Friday, September 4, 2009

Angels Will Take It; Jeter Is MVP; Who's That Man Posing As A Chick?

If you have one anymore, bet the mortgage. This lock will keep you in your house forever:

Angels over Philly in six.

Yes, L.A.'s other team will win it all for the second time since 2002. And in the process beat baseball's defending champion Phillies.

I've been picking the Halos all season. While friends scoffed. The team had so many weak links to strengthen without using steroids.

First, the Angels lacked power. Then they started jacking them out while trotting out the first all-.300 lineup since the Depression.

Second, the Angels couldn't hold a lead. Then they discovered a juicy righty in Kevin Jepsen to set up slam-the-door lefty Brian Fuentes.

Third, the Angels hurt for starting moundsmen. Then John Lackey and Ervin Santana revived to supplement Jered Weaver and Joe Saunders.

Fourth, the Angels searched all over for a fifth starter. Then along came Scott Kazmir from Tampa Bay. Along with his Boston-strangling resume, which the Halos need to finally beat the Sox in the playoffs.

Shazam! Quicker than you can spell Scioscia, the Angels have managed to emerge as MLB's best.

With Erick Aybar sprinting, Juan Rivera slugging and Torii Hunter snatching every shot near the wall, Anaheim is on course to reach the stratosphere of Disneyland's Space Mountain.

MVP: Give it to Derek Jeter.

He's on target for a .330 season. Playing a solid shortstop for the Yankees. Sparking them to MLB's best record right now.

Jeter is simply the face of baseball. And what an ambassadorial mug that is. He's the coolest dude this side of Kobe Bryant, without Kobe's obvious arrogance.

And what a career. Four World Series titles. On the verge of 3,000 hits.

Jeter should've won the Most Valuable Player trophy in 2006. The man murdered the ball at a .343 clip to lead New York to the American League East title. He was the cog in the league's main machine.

Yet he finished second in MVP voting to a faceless Minnesota first baseman, Justin Morneau.

Now Jeter faces another Minnesota barrier. This time it's Joe Mauer, which is German for wall. The Twin catcher is a brick of a backstop outslugging Jeter in all batting areas.

Can Jeter hurdle that dam and claim his first MVP Award? He has a month to close the numbers. And to rally the voters. He already has me.

Road rut: Talk about hitting a red light. The Angels pack their home park every night to the tune of 40,300. That's the fifth best average in baseball.

Away from home, it's not so sweet. The Halos draw just 26,400, the worst road mark. In all of MLB.

What? More fans around the country want to see the Royals? The Pirates? The Nationals?


An old Angel radio guy who now lives in the East was a guest recently with Jeff Biggs on KLAA. I called in to ask what gives with this Halo road rejection, but gave up while on hold for what seemed extra innings.

The way I see it, the Angels lack pizzazz with the rest of the country.

I mean, who glitters on this team? Maybe Torii Hunter. At least he speaks engagingly. And in English, something sluggers Vlad Guerrero and Kendry Morales shun in public.

Otherwise, the Angels are a team to the nines. No I guys. Not many national fans either.

Stan the man: Kudos to Stan Isaacs for his recent column on how to give sports a kick.

He proposed on this site that soccer drop the goalie.

That's exactly what I've been saying for years. Even when I lived in Germany. You can imagine what that idea did to local faces. Turned them into sneers.

Here's one for baseball: Limit foul balls to five per batter. The fifth would be an out, just as a two-strike bunt foul is a strikeout.

Fouls are doing their darnedest to make baseball boring. Ever since Bill James spelled out how fouling off balls tires the pitcher while drawing better offerings, batters hit 'em backward eternally.

So now every guy faces 10 pitches. Zzzzzzzz.

Keep the fouls to five, and you zip up the game.

Man, is this easy: You hear about the guy posing as a gal in track?

He cast himself as Caster Semenya. I guess that's a chick name.

And captured the 800 meters at the world championships last month in Berlin.

He won gold for one simple reason. He ran against girls.

Look at him up there. Caster is about as much of a woman as Ron Artest, for whom the South African is a dead ringer.

Semenya is South African. If you believe anything he says.

And he might get away with this flimflam. You should hear the track officials squirming about pee, DNA, who know what tests.

Here's the test they should give him quicker than he can run:

Pull his pants down.

Bucky Fox is an author and editor in Southern California who runs

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