The Angels’ Crazy Four Corners Interleague-ean Baseball Odyssey Begins

While the Angels grounds crew plows up the entire diamond for a series of U2 concerts and then puts everything back the way it was again, the Angels will spend two weeks circling the country in pursuit of truth, justice and the baseball way…Okay, really just in pursuit of a whole lot of Ws, but didn’t it sound more poetic the other way? Anyway back to the travel part. Affectionately – by which I mean sarcastically and with no small amount of annoyance – dubbed the Four Corners Trip by Mike Scioscia and crew, this road trip will take the Angels to the four corners of the continental United States, more or less. Once they conclude their current series in Seattle, the Angels will fly to New York to play the Mets, after which they will fly to Florida to play the Marlins and then right back home again to play the Dodgers at Dodger Stadium. That’s a journey of just over 8,000 miles.

The Angels "Four Corners Road Trip" takes the team on an 8,000 mile trek across the United States and back again both vertically and horizontally, as helpfully illustrated by our oh-so-creative kitchen table and Ticket to Ride visual aid...Yes, you would be correct. This trip will take the Angels nowhere near Berlin. ;) Photo by This is a very simple game...

Now the length of the road trip does come courtesy of the U2 concert. But the craziness of the broad spectrum of destinations comes courtesy of Major League baseball. Wouldn’t it have made more sense to just fly out the East Coast and play more Eastern Division teams while the Angels were already out there than flying all over hell and gone? Perhaps they could have played the Yankees and the Rays on either side of the Interleague match-ups? Or maybe this would have been a better time to head for Boston or Baltimore. Heck, even stopping in Kansas City on the way out to the east coast, rather than having the Royals fly to California would have made more sense.

And this isn’t even the only crazy road trip the Angels have scheduled in 2011. In Oakland right after the All-Star break for three days, Monday off, just three days at home to play the Rangers and then out to Baltimore with no day off to play the Orioles before heading back home by way of Detroit to play the Twins in Anaheim, anyone? The Four Corners Trip is merely the craziest of the bunch.

I realize that every team has crazy schedule situations this season and if by some miracle a team escapes such oddities, don’t worry, MLB will get to you next year. I also realize that there is a certain amount of scheduling craziness inherent in being a Western Division team, where no two in-league opponents exist within the same 100 mile radius. Florida teams have a similar problem.  And no amount of proper prior planning is going to completely fix that.

Angels Manager Mike Scioscia is one of the proponents of expanding the post season to include two wild card teams in each league. I myself am not a fan of the idea. However, Scioscia keeps talking about making the post season extension feasible without pushing play back out into November by scheduling the regular season more efficiently. Avoiding having so many bizarre road trip situations, like the one described above, which Scioscia said looked like Kindergarteners designed it, would allow MLB to shave off a few rest days here and there, shortening the regular season in a sane fashion without actually cutting out any games. If MLB makes an effort to take some of the stupid end of the crazy spectrum out of the away schedules, I would like that _so_ much that I might find it in my heart to tolerate additional wild card teams…eventually. Just no more of this 15 teams in both leagues realignment talk, okay. Now _that’s_crazy…not to mention contrary to having moved the Brewers to the National League in the first place. 

*     *     *     *     * 

The Angels’ Crazy Four Corners Interleague-ean Baseball Odyssey, Stop #1: Seattle. Photo by This is a very simple game...

Two Ws in Seattle

However, as much as I am griping about the travel involved in the Four Corners trip, I have no complaints about the trip itself. So far the Angels are wearing it very well. They took two against Seattle including Jered Weavers’ complete game shutout this evening. Wins for Weaver and Dan Haren in the same spin through the rotation. Angels bats striking early and often, including multiple hits for Bobby Abreu and Howie Kendrick whose bats are on fire and two homeruns by Vernon Wells in Monday’s game. Spot on fielding. Heads up base running. A clutch bullpen. Oh yeah! Sure there are still a few things to work on, but keep it up boys. You’re playing like Angels!

And with those two wins, the Angels gain two games on Seattle, of course, but also one on Texas to whom those nice, helpful Yankee boys administered a beating this evening. Well, nice and helpful this evening anyway. What’s not to like?!

