Poor Kerwin Danley. The home-plate umpire in tonight’s Angels-Mariners game had his fly down for the first four innings and didn’t even know it. An acquaintance of one of the Angels beat writers called to say the unlatched zipper was visible on television, especially with a left-handed batter at the plate. The message was relayed to the Mariners media relations department, who called down to the umpires’ room.
It still took another half inning for the attendant in the umpires’ room to inform Danley. The kid did it between innings very discretely, by putting his arm around Danley and giving him the news. The embarrassed umpire had a huge grin as he fished up the zipper. Call it one game where Danley didn’t feel like following the infield fly rule.
Trade rumors can be hard on a young player, but Casey Kotchman is doing his best to ignore it. He wants to stay with the Angels, of course, but has no control over what the team decides. Rumors in recent days have Kotchman leaving the Angels for a proven slugger. The following is a conversation with Kotchman on the topic:
Q: Are trade rumors hard to take?
A: I’ve definitely heard it, some talking and have read a little bit. But when you’re at the field you have a job to do as a professional and you don’t want to be thinking or consuming yourself with things that are out of your control because it hinders your concentration levels on what you can control.
Q: Is it hard to not think about?
A: You get to the field and you have your agenda of things you want to work on and things that you want to do and when you get out on the playing field you just play baseball.
Q: Is it flattering to hear a team wants you or disheartening the Angels are willing to move you?
I enjoyed the winning and being in first place and the teammates. I haven’t given it a whole lot of thought other than you’re trying to help this team win and contribute toward a winning team.
Q: Is this the classic moment of things being out of your control?
A: I’m not making the decisions on it. If I was, obviously I’d want to be here and help these guys who have been teammates for the last couple of years.
Q: Would it be hard to leave the Angels?
A: I guess. I haven’t really thought about it Maybe your first inclination is leaving the guys you know and play with. Those aren’t my decisions so I don’t have a choice.
Q: Does it make you realize how much of a business this is?
A: Yeah. It is what it is. You just show up to play where they tell you to play and when they tell you to play.
The Angels’ six-run first inning Friday didn’t come without a high price. Mike Napoli came away with a strained right hamstring on a successful steal of second base and had to leave the game. He will be re-examined Saturday but could be headed to the disabled list. Immediately after Friday’s game, Napoli was experiencing less pain than expected.
If Napoli is lost for a significant amount of time it will be especially troubling considering that just one week ago, the Angels traded veteran catcher Jose Molina to the Yankees. Jeff Mathis, who has a total of 38 games of major-league experience counting Friday’s action, likely will be counted on to absorb the bulk of the catching duties.
Even if Napoli doesn’t go on the disabled list, the Angels will recall a catcher to have emergency depth at the position.
I wouldn’t have believed it if I didn’t see it for myself and feel the echo rattle around my own skull. A foul ball just entered the press box at high speed and slammed into the back of a television hanging above me. The TV didn’t even blink and in fact, it looks like the picture got even sharper. It was just like somebody slamming their old set to make it work better. Most people are buying flat screens these days, but if somebody is in the market for an old picture-tube set, try a Mitsubishi. At least your kid can’t bust it with a baseball.