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...

Monday, October 11, 2004

A dissection of possibility

Was it only one week ago that possibility lived? Have so few days really passed between this moment that I write in and the one in which the 2004 Angels still fought, still existed, still carried chance with them?

Was it only nine days ago that I stood in Oakland and celebrated? Was it only three weeks ago when it seemed nothing would ever come together? Was it ony one month ago when it seemed all hope was lost? How many weeks since I believed in the magic? How many since I was truly proud-- not that pride was mine to have.

Can I accept it as a victory that we came this far having lost so much? Down a Left Fielder. Down a Second Baseman. Down a Third Baseman. Down a Designated Hitter. Down a Bench Infielder. Down to only the skin and bones of what we had hoped the team would be. Down to only what we could manufacture with grit, and luck, and blind trust that a few good players would carry us the rest of the way.

They could not carry us any further. We could not fight anymore. Our luck turned, and our weaknesses gleamed brightly in the light of the new day. And how silly all that possibility seems now... how much a folly. We did what we could, but in truth, we were done.

That doesn't mean we were wrong to have believed. But it means I can't bring myself to feel sadness or shame over the losses. To have gone as far as we did now seems like a gift, a validation of the spirit of the team. I will cherish my Oakland memories.

It is now time to begin the measuring and dissecting. To count things using all of our fingers and twice using our toes. It is time to hack away at what happened using low-hanging statistics and fashionable acronyms. Let us now begin the autopsy, the "for want of..", the "if only...." Let us make lists of what we need and what we want and what will surely happen between now and later.

I think I will pass for now. I think I will skip the counting and calculations. I will trust my memories... although in the scope of a season so little is truly memorable.

Remember Tempe and seeing Josh Paul, a fellow Illinoisan, and being impressed.

Remember a spring home game where we stayed even though there was so little hope, and we twirled t-shirts above our heads, and worried as Shane Halter was brought in to pinch hit for Jeff, and Halter hit a grand slam, and the game was won.

Remember Jeff quietly hitting spectacular numbers through the month of June, but doing it alone, and his accomplishment seeming meaningless.

Remember the injuries, the grotesque epidemic of them, and still we played on, and won, and survived.

Remember Figgins hitting another triple.

Remember extra extra innings.

Remember the return of key players.

Remember Eckstein flying through the air.

Remember Jose Molina stepping up.

Remember Percy earning another save.

Remember Frankie chalking up another strike out.

Remember Vlad getting it done, even though he looked as if he could no long stand on both legs.

Remember Jeff hitting for the cycle.

Remember Guillen winning the game.

Remember Frankie making the play at the plate.

Remember Amezaga hitting a grand slam.

Remember Field 2. Remember "Wear it and Like it."

Remember ugly Russian Nesting Dolls, and lenticular cups, and visors, and t-shirts, and halo sticks.

Remember victory and loss and the smell of hot dogs and the magical feeling of possibility.

Remember Barry Williams. And remember to believe.

This is what I will remember. What will you take with you? Out of all of the games, all of the moments, all of the plays, what is it that ultimately matters? What pinpoints of time will come to comprise the season for you as the specifics fade and we move towards 2005?

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

lots of red

The Angels are introduced in Game 1 of the ALDS

The grounds crew waters the obviously totally new (and very long) sod right up to gametime Tuesday.

People speak to the "Rally Monday" crowd and stir the red masses into a frenzy. Sorta.

Rally Monday, notice the nice balloons.

The crowd at "Rally Monday" photo by my husband because some of us have to be at work!

Jeff again

Josh Paul streches out before Sunday's game

Jeff warms up before Sunday's game

John Lackey signs autographs while wearing his glove on his head to "help break it in".

Another DaVanon fan in Oakland. She has a sign though, and the sign? Made with glitter.

Jeff (it's him I promise) signs autographs before Saturday's Oakland game

They also had ushers who actually made sure people were in the right section and seats. Amazing!

The Colesium had tons of Angels fans

Jeff warms up before Saturday's game

Monday, October 04, 2004

Roster Predictions

On the long drive home last night, my husband and I tried to predict the 25 man playoff roster. I don't know if this is the final one we decided on, but it's what I'm going with for now (note that I lack an expert understanding of the rules for being on the 25-man roster):


all no-brainers

Paul *

Paul has the distinction of being MVP: Most Vulnerable Player. It makes no sense to hang onto a 3rd catcher who doesn't hit all that well when your other 2 catchers are feeling good. But I predict they'll hang on to him because of his team-building personality. Plus, I don't think you cut a guy off the roster who has been on it all year, unless he is Kevin Gregg in which case I would encourage it.


The only thing interesting here is the return of Quinlan, and hashing out who will play what position. By my information D-Mac is not eligible for the playoff roster, but I could be wrong


Pride made a very strong argument for himself this last weekend, and I think he'll stick around. Riggs would normally be questionable, but I think Mike likes matching him up against LHP instead of Jeff. I'd like to suggest a truly novel idea-- what if Jeff batted left agains LHP??

I don't know, he could be sacrificed for another pitcher
Hensley (not sure if he was recalled in time)
I don't know that he was on the roster in time to be on the playoff roster. But if he was, then I predict we'll see him over Gregg. Or maybe that is wishful thinking.
He's been a solid reliever. If a bit whiny.

People missing from my roster who could show up:
Halter the horror! But he is experienced, and did once pinch hit a grand slam for us earlier in the year.
Sele much like a squirrel with nuts, baseball teams like to store-up pitchers for cold times.
Gregg because maybe the "real" him is the one from the start of the season, also the squirrel/nuts thing again
Mondesi made you look!

