Purgatory Online

Monday, January 20, 2003

ESPN's Hot Stove Heater - reviewing 2002 and previewing 2003 - for the Angels is out.

Kieran Darcy is largely upbeat about the Angels' chances in 2003. Personally, I find it amazing and gratifying that I can now read about how the Angels, of all teams, have buit a winner using draft picks instead of signing past-their-prime free agents. And, of course, since virtually everyone will be back next year, and since they're mostly guys who statistically should be coming into their peak years, there's seemingly every reason in the world to be optimistic.

Still, after the year they had in 2002, you have to also worry that they'll come down to earth a little bit in 2003 (no stupid "Angels flying high" pun intended). It's clear that their World Championship was no fluke, since they did have the best run differential in baseball, but at the same time they're in a division with one other great team (Oakland), one team that figures to be pretty good (Seattle), and one that will probably finish around .500 (Texas). So again, the AL West figures to be the best division in baseball.

With that in mind, it was great to read this story in the L.A. Times about how David Eckstein is spending his off-season. If there's one guy on that team that you'd expect to be working out for five hours a day in the dead of winter, it'd have to be Eck, wouldn't it? Of course, the beautiful thing is that it isn't just one guy - Plaschke writes about how Darin Erstad called Eckstein up and hollered at him: "What are you doing! You'd better be working! We've got to do this again!"

The title defense starts March 30.