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…!
The Angels finished up their four game series with the Orioles on Monday night. Can I just say that ending a series on a Monday really throws me off. All day I kept thinking it was Wednesday. No such luck. Oh well. At least the Angels ended their time in Baltimore on a high note, taking 3 of 4 games.
Ervin Santana had another good outing, giving up 3 runs in 6 innings. But in a game where both teams each had 9 hits, the Angels made theirs count. Kendry Morales had his two run shot in the 2nd and Macier Izturis had a solo HR in the 6th. Homerun-itis then struck Vladimir Guerrero who launched his own 2 run shot in the 6th and followed that up with a 3 runner in the 7th. Vlady is making up for lost time. His numbers suffered from all the time he spent on the DL. I think those whispered rumors that he’d lost his mojo for good can definitely be put to rest. Super Vlad will not go quietly into that good night. Yippee!
The Angels roll into Cleveland on Tuesday for 3 games. The Indians have won their last two but as long as the Angels offense stays hot everything should be fine. I’d like to see rookie Trevor Bell get his first win. His first game was a no decision. Torii Hunter will be back in the line-up. He’s playing every other day for a little while since he’s fresh off the DL.
There’s certainly no need to rush things as we all want him to be 100%, along with every other player. The Angels schedule will only get tougher in the next few weeks and the Rangers aren’t showing any signs of backing down. The same can’t be said for a few other teams. While every team is entitled to a slump, the Red Sox meltdown couldn’t have come at a better time for the Yankees. It’s got to be so frustrating for Sox fans to watch their team falling from grace so swiftly as the Yankees charge forward. Not pretty.
And in the National League, Dodger fans, who have been riding the hot tamale train since the season started, could be starting to squirm just a little bit. They no longer can claim the best record in baseball and have seen the Rockies chip away at their comfortable lead. They are now just 4.5 games ahead of the Rockies. Even my Angels have a better record than the Dodgers but here in Southern California you’d never know it. The local media, which originates in Los Angeles, continues to ignore the Angels for the most part. Whatever. We’re used to it. In the end, it doesn’t matter. I’ll eat a Dodger dog if I’m wrong, but I’ve got a feeling the Dodger train is about to jump the tracks.
Baseball…It’s the only game in town.
I have to admit I did not watch Friday night’s game. I, like most Americans, was glued to CNN watching that breaking news story that gripped the nation.
Scientists Confirm New “Bermuda Triangle”
Wichita, Kansas (AP) – Scientists from MIT have confirmed the existence of a new “Bermuda Triangle”. In response to disappearing aircraft, small watercraft and a number of farm tractors, scientists raced to the rural town of Fall River, outside of Wichita, to investigate the mysterious occurrences. “We detected the presence of some type of magnetic force field that is approximately two hundred miles wide,” Professor Stewart Bradley reported during a press conference Friday afternoon. Kent Hardy, an official with the FAA also provided more information regarding the rumor that a plane, believed to be transporting the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim from Orange County to Baltimore, had disappeared from radar Thursday evening only to suddenly reappear one hour later and landing without further incident in Baltimore. “Although exact details are not available, I can confirm that the plane disappeared from radar at approximately 8:00 PM, eastern time. We were able to reestablish contact one hour later although the crew reported nothing unusual had happened.” While scientists are insisting some kind of atmospheric phenomenon is responsible, Fall River residents are reporting the sighting of a large, unidentified flying object, circular in shape with bright colored lights. “I was bringing Paris and Nicole, my two dairy cows, into the barn when all of a sudden I saw this huge thing in the sky that looked like a ginormous Frisbee and that thing just sucked up that big old airplane!” Tucker “Tadpole” Johnston, Jr. claimed. Officials met the plane and interviewed all crew and passengers but no one recalled anything out of the ordinary happening during the flight. “Everything was normal,” Angels third baseman Chone Figgins told reporters. “We were singing 99 Bottles of Beer on the Wall like we always do to pass the time and then we all took a nap. But my belly button hurts.”
Now, I’m not saying this could have anything to do with the Angels losing Friday night to the Orioles 6-16, but at least now it makes sense. How else do you explain Jered Weaver giving up 6 runs in the first inning? The O’s scoring 7 runs in the 7th? It’s aliens, I tell you. Aliens.
