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...

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

Watching... and Ranting

So of late it seems like I should rename this blog "watching Jeff DaVanon sit on the bench" or "watching Jeff DaVanon play nice outfield but not get any hits" or "watching Jeff DaVanon and the rest of the team go 0-for-5" or, my favorite "watching Jeff DaVanon get the last out of the game leaving men on base, again."

So I haven't felt like posting. And there wasn't all that much to post.

But I did want to (perhaps belatedly) address one issue from the last week. I'll address it badly. And without a clear understanding of all the issues. And I can't even be bothered to remember the names of the people involved. I'm sorry for that, but not sorry enough to stop me from writing this or to force me into doing more through research. This is a blog, don't people come here expecting poorly-reasoned opinion pieces with little basis in fact?

I've been appalled by the debate surrounding the chair-throwing incident. As a fan, if I were to throw something onto the field at a game, I'd be subject to ejection. If I were to throw something *at* a player, I'd be totally subject to ejection. If I hit a player/ other person, I'd probably be banned from the stadium for at least a year, if not for life. And if I hit a player/ other person and caused physical harm to him or her, I'd be ejected from the game, banned from the stadium, and subject to criminal charges and personal liability. No one would care why I had thrown something. My personal passion for the situation would not lesson my responsibility or be brought up as some sort of justification or even passable excuse for what I had done. Furthermore, throwing a chair (an imprecise instrument) into a crowd of people, goes beyond a basic inappropriate violent response. It shows reckless disregard for humanity and human life. If you are going to have an inappropriate violent response, you at least need to be accurate and only harm the target of your violence. Throw a punch for crying out loud. You do not throw a chair.

To me, this is incredibly clear-cut. But I guess not to everyone. First, I was supposed to be sympathetic because a criminal conviction could lead to the player's deportation. Too bad.

Then, I was supposed to excuse his behavior because the fans were taunting him. This one was hard to figure out. An aquaintance of mine is a former ballplayer, and he didn't think that what the guy did was right, but he totally understood why he had done it. "People are terrible to you," he said, "they call you names, say things about your mother, your playing ability, it can get really ugly and really personal." "What about security?", I wanted to know. "As a visiting team, there are a number of stadiums where security will simply not respond to your requests. " That isn't right, security should be relatively impartial.

I couldn't identify what was wrong in this situation. Couldn't put my finger on what was wrong about the attempts at making excuses and even justifications. Words can be hurtful and powerful things. But we all have to learn the fine art of walking away or shutting out words that are designed to incite us. Didn't we all have to survive middle school? Was I the only one who was called terrible things on a daily basis, and taunted, and had things said about my mother? Wasn't that a fairly universal experience? Then it hit me-- a lot of these players, especially the Americans, were probably on the flip side of those middle school days. They probably weren't teased or taunted or called very many names-- they were athletes, or at least athletic. They grew up ill-equipped to deal with it. And now the tables turn. The taunting victims of our childhoods sit in the stands and relish the idea of taunting. And those who either taunted, were exempt from being taunting recipients, or grew up in a land where such things happened differently, have to learn the skill of ignoring. And I guess it isn't an easy skill to learn. But come on, be a grown-up! Throwing a chair should never be an acted-on impulse! And if it is, then take your punishment like all the rest of us. And stop trying to excuse the inexcusable or worse yet, justify the unjustifiable.

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

Sometimes you just wish you had read a book

Hey Jeff got to play yesterday!

But I couldn't watch. It was not a moment that will echo in eternity though.


Also, someone was kind enough to point out to me that the seniority system for the mystical arbitration processes thing is cumulative not annual, thereby giving it the leg up on the American Airlines Frequent Flier "Gold" program. And, we would hope, sparing Jeff from another season as one of the lowest-paid players in the league with his own merch.

Friday, September 10, 2004


My husband confessed to me last night that he's known all along the secret to beating the Angels.

And I fear that Toronto kidnapped him and forcibly extracted that information from him. Or maybe they bugged our apartment. Or maybe the Canadian government can monitor our thoughts!

Or maybe the 'Jays just noticed the same thing my husband did-- the A-team can't hit offspeed pitches. Throw 90% curve balls and change-ups and other slow-ass things and we'll go down. Guys, I really appreciate your looking out for my financial well-being by making sure that the charge I authorized to keep our seats during the playoffs will never come to fruition, but seriously, don't worry about me. I have blood plasma I can sell. And My Little Ponies I can eBay. And probably some extra Jeff autographs lying around. I don't need this kind of help!

