Watching Jeff DaVanon

Watching Jeff DaVanon

A weblog devoted to #55 of the Anaheim Angels, Jeff DaVanon. How is he doing? Is he getting his due respect yet? Let's watch and see...

Thursday, July 29, 2004

Interviews are always bad

Yesterday's game was pretty interesting-- for a game without any Jeff action.

Angels in the Infield did do an interview with Jeff, wherein we learned the following:

1) Jeff's back had been bothering him for months

2) A "fight" like the one at BP on Tuesday, can unite the team not just for a night, but for an entire season. Who knew?

3) Baby Luke (Jeff's son) is 5 months old-- probably.

4) Jeff has ADD or some other affliction that makes it impossible for him to sit still.

5) Jeff can use (sort of) the word camaraderie, but seems sketchy on who the opposing team is, witness "The Texas".

6) Jeff has a heretofore unknown affinity for SCUBA diving.

7) What do you get when you put Jeff on camera? Jeff is the deer, the camera is the headlights, you can imagine the rest.

Thank goodness we won the series. As Paula Abdul would say, it was "key important." If we can't even make a solid case for ourselves in our division, there is no way we can speak of any kind of post season aspirations. These were critical games. And, oddly enough, they were won by pitching-- something I thought we needed help with.

Monday, July 26, 2004


So Jeff is on the DL with back spasms. As long as he wasn't really put on the DL with suckiness, I guess there's not much to say. Although he picked the wrong time, with GA day-to-day and Vlad still recovering from his hit. It's never good when they bring up Alfie to take your place.

The good news is that Quinlan is finally getting a chance to shine. I'd like to see Quinlan play 3rd every day and see Figgins at short. I know some would find this sugestion tantamount to treason, but I harbor no sentimental attachment to the player "who does the most with the least".

Also shining, or at least contributing, is Josh Paul. I know that his continued presence on the roster confuses a lot of people, so I thought I'd put forth my theory.

1) Sciosca likes catchers, likes having extra catchers, and at the end of the day is always going to take care of a catcher.

2)At the start of the season, Benjie was much more questionable than anyone was admitting. And Josh had a really good spring training. Also, other teams were interested in him.

3)Josh Paul has an X-factor.

The 3rd point is the most important. When I was in a theatre as a stage manager, it was common that the casting of a play had more to do with who we wanted to work with than with who had the most talent. Talent came into the equation, but the character, work habits, and personality of an individual also factored heavily. Each production could only have so many "difficults" -- be it a diva, a chronomically challenged individual, or a "I always learn my lines by opening night"-er. Too many difficult individuals and the production would collapse on itself no matter the level of talent. Or it would be successful, but it would prove a nightmareish experience that would taint everyone associated with it. Every once in a while, you'd encounter someone who didn't even bring that much to the table as an actor, but was so outstanding an individual, and often instrumental in raising the spirits and level of everyone around them in a catalytic way, that you simply manufactured excuses to keep him or her around.

I think at this point, Josh Paul is that guy who works hard, never complains, and moreover, through his good humor and teamwork acts as a catalyst in the team. Nothing that any of us can see on paper or on our screens explains his continued presence. But I think everyone likes him, and maybe if he was designated for assignment, the team would lose the one thing they all agree on.

Maybe he's a luxury they can ill afford. But I think about how much my job would suck if the one person I liked didn't work there anymore, and I conclude I can cut the team some slack on this issue. I'd probably try to keep him around too. And he did do well in Tempe.

Wednesday, July 21, 2004

Not that it did any good

Jeff played OK yesterday, had a homerun and a single and didn't do anything to embarrass me in the outfield.

But that was far less than was required to help the Angels win the game. Keith reported that after the homerun that was hit off of Frankie, Jeff leaned against the wall and shook his head-- if Frankie is giving up homeruns, it just isn't the Angels' day.

Jeff has been the subject of much debate today. I'm not entirely sure why. I do feel like he is the 3rd out more than is healthy, but I've always thought that's because I am hyperaware of each of his at-bats, and can't properly place them in context. But of all the subjects worthy of debate at this point for the Angels, Jeff doesn't really seem like he should be high on that list. Should he have more at-bats than he does now? Possibly, but at-bats don't grow on trees, they would need to come at someone's expense. Who's expense? Salmon's? Maybe, but maybe not, *neither* of them has shown to me that they are the answer to the Angels' particular problem of late. In fact, my completely unscientific comparisons between them the last few weeks has me thinking that they are evenly matched in terms of what they are truly producing in game situations. Neither has been hitting better than the other, neither has been hitting for much more power than the other. Neither has been performing better than the other in clutch or pinch-hit situations. I could run the numbers on all that, but I hate stats.

