It’s Hard Out Here For An Angels Fan
I’ve always imagined how difficult it would be to root for a team that’s based in another state or faraway city. How “uncomfortable” is it to be a Seattle Mariners’ fan who lives in Chicago? Are you even allowed to live in New York and be, say, a Colorado Rockies fan? I happen to live just a few miles north of Anaheim Stadium so I’ve been fortunate to be surrounded by “my own kind”. During my very short commute to work, I constantly see other cars sporting identical “Angels Baseball” license plate frames, car flags and logo stickers on their rear windshields.
With Game 1 of the ALDS versus the Red Sox just hours away, the excitement is building. At least among fans. Real fans. It’s just too bad no one else seems to think the Angels have a snowball’s chance in Southern California.
Did I miss something? If you watch the local news here in the southland, you’d think the Dodgers were the only MLB team in the state. Every single night the Dodgers get their extensive coverage with reporters out at Chavez Ravine while the Angels get their usual 15 second mention. I’m sure every Angels fan knows exactly what I’m talking about, but concrete evidence of this bias? Back on July 21, the Angels played a double-header with the Royals. The local ABC affiliate quickly reported the 8-5 win in the first game and then moved on to other stories…without even mentioning the second game!
Coverage of the Angels was extended slightly the night they clinched the west but only to allow time to mention their shortcomings in the postseason these last few years. How nice. I guess the Dodgers blowing a considerable lead in their division and needing nearly another entire week to win it wasn’t worth mentioning by the reporters in the Dodgers’ locker room. Nope. Nothing but good things to say that night. Whatever. I’m used to it, as I’m sure other Angels fans are too by now. But today, just as every Angels fan is gearing up for Thursday’s game, things got decidedly worse.
While television news coverage of the Angels is at best neglectful, at least we can turn to our local newspaper for some fair and balanced reporting, right? I mean, I’ve certainly enjoyed writing about the amazing season the Angels have had, from overcoming their early starting rotation struggles, to the fairytale that is Matt Palmer, to their sweep of the Yankees at the All-Star break, to Bobby Abreu’s strong and steady influence, to the brilliant acquisition of Scott Kazmir, and on and on. It’s been quite a ride, all leading up to game 1 of the ALDS where, once again, we face the Red Sox. Fans all around the country have nothing but good thoughts and love for their Angels right now and, when my husband handed me Wednesday’s sports page and special playoffs insert from the Orange County Register, I was looking forward to reading something encouraging in my local paper. After all, it was the Orange County Register…NOT the Los Angeles Times (which I wouldn’t even use to line my bird cages). The Register is headquartered less than 5 miles from the Big A but do you think they could hire a sports reporter who maybe, kinda, sorta likes the Angels just a little bit? Nah. Why do that? Why would OC residents, who may actually support their local team, want to read anything positive about the Angels?
First, there was Jeff Miller’s story in the sports section entitled “Curses! Angels Get Boston Again”. Now, I’m not sure who Miller hates more, the Angels or the Angels fans. Has anyone forgotten the column he wrote, just after Frankie Rodriguez went to the Mets, in which he implied that Angels fans are racists? (Feel free to refresh your memory here: Angels Less Colorful Now, Which Pleases Some , but be sure you’ve taken your blood pressure meds first.) I’m sure Miller fancies himself a comedian but one of the nicer points he made in Wednesday’s column compares another Angels / Red Sox postseason match-up to having “multiple molar extractions”. Gee, thanks Jeff. Way to pump up the team and the fans. He ends his column by predicting a Red Sox sweep in 3, explaining his prediction by saying, “Only because the Red Sox can’t – mathematically – eliminate the Angels in just two games.” What. An. *ss.
The “special” playoffs insert in the paper was anything but. I completely regret even looking at it. Mark Whicker devoted his entire column to the numerous reasons that this ain’t the year for a Dodgers / Angels freeway Fall Classic. He compliments the Dodgers, mentioning their “formidable bullpen” and gives credit to their back-to-back playoff appearances due to the fact that they “became more like the Angels”, but states that the Cardinals “just look too solid” for the Dodgers to overcome. Fair enough. So, what does Whicker think the Angels have going for them? Not a whole lot. He calls them “a bit arrogant” and says their home-field advantage is useless. Sorry kids, but Mr. Whicker thinks your Angels suck.
Marcia C. Smith threw her two cents in with a column that basically says the Angels have allowed themselves to be “mind-f*cked” (my term) by the Red Sox. Ms. Smith opines, “Scioscia would probably send Ervin Santana to bat cleanup before admitting that another team has a history of owning his.” Are you kidding me? Is that what a manager is supposed to do hours before facing his postseason nemisis as a way to rally his team? How the Register could even deem Ms. Smith’s ignorant dribble worthy of half a page is beyond my comprehension. She revealed her pathetic lack of any kind of original material by lamely rehashing the worst moments of the 2004, 2007 and 2008 ALDS games, because surely that’s what every Angels fan wants to think about right now. Further proof of her “hack-ness”? Her column also contained the words “Donnie Moore” and “1986”, the lowest of blows to fans and the Angels organization. Ms. Smith need not make room on her fireplace mantel for a Pulitzer Prize
any time soon ever.
I guess the 3 million plus fans who flocked to the Big A this season (and filled seats at a higher percentage than the Dodgers) are all delusional. According to the esteemed staff of the Register, we should all just accept the fact that postseason history will once again repeat itself and not even bother to tune in or show up to the games. Putting on the red and pulling out the old rally monkey will prove to be an exercise in futility. Let’s all just face it. Our season’s over but there’s always 2010.
Oh, hell no!!! My first order of business on Thursday morning will be to call the OC Register and cancel my subscription (877-627-7009). Next, I’ll be calling the Editor, Ken Brusic (714-796-2226) to voice my displeasure with the Register’s coverage of the Angels and I encourage others to do the same. There’s power in numbers, folks! Then, I’ll be rushing home after work to watch Big John Lackey take the mound as he and the rest of my Angels play their hearts out against the Red Sox, just as they have this entire season.
On Friday, I’ll be there (T231, Row G) WITH my rally monkey AND my thundersticks AND wearing my lucky postseason red underwear. I can’t wait to sit elbow to elbow with my fellow fans to cheer my Angels on. Before the game, we can all chat about how the Angels were never supposed to make it past the Yankees in 2002 and when they did, it was considered a fluke. Then we can talk about the 2002 ALCS games with the Twins and how Tim Salmon led the team in a victory lap around the field when they won it. And if there’s enough time, we’ll laugh about the Giants having the champagne all chilled and ready to go during game 6 of the 2002 World Series. Ah…how sweet it will be to relive good memories, happy moments with people who believe, just as I do, that the Angels can do it. Why not talk about 2002? Every Angels fan I’ve talked to recently seems to agree, it does feel an awful lot like 2002. So sure, history can repeat itself, but who’s to say which history that will be? Make no mistake…I believe in Angels.
Angels Baseball…FAN STRONG!