“It seems to happen sudden—a fighter gets good. He gets easy and graceful. He learns how to save himself—no energy wasted... he slips and slides— he travels with the punch. . . . Oh, sure, I like the way you’re shaping up.”
― Clifford Odets, Golden Boy
First things first: If you’re in dire need to see the post-game report from last night, you can find that here. Now, on to the important, bigger picture topic of the Angels getting swept this past weekend by the Yankees; the sweep at the Big A, at the hands of the MLB’s version of The Tonight Show with Jay Leno (a piece of entertainment widely consumed by people who actually don’t like entertainment otherwise they wouldn’t be consuming said entertainment), was the first of its kind since 2003. So hey, it’s not like we have to deal with this type of Monday morning hangover all that often, right?
That doesn’t mean it doesn’t get my inferiority complex wheels spinning...not that it takes much for that anyway, since I am, after all, a fan of the Angels. We live our lives on the fringes of an MLB world that doesn’t understand what it’s like to be outsiders; in our own city, megalopolis, stadium, what have you. When you live in a place like Orange County, that wouldn’t exist if it weren’t for tourists, then you have to expect to get tourist infestations in your team’s ballpark.
That’s never stopped any of us from getting salty over the amount of Yankees (or Red Sox, for that matter, who have also given the Halos fits at Angel Stadium this season) fans in attendance at any one of these “home” games. The fact is, though, that none of that bitter enema really matters in the end. When the Angels aren’t scoring, or having some pitching implosions late in the game, or when Shohei Ohtani becomes an anthropomorphic version of every wary harbinger in the book, then the Halos just aren’t going to win any games.
When the lineup is stale and when Mike Trout isn’t stealing bases, or any other gripe you could think of from Friday, Saturday or Sunday, then you have plenty of things to pick out as the raw subject of your sweltering ire. Oh well! Let’s all just remember this is baseball, and baseball is one of the more fluid situations in sports there is, that’s the main takeaway, of which everybody could use a slight reminder.
Honestly, these long lessons in attrition, that some people refer to as “the baseball season”, don’t even really start for me, officially, until I get a little east coast bile in my mouth. It’s been said you never want to throw the first punch in a fight, you want to throw the second and make sure the opponent doesn’t get up for a third. The games at home we have been witnessing, relative to the lengthy schedule ahead, amount to the first punch. The Angels will have their chance to hit those jabronis on the button.
The offense, which disappeared for large swaths of game time this past series, and at other inopportune times this month, sure, will eventually get to rolling again, much like they had been doing at the very start of the season. The other wrinkles will get ironed out, and the teams that look so hot right now, like the Red Sox and the Yankees, will get a taste of comeuppance from Boethius’ brutal wheel of fortune. That’s just how this stuff works, folks.
In the meantime, take the punches, take the dopey fans who model their baseball team devotion after characters they see in standard Steven Spielberg tripe, take the Ls, but get ready for them Ws.
It all reminds me of a story I heard from a zen master Angels fan one time, in the parking lot of the Big A, after a different, but equally tough, loss:
There lived an old Angels bro who had watched the Halos for many, many years. One day, the Yankees came back in extras to hand the good guys a heartbreaking loss. His Angels fan friends dropped in to commiserate with him. “What awful luck,” they said sympathetically, to which the old Angels bro only replied, “We’ll see.”
Next series, to everyone’s surprise, the Halos absolutely destroyed their opponent, thanks to some great play from their star players, and reclaimed 2nd place in the AL West. “How amazing is that!” they exclaimed in excitement. The old Angels bro replied, “We’ll see.”
A week later, the old Angels bro watched the Angels play against another tough opponent, only to see those same star players from the previous series get injured on the field. Once more, the Angels fan friends came by to express their sympathies for this stroke of bad luck. “We’ll see,” said the old Angels bro politely.
The next day, the Big A had some visitors – another AL rival was coming to their house. During the games, there were a couple fluke injuries that probably would have injured the Angels’ star players, had they not been substituted, wisely, by Mike Scioscia. Old Angels bro’s friends said “Oh, what luck. They could have lost a couple crucial players!” To which the old Angels bro replied “We’ll see.”
Don’t be too down, folks. These things just happen sometimes. If you like you revenge served cold, then you’re probably going to be very happy, very soon. RELAX.