Spring Session Mid-Terms at LAAU at Tempe, AZ

My latest big project at work is updating and rewriting our entire course catalog and student handbook…in a little over a week. In the words of the late great Douglas Adams, I love deadlines. I like the whooshing sound they make as they go flying by! Seriously though, I am a professional. I have everything planned and moving along on schedule, from the legal requirements review, to all of the rewriting, to the occasional panic attack over the deadline. And they said all of that late night paper writing in college wouldn’t be useful in the real world. Ha! (All joking aside though, I love my job and this is a pretty cool assignment, if a little intense.)

Needless to say, I am just a wee bit catalog and course description focused at the moment and Spring Training is all about learning and practicing, so you can see how they might start to jumble together a little in my brain. Watching the games and reading the articles coming out of Arizona, I think I can make a pretty good guess about a few of the spring session catalog’s course offerings at Mike Scioscia’s LAAU:

365. Advanced Astronomy: Okay, so only Mark Trumbo is actually putting the ball into orbit this spring (and Maicer Izturis and Brandon Wood once each) which is a little worrying but many key players are getting high marks with Trumbo, Bobby Wilson, Howie Kendrick, Peter Bourjos, Alberto Callaspo and Jeff Mathis (Really? Cool!) are all hitting over .300…still, after last season, I won’t consider this course successful until more of the starting lineup names are on this list.

342. Physics of Linear and Non Linear Trajectories: The starting rotation is…coming along. They started slow. They’re easing into it. I’ve seen great stuff and silly mistakes. The last appearances were better than the first. For the most part, their 2011 ST stats are comparable to or better than their ST stats in ’10 and ’09. Eh, it’s not great, but I’m just not worried here (except about the 5 spot). To my eye it looks like the rust is coming off on schedule.

450. Fahrenheit 451 and the Art of Closing the Game: Bullpen pitchers are often referred to as firemen. But what happens when your firemen occasionally accelerate or actually start the fires themselves? A lot of offseason dollars were spent wrestling with this “philosophical” delimma and at ST midterms the grades are all over the place. Many of the pitchers the Angels will look toward for relief are making good grades, including Scott Downs, Jordan Walden, Rich Thompson, Hisanori Takashi and Michael Kohn. As for the actual closer? Love Ray Bradbury though I do, Fernando Rodney needs to find some different reading material, stat…as does everyone who has been playing in the 8th and 9th innings for the last few games, ouch.

405. Field Biology: Quite the bell curve going on here. The starting outfield is A’s across the board. Howie and Erick Aybar are looking good at 2nd and short. A nice fight to set the curve at catcher looks promising. The corner infield positions, however, are cause for concern. Trumbo is working admirably hard to overcome a needs improvement at first, which is good because we may need him in April. But third? We’ll see how the final exams play out. As to the kids? The 8th and 9th innings lately are making me think the kids are not alright…at least, not yet.

201. Basic Anatomy (prerequisite for all students intending to declare pre-med): It is often said that the true indicator of a successful spring training is having all of your players make it to the regular season in good condition. So far, the Angels are passing with a B+, which we will elevate to an A as soon as Kendry Morales makes up last semister’s incomplete.

And what of Mike Scioscia’s special core seminars and colloquia, the ice-breaking, team-building and often hilarious “research assignments” he doles out to rookies and veterans alike for morning meeting presentation? Well, sadly Ostrich Wrangling 101 does not appear to be among the course offerings for 2011. However, the following classes are moving right along towards ST midterms:

204. Social Networking: When young Mike Trout ostensibly broke the rookies should not speak until spoken to rule, Jared Weaver took it upon himself to encourage the lad to share his gift for socializing with the fans instead…by posting his phone number on the scoreboard during a spring training game with an invitation to fans to “call Mike Trout with all of your baseball questions.”

305. Trickle Down Economic Theory: So, apparently, Vernon Wells has a rather large contract. Were any of you aware of this? I’m not sure the news has covered this particular detail. At any rate, Wells has been nominated to take the rookies out to dinner and Scioscia has stuck him with the tab after several team meals. Clearly this is a popular course. Sign up early.

515. Artisan Leather Craftsmanship: (this is my favorite by the way) minor league pitchers Matt Meyer and Ryan Chaffee have been assigned a special project, designing a catcher’s glove and fielder’s mitt from scratch and then using them during batting practice. Reporters and players tell us the gloves are still in the prototype stage.

The Angels appear to be excelling at some of these classes and in need of a few visits to the campus learning center for others. As we all know, the specific marks you get in school don’t have much of an impact on your overall performance once you enter the “real world” so we’ll have to wait until May or so before we really know the results of all of that schooling. It will be interesting to see who has learned their lessons…and how jealously Mike Trout guards his new cell phone number.

8 Comments

I don’t miss school, but I’d take some baseball courses if they were available, that’s for sure (or maybe I’d teach them….)
–Mike
http://burrilltalksbaseball.mlblogs.com

Wow. I would fail all those courses at LAAU! No way I could make a glove from scratch, for starters. I love that Wells picks up the tab for dinners. I’d be willing to sign up for that course!

http://www.janeheller.com/confessionsblog

Mike – Fortunately my little mash up of spring training and my course catalogs is all baseball all the time and strange goings on in the clubhouse, but not exactly school. I think coaching baseball like you do is teaching a baseball course and it gives kids one of the learning experiences that’s guaranteed to stick with them into adulthood.
Jane – Yeah, I wouldn’t even apply…unless they had a course auditing policy where I could just be a fly on the wall and watch it all happen.
Kristen
http://blithescribe.mlblogs.com/

I took more Econ classes than I can remember. One thing I’ve learned, if trickle down economics works in Angels camp, that’s the only place it’s ever worked.

I did see that Trumbo hit another HR today, so that class is working.
http://wrigleyregular.mlblogs.com/

What a good prank by Weaver! I gotta seriously try that… now, if I could just get my hands on a scoreboard…
–Jeff
http://redstatebluestate.mlblogs.com/

Russel – Oh, trickle down economics aren’t even working in my farcical scenario. The rookies aren’t getting any richer, just dinner…and a few laughs. Yeah, I’m liking that Trumbo kid. He can stay, at least for April.
Jeff – If any blogger could get access to a scoreboard, my money would be on you or Al…as Tigers fans everywhere look at the scoreboard and say “Al uses double dream hands?! WTF!” or, you know, the reverse in St. Louis.
Kristen
This is a very simple game…

Kristen,
Not sure why, but pitching always seems to be a bit behind during Spring training, especially in the relief corps. Maybe it is that layoff of no side sessions or Bullpen session withy someone staring you down from behind making sure you hit your spots.
Or maybe it is just as simple as hitting seems to accelerate through the Spring games while pitching refines its grips, angles and dips. Whatever the true reason, it is why I do not get upset in the Spring if the relievers give away a game.
Even the pressure of the situation has to again be garnered, administered and taken with a grain of sea salt. Worst thing is, there is 3 weeks until the regular season, and you always hope about this time things go North instead of South….But as fans, we worry about the little things, even the velocity and drop of a breaking ball…That is what we do.
Great mixture of academic with the game….

Rays Renegade
http://raysrenegade.mlblogs.com

Thanks Rays Renegade! As usual, what you say makes a lot of sense…and, as you say, I’ll keep right on worrying over it anyway as we all do. :)
Kristen
This is a very simple game…

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