Daily Distractions: Remembering Dr. Lewis Yocum.

Lewis YocumDr. Lewis Yocum, the Angels team physician who died Saturday, worked at the Kerlan-Jobe Clinic for more than 30 years. Yocum didn’t invent Tommy John surgery – Frank Jobe did – but he made it faster.

“Some of the little refinements that we do, he helped develop them,” Jobe said. “For example, he’d drill the holes. At he time it took a while to get the holes just right took to get the lead sutures through those holes, he was able to find a way of doing that real slick, so that cut about 15 minutes off the operation time.”

And yet, when I asked Jobe to identify Yocum’s legacy, he went with something completely different. Click the link above to see what he said.

I talked to a lot of people about Dr. Yocum yesterday and the vast majority of what they said didn’t fit in my story for the newspaper. So here’s the rest, in bullet-point form for a Wednesday afternoon:
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Daily Distractions: A tale of two cities; quarter-by-quarter records; is Mike Scioscia tradeable?

Angel Stadium

Angel Stadium has seen declining attendance in May. (photo by J.P. Hoornstra)

Both the Angels and Dodgers are off to poor starts this season, but the Dodgers have something important that the Angels do not: The best attendance of any team in Major League Baseball.

In case you missed it, the Dodgers are 17-22 and feature a list of injured stars including Hanley Ramirez and Zack Greinke (prior to Wednesday). Most tickets aren’t getting cheaper and it’s no easier to get in and out of Dodger Stadium than it was two years ago, when the Dodgers averaged 36,236 at every home game.

Yet the Dodgers’ average attendance of 42,706 through 24 home games is the best in the business. They became the first team to surpass 1,000,000 tickets sold on Wednesday. Their season-ticket base of approximately 31,000 is a major boost. So is Clayton Kershaw, whose six home starts attracted an average of 47,905 fans. The Dodgers’ average attendance in their other 18 home dates: 40,974.

We mention this only because fan loyalty in Southern California can’t be taken for granted.

The Angels’ average attendance of 37,232 represents 82 percent of capacity at the smaller Angel Stadium (the Dodgers are at 76.3 percent capacity), but these numbers are shrinking. A season-low 31,917 fans attended Wednesday’s loss to Kansas City. The Angels are averaging about 4,000 fewer fans per game in May than April (34,656 compared to 38,735).

Having been to most home games at both stadiums, I feel confident in writing that fans in Anaheim are leaving games early this season at a Chavez Ravine-like rate — with less traffic to beat. I also feel confident in writing that Angels players and coaches notice this.

The lesson for the Dodgers: Southern Californians will only tolerate losing to a point.

The lesson for the Angels: Trade for Clayton Kershaw.

Some bullet points for a Thursday morning:
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Scioscia reacts to owner publicly stating Angels manager’s job is safe

It was difficult to tell if Mike Scioscia was being polite or revealing when responding to owner Arte Moreno public assurance Wednesday of the Angels manager’s job security. Outside the owners’ meetings in New York, Moreno told FOXSports.com the chances of an in-season managerial change are “right now, zero.”

Asked if he needed that support, Scioscia was measured with his response but not his typical definitive self.

“I don’t know if it changes anything that I would do or anything I need to do on a daily basis,” Scioscia said before stopping himself in mid-sentence. “Obviously it’s… You know, like I said, Arte’s been very, very supportive from day one and continues to be. And it helps give us the best opportunity to get this thing going in the right direction.”

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Daily Distractions: Going to WAR over the Angels’ pitching woes.

<strong>Jered  Weaver</strong>Like you really needed WAR to tell you the Angels’ pitching is awful after Mike Scioscia did so Sunday?

Here it is anyway: FanGraphs recently calculated the WAR (wins above replacement) for every team by position. (For an explanation of the frequently misunderstood statistic, which is calculated differently by FanGraphs.com and Baseball-Reference.com and has gained popularity in recent years, click here.) According to FanGraphs’ WAR, the Angels have the 22nd-best pitching staff in the major leagues.

Broken down further, their starters rank 20th and the relievers 23rd.

The chart has its limits. Add up the Angels’ position-by-position WAR, and they should have the fourth-best team in baseball. In reality the Angels are 10 games under .500. The Baltimore Orioles are tied for first place in the American League East, yet their combined WAR ranks 21st in the majors.

This is why you play the games, why the experts say that you can’t win without pitching.

More bullet points for a Thursday morning:
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