By Saturday, the Angels were able to shake off any residual effects of the alien probing and were in top form, especially Big John Lackey who gave up one run in 7 rock-solid innings. The Orioles sent rookie Brian Matusz to the mound. Four of his five innings were shut-outs, but the Angels were able to score all 5 of their runs in the 3rd. Orioles relievers only gave up one hit in the last 3 and 1/3 innings. But the damage had been done. Lackey had his 99th career win, Brian Fuentes had his 33rd save of the season.
Sunday’s game was just plain crazy. I may as well start with the bottom of the 9th because that’s when Brian Fuentes blew the save and allowed the Orioles to tie it, 8-8. The Angels loaded the bases in the 11th and 12th innings and couldn’t score a run. Finally in the 13th, my Torii Hunter provided the go-ahead RBI but that was just the beginning of a 9 run inning (tied a MLB record, by the way) that had the Angels ultimately winning the marathon game, 17-8. As the Angels were having their run-fest, my mom called. Again, she was asking why the game wasn’t over when the Angels scored the first run of the inning in “overtime”. I think I have no choice but to get a Powerpoint presentation together for her. That’s okay. I was just impressed she was watching. And we were both impressed with the Angels.
Baseball…Kid tested. Mother approved.
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.
While life might sometimes get in the way of blogging, there isn’t much that can come between me and my Angels baseball. Only one person has ever caused me to change the channel in the middle of an Angels game. Michael Myers.
No, not him.
No, not him either but it’s close. The Michael Myers I’m referring to stood before God and everyone and vowed to love, honor and cherish me…or something like that. I don’t remember anything in his vows about ridiculing, mocking or laughing at my Angels but that’s exactly what he was doing last Wednesday night as the Angels were trailing Texas, 7-3. I’d had enough of him and changed the channel. When my husband goes fishing with his buddies, I don’t give him a hard time. I encourage them to go and have fun and catch lots of fish. I hold down the fort at the office so he can unwind without anything to worry about. (Memo to Mr. Myers: Who did you call when you all got to Mexico and the travel company had gone bankrupt and you didn’t have your 6 hotel rooms?? And who spent 45 minutes on the phone with the travel agency and American Express?? Oh, that’s right…Mrs. Myers!) When my husband hops on his Harley on a Saturday morning, I always tell him to be careful and have fun. I’m very supportive of his hobbies and for the most part, he is of mine. Except when it comes to the Angels.
I know there are doctors who specialize in sports medicine but what about marriage counselors? I suppose living with a fair-weather fan beats living with a Yankees fan or a Red Sox fan. (That would never happen. I do have standards.) I almost had the last laugh when my friend called, rightfully assuming I’d be watching the game, and told me Juan Rivera had tied it in the 9th with a 3 run homer. But alas, Hank Blalock’s walk-off dashed my hopes of making my hubby grovel, although I did interpret my foot rub the next morning as the peace offering it was intended to be.
And I will say, he has behaved ever since. Thursday night’s game against the Orioles was all about John Lackey and Bobby Abreu. Lackey gave up only 4 hits in a full 8 innings and Abreu had 2 HR’s and 4 RBI’s. I only half-watched Friday night’s game as we had friends over for a marathon poker game. The Angels lost but I won about $22. I’ll be honest. I didn’t expect a whole lot from Ervin Santana and I still have doubts that he’s 100%. I hope he truly is and we begin to see the 2008 Santana rather than the 2007 version.
Saturday’s game was a beautiful slug-fest! While the Orioles were finished scoring their 4 runs in the 5th, the Angels used the same inning to get the party started. 3 in the 5th, 2 in the 7th and 6 in the 8th…I was loving every second of it. The Angels won, 11-4, and a 17 hit game just felt good. Sunday’s game, the final in the 4 game series with Baltimore, went back and forth for a while, and the game was tied 6-6 in the 7th. But then the Orioles bullpen ran into some trouble and walked in 2 runs. One more Angels run capped their 9-6 victory. And wouldn’t you know it? When all of Sunday’s games were over, the Angels and the Rangers were once again tied for first place in the west. Which brings us to Monday night’s game.
