July 26, 2010

Saying good-bye is hard to do

This one hurts. If you’ve spent any time on this blog you know Cheryl and I are big fans of Joe Saunders. In fact, that’s probably an understatement. We’ve been downright fanatical in our appreciation of Joe. He’s simply our favorite pitcher.

When the news came down that he had been traded (our friend and fellow 514 Fanatic Jeffrey called me with the news), my first thought was how was I going to break the news to Cheryl? I knew she’d take the news hard and she did. She thought I was kidding. I really, really wish that was the case.

Today we’re feeling a little empty and more than a little sad. Watching Joe break down when asked about the trade made it all that much tougher. Joe was a rock on the mound. He never, ever got rattled or shaken no matter what the circumstances. Seeing him so vulnerable when talking to the press made us even sadder. He clearly loved being on this team.

For us, Joe wasn’t just another guy in an Angels' uniform. Joe was “our” guy. He was the pitcher we loved to follow. He was the guy we most wanted to see at spring training every year. He was the guy we’d wait hours for in hopes of getting a few minutes of interaction. We “lived” and “died” with him every time he took the mound. You could even say that every victory was just a little sweeter for us when Joe was the winning pitcher.

Joe is just a great guy. He’s accessible, appreciative, polite, charitable, and well, I could go on and on. He and his wife Shanel were becoming a huge part of the community with their work with Children’s Hospital of Orange County (CHOC). His departure creates a huge void that goes beyond baseball.

Now if you’re a baseball analyst you probably like the deal the Angels made. I’m not an analyst (although I play one from time to time on this blog) and I am somewhat skeptical of the deal. How it all works out is anyone’s guess (and there are plenty of people giving us their opinion on the matter). So I’ll just say this - Dan Haren has been a good pitcher.

I should emphasize that “has been” part. He’s been all over the place this year; striking out tons of batters (was tied for the NL lead), but has also given up tons of homeruns and had an ERA that is really no matter than Saunders’.

So, the big question is what are we getting? Are we getting a three time all-star who just needs a change in venue or are we getting another Scott Kazmir? I really don’t want another guy who had his best seasons somewhere else. I’m just saying.

It’s clear (at least to me) that as of right now, the Rangers are a better team. Winning three out of four this past weekend kind of makes that obvious, doesn’t it? The idea that Ian Kinsler might be celebrating an AL West Pennant just isn’t sitting well with me. I don’t like Kinsler and I’m not a fan of C.J. Wilson either.

I’m very disappointed that the Angels didn’t put a dent in the Rangers’ lead. Come on – we kept hearing over and over again from the Angel players how they had a lot of head to head games left with this team. Well, they didn’t seize the opportunity.

This season is reminding me of 2006, the last time the Angels didn’t win the division. Seeing Howie Kendrick at first base yesterday emphasized that memory. In 2006 the team was constantly putting make-shift lineups on the field. Hmm. We’ve been here before.

And while I do believe that Alberto Callaspo is an upgrade at third base, I’m not convinced that this team has the pieces to make a serious run at any kind of title this year. I hope I’m wrong and pleasantly surprised, but I’m just not seeing it.

To make matters worse, we’ve lost Joe Saunders. Sometimes being a fan just sucks. Then again, at least I get to boo John Lackey on Tuesday, so maybe things are looking up.

Meanwhile, I'm still behind on my posting and hope to get caught up this week. So again, thank you for checking in and please bear with me.

In closing, Cheryl and I would like to thank Joe. We'd like to thank him for being so friendly and kind to us. We'd like to thank him for the memories and for providing us with so many memorable moments. We'd rather not say "good-bye" because it sounds so final and we've had more than our fair share of those. We'll simply wish Joe the best and look forward to seeing him again.

By the way, we're wearing our Saunders shirts tonight. Seems like the right thing to do.

BallHype: hype it up!


  1. I found your blog earlier this year and have enjoyed reading it very much, though this is the first time I have commented. I figured you would post a nice tribute to Joe Saunders with a good perspective today.

    I too am very sad to see Joe Saunders traded, even more so after watching his parting interview last night. I wish the reporters had backed off and given him a chance to get over the shock before pouncing on him for an immediate reaction.

    Saunders was not having a good year for whatever reason. But he has had very good years for the Angels and I think he has a lot more good games and years in him and it's really sad that we won't get to see him enjoy those good years with the team he clearly loves. I wish that counted for more in trade decisions. I wish Saunders the best of luck with the D-Backs and am really going to miss him.

  2. Thanks for reading and for your comment. It's always nice to see that others appreciated Joe as much as we did. We will indeed miss him, but at least we can see him when he comes to Petco and at spring training.