My Angels followed up a four game sweep of the Mariners by taking 2 of 3 from the White Sox. All was good in Halo-ville. Then they got on a plane and entered the twilight zone, losing a make-up game to the Yankees and the first of 3 at Fenway. During both east coast games I was basically tortured by Mark Gubicza and Rory “Whose Side Are You On Anyway?” Markas as they kept referring to the games as “post-season previews”. Ugh. Not what I wanted to hear as once again, decent starting pitching was wasted by absent bats.
But as I started to seriously ponder my Angels’ post-season chances, I had to stop myself and consider the alternative to this dilemma. Granted, the Angels haven’t locked up the west but they are sitting 6 games ahead of the Rangers, giving them a more than fair shake all the way to the end. But so many of my fellow baseball fans have already had their hopes and dreams dashed as the dreaded “E” has shown up in their teams’ standings.
I’m sure fans of these teams will watch the remaining games…afterall, they’re fans. And there’s always a chance that their team will act as a spoiler and snatch the post-season away from one of their most hated rivals. There is a certain kind of pleasure in watching that happen. They’ll also watch simply because, once the season is over it’s a long wait until April of 2010. They may watch the play-offs and the World Series. Or maybe not. Sometimes there’s little interest in watching teams who may have smacked your guys around during the regular season celebrate in a heap of arms and legs in the middle of the field. That can be tough.
Diehard baseball fans will hang in there for all that October has to offer because their love of the game transcends their love for their own team. There’s no shame in that. They may also secretly harbor a bit of affection or respect for another team and will be quietly rooting them on in private. Sssshhh. I’ll never tell. I can understand that with a team or two.
Baseball fans may stick with it in October just to watch their most despised team go down in a ball of flames. Again, I can totally relate to this as well.
(That one was a toss up.)
And so today, I just wanted to express my sincere condolences to Rays, Jays, Orioles, A’s, Royals, Mets, Nationals, Reds, Pirates, Padres and Diamondbacks fans everywhere. I’ve been in your shoes. I know exactly how you are feeling. You gave it your all and fought the good fight. You observed every good-luck superstition you could. You yelled at your players, managers and front office personnel through your TV screen or in person at your ballpark.
You should be proud. Hold your heads up high. As a fan, you brought your “A” game. You held up your end of the bargain. You wore the gear, you flew the flag, you showed up at the ballpark, you skipped dinner with the in-laws to watch the game (good), you missed the birth of your third child because of extra innings (not-so-good). You gave it your all. YOU did not strike out looking with the bases loaded. YOU did not bobble an inning-ending double-play. YOU did not blow a save. YOU did not drop a routine fly ball.
No remorse. No guilt. No regrets. Sleep well this winter, my fellow baseball fans, knowing there’s always…well, there’s always…NO…I’m not going to say it. I’m not going to patronize any of you by throwing out that morsel of helpful advice, usually dished up by someone who doesn’t understand what it means to be a loyal fan. I’m NOT going to say “there’s always next year.” But what I will say is…there’s always the Angels!!! Well, if you’re examining other possibilites, let me give you my pitch (no pun intended but it’s appropriate, isn’t it?):
Great group of guys with catchy little nicknames like Figgy, Mighty Macier, Bam Bam, etc.
Not a prima donna among this bunch. It’s all about the team, NOT individual stats.
Cute little mascot that I swear, will grow on you.
The best manager in all of baseball. (Of course I’m biased. Duh!)
They OWN the Yankees. Need I say more?
I know the pain is still fresh, but I just want to give you something to think about in the off-season. Consider me an “Angels Ambassador”. If you’re thinking about making this life-changing move, leave me a comment or shoot me an email. I’d be happy to answer any questions or offer a little more persuasion, if that’s what it takes. Oh, and free thundersticks to the first 100 new fans who come aboard. (Must be able to pass a slightly invasive background check. Please have references available.)
Baseball…it keeps going and going and going…!
That’s because I’m eating my words. I know, I know. I said I wanted a close race all the way into September. Would you believe me if I said I was talking about the AL East? How ’bout the NL West? (
Mannywood? Mannywoops!) I’m the first to admit the last few games have been painful.