At the end of the day, Jeff is a solid player who has earned his spot, and a chance at a few more at-bats. I'm not really clear on how anyone could argue with that unless Jeff like, slept with their sister, or something. He is also cheap. His overall value to the team at this point is pretty high because he produces, doesn't fuck up, and is cheap.

What do the Angels need right now? They've never really recovered from the beating they took during interleague. Dropping games to the Indians is just inexcusable.

I think they need to make at least one, if not two additions to the current team. Most desperately needed is a pitcher. Probably a starter. An extremely good one. It also wouldn't hurt to get a real 3rd baseman. That isn't likely because there is no other place for Figgins in the lineup, and Vlad wants Figgins in the lineup. Maybe a centerfielder (did I just say that) allowing GA to only DH, putting Salmon out to pasture.

But so much of what the team is missing couldn't be helped by the aquisition of anything less than a star. They seem offstep, out of tune with each other and the game, sloppy. I can't remember the last time the Rally Monkey resulted in an actual winning Rally.

I grew up in Illinois. I've seen the wheels fall off a team that should be doing great before-- and the Angels team is starting to resemble nothing so much as that.

Monday, July 19, 2004

Me with Jeff
Posted by Hello

Catching up and freaking out

Back from Europe and catching up on posting.

There were some cool Jeff moments while I was gone, most notably the awesome take-out slide.

My birthday was Saturday, and my husband got me another autographed Jeff picture, and this incredibly strange Baseball Card from the Michigan Whitecaps (?) Where Jeff looks 12, is wearing a Jets hat, and also seems to have mislaid his cleats and is instead wearing boat shoes. Like I said, strange.

To get my autographed Jeff picture, my husband braved some event last week at ESPN Zone, where he said Jeff answered questions about what he did during the break, etc. I guess Jeff spent the break with his family at home, and emerged with new respect for his wife (their baby was born right before spring training , so he hasn't spent much time with Luke) the baby was wearing him out, he doesn't know how his wife does it. When asked about his playing time he said "I would never complain about playing time. I'm just really happy to be on the team." Contrary to how Jeff fans will happily interpret that statement, there was absolutely no implied "unlike some other people I could name".

Sunday was photo day, where they let us circle the warning track in the sweltering mid-day sun and use our own personal cameras to capture photographs of the players "in their natural environment". It's like a safari or a no-cage zoo or something. You can easily tell the veterans from the newbies. Percival, after years of study, is sufficiently knowledgeable about the fact that cameras don't do a great job of taking pictures of people that are moving, so he actually stands still. They weren't supposed to stop for pictures with fans, but several ignored that rule, including (yay) Jeff. So later on I'll post the nice picture I got of the two of us, I was so nervous I don't even think I introduced myself, and afterwards I briefly wondered if I should sit down, the combined heat and excitement making me a bit dizzy. I can't believe I just admitted to acting like a 13 year old girl in the presence of a Backstreet Boy-- the shame. Josh Paul seemed confused by the fact that I wanted his picture (reducing me to yelling "Josh! Josh!" like the paparazzi) and Shane Halter elevated himself immensely in my eyes by asking me if I had gotten the picture I wanted of him and Quinlan and offering to bring Quinlan back if I didn't. (Really I just wanted Quinlan, but you don't tell the zebra to get out of the picture you are taking of the wildebeast). Also, can I add that the green mascot beast from Fujifilm just kept flirting with me and it was *way annoying*.

Let's not speak of the game on Sunday. Once again, a pitcher was left in a little bit too long. Once again, hitting seemed to be a problem. Vlad looked like he had never played outfield before in his life (but took out his frustration with some kick-ass throws). Jeff did something he absolutely never does, and took serious issue with the home plate ump's definition of a strike zone- when he was called out looking he expressed his frustration, unhappily disposed of his batting accessories, but ultimately had the good sense to walk to center field (where he started, yay!) before the official lost all patience with Jeff's demonstration. Jeff was not the only player to show displeasure with the strike zone, so I guess the guy was at least uniform. Salmon started in Left (huh?) and batted no better than Jeff, plus he was sort of sad defensively. Interesting choice to have them both play in the outfield, making it less of a competition. I really do get that Salmon has done more for this team than Jeff ever will, but I don't have this deep affection for him, so I get frustrated by his continued presence.