Out here having fun in that warm California sun
The Angels were a loose bunch when working out at the Big A Friday morning, getting in a few swings under glorious hot sunshine before heading east. They got off a very large hook Thursday night with their 7-6 win and even down 3-2 to the Yankees and facing a five-hour flight to New York after today's workout, they were jazzed.
They were smiling and joking and when little Erick Aybar launched a longish batting-practice home run, teammates started needling him and he gave it right back to them.
You often see teams messing around and having fun like this. It's nothing new. Facing elimination in the LCS, there was no sign of tension or apprehension and that's a good thing. At this point they figure they have nothing to lose.
"I think you always have to feel that way. You can't be afraid to lose," manager Mike Scioscia said. "You can't be afraid to fail. When you get into that mode, you can really play aggressive and that's when your best baseball comes out."
Their best baseball tends to be speed-based. That part of the game hasn't really expressed itself yet in this series. Scioscia still has it up his sleeve, although Andy Pettitte, who starts for the Yankees in Game No. 6, can be very effective at shutting down the running game.
"They're paying a lot of attention to it. There are some things you can't force," Scioscia said. "They won a hundred and some games for a reason, because they do a lot of things well on the field. But we're going to keep pressing them."
One more thought on Major League Baseball's switch to an all-veteran crew for the World Series: It might not really matter.
Just because an ump is a veteran doesn't mean he doesn't screw up. Look at Tim McClelland in the fourth game here Tuesday. The other thing about veteran umps is that they don't always hustle like the younger ones and not to pick on McClelland, but he wasn't anywhere close to correct position when he called Nick Swisher out for leaving third base early in that game. Plus, veterans umps are sometimes less likely to seek help on a play, so sure they are in their judgment.
So it might not make a difference and if this World Series has a number of obviously botched calls – which no one is hoping for – we're all going to hear cries out for increasing TV replay in baseball, beyond its limited use now.