On Deck for Tempe

With six hours to go until I find out how much gas costs in the middle of the desert …

Kernels beat writer Jeff Johnson of the Cedar Rapids Gazette notes in his blog that the Angels have still taken no action to help the flood victims in Cedar Rapids:

Still waiting for the Los Angeles Angels to even acknowledge there has been a flood in Cedar Rapids. The word is the Angels are waiting for the Cedar Rapids Kernels to tell them where it’s best to donate some money. Why are you waiting, Angels? It’s not hard to figure out: try the Red Cross, try the Kernels Foundation, try something! Despite what certain members of the Kernels front office and board of directors believe, there is absolutely NO loyalty in professional sports. The quicker you learn that, the better off you’ll be. You are running a business, and it’s very apparent you are not giving your business its best chance of success by continuing to partner with a Major League organization that NO ONE around here cares about. Or apparently doesn’t care much about you.

Since some fan sites tend to see one line on a Transactions page and misinterpret it because they lack context, this appears in today’s Inland Valley Daily Bulletin:

The Quakes made three moves after Thursday’s game.

Catcher Alberto Rosario (.202) was sent to Triple-A Salt Lake City to fill in for Tim Duff, whose wife just gave birth.

Right-handed pitcher Marco Albano (2-3, 7.11) went to Double-A Arkansas and catcher Ikko Sumi came from rookie ball to fill in for Rosario.

Is it too early to talk about magic numbers?

Yes, if you’re talking about the American League, although the Oakland A’s seem to have run up the white flag by trading away Rich Harden and Joe Blanton, the latest victims of Billy Beane’s mad scientist experiment. If he’d run scouting and player development properly instead of implementing the failed “Moneyball” mumbo-jumbo spawned from sabermetrics, his farm system wouldn’t have been so barren that he had to hock his veteran players to replenish it.

But it’s not too early if you’re talking the Orem Owlz and Tempe Angels.

The Pioneer League has a 76-game schedule divided into two 38-game halves. Owlz manager Tom Kotchman is a master at manipulating these split-season sprints to get his teams into the playoffs. The Owlz are currently 21-9 — best record in the league — with eight games to go and a 1 1/2 game lead over Casper. Orem’s magic number is eight. I don’t know what the league rule is should they tie; head-to-head, Casper leads 4-2, so Orem should plan on taking the division outright. They can put it way by winning two home games hosting Casper on Thursday and Friday.

The Arizona League has a 56-game schedule split up into two 28-game halves. No divisions, all nine teams are together. (When the Dodgers arrive next year, they’ll have ten and the schedule will change.) Tempe is 15-6, three games ahead of the Mesa Cubs and Surprise Rangers. (Surprise is a town, not an exclamation.) So the Angels’ magic number is five to win the first half. The first half winner plays the second half winner in a one-game championship.

A shout out to Owlz pitch Will Smith, who totally dominated Great Falls last night in the Owlz’ 10-0 romp over the Voyagers. Smith pitched six shutout innings, struck out nine, walked none, and gave up only two hits. For the season, in 29.1 IP he has a 34:3 SO:BB ratio and a 2.15 ERA. It should come as no surprise that he was a Tom Kotchman find in the 7th round, a 19-year old 6’6″ left-hander who might start drawing comparisons to Randy Johnson in a few years if his velocity develops.

Kotch could add another signing of his, 3rd rounder Ryan Chaffee, when he’s healthy. Chaffee was supposed to be ready about now, recovering in Tempe from a broken foot, but I haven’t seen his name in any Tempe box scores yet. I’ll determine his status in the next couple days.



  1. swdycus@mchsi.com

    No one, huh Jeff Johnson? Okay. Tell you what. Since I am an aspiring writer, living in Iowa, and you seem to hate your job of covering an Angels team, you can quit, and I’ll do it instead.

    I seriously may email this jerk with a complaint.

  2. swdycus@mchsi.com

    If Jeff Johnson hates covering an Angels minor league team so much, I’d be more than happy to step in.

  3. twinkytodd

    Hey, genius, the writer has a point…the Angels didn’t even send out a press release acknowledging the flood happened. This, after 16 years as an affiliate?

    Three playoff appearances in the last 10 years or so.

    Promoting our best players while getting NOTHING in return from Orem so Tom Kotchman can get a ring for his next door neighbor’s dog.

    Minor league baseball IS a business. This isn’t the mom-and-pop days of yesteryear…except in Cedar Rapids!

    There is no loyalty to the Angels. After 16 years you see about four Angels hats at the stadium on any given night. Johnson is right when he says no one (except the above “aspiring writer”) cares about the Angels. Apparently, as he stated, the feeling is mutual.

    A small cadre of people make all the decisions in Cedar Rapids and as long as they’re buying the Angels company line there’ll never be a change. Get used to it Johnson!

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