J. Weaver: West Coast Baller

Dodgers fanas a kid,Long Beach Dirt Bags.

 
the Beach, 49ers, Los Angles Angel,
All-Star, no-hitter.

All Eyes On Me

bryce harper eyes eye black

Here we go. Mr. Saturday night. As if this game couldn’t get any bigger. As if it wasn’t already between the 2 best NL teams. As if Stephen Strasburg wasn’t making his Southern Cali debut. As if Matt Kemp wasn’t a big enough name for you.

As if.

Bryce the Hype Harper makes his major league debut and the stage couldn’t get much bigger, at least for a regular season game. Los Angeles. Chavez Ravine. Hollywood.

Under the lights. Yup. Seems about right.

No pressure though kid. And yes Harper, at 19, is a kid.

Well, let’s see what you got, son. The world is watching.

## UPDATE: Lost in all the Nats/Dodgers hoopla, Mike Trout made his major league debut Saturday. Hitless. 0/4. Trout batted lead-off for the Angels who won 2-1 over Cleveland. We like Trout here at the Culture, hoping he and Pujols can get things going for the Angels who are terrible so far this year.

## UPDATE: Harper finished the game 1/3 with his first major league hit, a double over Matt Kemp’s head in center. He also added the go-ahead run in the 9th with a sac-fly RBI. Dude looks like the real deal. And I’m digging the mohawk/mullet thing he’s got going on.

The Week Ahead: Kemp v Strasburg

Matt Kemp Stephen Strasburg

First, let’s get the obvious out of the way. I am super pissed Stephen Strasburg is not pitching in his hometown of San Diego this week. #FAIL Nats. Should’ve lined that rotation up better. Yet, where there is failure, there is opportunity. And so we shall look at the glass half full and see that out of San Diego’s loss comes Los Angeles’ gain.

Strasburg will now start in a prime time, Saturday night matchup with the Dodgers and Matty Kemp. He likes it when I call him Matty. Now, I suppose since I do REALLY want to see Strasburg pitch and LA is not that far from SD, I could drive up the 5 to check that ish out. But then, you consider traffic and yeah, no. Not happening. So, I’ll pull up a stool at a nearby local brewery house, pub, eatery type thing and watch the heavy-weight fight. Kemp v Strasburg. 50/50 v 100mph.

Let’s do some analysis (don’t worry, no WAR reports… grrrr…. grumble grumble):

2012 MLB Stat-Leaders (HITTING)

HR: 9 – Matt Kemp -1st

RBI: 22- Matt Kemp -1st

AVG: .474 Matt Kemp -1st

Hits: 27 Matt Kemp -1st

Runs: 17 Matt Kemp -1st

Note: I could go on, but you get the point. He predicted 50/50 (50 HR/50 SB) this season. He’s on pace for about 90HR currently. He’ll need to start hitting singles doubles and triples if he wants to get to 50 SBs. Currently on pace for 12. Run Matt, Run.

2012 MLB Stat-Leaders (PITCHING)

ERA: 1.08 Strasburg -5th

K: 25 Strasburg -4th

IP: 25 Strasburg -9th

Note: He could easily be first in both IP and K, but the Nats have Strasburg on a serious pitch count. 95 pitches and or the 6th inning seems to be about it.

Oh and by the way, this match up will also feature currently the two best teams in the National League, with the Dodgers leading the NL West at a 12-3 record and Washington leading the NL East at 12-4. It looks like it will be Chad Billingsly opposing Strasburg, but don’t rule out a possible Clayton Kershaw v Strasburg match up.

And poop on my Diamondbacks who are now below .500 and without Daniel Hudson and Chris Young for a few weeks.  Not good.

Player, Please! Oakland A’s Player Wives.

amanda-mccarthy-chicks-dig-long-ball

A recent ESPN article titled Chicks Dig the Ground Ball, featured on the ESPN Mag cover, Brandon McCarthy and his wife, Amanda McCarthy. Thanks to the magazine, it’s come to my attention that the Oakland A’s are stacked with talent. Maybe not so much when it comes to on the field athletes, but definitely when it comes to their rather attractive wives. I know, I know, every team has hot players’ wives. I chose to focus on the A’s for no other reason than I haven’t written about them much lately.