But on the bright side, it could be worse…
I think what makes it so tough to watch the Angels struggling lately is the fact that they were playing so darned good! They weren’t playing well and getting lucky. They were playing like a true championship team. I may be behind with my posting but I haven’t missed a single moment of Angels baseball. Let’s do a quick little re-cap:
Saturday vs. Blue Jays (W 7-3) Ervin Santana had a good 6 innings, Angels’ relievers were strong. Offense combined for 11 hits with Erick Aybar going 3 for 4. Vladdy and Juan Rivera each had a home run. All in all, the Angels seemed to bounce back nicely after losing 2 in a row.
Sunday vs. Blue Jays (L 3-8) Trevor Bell had his bell rung, giving up 6 runs in just 1 and 2/3. The Angels managed to score 3 in later innings but on 12 hits, that was it. The walks (6) didn’t help. This was the 10th and final game of their road trip and it seemed as if they were victims of delayed jet lag.
Monday vs. Tigers (L 7-10) Oh, this one hurt. By the time the Angels were able to score their first run in the 6th inning, they were already down by 10. At this point, I was just happy it wouldn’t be a shut-out. But then things started happening. They scored 4 in the 6th and had scored 3 in the 8th with 2 runners on and 2 outs. But then in came Fernando Rodney for a 4 out save and the party was over. Bobby Abreu’s 3 run shot in the 8th turned out just to be for show.
Tuesday vs. Tigers (L 3-5) John Lackey again was going for career win #100. And again, it was not to be. The Angels looked as if they were going to pick up from where they left off the night before as Howie Kendrick skyed a 3 run shot to right field but former Angel Jarrod Washburn (a new Tiger) decided that was enough. He and Tigers’ relievers held the Angels to 9 hits and no additional runs while all of the Tigers’ 5 earned runs were courtesy of Big John.
If this keeps up, the Rally Monkey’s gonna need some Prozac.
Fear not, Angels fans! Drastic times call for drastic measures. Yours truly, Lucky Lori, is headed to the Big A! I will be there in person to whip my boys into shape and turn things around. Now, I know I have not been out this season to see my Angels in person as much as I usually do, but the timing couldn’t be better. With the Angels lead over the Rangers dropping to 4 games, we need a win on Wednesday. The Rangers beat the Yankees 10-5 Tuesday night. Come on! WE do that…not stinkin’ Texas! So yes, I’m fired up. In fact, I’m not even worried about jinxing anything when I tell you the Angels have won every game I’ve been to this season. And not only am I going to the game…it’s a day game! That’s right, guess whose hubby gave her the day off? It was pretty easy, actually. I’ve been been walking around in a zombie-like state, clutching my Rally Monkey and mumbling, “Let’s get Figgy with it,” and singing “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” totally off key. He’s calling it a “mental health” day and he’s absolutely right. Whatever it is, I’m expecting…no, demanding…a win and when it happens, I’ll come home in such a good mood he’ll probably score a little monkey lovin’. I know, TMI.
On a serious note, Monday, August 24, would have been Nick Adenhart’s 23rd birthday. My thoughts and prayers were with his family and friends on what I know was an unbearably difficult day. July 30th was my dad’s birthday, the first one since his passing in March. I know it’s supposed to get easier but I’m not experiencing that yet and don’t expect to for quite some time. I miss him so much every day and continue to try to make the most of this baseball season without him. I know he’ll be smiling on Wednesday when he sees two of his daughters and two of his grandkids having a great day out at the Big A. With Dad as an Angel in the outfield, how can they lose?
Baseball…bringing families together.
I guess some people just can’t take a compliment. I wouldn’t exactly say I was “gushing” in my last post, but I couldn’t help but point out how well my Angels had been playing…”had” being the operative word. I mentioned their awesome defense, fantastic .300+ batting averages, how cute Figgy, Izturis and Aybar are as they speed around the bases. Maybe I went too far.
