There's a reason why this prison is the worst hell on earth... Hope. Every man who has ventured here over the centuries has looked up to the light and imagined climbing to freedom. So easy... So simple... And like shipwrecked men turning to sea water from uncontrollable thirst, many have died trying. I learned here that there can be no true despair without hope.-Bane(The Dark Knight Rises)
The weekend is done, over with. The carcass of the Angels' withered and striated playoff hopes has been picked almost entirely clean by any and all Yankees, Rangers, Royals and Blue Jays vultures milling about, and the Twins have acted as MLB Dermestid beetles, making sure what little chance was left was cleaned down to the lily-white bone. The Angels got their rear ends handed to them in Cleveland, and sunk further down the loser rabbit hole, on their wild and wacky ride through the Arte Moreno looking glass. Things are grim, and trending towards downright abysmal.
If you saw that post recently where I tried my best to arouse the fervid homerism in myself and gleefully champion the Angels as a contender to the World Series crown, then please feel free to completely erase it from your mind. The sarcasm was laid on as thick as one could, but even at the end of the screed, I felt a tinge of legitimate optimism. At the time, there was a 33% chance that the Angels could back into a play-in game against the first wild card team. A 1/3 chance to have a chance at playing a team that they'd probably have no chance against? Yeah, I almost got reeled in by that sucker's bet.
That playoff hope percentage has dropped down to 17.5%, and that seems ludicrously optimistic. Where are they getting runs to win these baseball games needed to make that probability a reality? Who is pitching these games, whether starting or relieving? Because MAYHEM projections currently sit about right the Dean Wormer-approved 0.0.
Hope. These guys gave us an abundance of it in July, enough to rile up the passion and the fever of Angels baseball; enough so to make us foolishly forget about April, May and a large swath of June, when the team's true colors were being blasted through the airwaves and radio signals. It was enough to obscure the front office shade thrown by Robert Alvarado, and the Josh Hamilton pre-season black eye, and it was the perfect palate cleanser after the ownership and Mike Scioscia drove Jerry Dipoto out of town and into the loving arms of the Red Sox.
But it was all a lie. It was a team experiencing a surge that even the worst of ball clubs are capable of. It was a group that managed to line up and fire on all cylinders; finally some vintage Albert Pujols, coupled with Mike Trout, and an above-board rotation headlined by an All Star Hector Santiago and the surprising Andrew Heaney. It was all a fabrication, but not one built by the team out of spite or vindictive purposes. This was just a team that played way better than they should have, for a longer period than should have been possible, and they stirred up so much hope in the Halo loyalists that a feeling of bitterness once the impending comedown hit was all but to be expected.
Maybe we should be grateful that we even got that beautiful month of peak Summertime Angels baseball, rather than an entire season spent lumbering around the bottom of the division; an Angels-infested doldrums with nary a positive thing to be written or said about them. It could have been worse, but at least that hypothetical cellar dwelling team would have been honest. Fans of other teams may think "You're having a bad season. It happens. No biggie" and they'd be right, except we mistakenly had higher aspirations and, yes, hope. We expected more, our bad.
It was all a ruse, and one that befits this team and organization more than any non-Angels fan can ever imagine. For them, it'd just be another season in hell, a predictable mess in a sports market that most likely has a football team to put their attention towards. But in Anaheim, we had hope. And they rubbed it in our faces, and our ears, during the seventh inning stretch of every home game. The fans were once again Buttercup'd.
Why do they build us up, just to let us down and mess us around?