Allow me to take this moment to point out a statistical bit that could, in the wrong hands, be twisted to make a certain point. I would never ever do this. But have you noticed that recently we seem to win the games that Jeff plays in and lose the ones he doesn't? I think we're something like 10-1 with him playing in the game in the last few weeks.

Something else I want to look at is Jeff's number of games played. The Angels' stats page shows him having played in 89 games this year. I'm a little concerned about this. Last year he played in 123 games and still found himself in this disappointing situation where he missed qualifying for arbitration by the skin of his teeth. It is looking like, once again, Jeff will get a pay bump only due to his extra year of service. It isn't like his salary is anything to sneeze at for the rest of us. But he plays, he contributes, he hits for the cycle, he sells t-shirts (Figgins didn't even have t-shirts untill midway through the season), it is too bad that (if I understand this mysterious arbitration situation corerctly) we will continue to pay him per season about what we paid Mondesi per game.

Friday, September 03, 2004

Back in action

Pay no attention to the circumstances, Jeff made a return to the game yesterday.

What? The circumstances matter to you?

OK, fine. For most of the game the Angels trailed the Sox 3-4. But they threatened. And in the 9th inning Troy got a hit. But then he got thrown out attempting to steal 2nd. 1 out. Then AK struck out. 2 out. Then J. Molina was up. Jeff Pinch hit for him. Jeff hit a pop-up and was an easy out number 3. So we were swept. We just didn't have it. We couldn't compete. Our pitchers didn't bring their best "stuff". Our hitting was unproductive. And we were sorely lacking in magic.

Whenever I watched the games in this series, it seemed as though the Sox just had magic on their side. Things came together, they got breaks, they made plays that stopped our rallies cold. Did Disney (who would like to corner the market on any and all magic to be found in the world) keep the magic when they sold the team?

Thursday, September 02, 2004

Fish out of water

Instead of soldiering on through the season (and whatever post-season there may be) and then having surgery on his ailing shoulder, Tim Salmon is bowing out of the season now. He will have surgery on his shoulder and surgery on his knee. He will not play again this season. He will not play next season, as the combined surgeries and recoveries will take the better part of a year.

His contract is up after next year.

It wasn't supposed to go down like this. Tim Salmon, who began his career with the Angels, and played in multiple uniforms under multiple owners and led the team to a World Series Win, was supposed to ease slightly to the side this year, play DH for this year and next, put up respectable numbers, and then retire in a blazing sea of red haloed glory. It was supposed to be planned. We were all supposed to have time to get used to it. Tim was supposed to have time to get used to it.

And now it is like this. Tim still wants to play in his future. I wish him the best, I wish him luck with the surgery and recovery and road back to playing. But I do not know if that is what lies before him. In 2006, will there really be a place worthy of him on the team? Would he play for another team? Could he even imagine doing that, could we?

It just wasn't supposed to be like this. But it is.

Yay Bloggers!

Many of us are quoted in today's Jim Alexander column in the PE

You have to jump through the invasive registration hoops, but we all have enough fake e-mail addresses floating around to take care of that.

I come off a little bit like a freak. But these things happen. And let us face facts, I am a little bit of a freak.

The other thing that happened was this:

Others are blissfully oblivious, such as the Angels' DaVanon. Asked before a game last week if he had checked out or was aware of the blog devoted to him, he said: "I never search (the Internet) under my name. I've never looked."

Would he now?

"I might take a peek," he said.

So I'm going to file that under things I need like a hole in the head. Jeff, the whole "not searching" thing was a very good policy. Stick to it. Just in case, and to clarify for everyone, despite appearances to the contrary, I am not a candidate for a restraining order. I am happily married. I am not of the ilk that brings "marry me Jeff" signs lovingly crafted in glitter to games. I do not own glitter. I am unclear as to how one would even make a sign with glitter. I met Jeff's neighbor during Spring Training, but I do not know where he lives and it never crossed my mind to ask.

I'm posting the full text of my e-mail interview with Jim Alexander for kicks and your edification.
> 1. What possessed you to do this?

What possessed me is a question I ask myself quite frequently. I wanted to have a way to track my impressions of the team and news about the team and about Jeff throughout the season. I have other blogs, so this was a natural choice. Also, despite the fact that having a blog is a solitary pursuit, it is a good way to meet and interact with other people who are passionate about the same things you are, and that's kind of nice.