The Rangers arrived for the showdown at the Big A. At the end of the game, someone would have sole possession of first place. This would be a big game…and I would be there. (Mr. Myers would not. No frickin’ way.) I happily picked up my niece, Claire and we headed out to the stadium. We debated whether her rally monkey, Pablo, would be joining us as he had been at the game Friday night and Claire was starting to think he might be cursed. We decided he could come because we both had a feeling we wouldn’t be needing our monkeys at all. Claire is 15 and is just as superstitious as her aunt. I also think she’s inherited my psychic abilities as well. We were sitting there when Jeff Mathis came to the plate in the 2nd, the Angels already losing 2-0. She said he was going to hit a home run. I said, “Oh, he’s not a real home run hitter so I’d settle for a double.” Suddenly we were on our feet, watching the ball (I swear it seemed like it was in slow motion) sail over the wall. A 3 run homer! She totally called it. Oh, and it was in the 2nd inning…
…so free tacos! 2 more runs in the 3rd and 4 more in the 5th gave the Angels the win. First place belongs to my Angels, and only my Angels.
Seeing the halo lit after an Angels win is a wonderful sight. But as I cruised down the freeway Thursday night on the way to John Wayne airport to pick up my sister and my niece (Maddie, different niece but also an Angels fan), I couldn’t help but wonder why the Angels couldn’t spend a few bucks to replace the burned out bulbs. It’s actually worse now than in the picture above. I know the economy is tough and attendance is down a bit, but really. Maybe they can pass the hat in the dug out? It’s a bit embarrassing, don’t you think?
Baseball…we bring good things to life.
Things are looking up for the Angels. At least it’s been less of a rollercoaster and more like:
They took 2 from Detroit, then lost 2 to the Mariners. But they won the last game of the series versus Seattle and then headed to Baltimore where they won both games of a two game series. Yes…that means they’ve put together a THREE game winning streak! Woo hoo!
Are so-called Angels fans still demanding Kendry Morales’ head on a platter? Hardly. The day after Angels Talk phone lines were clogged full of Kendry bashers, he had a 5 RBI game. He, Izturis, Kendrick, Matthews and the solidly reliable Hunter and Abreu, were getting it together and putting runs on the board. So, what’s an angry mob of “faux” fans to do? Without missing a beat, they turned their attention to Scotty Shields and the rest of the bullpen. And that’s when I get really mad.
There is no more lonely a job out there than that of a pitcher. I don’t have to spell out the misfortune that has befallen the Angels bullpen. If you really are a fan, you know exactly what the situation is. And if you really are a fan, you are kind and compassionate, not rude and belligerent. I, for one, am in awe of pitchers. What they do with a baseball and a grip defies all physics, if you ask me. Not to mention, I can’t hit a garbage can with an empty Fresca can from three paces away! I hate to disappoint the haters, but I must point out, the current three game win streak was due largely to Angels pitching. Maybe that’s why the mob was now focused on Erick Aybar after today’s game. It doesn’t matter that the Angels won. They’re NOT in first place in the west so someone must pay (at least according to the angry mob). Their cries of “Bring in Brandon Wood!” is reaching an Obama-like crescendo. Doesn’t anyone remember what happened when he came up in ’07? Wood will get his chance, and I hope for his sake he lives up to the hype this time. Why is it so easy for these half-hearted fans to dismiss a player like Aybar based on a handful of games?
Here we are, just hours away from the first of four games at the new Yankees Stadium. I’ll admit, Angels fans have always gotten a little (okay, a LOT) of satisfaction out of being able to smack those Yankees around a bit. Yeah, we refer to the Angels as “Yankee Kryptonite”. When it comes to playing the Yankees, we’ve always been able to have a superior attitude like, well…like Yankees fans have when playing anyone other than the Angels. But this series is going to be especially hard given the “David vs. Goliath” pitching match ups.
Fresh from his major league debut, Anthony Ortega will square off against A.J. Burnett. Matt Palmer will have his fifth major league start against C.C. Sabathia. Okay, I’m nervous just typing it. But have no doubt, I will be cheering for the rookies, as I always do. And if you “pretend” Angels fans can’t cut your team a little slack right now, then fine. This series against the Yankees couldn’t have come at a better time. These four games will be the true test of your real “fan-ness”. It’s survival of the fittest. If you are not a true-red Angels fan, your cover will be blown. Please keep in mind that I am much younger than this reference might indicate, but will the real Angels fans please stand up?
Baseball…where the rubber meets the road.