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Our Laguna: Rooting for the home team

March 20, 2013|By Barbara Diamond
  • Angels outfielder Peter Bourjos takes the field during spring training at Diablo Stadium in Tempe, Ariz., in February.
Angels outfielder Peter Bourjos takes the field during… (Luis Sinco, Los…)

I don't care what the calendar says, if teams are playing baseball in Arizona, spring has sprung.

In fact it was more like summer last week when my sister-in-law, Patsy Hadlich, and I made our annual trip to the Cactus League games, with her son, Jeff, the designated driver.

Here are some tips for keeping cool. Tuck a wet paper towel under your cap. Guys can splash water onto their T-shirts; women probably are best to keep the drips in back. Keep hydrated with water. Wear flip-flops or easily-removed shoes and put ice cubes or a bottle of cold water on the concrete beneath your feet.

If the game is the Rangers stadium, don't count on vendors. We didn't see any outside of the stands at the Dodgers-Rangers game on Saturday.

The Hadlichs are Dodger fans. I root for the Angels.

I was a Peter Bourjos fan even before I could pronounce his name. Love his skillset and I couldn't be happier to see him back in center field, from which he was ousted by "Miraculous" Mike Trout last year. A lot is riding on "Speedy Petey's" getting back to his 2011 form when he took over centerfield from Torii Hunter and hit .271, including 12 homers, 11 triples, 26 doubles and batted in 72 runs — not to mention his defense.

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In Friday's game against the Mariners, Bourjos got two hits, one of them a home run. Boy, did I cheer, but the Angels lost 4-0.

Trout had the day off. Albert Pujols, taking his time to recover from an off-season operation, and Erick Aybar, who was playing in the World Baseball Classic, were also missing from the lineup. Vernon Wells was in left — what can I say? The man was leading the team in home runs, as of the weekend. Spring is his season.

As for right field — sadly, Hunter is gone. He was the heart and soul of the dugout. I miss his smile, not to mention his batting average hitting between Trout and Pujols last year. From comments attributed to Bourjos and Trout, I think they do to.

I have to admit Josh Hamilton, acquired from the Rangers, has a sweet swing, but I wish the money had been spent to shore up third base, which has been a weak spot for too long. Alberto Callaspo's flashes of brilliance do not a season make — at least not a play-off season.

However, Angel Management obviously does not share my view. Nine of the first pages of the Angels spring training magazine, as well as the cover, featured Hamilton.

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