April 20, 2011

Wishing Brandon Wood all the best

If you’re one of those people who have booed Brandon Wood over the past couple years, I will bet that you’ve never met Brandon Wood. I’m also willing to bet that Brandon Wood has a lot more class than you.

Wood was designated for assignment yesterday and while some Angel fans are probably popping open a bottle of champagne, I am saddened by the news.

Wood’s struggle on offense is well documented and of epic proportions compared to what was expected of him. For most fans that’s most likely all they’ll remember about the 26 year old. Even though his release is justified, I am still very disappointed.

You see, even though statistics are critically important in baseball, there’s more to the game than just numbers for fans like Cheryl and myself. It’s about the experiences we have with our team and Wood has always made our experience special.

Wood has always and I mean always taken the time to stop to sign an autograph or pose for a picture over the years, especially at spring training. He was consistently up-beat, constantly smiling and never showed any signs of a player struggling. He was and is the consummate professional in that regard and I admire and respect him a great deal.

I know a lot of you could probably care less that Brandon Wood is a nice guy. The bottom line is that he didn’t perform at the level he needed to. I get that. I understand that. I don’t even disagree entirely with the need to designate him for assignment; I’m merely disappointed and saddened by the news.

At the end of the day, like most of you – I want to see the Angels win and I want to see players on the roster that will help contribute to winning. That being said, it’s also important to me that I like the players on my favorite team. Granted, that doesn’t always happen – but it definitely plays a role in my enjoyment of watching the team I root for.

I never embraced Francisco Rodriguez. I didn’t like his antics and his attitude and I especially found the way he interacted with fans (after 2002) to be especially unpleasant. Rather than go into details, let’s just say that I wasn’t disappointed when he went to the Mets.

I’ll take it a step further. Growing up in Southern California, I was a die-hard Lakers fan; in fact, the Lakers were my favorite team in all of sports. Now, I don’t even watch the NBA. Why? I don’t like a lot of the players. I stopped following the Lakers and the NBA as a whole when Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant continued to make more headlines off the court than on it.

It just got to the point where I could not separate the person from the athlete and just couldn’t cheer for the Lakers anymore.

I’m not saying that baseball is perfect and not without its own cast of characters; however, I do seem to find many more athletes that I do enjoy in major league baseball than elsewhere. Plus baseball teams have 25 man rosters and I find for every Milton Bradley that pops up now and then there are many more Torii Hunters or Vernon Wells’ throughout the game that are admirable men of character who love the game, make an impact in the community and do so many positive things.

I make note of these things all the time on this blog. My fandom for Torii Hunter is well documented here; as is my disgust for the likes of Milton Bradley.

So on this day, the day after Wood was designated for assignment, Cheryl and I are a little sad.

You know what? We are not the only ones. Judging by the reactions I’ve read from his teammates, a lot of them are saddened as well and to a man, they all seem to wish him the best.

So even though most fans might be happy with this move; Cheryl and I aren't like most fans and we too wish him all the best.

I will close with this: Lyle Spencer of mlb.com does a fantastic job of putting Wood’s situation in the proper perspective on his Rally Monkeys blog entry titled “Wood can find redemption.”


  1. I like how you started this entry with the first couple of lines.
    I was rooting for the kid last year when he was struggling. I'm sad it didn't turn out so well with the team.
    Best of luck to him, wherever he ends up.

  2. I have never gotten a chance to go to a game or meet the players, but I loved that when Brandon was in the lineup he tried the hardest he could. He never gave up, how can a fan NOT appreciate that attitude. He seemed at his best on the field and at the plate when he was playing Shortstop.
    I hope and pray that he will get a chance with a team, maybe in the National League and in a city where there is less pressure to be the everyday player he has worked hard to be.

  3. Great Stuff.

    I also wrote a "I'll miss you Brandon Wood" article today. I wasn't shocked to hear the news, but it still made me sad. I really hope an NL team where he can play every day will swoop in on the opportunity to get this excellent young man on their club.

  4. JT - let's post a link to your blog:


  5. Thanks for the plug!

    I'll return the favor!

    Oh, and I couldn't fit this into 140 characters on twitter but: I totally agree with the K-Rod assessment. My wife (Girlfriend at the time) was all over K-Rod when he was with the club. But try as we might, he never even looked at the fans before the game, much less waived at them or signed a few balls. His head got too big after he became the closer. By the time he left, we were both ready to see him go.

  6. Great post. I totally agree! It always frustrates me when people boo players in their team, how exactly does that help a player get better? Brandon seems to be a really nice guy, always positive and gentlemanly. There are fans that appreciate it. We will root for him wherever he ends up.

  7. I'm another fan that is sad to see Woody go - and have always been disgusted by "fans" who boo their own team's players. I hope Brandon is picked up and given a real chance to shine - just not against the Angels!
    I always thought part of Woody's lack of early success was because he would sit on the bench for so long before getting into a game - and I thought last year maybe he came back too soon from his injury rehab.

  8. Completely on point. Much the same as you, I was a die hard Lakers fan as a kid. Despite the talent of today, I can hardly watch or root for such selfish ego maniac sociopaths in the NBA. B.Wood never let his struggles show when dealing with the media and more importantly fans. He remained a person with character and class. Karma will win. Good luck Brandon. Our house will always be big fans.

  9. I know someone in particular who hated him because of his performance, not even considering the mental stress Brandon was going through. That person is supposedly a "huge" Angels fan... but to bad mouth and boo someone in your favorite team? Come on! To make it worse, that person found out Brandon's real first name and is now emphasizing it.
    Sad... :(