A new beginning …

Writing – it’s what we do for a living.

Hardly like this, though.

For years, I’ve been chronicling some of the most compelling faces in professional baseball. But never have I written about myself – an undersized, overweight former middle infielder who couldn’t really play past high school.

I want to figure out a clever way to tell you I’m MLB.com’s new Angels beat writer – to let you know how I got here, describe how thrilled I am at the opportunity and mention that covering the Majors became a goal of mine shortly after realizing I couldn’t play it – but “me” isn’t a subject I’ve particularly mastered, and this crowded flight to Dallas isn’t making things any easier.

Ahhh, flights. There’s a start. They’ve taken me from Miami (where I was born and raised), to Gainesville (where I studied at the University of Florida), to New York (where I worked at MLB.com headquarters the last 14 months), to beautiful Orange County (where I can finally drive and go to the beach again).

OK, beaches. Now we’re getting somewhere. My parents were stranded on one in Cuba for almost a week in 1980, sleeping in mud, living without food and doing all they could to make sure my infant brother didn’t go hungry while waiting to board the infamous Mariel boatlift – the result of Fidel Castro opening up the harbor to let Cuban inhabitants leave the island. My parents lived near the capital city of Havana and, relative to the circumstances, made a halfway-decent living. Then they sacrificed everything and left all they knew behind in order to provide a better life for their still-evolving family.

Thirty-one years and a few drastic moves later, here I am, promising myself to keep this entry short, trying to fill the incredibly large shoes of the great Lyle Spencer and hoping to bring you the best Angels coverage possible. It’s understandable if you’ll miss Lyle, but he won’t stray far. He’ll still have a big presence on MLB.com – and Angels.com, to some extent – by producing captivating columns, feature stories and plenty more of the stuff you want to read about.

In tune with that, I now want to hear from you. Whether you’re an Angels fan or just Angels curious, feel free to tweet me, e-mail me or just comment here, letting me know what it is you want from the daily coverage on this site. (And if you could recommend some good places to eat in The O.C., that would be welcomed, too.)

See you around.



First place you want to go to is PORTO’s.. it’s in Downey, and a cuban restaurant and bakery… AWESOME food…

Welcome to the OC Alden. Looking forward to your coverage of our Angels!

Yes! I was hoping this would happen. Welcome to So Cal!

I respected Lyle as a kid growing up reading the Press-Enterprise, but I don’t think he was right for Angels coverage anymore. Welcome!

I disagree with the assessments of Lyle, but I’m excited to jump on. Thanks for the food recommendations. I’ll be sure to check ’em out.

You’re a good man to stand up for Lyle, but please don’t get carried away with it. There were perfectly good reasons why all of us Halos fans unanimously detested him and why it’s also not a good idea to expend all your own professional credibility trying to defend a guy who is no longer relevant. I doubt that you’re unaware as to why he was fired this weekend from covering our team, but if you really don’t know, we’d be more than happy to enlighten you. As a long time Angels fan, my advice to you is if you truly want to get off on the right foot with us, then move on to a different topic. Lyle is pure poison to us.

BTW, deleting all dissenting opinions like you just did was Lyle’s favorite trick – not cool. If you want us to take you seriously, then don’t ever do that again.

Welcome Alden!

And congrats on getting to cover one of the best baseball organizations in the MLB.

And getting to work with Lyle!

Gotta share this. I first wrote to him about five years ago – and continued to do so on a regular basis. Lyle always answered my questions and comments in a fair and positive manner. Even when he disagreed with my point – he did so in an appreciative response.

Then in the summer of 2010, as a good friend was returning home after serving 2 years in Kuwait during Operation Iraqi Freedom – I simply asked Lyle “how do you finagle a first pitch?” Lyle considered the request, asked a couple of questions – and then was instrumental, along with Tim Mead and Heather Capizzi, in honoring Brigadier General J. T. Walton by having him throw out the “first pitch” on September 11th, 2010 (and only 3 days after BG Walton arrived back home!!). To this day – I am astounded at how gracious, fair, positive and appreciative Lyle treats everyone!

I’m sure too that he will help you be succcessful. Appears doing so is hard-wired into him.

You’ll love this team and its fans!

More later.

Lyle was and will be always respected by fans, but I guess this Mathis thing became too much for both his and fans’ sides. Impossible to argue he’s not one of the most passionated writers I’ve read thus far.

Welcome to Heaven. And be aware the Angels have fans all over the world, this one is from Brazil =)

I’ve read all the teeth gnashing per Mathis, and Lyle.

It got virulent within a local blog run by a self annointed god, who irrationally directed his personal frustration and anger at Lyle.

Here’s a fact. Lyle talked to, cared about, and very considerately wrote about his Angel family. He knew the facts – both sabermetric and scouting assessment wise – about Weaver, Aybar, Trumbo, Wells … and yes, Mathis. Not to mention many minor leaguers.

Another fact. Lyle wrote respectfully about everyone. He knew directly how the struggling players were beating themselves up. Lyle thus chose his words very carefully when writing aobut them. Lyle knew more than anyone, except the player himself, the issues within the Angel clubhouse. And never used the negative stuff to promote himself.

Contrast that style to the vitriolic and demeaning outbursts within local blogs.

Quite honestly – fans who enjoy tearing down players that are struggling – do have a place to do so. There is quite a choir in HH.

Alden – I hope you follow Lyle’s example – albeit while wowing us with your own unique insight and style.


You should post this on Angels Win. They’d probably make you a moderator if you’re not one already.

Don’t try and make the guy a martyr. What you call “respectful” writing by Lyle was actually dishonest fluff that, when called out, turned into pigheaded combativeness.

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