The Continuing Saga of Kaz

Scott Kazmir had yet another rough start in Salt Lake City this evening. He lasted 1.2 innings and is on the hook for six earned runs on five hits, three walks and one hit batsman. I don’t report this gleefully. I am sorry he hasn’t made any improvements at all and seems to be backsliding even further after such a solid career with the Rays. However this evening current Angels GM Tony Reagins and former Angels GM Bill Stoneman were in attendance at the Bees game, taking stock of Kaz’ performance. I expect we will hear a final decision soon. It’s more than time to stop prolonging the agony.

Scott Kazmir one year ago this week, warming up in the visitors’ bullpen at Dodgers Stadium. I am sorry to say that this is one of the last games where I remember him pitching well. Photo by This is a very simple game…(Seth)

13 Comments

That is one brutal trip, but at least they’re starting it the right way. Weaver continues to dominate like the ace he is. At least they’ll be earing their frequent flyer miles. I wish Kaz all the best. I really thought he was going to be a super star. That board game, though, makes me nostalgic for a good game of ‘Risk’.
–Mike
‘Minoring In Baseball’

Mike – I’m just glad to see Weaver get some run support. He was positively giddy after the game. I thought Kaz would be a star too but he needs to get his head straight…ideally with someone else at this point. You know, I’ve never played Risk, which is odd because I love that kind of strategy game. You should teach your kids Risk in a few years.

– Kristen

Heck, Kristen, blame it on Bono. :)

No, seriously, that is the most brutal road rip ever undertaken by a ball club since 1958. Playing at Sun Life Stadium in June before peak hurricane season is not going to make things easier for the Halos.

As for Kaz – I always liked the guy. I always hope for the best for him. I fear he’s stepped down a notch. I hope I’m wrong.

– Randy

Randy – Yeah, that selfish humanitarian crusader Bono, always messing stuff up. ;) Kaz is done, I think. He hasn’t lasted more than 3 inning since his “rehab” stint started in AAA. It’s sad, but it’s time.

– Kristen

Well I hope the Halos pack plenty of melatonin for that trip… and is that Flogging Molly on vinyl!?!? As for Kaz… um… can we just stick a fork in him? Dude is done.
–Jeff

Jeff – It was beyond time to declare Kaz done and the Angels finally did release him today. It’s Flogging Molly (love the punk with bag pipes!) but just a plain old CD. I have very little on vinyl because my father’s vinyl collection, which will eventually come to me, is absolutely sick so why mess with perfection?

– Kristen

Okay, that makes sense. My depth perception was thrown off by the map… though now focusing a bit more I can see that it would have to be a pretty small record.
–Jeff

Yet another reason to ban interleague play if you ask me. Back in the day it used to be a team made two West Coast (or East Coast) trips a year. Now with interleague play and the rotation divisional NL rivals, an extra cross country trip gets added in.

http://bluejaysnest.mlblogs.com/

Bluejaysnest – It’s honestly not the number of trips to the opposite coast that seems detrimental to me, it’s the lack of efficiency in planning those trips. I think one of the trips could even be cut out if those opposite coast visits were divided out between the other visits. Of course, I’m in the minority of diehard fans that actually enjoys interleague play, though I’m not going to cry if they do away with it or anything.

– Kristen

Wow, what a brutal road trip! I sometimes wonder if the people who make up the schedule use even an iota of common sense, or just throw darts at a map to determine where a team goes next.

Heard the Angels released Kazmir. He seemed so promising with the Rays; hard to believe he got so sucky.

Sue

http://rrrt.mlblogs.com

Sue – I’m leaning towards the darts theory, or that it’s some sort of strange bet between MLB schedule planners. It was really hard to believe Kaz got so sucky. The mental aspect of pitching is scary powerful and that is the only explanation I have.

– Kristen

I love the “Seattle” picture……the coffee, flannel, ‘emeralds’ and pearl jam. I look forward to a possible NY version.

It’s a shame about Kazmir, I remember when he was first traded as a minor league player to TB. He had all the talent to be a great Starter. I just read that the Mets might have an interest in signing him after he clears waivers.

Thanks Russel! We had fun setting up and altering that goofy game board. We did take close-up photos of each of the four corners in the board game photo to use in my next few posts, so yes, there is a NY photo, etc. It would be interesting if the Mets pick Kaz up, give him one more chance to figure things out and offset the cost for the Angels a bit. Though unless he can work through the mental stuff, I don’t think they’ll have any luck with him either.

– Kristen

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