My favorite couple is Eric Sogard, ASU and his wife, Kaycee Sogard, Phoenix. Any chance I get to rep ASU you know I’m going to do it. Especially with as crappy as they have been in every single sport lately. Anyhow, Kaycee Sogard and AMC are friends, it’s kind of fun to follow them on twitter. You know, just to see how the others live.

kaycee-sogard-phoenix-hottie

I used to hate on Manny Ramirez a lot. I mean, let’s face it, he’s done tons of dumb shit. Why else would he get the moniker Manny Being Manny? Now, I feel kind of bad for the guy. I wish him success with the A’s and it would be cool if he and Yoenis Cespedes could somehow recreate that BashBoy Magic ala the late 80′s. One thing Manny definitely did right? Choosing his baby’s momma.

juliana-ramirez-hot-manny-ramirez

manny being manny wife

While we’re on the subject of player’s wives and having absolutely nothing to do with the Oakland A’s, let’s play a little word association. What comes to mind when I say, “Casey Daigle.” Some of you may know where I’m going with this. Congratulations. Wait for it. Others likely say, “Who?”. Some may know him as a former major league pitcher with the Arizona Diamondbacks, although I use the term pitcher loosely. He was more of a guy who pretended to act as a pitcher and gave up a lot of runs to the opposition. He could have used some tips from his wife, ex Arizona Wildcat (meow) and USA softball superstar, Jennie Finch.

Oh and sticking with the having nothing to do with the Oakland A’s theme, but plenty to do with WestSide Culture and Jennie Finch. Some of you know about my new found obsession in Kate Upton. My only question is, why, for the love of baseball gods, did the photographers at the 2011 All-Star game in Phoenix only get this one picture of K-Up and JFinch together? Really? That opportunity and you get one photo. Well, at least Erin Andrews made it in there too. (As a side note, if anyone knows who the 4th girl is in the photo, let me know in the comments below. In my dreams, I like to pretend its Zoe Saldana of Avatar and Colombiana lore.

(Credit where credit is due): Juliana Ramirez photos courtesy of : Flickr Manny Ramirez 24

Look What I Found!

Another $35 Million. Madison Bumgarner, come on down! You’re the next winner of Millionaire!

Is it just me or do the San Francisco Giants suddenly have tons of cash? Maybe $2 Billion for the Dodgers was accurate after all.

The G-Men now have $175M tied up in two pitchers, Matt Cain and Bumgarner. And this is before they resign Tim Lincecum, who is likely to get at least $100M. So, is the writing on the wall for Mr. Lincecum? I think so. He’ll be gone within the next two seasons, maybe as early as this year if the Giants fall behind in the division. And the way things are going in LA and AZ, that could be a real possibility.

Going Going Back Back to Cali Cali

strasburg-nike-sdsu-aztecs

Going back to Cali strictly for the weather, the women and the weed...

Next week, San Diego’s Finest, Stephen Strasburg will return to the 619. The young, up-start, Washington Nationals are in town taking on the lowly San Diego Padres at Petco Park. As it sits right now and if my math is correct, Strasburg would face off against Corey Luebke on Thursday night. Matt Kemp and the Los Angeles Dodgers at Chavez Ravine.

Strasburg who was born and raised in San Diego and attended San Diego State University, will be back in his home-town. In his two years as a starter at SDSU, Strasburg went 21-4, with a 1.45 ERA, 329 K’s in 207 IP. Oh and by the way, as a Freshman in 2007, Strasburg was named the Mountain West Conference co-Freshman of the Year, where he struck out 47 in 37 innings as a relief pitcher. He also added 7 saves.

As a side note, here come the Nationals. This is a team to be reckoned with. Aside from los Diamondbacks, the Nats are my team. The former head of scouting for the Diamondbacks, Mike Rizzo, is the Nationals GM. I met him a few years ago at an Arizona Fall League game and he told me back then to give the Nats a few years and then, look out.