> 2. How much response do you get? Do you have a sense
> of how many people are regular readers? Is there, in
> fact, sort of a blog community of fans/fellow
> bloggers/fellow readers?

When I first started I got a lot of response (at least, way more than I was expecting), lots of hits and lots of e-mail-- but that is because I chose to focus on a specific player (one who most don't consider all that noteworthy) and also because I am a woman and people enjoy the novelty of that. I've also seen a flurry of activity in the last 12 hours because Jeff hit for the cycle.

Most people don't check my blog every day (except possibly my husband). But there are probably about 20 who check it once a week. And that number keeps growing (I've only been at this a few months). Mostly, people check my site when some other blogger mentions me.

I'm a special case though, because my blog isn't a true Angels-specific blog. I focus on one player who doesn't even play every day. I'm not producing a tremendous amount of relevant material for most people. I'm a neophyte who's understanding of the sport is rather apalling considering that I'm putting forth opinions that other people read. I'm learning, and the blog (and other bloggers) is what is helping me to learn.

There is most definitely a community of bloggers and readers, and it is mostly team-specific. There are only a handful of Angels bloggers, and you tend to read everyone else's posts to see what other people thought and to get all the angles on what is going on. I haven't met any of the others in "real life" yet, but at some point I probably will, and for the moment I am enjoying the e-mail and message board and inter-blog conversations with both bloggers and readers.

> 3. Do you get a sense that team personnel notice
> what
> you write? Have you received any feedback from them?

If they were paying attention to what I wrote, I'd be highly concerned. I doubt they do. If they were noticing it, I really think they should stop. I doubt that Jeff DaVanon even knows. I don't know when they'd even find the time to notice. Maybe in the off-season.

> 4. Do you sense that members of what you call “the
> mainstream media” – i.e.,beat writers, columnists,
> broadcasters – see it and respond to it?

For me in particular, again, I'd be highly concerned if anyone from the more traditional media paid me any mind at all. However, I'd like to think that they do pay attention to some of my fellow bloggers, who are capable of much more sophisticated analysis than I am, and, in my opnion, provide great insight into the team both from a statistics-wrangling perspective and from a reporting perspective. The bloggers make observations that I think are very relevant and astute, and some of them can massage things out of stats that are truly amazing, and possibly completely misleading, but still amazing.

> 5. How much time do you devote to it? Does it vary?

I don't devote enormous amounts of time to it. I post when I feel like it or when I feel compelled to. I do feel an obligation to post when there is Jeff-related news. And Mondesi-related news. And when there is ill-advised facial hair rearing it's head.

> Do
> you find yourself occasionally fighting the tendency
> to say, “ah, I don’t feel like writing today?”

If I don't feel like it, or don't have time, I usually don't post. But today, for example, I really had to post because Jeff had a historic game last night and my blog is called "Watching Jeff DaVanon" ergo, obligation.

> Conversely, does your family sometimes complain that
> you spend too much time blogging?

No. For one, my husband couldn't be more thrilled that a woman who made him explain the concept of fielder's choice no fewer than 4 times last year is now an active (if tiny) participant in the vast baseball machine. Also, hello- I post from work!
> (And one more: How much trouble are you having
> keeping
> up with the team right now, when you're there and
> they're here? )[note: I was in Europe at the time]

It sucks because most English-language news on TV in Europe is from out of the UK, and the Brits are not known for their deep affection for baseball. Also, the Olympics are on, so that forms the nexus of what sports reporting is being produced. I rely on the internet to keep up with the team, and am deeply beholden to my husband who e-mails me the critical bits of info about how the team did and how Jeff did (which is not exactly information that is generally reported by other sources).

Wednesday, September 01, 2004

Because stranger things have happened

I didn't watch the end of the game because I had to go to a meeting (with a Boston fan no less!)

A teeny tiny whisper in my brain said "don't leave, who knows what might happen!"

But I argued with the whisper and thought "yeah, Alfie Amezaga might just hit a home run and start a rally. Whatever, I'm leaving."

Turns out, there is a reason that games are nine innings and not seven. Inevitability can only be determined after the fact. Still no win, but it was pretty cool that the A-team's B-players forced the Sox to bring out their closer.

As for Alfie. He was due. He was majorly due. He could hit 2 more slams just like it and *still* be due.

It was reported during the telecast that Jeff took swings during practice and looked good, and would have been available to pinch hit last night if it was warranted.