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Western Front 

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04-30

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0

Western Front: Walked By an Angel
by
Geoff Young

04-23

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16

Western Front: The Rockies and Dodgers Have Swapped Scripts
by
Geoff Young

04-16

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1

Western Front: The Continuing Development of Dexter Fowler
by
Geoff Young

04-09

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3

Western Front: Xavier Cedeno's Not-So-Excellent Adventure
by
Geoff Young

04-02

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6

Western Front: Lines in a Larger Song
by
Geoff Young

03-27

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2

Western Front: The Reluctant Optimism of Spring
by
Geoff Young

03-19

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4

Western Front: Pieces of Peoria
by
Geoff Young

03-12

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1

Western Front: Rime of the '83 Mariners
by
Geoff Young

03-05

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5

Western Front: Different Ballparks, Same Problem
by
Geoff Young

02-26

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5

Western Front: Even Writers Need Spring Training
by
Geoff Young

02-19

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15

Western Front: San Diego High School Baseball at the Turn of the Millennium
by
Geoff Young

02-12

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7

Western Front: Three Former Astros
by
Geoff Young

02-04

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4

Western Front: They Took Their Turn
by
Geoff Young

01-29

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23

Western Front: Pass the Bonds, Please
by
Geoff Young

01-22

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6

Western Front: Pacific Surfliner
by
Geoff Young

01-15

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13

Western Front: Zeroes and Ones
by
Geoff Young

01-08

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4

Western Front: What Will Become of Neftali Feliz?
by
Geoff Young

12-18

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6

Western Front: An Almost Defense of Kevin Towers
by
Geoff Young

12-11

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22

Western Front: Padres Break Bank, Won't Pay to Have it Fixed
by
Geoff Young

12-04

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2

Western Front: Thou Shalt Not Run on Johnny Cueto
by
Geoff Young

11-27

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11

Western Front: Jeff Francis' Historic Season
by
Geoff Young

11-20

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2

Western Front: Surprise, You Won 90 Games
by
Geoff Young

11-13

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3

Western Front: Three Days in the Desert, Part 2
by
Geoff Young

11-06

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9

Western Front: Three Days in the Desert, Part 1
by
Geoff Young

10-30

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14

Western Front: Three Giant Draft Picks
by
Geoff Young

10-23

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3

Western Front: Better Than Setting Cash on Fire
by
Geoff Young

10-16

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10

Western Front: The Year Baseball Went Missing in San Diego
by
Geoff Young

10-03

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2

Western Front: If It Wasn't for Accountability, I Wouldn't Have Any Ability
by
Geoff Young

09-25

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1

Western Front: Portrait of a Hacker
by
Geoff Young

09-18

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20

Western Front: Chase Headley is Awesome
by
Geoff Young

09-11

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6

Western Front: Céspedes Won't Be Leaving to Join Devo
by
Geoff Young

09-04

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12

Western Front: They Move Like Living Things
by
Geoff Young

08-28

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6

Western Front: When Loney was Better than Gonzalez, and Kotchman was Better than Both
by
Geoff Young

08-21

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6

Western Front: Before Felix was King
by
Geoff Young

08-14

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4

Western Front: Pick the Collie, or Maybe the Weimaraner
by
Geoff Young

08-07

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4

Western Front: When the Time is Right
by
Geoff Young

07-31

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3

Western Front: Where Has Upton's Power Gone?
by
Geoff Young

07-24

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6

Western Front: Walk-off Wins are the New Market Inefficiency
by
Geoff Young

07-17

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5

Western Front: First Win the Division, Then Puppet Show
by
Geoff Young

07-10

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9

Western Front: Trying One's Patience
by
Geoff Young

07-03

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5

Western Front: Ready, Set, No!
by
Geoff Young

06-26

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10

Western Front: Fowler Power
by
Geoff Young

06-19

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6

Western Front: Angels Rush in Where Rangers Fear to Tread
by
Geoff Young

06-12

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12

Western Front: A Brief History of the Vedder Cup
by
Geoff Young

06-05

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6

Western Front: Tres Compañeros
by
Geoff Young

05-29

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Western Front: Attending to Center Field
by
Geoff Young

05-22

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7

Western Front: My Kingdome for a Morse
by
Geoff Young

05-15

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12

Western Front: La Casa Sucia
by
Geoff Young

05-08

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4

Western Front: Three Days, Three Dingers
by
Geoff Young

05-01

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4

Western Front: As a Manager, He Makes a Good Right Fielder
by
Geoff Young

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April 30, 2013 5:00 am

Western Front: Walked By an Angel

0

Geoff Young

Angels pitchers are having an extremely difficult time locating the strike zone this year, and some of their star sluggers aren't hitting.

You probably know that the Angels' expensive, aging stars aren't hitting. Albert Pujols and Josh Hamilton have combined for a .231/.305/.344 line through the season's first 3 ½ weeks; they have been out-homered by that deadly Milwaukee tandem of Yuniesky Betancourt and Yovani Gallardo.

It's fun to say these things out loud, if only because we won't always be able to do so. And while the slow starts of Pujols and Hamilton have contributed to the team's poor showing, and the offense overall has been below average, the Angels find themselves in fourth place as April draws to a close because they have done a lousy job of preventing runs.

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April 23, 2013 5:00 am

Western Front: The Rockies and Dodgers Have Swapped Scripts

16

Geoff Young

The Rockies have gotten off to a surprisingly quick start this season, while the Dodgers have looked sluggish. Why?

We know that three weeks isn't enough time to judge a season. We'll do it anyway because that's what we have and that's what we do.