Currently on the Nats active roster, they have 4 prior D’Backs, but that doesn’t tell the whole story. See the Nationals success is built the same way as the current D’Backs team. Build from within. Promote talent. Draft well. Have a strong farm system. I haven’t even mentioned guys like Bryce Harper, Steve Lombardozzi, Ross Detweiler, Danny Espinosa, John Lannan, Wilson Ramos and Drew Storen, each of whom were drafted and brought up through the Nats farm system.

And you best believe when #37, S2 takes the mound in SD, I’ll be rockin the Aztec red and cheering him on. In fact, I expect more Strasburg fans than Padres fans to be in attendance.

The Arctic Tundra of Petco Park

Petco Park scoreboard

Let me preface this entire post by first saying I lived 99.99% of my life in Arizona. My blood is thin. With that out of the way, it was freezing last night at Petco Park in downtown San Diego. Temperature: 58 degrees. Wind: 12MPH, blowing from the West, aka the Pacific Ocean. AKA, cold as balls. It felt like 40 degrees.

I’m surprised the Arizona Diamondbacks were able to play under such severe conditions. And most of the players on the field had short sleeves on. What are they nuts? The Arizona bullpen was bundled head to toe in long sleeve jackets and hoodies. I always knew pitchers were the smart ones. And speaking of the Diamondbacks bullpen, another solid performance from them. Clearly, they are one of the strengths of this team. 3 IP, 4K, 1BB, 0 H, 0 ER, 1S. That’s how you get it done boys. And thank God, because if they had blown that lead and made us sit in the Southern Cali blizzard for extra innings I would have been pissed!

Chris Young continues to carry the D’Backs so far this season. Ho hum, just another homerun for CY at Petco, where he seems to hit one every game. Last night was a solo shot to extend the D’Backs lead t0 3-1, which against the Padres, is essentially 15-1. If San Diego doesn’t keep the opponents below 2 runs, they pretty much have no shot at winning. It really is sad. I feel bad for Padres fans. I’m just glad I’m not one of them.

Arizona is now 5-1 and heading to Denver to take on the Colorado Fossils. Daniel Hudson on the mound. Let’s get it done, DHud and make the good guys 6-1.

 

You can’t go 162-0 without starting 3-0

This just in: The D’Backs are going to be good this year. Really good. They destroyed the San Francisco Giants over the weekend, sweeping the first series of the season, 3-0. Arizona’s pitching staff is going to keep them in games and their offense is oh so powerful. I like this year’s team even more than last year’s and that is saying a ton.

I am a little worried about Josh Collmenter who got hammered on Sunday and had a rough Spring. I fear his success is due to his unique throwing motion, which once players have seen it a few times no longer becomes deceptive. There is a positive side of this and it rhymes with power. Two words: Trevor Bauer. Bauer enters the rotation, then you move Collmenter to the bullpen to throw an inning here and there and opposing teams see less of him. Winner Winner Chicken Dinner.

Tomorrow, we’ll get our first look at Trevor Cahill in an Arizona uniform as he’ll take on my hometown San Diego Padres. Tuesday’s game will be the first of a three game series of which I’ll be attending. Hopefully I make it to all three. I’ll be at one of them for sure.

The Padres are terrible and nothing better than a AAA club. It’s a series the D’Backs will win and could possibly sweep. A sweep means Arizona is 6-0 and the Padres season is all but over at 1-6. Yuck and pooh.

Surprising 3-0 or 0-3 teams include the following:

Tampa Bay 3-0

Baltimore Orioles 3-0

New York Mets 3-0

Boston RedSox 0-3

New York Yankees 0-3

San Francisco Giants 0-3

Atlanta Braves 0-3

 

Top 25 and Making a Run at Top 20

Westside Culture is moving up in the world. The world of baseball blogging that is. From 28th up to 23rd (Ryne Sandberg style) and taking a shot at the Top 20 next month. To celebrate I’ve decided to give you, the fans of Westside Culture, an exclusive interview. (For those of you who may not know, I Kevin Rehberg, aka Westside Culture, do most of the interviews for Westside Culture, thus I will be interviewing myself. Or is it my alter ego? Either way.)