They dropped their last game in Cleveland and their first game, Friday night, in Toronto. I continue to be baffled by the fact that the Angels can take on a team like the Yankees and inflict grievous injury but then come thisclose to getting shut-out by the Jays. A couple of doubles in the 7th inning finally put them on the board but then they had to go and score 3 in the 9th, getting me all hopeful and excited. Mike Napoli’s 3 run homer couldn’t possibly go to waste, could it? With 2 outs, Howie Kendrick hit a solid double to the wall in left. The tying run was on and Bobby Abreu, given the night off, comes in to pinch hit. With 81 RBIs, he’d have been my choice too. He grounded to first and that was it. Close but no…
There’s no point in giving Sean O’Sullivan and his 1 inning outing a hard time. He left some pitches hovering over the plate and the Jays made the most of it. We’re expecting an awful lot of these rookies. Some nights they deliver, some nights they don’t. Mike Scioscia wisely brought Matt Palmer in when O’Sullivan couldn’t get an out in the 2nd. Palmer gave up the only other run (a Vernon Wells solo HR) and just one additional hit. Jose Arredondo followed with 3 solid innings…1 hit and 5 K’s. His performance was very reminiscent of the dependable relief he provided in ’08.
At least the damage was minimized by the Rangers’ Friday night loss to the Rays. I don’t doubt the Angels will do all they need to secure their western division win, but I certainly won’t mind if the Rangers contribute to the cause.
Saturday’s game starts at 10:00 AM here on the west coast. To me, especially on the weekend, that’s the crack of dawn. I may as well pull an all-nighter to be up and awake for it. I’ll do whatever I have to. After losing two in a row, my Angels need me cheering them on. I may have to be a little bit stingy with my praise in the future. It seems to have the opposite effect on them. Sure…like I could ever stop singing the praises of my amazing Angels.
Baseball…something to smile about.
My Angels completed their sweep of the Tampa Bay Rays today and it put me in such a chipper mood I thought I’d walk home from work.
Okay, not really. But I was singing in the car the whole way. Does that count? It was a great series for many different reasons. I’ll start with the obvious…we won all three games. Monday night was a back and forth battle as each team took turns scoring all the way until the 7th inning when Vladimir Guerrero hit his second homer of the night.
It was no ordinary homerun…it was Vlady’s 400th and as it turned out, was the game winner. How cool is that? Big Daddy Vlady is back!
Monday’s game may have been all about the offense, but Tuesday night’s game was a rubber match. Ervin Santana went toe-to-toe with David Price but the Angels eventually got to Price whereas the Rays were left lifeless by Santana.
He threw a complete game giving up only 3 hits in the 6-0 shutout. 5 of the Angels’ 6 RBIs came courtesy of Jeff Mathis and Reggie Willits, hitting in the #8 and #9 spots. Mathis came inches from having the Angels’ first grand slam of the season. He and Willits were perfect in the clutch but truly the night belonged to Santana. Ervin the All-Star is back!
Wednesday’s game marked the MLB debut of right-hander Trevor Bell. The 22 year-old was impressive through 5 and 1/3. The Angels were down 4-2 when Mike Scioscia pulled him but had Scioscia known what the Angels bats had in store for the second half of the game, I suspect he would’ve let Bell stick around.
In the bottom of the 6th, Gary Matthews, Jr. connected for a 3 run shot that literally got the ball rolling. That was followed up with Howie Kendrick’s own 3 run homer in the bottom of the 7th, which turned out to be a 5 run inning. Angels’ relievers allowed a combined 3 hits, 1 a solo HR to Pat Burrell given up by Jose Arredondo, who has rejoined the team after doing a little time in triple A. With a final score of 10-5, it was just one of those games that was a blast to watch. It had something for everyone, great pitching, great hitting, a few stolen bases and a couple of long balls thrown in for good measure. And once again, we got to watch a rookie make it to the big time. I always get a kick out of that.
The Angels are traveling to Baltimore Thursday and on Friday they play the first of 20 consecutive games without a day off. They are currently sitting 5 games ahead of the Rangers but I’d hardly call that a comfy cushion. I’m just glad they’ve been playing well on the road as they meet up with the Orioles, Indians and Blue Jays during this next road trip. I’m also loving the way each game is a sweet surprise as far who’s contributing the big hits. And my Torii Hunter is expected to be ready for Saturday’s game. I ask you, Angels fans…does it get any better???
Baseball…Play. Laugh. Grow.