This ‘N That

Orem Owlz outfielder Roberto Lopez is batting .448 after his first 21 games.


Too much to do, not enough time to do it.

Catching up on items of note …

I’ll be with the Tempe Angels for their July 20-22 games. The Sunday July 20 game is at Peoria against the Mariners. Then it’s on to Tempe on July 21 against the A’s, and July 22 against the Padres.

Ironically, this is the exact same schedule I attended last year. Apparently the league’s schedule makers decided to just use last year’s schedule, with minor tweaks. The Angels have a few games that were reversed — our park instead of theirs, or vice-versa — but otherwise it’s pretty much identical.

So these three games are the same I saw last year.

I’m hoping to see the Angels’ top two pitching draft picks, Tyler Chatwood and Ryan Chaffee. Chatwood made his professional debut on July 8, facing only five batters. He struck out two and gave up a hit. Ryan Chaffee, recovering from a foot injury, has yet to pitch but maybe he’ll be ready by the time I get there.

Former Angels minor league outfielder and relief pitcher Warner Madrigal made his major league debut on July 2 in New York against the Yankees. He appeared in relief for the Rangers at home July 7 against the Angels, then made an emergency start July 9 against his former team. As I wrote last November 18, the Angels botched a paperwork technicality last fall, making Warner a free agent. After pitching for Low-A Cedar Rapids in 2007, the Rangers sent him to their Double-A affiliate to start 2008, moved him up to Triple-A, and brought him up last week. Way too soon in my opinion, but I gather the Rangers are dealing with pitching injuries so they had to dip into their farm system.

While on the subject of former fireballing Angels relievers, the White Sox placed Bobby Jenks on the disabled list with left scapula bursitis. Bobby hasn’t pitched since June 29. Frankly, I’m surprised he’s held up this long; I suspected his elbow held together by screws would have fallen apart by now, but I’m not a sports medicine expert.

Tom Kotchman’s Orem Owlz are 16-6 and well on their way to post-season contention yet again. Left fielder Roberto Lopez has hit in each of his first 21 games, and has an AVG/OBP/SLG of .448/.520/.598. All the disclaimers have to be issued at this point — he’s a 22-year old in a league where the top prospects are teenagers, 21 games do not a career make, he hasn’t been around the league once so pitchers haven’t had the chance to adjust yet. Baseball America never had him as a significant prospect.

On the other hand … wow.

In recent years, other Angels rookie players have had similar hot starts. 20-year old outfielder Sergio Contreras hit .399/.467/.601 with Butte in 2000. (That franchise is now the Casper Ghosts.) 22-year old Azarias Corbeil hit .359/.463/.525 for Provo (now Orem) in 2001. Neither had a career that reached the upper minors. So let’s keep our sobriety for the time being and give Roberto’s career a chance to mature before we make snap judgments.

On the other hand .. wow.

For those of you looking for photos I recently shot at Orem, I’ve been very busy with non-baseball projects. Hopefully I can make a dent this weekend in the backlog. I’ll post an announcement on the home page when they’re done.

Hopefully I can get out to Rancho Cucamonga on Sunday.

I want to keep Cedar Rapids in your thoughts. The Cedar Rapids Gazette reported today that flood damage is expected to exceed $1 billion. Reporter Rick Smith wrote:

“This size of loss, we can’t cash flow this unless the federal government gives us money,” [City Manager Jim Prosser] said. “We’re going to have serious problems … We want the public to know what we’re facing.”

Prosser said the city needs “immediate attention and assistance” from the federal government, and will seek such aid.

You can send donations to the Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund and the Kernels Foundation Flood Relief.

BeesGal on her Sporkball Journals blog has a comprehensive list of sports teams and individuals who have donated to Cedar Rapids flood relief.

The Angels are notably absent from the list.

Gazette beat writer Jeff Johnson hasn’t minced words in his Diamonds and Ice blog. Jeff wrote on July 2:

… The parent Los Angeles Angels still have yet to publicly acknowledge there has been a flood in a city they have been partnered with for 16 years. That’s embarrassing, Angels. Hopefully this lack of response has opened some eyes on the Kernels’ board of directors.

Don’t blame Tony Reagins or anyone in the baseball operations for this one. Charitable decisions are made on the money side of the business. Perhaps the Angels intend to make a quiet anonymous donation, although that seems unlikely. As I’ve mentioned before, a more proactive approach would be for Arte Moreno to challenge Angels fans by offering to donate $1 million if they match it.

With about 40,000 fans attending each home game, if each fan were to donate $1 it would take 25 games to reach $1 million.

So far, though, it appears that the Angels minor leaguers have donated more money than Arte and his money minions. If I’m mistaken, if Jeff Johnson is mistaken, if the Kernels fans are mistaken, well, please tell us. But you’re not going to lead by example and encourage Angels fans to give if you don’t tell anyone about it nor advertise it during the ball games.

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