WestSide Culture: So, what’s it like being the biggest bad ass on the planet ranked 23rd in MLB’s Fan Blogs??

Kevin Rehberg: You know, it’s a daily grind. Let me put it this way. Beat writers constantly talk about the daily grind for baseball players and having to get up for 162 games per year, even when you’re playing the Rockies and the Mariners. For me, I have to be ready 365 and always prepared. I’ve found shots of espresso and RedBull throughout the day do the trick.

Recently Ubaldo Jimenez threw at Troy Tulowitzki and was suspended 5 games, what are your thoughts?

Troy, if you can’t take the heat, get out of the kitchen. Ubaldo and Tulo had been yapping back and forth for weeks, Troy had to know in the back of his mind getting thrown at was a possibility. Get over it. It’s baseball. With that being said, a 5 game suspension for a starting pitcher means he misses one start. What Ubaldo did was bush league and warrants at least missing a couple of starts.

D’Backs take on the Giants tonight in Arizona. Predictions?

D’Backs win. Ian Kennedy owns the Giants, although any time your opposing pitcher is Tim Lincecum, you cannot guarantee a win. I’ll say 1-0 Arizona and Paul Goldschmidt’s solo HR off of Lincecum in the 4th is the only scoring.

Sorry to cut you short, but I’ve got shit to do. Do you mind if I post this as is and we can reschedule for later this evening to finish up the rest?

Do what you gotta’ do.

## update, interview continued

Well, you were wrong about the Giants v D’Backs game.

Yes, still I picked the correct winner and nailed the Paul Goldschmidt solo HR off of Tim Lincecum. So there.

Give me your 2012 World Series picks.

A please would be nice. An American League team will play a National League team.

Who is your favorite MLB Blogger, besides yourself?

Hmm… I’m really feeling Dallas Latos’ blog, I also like Diamond’s are a Girl’s Best Friend, and for obvious reasons, Down the Line with the Phillies Ball Girls. Although that blog is definitely not West Coast. Shame on them.

Closing the Cactus Leage means MLB Opening Day

Well, kids, baseball is officially here. We won’t talk too much about Opening Day for two reasons. 1) Technically it’s already occurred. In Japan. Lame. Although we here at WSCdto like that the Seattle Mariners and Oakland A’s were involved. 2) The other Opening Day, yes there were two, is tonight and there are no West Coast teams playing. Double lame. I will say this though… on paper, the Miami Marlins have quite the line-up.

So the 2012 Cactus League has officially closed it’s books, doors, stadiums, work out facilities, etc all. Sigh. I’ll have to wait until next year to enjoy one of my favorite past-times. I had a good run though with plenty of fun and highlights. My favorite moments was probably Yu Darvish’s 6 inning, 11K performance yesterday. At that pace he’s going to have about 600 strikeouts this season. That would be a record.

What I’m looking forward to over the next 2 days:

Los Angeles Dodgers v San Diego Padres – Cy Young Clayton Kershaw and Matt Kemp versus the SD’s newest pitcher Edison Volquez. One thing I know for sure, take the under. Petco Park + 2 quality pitchers + one anemic offense + another one with question marks = low score. Or not. Either way.

San Diego State’s Stephen Strasburg versus Theo, Jed and the new look Cubs. (BTW, the Nationals are my upset pick to make the playoffs this year. Yeah, I know I’m not the only one.)

San Francisco Giants v Arizona Diamondbacks. Lincecum v Kennedy. Can we just fast forward to September and play this one for the NL West title?

Rockies v Astros. I kid. But really? This is one of your Opening Day matchups? What a joke. If ever there was a case for MLB contraction this is it. Yes I know they are realigning. No that won’t fix the problem.

Seattle Mariners v Oakland A’s. Where have I seen this before?

KC Royals v Los Angeles Angels. Believe it or not, this could shape up to be the best Opening Series. Eric Hosmer, Lorenzo Cain, Billy Butler, Alex Gordon and the young up-start Royals versus Pujols, Jered Weaver, Dan Haren and C.J. Wilson.

Settle in. Your team has got 162 to go.

 

 

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