Riots coming in Oakland? Angels warned.

Riot police move anti G8, G20 protestors ahead of them along Queen Street in Downtown Toronto, Ontario, June 27, 2010. Increased police presence control most key intersections in Downtown Toronto.  UPI/Heinz Ruckemann Photo via Newscom

According to Mark Saxon of, the Angels were warned by MLB last week about the possibility of riots in Oakland this weekend if a verdict comes down in the case of an officer who is on trial for shooting an unarmed man on a train platform.

The case, which involves a white officer and a black victim, has sparked racial tensions in the East Bay, so the trial was moved to Los Angeles. Jury deliberations resumed Thursday.

MLB security phoned Angels traveling secretary Tom Taylor to explain the situation and offer the team extra security. The Angels, who are scheduled to arrive in the Bay Area late Thursday night for a weekend series in Oakland, are staying in a San Francisco hotel and will bus to Oakland Coliseum.

Johannes Mehserle, a former Bay Area Rapid Transit police officer, is charged with murder for allegedly shooting Oscar Grant III at Oakland’s Fruitvale BART station Jan. 1, 2009.

Grant, 22, was shot while Mehserle and another officer were trying to handcuff Grant.

And the Angels thought that trying to catch the Rangers in the AL West was stressful.

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Braden’s grandma tells A-Rod to “stick it”

A’s pitcher Dallas Braden may have the coolest grandmother in the world.

From the New York Post:

Braden, the A’s left-hander best known for his dust-up with A-Rod over pitcher’s mound etiquette, yesterday hurled the 19th perfect game in major league history, shutting down the Rays, 4-0.

But his grandmother, Peggy Lindsey, who rasied him in Stockton, Calif. (home of the 209 area code), after his mother, Jodie Atwood, died of cancer when he was a senior in high school, had the last word — appropriately on Mother’s Day.

“Stick it, A-Rod,” the feisty granny told Bay Area reporters after her grandson had completed his gem.

As Braden was approaching perfection, Rodriguez had nothing but good wishes for the 26-year-old.

“Something I’ve learned throughout my career is it’s much better to be recognized for the great things you do on the field,” Rodriguez said before the Yankees played last night in Boston. “Good for him. Even better, he beat the Rays.”

A-Rod has kept his cool since his dustup with Braden, but how funny is it that Rodriguez tried to make Braden out to be a nobody after the incident and then the A’s pitcher goes out and hurls a perfect game less than a month later? It was the biggest middle finger that Braden could have given A-Rod.

It was also ironic that another unwritten rule was broken during one of Braden’s start. During the fifth inning of the game yesterday, Rays’ slugger Evan Longoria tried to bunt for a hit, which is regarded as a sin when a pitcher is in the midst of a perfect game. Personally, I think that unwritten rule is flat out stupid (the entire point for hitters is to get on base anyway they can, remember?), but if anyone were upset by Longoria’s bunt attempt, I can’t blame him or her. Evan Longoria bunt? Come on.

Photo from fOTOGLIF

Dallas Braden pitches perfect game against Rays

Forget what I said about this being a slow news day in baseball — Dallas Braden just pitched a friggin’ perfect game against the Rays, seemingly out of nowhere. This is just 19th perfect game in the history of professional baseball.

It’s only been a couple of weeks since Braden threw a (somewhat justifiable) hissy fit over Alex Rodriguez walking over his mound. A-Rod responded by citing Braden’s handful of big league victories in front the fawning media. Well, now the Yankee better stay off Braden’s territory as he’s vaunted himself into an elite category of pitchers.

Photo from fOTOGLIF

MLB Opening Week: 10 Things to Watch

While nothing beats the opening weekend in football, I’ll always have a special place in my heart for the start of a new baseball season. With a sense of a new beginning, the opening week of baseball brings hope and excitement to fans across the country.

Then you realize that you’re favorite team is the Pirates, Royals or Nationals and all that hope gets crushed. It’s an ugly realization, but it is what it is.

As baseball is set to kick off a new season, here are 10 things to keep an eye on this week.

1. Roy Halladay makes his Philles debut
Fans will have to wait until next weekend to see Halladay make his Philadelphia debut, but they probably won’t have to wait long to see him dominate in red and white. Halladay will start against the Nationals on Opening Day and then at Houston five days later, which means he gets tune ups against two of the weaker teams in the National League. He shouldn’t have any issues making the early-season transition to the NL – outside of hitting, of course. Unless he succumbs to the pressure of pitching in Philadelphia, Halladay will likely have plenty of success throughout the entire season.

2. Jason Heyward’s MLB debut
The top position player prospect in baseball will enter the 2010 season as the Braves’ starting right fielder. The former 2007 first round pick hit .323 with 17 homers and 63 RBI between three stops in the minor leagues last season and might be the difference between the Braves finishing in the middle of the pack in the National League, or securing a postseason berth. Heyward doesn’t have one breakout skill, but he’s a five-tool player who takes a patient approach to the plate and exhibits good bat speed. He’s also a solid defender, with above-average speed and can play multiple outfield positions. If Heyward turns out to be the real deal, then so too will the Braves.

3. Can Jon Rauch fill Joe Nathan’s shoes?
After Nathan decided to have Tommy John surgery and therefore miss the entire 2010 season, Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said that the club would employ a closer-by-committee situation with their bullpen. But Gardenhire quickly went back on that decision, instead choosing to go with Rauch as his full-time closer. The question now becomes: Will Rauch be the same reliable pitcher he was last year in Minnesota or the one that struggled in Arizona in the first half? Rauch isn’t the long-term solution, but he doesn’t have to be either. He just has to be dependable this season to help bridge the gap until Nathan returns to full health in 2011.

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2010 MLB Preview: AL West

In order to help get you ready for the MLB season, we’re doing division-by-division rankings with quick overviews on how each club could fair in 2010. Next to each team, you’ll also find a corresponding number written in parenthesis, which indicates where we believe that club falls in a league-wide power ranking. Be sure to check back throughout the next two weeks leading up to the season, as we will be updating our content daily. Enjoy.

All 2010 MLB Preview Content | AL East Preview | AL Central Preview | AL West Preview | NL East | NL Central | NL West

Next up is the AL West.

1. Los Angeles Angels (6)
When I started to do the prep work for the AL West preview, I filled the top slot with the Angels without even giving it much thought. And why should I have? They’ve won the division six of the last seven years and baseball fans have just grown accustomed to the Halos being in the playoff mix every season. But immediately after I slotted them in the top spot, my stomach started to hurt and no, it wasn’t from the fish I ate last night. (Although hey, fish is still good even when it turns green right?) There’s no doubt that the Angels took a hit this offseason. They lost their ace (John Lackey), their leadoff man (Chone Figgins) and their top power source (Vladimir Guerrero), and usually when a team parts with that much talent, it suffers a setback. But this is why I’m not overly concerned about this club: the additions of Joel Pineiro and Hideki Matsui should pay dividends and if Scott Kazmir could ever stay healthy, he would ease the loss of Lackey. Plus, in Erick Aybar (their new leadoff hitter), Kendry Morales and Torri Hunter, the Halos still have a solid offensive core and their starting pitching is still in good shape with vets like Kazmir, Jered Weaver and Joe Saunders. Times are changing in L.A. and the Mariners and Rangers will push the Halos this season, but in the end they should be right back on top.

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