The Texas Rangers might be considered an offensive juggernaut now, but that hasn't always been the case.
With the Texas Rangers coming off their second straight World Series appearance and the Angels making a monumental splash this past offseason in signing Albert Pujols and C.J. Wilson, the AL West has become a two-team race, a land of the haves and have-nots. Arlington and Anaheim are the new Boston and New York.
Hyperbole aside, it is worth remembering that things weren't always this way. When the Rangers first moved to Arlington from Washington D.C. in 1972, they were coming off a 63-96 showing and didn't have much going for them. The Oakland A's, who had won 101 games the previous season, were the division's powerhouse. And although Dick Williams' A's got swept by Baltimore in the 1971 ALCS, that club laid the foundation for the 1972-1974 version that would win three consecutive World Series.
The rest of this article is restricted to Baseball Prospectus Subscribers.
Not a subscriber?
Click here for more information on Baseball Prospectus subscriptions or use the buttons to the right to subscribe and get access to the best baseball content on the web.
It's a stroll through Angels history to find those memorable and unmemorable men who manned third base.
Quick: Name 10 men who played third base for the Angels in their first 51 seasons. Troy Glaus is easy. He is the franchise leader in games played at the position and was played there fairly recently. Doug DeCinces logged almost as many games, although you might remember him more as a member of Earl Weaver's Orioles. Jack Howell, who followed DeCinces, ranks third with an even 600 games. ChoneFiggins? Sure, he's another recent guy who ranks fourth in games played at the hot corner. Rounding out the top five is Paul Schaal, whose greatest claims to fame are:
The season has hardly had a chance to kick off, but it's still fun to look back at the best stretch drive comebacks in AL West history.
Have you ever had a particular song lyric or verse stick in your head for not merely days or weeks, but years? I have. Most of us have. Maybe all of us have? Regardless, it has been at least five or six years since I first heard the hip-hop masterpiece that is Mos Def & Talib Kweli are Black Star, but there’s a part on the track “RE:Definition” that has been rattling around within the confines of my consciousness since the very first listen: “We Die Hard like the battery done in the back of me by the mad MC who thinks imitation’s the highest form of flattery/Actually, don’t be mad at me …” Imitation’s the highest form of flattery. I didn’t know where it came from (turns out it was a bastardization of the more famous quote from 19th century author C.C. Colton), but I liked it, and figured the day would eventually arrive when I could constructively apply it.
Fast forward to this past Monday, when the intrepid Geoff Young opened his fascinating NL West history thusly: “As Yogi Berra might say, we'll have all year to discuss the season.” And as hyped as I may be for the impending season, Geoff’s right. Not long thereafter, I stumbled upon this not-so-prescient scan of the June 1, 2005 Houston Chronicle sports section, and my creative direction was sealed. There is little more emotionally stirring in the sports world than the comeback against tremendous odds, and little that I can believe to be more appropriate for this emotionally stirring week than a look back at the greatest in-season comeback by each AL West ballclub en route to a division title since the Great Realignment of 1994 (with a little help from CoolStandings.com’s historical playoff odds snapshots):
As a new season dawns, Geoff looks at how baseball went west in the first place.
As Yogi Berra might say, we'll have all year to discuss the season. This week takes us in a different direction. Come, step into my TARDIS, as we examine the origins of professional baseball in each of the NL West cities.
The Angels didn't get what they wanted, but does that mean they're going away?
Los Angeles gives one the feeling of the future more strongly than any city I know of. A bad future, too, like something out of Fritz Lang's feeble imagination. --Henry Miller Usually, criticisms of the state of affairs in Southern California hone in on well-worn complaints, like superficiality in achievement or personality, or a strangling inability to get anywhere despite all sorts of expense, or its lack of a coherent, organizing center. Or diseased bats that menace all who come in contact with them. And that's just the Angels.
Consider general manager Tony Reagins' lot as we head towards pitchers and catchers and the opening of camps in just a few short weeks. After all sorts of speculation, and after so many busy winters in past seasons, the Halos wound up with no Carl Crawford, and no Adrian Beltre. There was no late, spoiling cameo as the mystery third contestant in the Cliff Lee sweepstakes. There were -- initially -- no major trades for major stars who were on the move, not for Dan Uggla or Zack Greinke or Adrian Gonzalez. Up until a very short time ago, even the Dodgers, purportedly prostrated by McCourt squabbling, managed a more dynamic winter by re-inking Ted Lilly and adding Juan Uribe to their infield. In contrast, the Angels settled for letting people leave, while inking a pair of veteran lefty relievers to not-inconsiderable contracts. Between that and the anticipation that Kendry Morales would come back and bop, it made for fairly thin fare to make it through the winter with.
Red Sox minor-league pitching coach Bob Kipper recalls his major-league playing experiences.
Before he became a highly-regarded minor-league pitching coach, Bob Kipper lived the dream that he now helps others pursue. The 46-year-old erstwhile left-hander spent eight seasons in the big leagues, and while his record was humble—27-37 with a 4.34 ERA and 11 saves—he considers himself privileged to have simply earned the opportunity. Taken eighth overall in the 1982 draft by the California Angels, Kipper was traded to Pittsburgh three years later and logged the bulk of his 247 career appearances with the Pirates. He has been a pitching coach in the Red Sox organization since 1999, and he spent the 2010 season mentoring hurlers in Double-A Portland.
Stephen Strasburg begins his recovery from Tommy John surgery, along with other news and notes from around the major leagues.
Stephen Strasburg will begin the first day of the rest of his life Tuesday morning, and we're not trying to be cliché here. The Nationals' pitching phenom will start his rehabilitation work at the Scripps Clinic in La Jolla, California, the first step in his long road back from Tommy John reconstructive elbow surgery.
A look at Major League Baseball's version of transactional limbo.
When the Seattle Mariners placed outfielder Milton Bradley on the restricted list a week ago, the move put a temporary halt to a drama simmering for years. Bradley asked the team for help a day after manager Don Wakamatsu removed him from a game because he thought the outfielder had become so upset that he was not fit to play. The Mariners—Bradley’s eighth team in 11 seasons—are providing assistance, forming a "partnership" with the player’s representatives to help him work through the anger-management issues that have dogged his career.