buffalo has the wing and Kansas City the BBQ. In recent years, the Bills have played a “home” game in Toronto. The Royal equivalent would be moving games out of Kauffman Stadium and into Cedar Rapids. (Side note: at what point does Ed Helms branch out and take on a new character? In Cedar Rapids, is he supposed to be playing Andy Bernard on a sales call to middle America?) Lastly, I have a few friends who remain die hard Bills fans while I have yet to meet one single person, outside of Rob Riggle, who still roots for the Royals. (Note: the only reason I went with Riggle here was so I could link to a video from the Catalina Wine Mixer. POW!!)

Google Search: The turnstiles at Kauffman Stadium were spinning this winter as the Kansas City front office gave the roster a thorough face lift. Some highlights include CF Melky Cabrera, RF Jeff Francoeur, and SP Jeff Francis.  If Cabrera is in shape, and that’s a big “if”, he is a serviceable major league outfielder while Francoeur boasts a rocket/laser arm and a complete inability to draw walks. Allegedly, the Royals have a very strong farm system and Ken Rosenthal went as far as to call them the “Rays Redux”. Rosenthal could be referring specifically to prospect outfielder Lorenzo Cain, who will push Cabrera for the starting CF job.  Going out on a limb, even if Cain doesn’t start on Opening Day, it sounds like the job will be his full-time by June.

Famous Movie Quote: Well, what if there is no tomorrow?  There wasn’t one today. – Phil Connors, Groundhog Day.

Royals fans have been through this before, unfortunately.  Rebuilding, retooling, refueling.  Whatever.  Alex Gordon was such a “Can’t Miss Prospect” at 3B that he has been moved to the outfield.  In a league where it seems that every team can hit, the Royals are woefully anemic on the mound.  Besides Francis and Kyle Davies, the rest of their starting staff will have to be cobbled together.  The Royals’ two best players from ’10—Zack Greinke and David DeJesus— are both gone.  This year, their best player is a closer, Joaquim Soria (formerly “The Mexecutioner”; no longer), who may only have the chance to close 2 games a week which means the Royals will most likely end up coin surfing in the cushions of the AL Central couch again this year. 2011 record: 66 – 96; 5th Place AL Central

view from Tempe Diablo Stadium courtesy of @HoltzyKC