Show us the way, Vic

After the unfortunate passing of Rory Markas in January, Angels fans from Anaheim to Antarctica were abuzz about whose voice was going to guide them [read: us] through the 2010 season. Would Arte bring back Steve Physioc, assuring him that he wouldn’t have to deal with Rex Hudler’s aimless tangents? What about Ken Wilson or Dick Enberg? [OK, so maybe the elder statesmen of AngelTown were the only ones asking about the latter two.]

But still, a decision had to be made. And shortly thereafter [aka: March], Victor Rojas was announced as our new play-by-play guy.

Prior to signing on the dotted line, Victor was the voice of the Texas Rangers for five years before joining the MLB Network in 2008. However, having played in the Angels minor league system in the early 90’s, the 2010 campaign won’t be the first merry-go-round in Red and White for the former pitcher. [Plus, his pop, Cookie Rojas, coached the big club in '88.]

An avid social networker, Victor’s been great at reaching out to fans like us since he signed on to join Guby in the booth. But until last night, not too many of us had heard him announce before.

Needless to say, I was sold before the first pitch was thrown, and here’s why:

After returning from the first commercial break, the camera found Torii, Bobreu, and a few others midway through their pre-game secret handshakes. And instead of saying something boring like, “Welcome back,” Victor led with, “Well Guby, it’s too bad the cameras missed our pre-game chest bumps.”

And BAM. Just like that, I got the feeling that this year is going to a fun one. Sure, there are plenty of questions abreast. But that’s what’ll make the Angels’ 2010 season exciting.

And thanks to Victor [and Guby], the booth will be just as entertaining.

Fantasy: Love/Hate Relationships

For those who didn’t partake in our Garden of Halos’ fantasy draft on Wednesday night [read: most of you], you missed out on two hours of joking, mocking, and the occasional “good pick, dude.” That said, Al and I thought we’d rate each others’ teams, using the universal system of… Likes and Dislikes.

Scoring Categories: Runs, Hits, Homers, RBI, Stolen Bases, Innings Pitched, Wins, Saves, Earned Runs, Strikeouts.

No Tengo Pineiro

C – Brian McCann  (Atl)
1B – Kendry Morales (LAA)
2B – Dan Uggla (Fla)
3B – David Wright (NYM)
SS – Ben Zobrist (TB)
OF – Matt Kemp (LAD)
OF – Adam Lind (Tor)
OF – Jason Kubel (Min)
UTIL – Ryan Ludwick (StL)
UTIL – Mark DeRosa (SF)
BN – Orlando Cabrera (Cin)
BN – Jack Cust (Oak)

SP- Jake Peavy (CWS)
SP – Josh Beckett (Bos)
RP – Brian Fuentes (LAA)
RP- Brad Lidge (Phi)
P- Jered Weaver (LAA)
P- Jair Jurrjens (Atl)
P- John Lackey (Bos)
P- Mark Buehrle (CWS)
BN – Rich Harden (Tex)
BN – Ervin Santana (LAA)
BN – Aroldis Chapman (Cin)

Likes:

  • In a league where SS and 2B won’t be big power generators, Al managed to snag Uggla, Zobrist, and their 30-ish HR totals.
  • One point is awarded for every inning pitched, and he’s got four guys who threw over 200 last year. And the fact that he’s only got two relievers will help that total.
  • Most catchers won’t help you very much in fantasy, but he’s got McCann, which gives him an upper hand against teams that don’t have Mauer and Vic Martinez. If only Napoli could catch and throw!
  • Honorable Mention: Awesome useage of a current Halo in his name.

Dislikes:

  • Saves = 5 points. And even though his throng of starters might help him win innings pitched, the saves category will be much harder to come by with two heart-attack-wielding closers.
  • He clearly lacking in the stud department. He’s got some nice guys, but no one that really jumps out at you, numbers-wise.
  • He’s got four Halos, plus OC. Which means I’ll be rooting for five of his guys throughout the year. [Insert smiley face here.]

Kamikaze Witchcraft?

C – Jorge Pasada  (NYY)
1B – Ryan Howard (Phi)
2B(3B) – Jose Lopez (Sea)
3B – Pablo Sandoval (SF)
SS – Clint Barmes (Col)
OF – Ichiro Siziki (Sea)
OF – Shane Victorino (Phi)
OF – Michael Bourn (Hou)
UTIL – Carlos Pena (TB)
UTIL – Nyjer Morgan (Was)
BN – Nick Swisher (NYY)
BN – Russell Branyan (Cle)

SP – Roy Halladay (Phi)
SP – Adam Wainwright (StL)
RP – Andrew Bailey (Oak)
RP – David Aardsma (Sea)
P – Jorge De La Rosa (Col)
P – Scott Feldman (Tex)
P – Joe Saunders (LAA)
P – Bronson Arroyo (Cin)
BN – Aaron Harang (Cin)
BN – J.A. Happ (Phi)
BN – Ryan Franklin (StL)

Likes:

  • He’s got options at the corners. He took Howard first and from there picked up Sandoval and maybe without knowing it, Jose Lopez is to start the year at 3rd, (after 10 games he is eligible). Almost 100 homers between the 3 last year.
  • Pitching, J took a chance and went after Halladay and Wainwright early, if all goes well he will dominate the strike outs and wins.
  • Speed, J picked up 3 of the top base stealers in his OF. If injuries don’t slow him down, he will dominate the steals.

Dislikes:

  • The speed in the outfield leaves his will little to no power in his OF. Something that could prove to be fatal in the  down the stretch.
  • He has two Cincinnati Reds pitchers on his staff…. enough said.
  • Ichiro… He’s getting older and with the addition of Figgins, how much will he be running this year?

