November 20, 2009

An open letter to John Lackey

Dear John,

I have a problem and I’m not afraid to admit it. If you end up signing with the Yankees, I’m not going to be happy. Let’s just say that if you wear pinstripes next year, you’re dead to me. If you go to Boston, I'm done with you. If you stay within the Western Division (Texas, Oakland, or Seattle) in the AL you’re history. If you go up the freeway to the Dodgers, you’re gone. It will be as if you never even existed. I will wipe you from my memory. I know you could probably care less about what I think and feel, but I have to vent just the same.

No, I haven’t forgotten who the starting pitcher was in Game 7 of the 2002 World Series. And no, I haven’t forgotten who’s been the lead dog and the anchor on a pitching staff that has been among the best in baseball year after year. I haven’t even forgotten the times you took time to stop and sign a photo or a baseball at Spring Training. I remember all of it; every single thing and then some. Even still, none of it will matter because you will have gone against the family and make no mistake about it; the Angels and their fans are a family. Your going to the Yankees would be like Sonny Corleone joining the Tattaglia family. Angel fans would take it personally. Now that doesn't mean someone would go out and chop off a horse's head and put it in your bed... but you never know. I'm just saying.

Yes, I know I forgave Adam Kennedy for going to the hated A’s this year. Difference is Kennedy is a guy who is trying to hang on at the end of his career. You, John are not. You’re still considered to be in your prime and if you go to a team that stands in the way of the Angels reaching the World Series, I won’t forgive you. Not next year, the year after or 1,000 years from now. Same goes for the Dodgers because I don’t want to be watching the local news and hear about how you helped the squatters from Brooklyn win a game, a division or worse… Please, not in my own back yard John. Have some respect.

John, you’re supposed to be different. You’re a throw-back to guys who took the mound with an attitude. These guys hated their rivals and would rather have had their arm fall off than give into them. Can you imagine if Don Drysdale had become a Giant or if Bob Gibson had become a Cub? It’s like that John. Don’t take the "if you can’t beat them, join them route." That’s for guys like Johnny Damon and Roger Clemens. Guys I have no respect for what-so-ever. You’re better than that, man.

I really have to ask; could you really live with yourself if you were a Yankee or a Red Sox? Wouldn’t a small part of you die inside? Would you be able to look Mike Scioscia in the eyes? What about your Angel teammates? Could you honestly separate the business part of baseball from the fun? What about the camaraderie and sense of family you’ve known for your career as an Angel? I need to know John. I really need to know. You can't just turn the page on this one.

I know beating the Boston’s and the New York’s of baseball is challenging. I know it’s hard, but that’s the kind of thing that gets you up in the morning. Challenge are good. The tough road is the rewarding way to go.

Going to the dark side would eat at you John. You’re more of a patriot than you are a mercenary aren’t you? For goodness sakes, you’re from Texas - remember the Alamo? Remember the 2009 ALCS? Didn’t the post season leave a bad taste in your mouth? Don't you want another shot at the Yankees? Don’t tell me, you’d rather just slip over to their side and hope no one saw it happen. I just can’t see wanting to beat the living daylights out of a team one day and then being on that same team the next. I just can’t fathom that. It ain't right. It's just wrong.

I’m asking you to take sides John. We’re on one side and the Yankees, Red Sox and the like are on the other. What will I see when I look across the field? It’s time to dig in. Angel fans have your back. Do you have ours? Those other fans don’t know you like we know you. You’re one of us. That’s right, "us." You can change your uniform, but you can’t change what’s inside, can you?

I know you may still be angry that Mike Scioscia didn’t leave you in to finish game 5 of the ALCS. I’m mad too. I hated seeing Scioscia take you out. The thought of that possibly being the last time I might see you in an Angels uniform hurt like heck. I wanted to scream. I hated seeing you come out of that game in the worst possible way. Don’t let it end like that John. You have unfinished business with the Angels. Angel fans felt like they were punched in the stomach when the season ended. We want some pay-back and I'm betting you do too.

I have to tell you, I’m really tired of seeing your name linked to the Yankees or Red Sox every where I turn. Say it ain’t so John. Tell me that you’d rather fight these guys than sit in their dugout. You can't possibly want to spend your summer with freaking' Alex Rodriguez or that cheater in Boston (David Ortiz) over Torii Hunter. Tell me there isn't any amount of money in the world that would make you wear their colors. I need to hear it.

If you do go to New York or Boston; do us all a favor and don’t tell us that it wasn’t about the money. Don’t insult us. If you go to the Yankees because they simply offered you the most money – just say it. If that's the way you want to roll, so be it. Be up front about it. Come clean. We’ll respect you for being honest (but you'll still be dead to me).

Know this John: when you come back to Anaheim in pinstripes or in a Red Sox uniform, I will want the Angels to beat you down in the worst possible way. I will want Reggie Willits to take you deep for his first ever major league homerun, walk off style. I will want you to be humbled and humiliated. You will be the enemy and I will not know you for anything other than the name on the front of your jersey. And if by some remote chance we should pass one another on the street some how, I will look through you as if you don’t exist because it's like I keep telling you; you will be dead to me.

Maybe fans aren't supposed to care this much. But I'm guessing they care this much in places like St. Louis. Things were much easier when I was a kid. It was much more common to follow the same guys on a team year after year. Tim Salmon shouldn't be the exception to the rule. You need to stay in Anaheim.

Perhaps you’ll end up as a Met. I suppose I could live with that. But I have to ask you, do you really want K-Rod closing games for you again? I might even understand if you signed with the Astros so that you could return to your home state. Although in that case, you'd have to kiss the post season good bye. I guess I could tolerate just about any team in the National League (other than the Dodgers) as a possible destination for you. I won’t like it much, but I won’t dwell on it either. I won't even shed a tear. I'll just move on. I'll be a little more jaded, but I will move on.

I hope I’m writing this letter for not. I hope nothing comes of the rumors and you’re back on the mound, in Anaheim for Opening Day in 2010. You know I'll be there wearing my Lackey shirt.

The Angels can get back to the World Series John. I know they can. You know they can. Let’s do this. Come back home John. You were born to play for the Angels.

514 Fanatic and Die Hard Angels Fan

BallHype: hype it up!

No comments:

Post a Comment