The Angels open the Palm Springs phase of their spring encampment today.
What they really might be opening is a can of worms.
Most of the regulars and top farm products are still in Arizona. They play the Chicago Cubs today and the Seattle Mariners Sunday. They then move to Palm Springs Monday for 11 games against major league competition.
Meanwhile, the squad that's already here plays Cal State Fullerton today and Sunday. Reserve seats for today's game--priced at the club's regular rate--are sold out.
It's presumed that a significant number of fans from Anaheim and other cities in the Angels' marketing area will be driving down, anticipating their first look at the 1985 team.
They'll see Rod Carew and Rob Wilfong. They'll see reserve catching candidate Darrell Miller and reserve outfield candidate Rufino Linares.
They'll also see a group of young players who already are scheduled to return to the team's Mesa training base Sunday night, a clue that they are victims of the club's first roster cut.
Included are catchers Doug Davis and Dave Heath, infielders Bill Merrifield and Gus Polidor, and pitchers Julian Gonzalez, Don Timberlake, Bob Bastian, Scott Oliver and Ken Angulo.
The most touted of the farm prospects--first baseman Wally Joyner, second baseman Mark McLemore and third baseman Jack Howell--will spend the weekend with Manager Gene Mauch in Arizona.
Preston Gomez, who retired as third base coach to become General Manager Mike Port's assistant, will manage the Palm Springs team, such as it is.
Port, who arrived here Friday, was asked if he was concerned about fan reaction.
"We hope to carry this off in fine fashion," he said, "but it's been a predicament on several fronts."
The Arizona games were scheduled a year ago.
They are being broadcast by KMPC and fall under a rule that requires major league teams to provide at least four regulars for every game against the major league opponent.
The Fullerton games were added in midsummer as 1) an apparent favor to the school, 2) a bid to placate KMPC's sponsors with a second weekend in Palm Springs and 3) an added source of revenue, though Port said it would be wrong to characterize it as a "capitalistic endeavor."
He also said the primary obligation has to be to the Arizona games because of the broadcasts, the rule governing representative squads and "the fact that we're at a point in the spring where we want to start getting the club ready to go by playing it as a unit against big league pitching.
"We also have some players banged up physically, and that hasn't helped this situation," Port said. "We've tried to work it out, but it's something of a vicious cycle. Do we take away from our fans here or our obligations in Arizona?
"We hope people understand."
The Angels whipped Cleveland, 8-1, Friday in Tucson, collecting 12 hits to raise their total for the last five games to 69.
Joyner went 3 for 5 with two RBIs. Bob Boone and Mike Brown each had two hits and two RBIs.
Mike Witt started and allowed only three hits in five innings. Left-hander Bob Kipper, vying with Tommy John for the No. 5 starting berth, pitched a hitless two innings and has thrown eight shutout innings this spring.