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April 16, 2013 5:00 am

Western Front: The Continuing Development of Dexter Fowler

1

Geoff Young

Last year, it looked like Dexter Fowler had become more of a power hitter, but then he tailed off. Is this year's hot start proof he has honed his skills?

We all have our white whale. For some—call him Ahab—it is a literal whale. For others, it might be someone like Will Venable, who teases with a talent that hints at more.

Venable holds no mystery for me. Like a bug (wait, what happened to our whale?) dissected, I know what I need to know about him as a ballplayer.

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April 9, 2013 5:00 am

Western Front: Xavier Cedeno's Not-So-Excellent Adventure

3

Geoff Young

Xavier Cedeno recently joined a not-quite-exclusive club that no pitcher wants to be a part of.

Astros left-hander Xavier Cedeño had a problem last Friday against the A's. He entered with one out in the fifth inning and his team trailing, 1-0. Twenty-eight pitches later, he departed with one out and his team trailing, 6-0. As if that wasn't enough, the man he left on first base later came around to score.

An error by Marwin “No Perfecto for Yu” González didn't help, but still... the most Astros named pitcher ever may have just had the most Astros 2013 pitching performance ever. Cedeño's final line is a thing of horrific beauty: 0 IP, 1 H, 6 R, 3 ER, 0 HR, 3 BB, 0 K.

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April 2, 2013 5:00 am

Western Front: Lines in a Larger Song

6

Geoff Young

Opening Day brings new beginnings and reminders of our past that come together to play a single tune.

There have been other Opening Days, other games, other seasons. After a while, they all blend together, lines in a larger song forming a melody that is difficult to dissect without conscious effort.

Opening Day marks a new beginning, a rebirth, a reaffirmation of all that is good in the world. Or it at least gives us the illusion of such things, along with an excuse to expound on them in saccharine prose. Tomorrow we will return to more mundane concerns, but today let us pretend at perfection.

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March 27, 2013 5:00 am

Western Front: The Reluctant Optimism of Spring

2

Geoff Young

No teams are out of the running in spring training, and gaudy stats provide optimism for what the season may bring.

It's a spring training game. Some guys are fighting for jobs, others are just getting their work in before the grueling regular season begins.

Michael Kirkman starts for Texas against Seattle at Peoria. He will work three perfect innings, which isn't important. What's important is this changeup he threw on July 18, 2012:

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March 19, 2013 5:00 am

Western Front: Pieces of Peoria

4

Geoff Young

Spring training is an excellent time to lose sleep, catch up with friends, make your broadcasting debut, and see which players have good bodies.

The box score indicates 83 degrees at game time, but I was there and it was hotter. Perched on tall metal stools along the right-field line with headsets on and studio lights shining in our eyes, we call the fifth, sixth, and seventh innings on television.

It is more aimless babbling and less delivery of facts, but it is fun in our minds, which is the best place for fun. Six of us sit sweltering under the unforgiving Arizona sun as the Padres mount a late comeback and beat the Angels in a meaningless March contest. If you listen closely, you can hear me offer such astounding insights as “wow!” and “oh!” on a Gregorio Petit two-run single during said comeback.

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March 12, 2013 5:00 am

Western Front: Rime of the '83 Mariners

1

Geoff Young

It's the 30th anniversary of the 1983 Mariners. The good news: The 2013 Mariners shouldn't be as bad. We think.

There are many reasons to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the 1983 Seattle Mariners:

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March 5, 2013 5:00 am

Western Front: Different Ballparks, Same Problem

5

Geoff Young

Don't expect the Rockies and Padres to compete in the NL West with their current rotation options.

Two of the most extreme ballparks in baseball are home to National League West teams. Coors Field inflates offense, while Petco Park destroys it. Neither the Rockies nor the Padres are expected to contend in 2013, and a lack of quality starting pitching is a large part of the reason in both cases. Despite their different environments, these two teams face the same problem.

Who are the candidates for each rotation? What do they have to offer?

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Players are supposed to arrive at spring training in the best shape of their lives, but writers sometimes need a bit longer to awake from their winter slumber.

Spring training is finally here again. Games are on television. It is exciting, but in truth, these early games are rough to watch. The first pitch I saw in 2013 was from Nationals right-hander Stephen Strasburg to Mets shortstop Ruben Tejada. The ball landed over the left-center-field fence. As a friend remarked on Facebook, “Now, Strasburg knows which part of the strike zone Tejada hits for power.”

Sure, but does anyone want to see Strasburg serve up homers to a hitter like Tejada? Actually, the answer to that is an emphatic yes. Among those who might want to see such a thing are:

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San Diego has a rich baseball tradition, and many big-league stars have roots in Southern California.

The local SABR chapter held a garage sale on Saturday, and I couldn't resist. I bought an old-school Padres cap and an Oklahoma City RedHawks cap for myself. (I'd stopped to see a RedHawks game while driving from San Diego to Cooperstown for Tony Gwynn's Hall of Fame induction in 2007.) I bought a Fresno Grizzlies cap for my wife. She likes bears.

I reminded her that the Grizzlies are a Giants affiliate. She still likes bears.

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February 12, 2013 5:00 am

Western Front: Three Former Astros

7

Geoff Young

The Astros aren't great now, but once upon a time, Jimmy Wynn, Jose Cruz, and Cesar Cedeno made them look respectable. Also, a look at what would have been written in BP Annuals of the '60s and '70s.

While researching a recent article about players who received zero or one career Hall of Fame vote, I stumbled across a personal favorite: Jimmy Wynn. Despite being small enough to earn the nickname “Toy Cannon,” he posted ridiculous numbers for the Astros in a venue that depressed offense.

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