Well, that was a fun, if pointless, endeavor.

Also, Go U, NU

I have a fond memory of standing in the football stadium of Northwestern University on a cold, rainy and slushy fall day, and watching the Wildcats loose to Ohio State by a final score that does not reveal how close the game felt . It wasn't close. I think we lost by like 20 points or something. But until late in the game, it felt close, it felt like we were moments away from turning the momentum and beating Ohio State. A team who we needed to beat if we were ever going to be respected as a legitimate football contender. We had won the Big 10, but we had done it without playing Ohio State, and that tainted the win and our legacy. It was a miserable day, but it remains a fond memory because if we lost, it was expected, but if we won, it would be a miracle. And the miracle seemed possible. Usually miracles feel possible only for fleeting seconds, their life-span akin to that of a soap bubble. But on that day the hope for the miracle would not die, it lived on for hours, it grew into old age and still it hung on.

The next time that the coach came in to eat at the restaurant where I worked, I thanked him for the great game. "No one even cared that we lost. We were all so into it, we had such a good time." And Gary replied "God Maya, I really thought we were going to win that one. I really thought it was going to happen." But I enjoyed that game more than most of the ones we won.

Still, I'm glad we finally beat them. I am going to enjoy screwing with their ranking.

and there was much cause for Cool and the Gang

Back from our weekend in Oakland. Here are a few of my favorite moments and general impressions, in no particular order...

1) The Colesium is actually a time machine. I say this because all the music they play there is at least eight years old. Are they letting Hammer pick the songs? Are they too cheap to buy new music other than the Black Eyed Peas?

2) The Angels actually needed a time machine, so that worked out OK. There hasn't been much magic this year, but the team that played in Oakland over the weekend had magic.

3)A's fans are some of the nicest people I've ever encountered. How can this be the same city, the same building, that produces Raiders fans? When we sat down on Saturday, people were telling us that they knew our team was going to win, that theirs didn't "deserve" to win. Not 20 minutes after the conclusion of the game Saturday, A's fans were wishing us luck and giving us high-fives. In any interaction, an A's fan would first of all say an obligatory "Angels Suck" or whatever, and then immediately wish the Angels luck in the playoffs.

4)On the other hand, it's a very strage experience to be booed and heckled in a mall because you are still wearing your red game-wear.

5)Percival-batter-DaVanon. What a delightful combination, let's see that again. And hey, nice catch!

5)Way to draw a walk.

6) Way to draw another walk.

7)Nice triple Jeff, but couldn't you have gotten it 3 inches higher? Never mind. Nice triple.

8)Curtis Pride rocks. He was amazing in the outfield on Sunday. FYI, according to National Theatre of the Deaf (at first that came out "Dead" and that's an entirely different kind of theatre)you "clap" for a hearing-impaired person by holding up your hands and waving them rapidly (it's all in the wrist). Don't know if that holds true for a baseball game or not, but you'd think we'd be able to come up with something.

9)Nice steal Jeff!

10)So after the game on Saturday, all the Angels fans congregated in the stadium next to the Angels dugout. And we hung out. And we chilled. And we chanted. And we clapped. And we chanted some more. Then we stomped. We were fairly hard-up for chants at this point, so we did "na na na na, na na na na, hey hey hey, goodbye" for no particular reason. And we gave each other high-fives. I'm not entirely sure what we were waiting for, maybe for the team to come back out, or something. But we waited. And we waited with enthusiasm. And there were *hudreds* of us. And then they kicked us out. So we strolled through the concourse and chanted some more. Echo! Everyone loves an echo!

11) Too bad the Salt Lake City Stingers couldn't beat the Oakland A's. It's a bit frightening to look at a line-up and realize that Jeff is the most seasoned person on it.

12) Bringing Kevin Gregg into a game now illicits from us the same reaction that we used to give to "Mr. Goggles." It's short and simple. "No!!!!!"

13) I happen to think that selling monkeys in nooses is taking things a little far.

14) One section over from us there was a proposal on Sunday! I'm not sure I'd want to propose to my girlfriend with the assistance of a person in an elephant costume,and with drunk onlookers, but that's me. It was all very nice. She said yes.

15) I don't understand the elephant. He dances.

16) I love the sno-cone vendor. I just wanted to pack him up in a box and bring him home with me so he could just say "sno-cones here, get your sno-cones" for my personal enjoyment. Plus, he gave me a straw when the "no straws or lids for your drinks" policy left me with no way to drink the Dr. Pepper I had purchased.

17) Playing the Josh Paul Drinking Game live is an unusual experience. I almost had to chug once, but he didn't actually catch the person trying to steal.

18) Stupid Dodgers and their stupid, dramatic, come-from-behind-in-the-bottom-of-the-ninth victory overshadowing our victory!

I took some pictures and I'll post them later.

Friday, October 01, 2004

some people

There are people who's obsession for a particular team overcomes them and they travel to away games to cheer their team on.

Never having been much of a fan of any particular team, I was never one of those people.

However, tomorrow morning, I am getting in my car and driving up to Oakland for the weekend.

My friends from Oakland actually just moved down here, so I am robbed of any sort of pretense that this is not a trip I am taking just to see the games.

So look what I have become.

Sign-making comes next, I am almost sure of it. And then there is the calling in to radio talkshows to make a comment about the team. And then there is setting up some sort of team-centric website. Hey, wait... does this mean that I passed "crazy" several exits ago, and I should stop taking too much notice of how baseball-insane I have become?

See you in Oakland!