Now that we’ve shared our peace [and then some], we’d love to hear your thoughts on everything.

Tune into our podcast tonight to hear the full fantasy run-down!

Spring Training 2010 Time Lapse fun!

Check out our time in Arizona for Spring Training… in 60 seconds…

Enjoy

Quick Hits: Spring Training Adventure

Spring Training ’10 was heaps of fun! So we thought we’d take you through it with v1 of Quick Hits…

After an epic game of Over the Line, both teams came together for the greater good of Halokind.

  • Our trip began on Friday night in the Los Angelesian neighborhood of Atwater Village. Totaling three cars, twelve of us ventured east on the 1o freeway; fueled by fast food and ever-changing iPods.
  • Arriving around 3am in Glendale, AZ on Saturday morning, our hotel of choice wasn’t too keen on letting us prance into our rooms and call it a night. But after a short spell of chit-chatting, we exchanged plastic money for plastic keys and a short countdown ’til our 9am self-created wake-up call.
  • Venturing into the “Where the heck are we?” district of Surprise, AZ, we bought tickets and parked our cars as far as we possibly could from everyone. The reason? Our first game of Over the Line for the 2010 season. However, even though we’d alerted the parking corps of our OTL operation, we moved two separate times to avoid the onslaught of cars. Turns out that just like the players, wiffleball-wise, we were also in pre-season form.
  • Heading into the beautiful Surprise home of the Royals [also shared by the Rangers], we stood just over the bullpen in right field. Lucky for us, after saying hello to Hank Conger, a foul ball rolled near him and he threw it to us. Two minutes in and we’ve already had one souvenir. Thanks, Hank!
  • Despite the fact that the Halos were winning 3-0 and had only surrendered three hits by the end of the 3rd frame, they ended up losing 12-3. We’ll chalk that one up to the Angels’ starters playing really well and the young guys getting some solid in-game lessons.
  • Shortly after the game ended, we tore out of the parking lot en route to our next destination: the Econolodge in Tempe, AZ. That night, we went out for food, celebrated a birthday, and dealt with an erroneous charge by the clerk at our hotel. While the charge isn’t worth the time it’ll take to spell it out, it was quickly straightened out so we could continue on with our night of enjoyable festivities.
  • On Sunday morning, we awoke and left the hotel by 11; our noses clinging to the scent of Waffle House, which was right down the street! And then the inevitable happened: Just as quickly as our frolicking, food-frenzied mood appeared, it evaporated as we learned that the Angels/Cubs came — due to begin at 1pm that very day — had sold out.
  • We had the talented scalpers of Tempe to thank for the sell out. Seemed like getting each of us to fork over $30 for lawn seats just happened to be on their to-do list that day. But we weren’t having it. So instead, we decided to play Over the Line until the 6th inning, which was when Tempe Diablo Stadium opened its gates to the public. The Angels, however, lost 8-7, as Michael Ryan fell just short of tying the game with a drive to right.
  • After a short post-game version of Over the Line, we headed to a local restaurant that, although it might have one of the best names and tag lines in the bar/restaurant biz, is at the opposite end of the spectrum when it comes to their quality of food. The place was called Monkey Pants. If you’d like to know the tag line, Google it or check it out in person. :)
  • Sunday night had long been reserved for a trek up to Alex’s parents’ house in Prescott, where we could recoup before our seven-hour drive back to reality the following day. Thanks to a local bar’s free pool tables, cheap dart board, and 2-for-1 beer special, we were able to relax and catch our collective breathes for the first time since Friday. Karaoke was also a high-point of the night; but when isn’t it? Oh, and we were also able to engage in a little verbal warfare with a local Dodgers fan. Always a good time.
  • Monday meant seven hours of starring at absolutely nothing for seven hours. Then again, the fact that we didn’t see many cops throughout the drive made it much easier. After all, we had a softball game to get to by 6:15pm.

Mad dashes and all, there’s nothing better than a trip to Arizona with your best friends. The weather’s good, the hopes for every team are high, and the actual season isn’t too far away.

Let’s hope that, Halo-wise, our hopes don’t come and go at the speed of our Spring Training adventure.

Alex and J after the sun painted their faces Angel red.

And the winner is…

Anthony and Jennifer Rapoza!

[So I guess the headline should actually read, "And the winners are...". But I digress.]

Eternal thanks to everyone who sent us photos, to readleaf Water for sponsoring the contest, and to all of you for continually tuning in each week! We hope the lot of you continue to enjoy your peeks at Spring Training. Only a few more weeks ’til the 2010 campaign is underway!

Anthony and Jennifer Rapoza

redleaf and Garden Of Halos Fan Photo Contest finalist!

Hey everyone, check out the all the finalist competing for 2 FREE Spring Training tickets! The winner will be announced in a few hours! Thanks for all the submissions!

redleaf Water Contest Info

redleaf Water: Canada's Ultra-Premium WaterFan photo contest

Who wants to win two tickets to an Angels Spring Training game of your choosing?

That’s right. Everyone!

And thanks to the wonderful people at redleaf Water, Canada’s ultra-premier and most environmentally-friendly bottled water, you can have just that. All you have to do is send us a photo of yourself, decked out in all of your crazy Halos gear. You can even include the person you’re going to bring with you, if you want.

Send the photo by Tuesday night and we’ll post the winner on Wednesday morning. If we choose your photo, we’ll put you in touch with redleaf, so you can schedule your free date with the Angels in Tempe, Arizona.

The seats are right on the field, so don’t wait. Send your photos today, and get out to Tempe to support your Angels!