#34 - ANGELS FANS
This is a player's only list.
Managers make an impact, win games, lose games and yet... So often they play the hand that is dealt them - the strength of the division, the whims of the General manager and of course, dealing with injuries after one gets the team one wants.
It would be impossible to quantify where Gene Autry ranks relative to the players. He started the whole franchise. He is either Number One or cannot be here at all. And Arte? Oh a few years ago he was ahead of Autry in the minds of many fans but lose a few seasons and down you go. There is no way to quantify a man spending all your money and a lot of his on this team. General Managers build teams, yes, but do we know the moves they turned down? We know every pitcher's worst gopher balls but we know few if any missed blockbusters that would have benefited our team. Again - a lot lss to quantify than a player's stats.
But is there a way to quantify where you and I rank? We are not ON the field but we do, on numerous occasions, impact the action there. I have been blogging about this team longer than any man and when I write about what is going on with the Angels I often write "WE". Now, rationally, that is incorrect. And yet emotionally it is spot on.
You see... there are instances where Angels fans play the game, usually as the tenth man in the stands. In the 2002 ALDS it was a hot and sunny Saturday afternoon with the Angels up 2 game to 1 but all the television could talk about was how Roger Clemens had flown back to New York to start game five. David Wells was warming up in the bullpen. Jim, the guy who had season seats behind me, had gotten a ticket in the front row behind the visitors bullpen. He got to the game early and went to work:
WELLS YOU'RE GONNA MELT OUT THERE, IT IS TOO HOT TODAY FOR AN OLD FAT MAN LIKE YOU, HOOOO THIS IS THE HOTTEST IT GETS AND ITS GONNA STAY THIS HOT.
He never let up. Wells stopped to get a drink and Jim laid it on even thicker. By the first pitch, Jim, a lifetime Angels fan, was exhausted. Wells made quick work of the Halos early in the game but once he had to work through a little trouble, once he was out on the mound a little too long, all of Jim's mind-warping wore thru and Wells gave up the game.
Now, had Jim tailgated with the rest of us, who knows what would have happened, where the team would have gone or how it would have all transpired. But somewhere in all of this acknowledgement there has to be the assumption that we DO make a difference, that the thundersticks worked, that the noise in Game 5 of the 2005 ALDS distracted the Yankees outfielders and led to runs being scored and therefore we - you and I - helped win that game.
Maybe we matter less than this placement on this list and maybe we matter more. We'll never know. But its my list and I'm and Angels fan and I got your back, you made the top 100 Angels list. Congratulations.