June 13, 2011

You know you're in trouble when you envy the Royals

How can I possibly put what happened in Anaheim during the last home stand into words? On one hand I can’t believe this team is this bad; on the other, I find myself doing a lot of head shaking. It’s about all I can do when Torii Hunter or any number of Angels hit into an inning-ending double play not to lose my mind.

Most Angel fans are frustrated right now. Many others have become something worse… apathetic. Looking around the stadium on any given night and it’s clear that attendance is down and the mood goes from sad to angry. There’s no buzz, no excitement, no life among the faithful.

It wasn’t supposed to be this way. This is the franchise’s 50th anniversary. We should be celebrating and instead we’re becoming more and more focused on what’s wrong with this franchise.

Watching the Royals this weekend I felt a little envious. Crazy, right? I mean we’re talking about a team that has only had one winning record in the last fifteen years. And yet, when I see young guys like Eric Hosmer (will be 22 in October) and Mike Moustakas (turns 23 in September), I get a little jealous. These are legitimate prospects with huge upside and bright futures. They have quantifiable skills that translate into actual major league talent.

That’s not to say the Angels aren’t without young talent because they are – but other than Mike Trout; none are at the same level as Hosmer or Moustakas.

In any case – this is what I end up focusing on when the team is doing so poorly. Instead of talking about the pennant race and who the Angels might acquire at the deadline, I find myself looking at what’s in the farm system and I start doing some more of that head shaking I talked about earlier.

When I look at the Salt Lake City Bees roster, I see one guy with power; Jeff Baisley, but good grief; he’s 28 years old. If you’re 28 years old and still in the minors, you’re really not much of a prospect and your ceiling is pretty low. The rest of the team lacks punch and has a lot of players who are similar to the team of smurfs already up with the big club.

There seems to be this huge gap between the young players up with the team now (Mark Trumbo, Hank Conger, Peter Bourjos, Tyler Chatwood) and the next wave of talent that could have in impact at the major league level.

There are no Hosmer’s or Moustakas’ the Angels can call on. There is Mike Trout, but as I have said before, he’s only 19 and there’s no sense rushing him.

So… what’s a team to do? What’s a fan to do?

Look, here’s the deal. I want another world series. It’s plain and simple. I want my team to get back to winning and competing. I don’t know how they get to that point and quite frankly, it’s not my job to figure that out.

What I do know is that a lot of good pitching is being wasted. This offense stinks. They lead the league in strike outs and hitting into double plays. Nothing kills a rally more than those two things. Nothing is as deflating to watch from a fan’s point of view as those two things.

Okay, so it’s at this point that some of you are probably thinking… sheesh, it’s only June. Well, forgive me, but the season is slipping away and that’s just not some feeling I have in my gut; it’s real. We heard the “It’s only… name your month…” last year and quite frankly, I don’t want to hear it again. Don’t tell me I shouldn’t panic. I’m beyond panicking. I’m at the point of utter frustration.

Losing isn’t fun. Sitting at every game in this past home stand wasn’t fun. Watching the team lose six games in row is the furthest thing from fun. Watching the pathetic offense is demoralizing. Nothing is fun about losing and call me selfish, but I want to have fun at the ball park.

I hate this post. I hate ranting like this. I’m an optimistic guy and I don’t like being pessimistic at all. It’s to the point where I’m glad they’ll be out of town for two weeks. I don’t want to take the time to show up at the stadium to watch. I need a break from being at the stadium.

All I ask is that you (The Angels) don’t do anything rash; like trade Mike Trout and I won’t do anything crazy like not show up for the next home stand. That being said, you need to give me something to hope for. I need you to make a move or show some life (Hello Torii and Vernon) or at the very least fire Mickey Hatcher (yeah, I said it)…. Give me something.

I need to see some people being held accountable. When Scioscia tells the media “we need to get our house in order” – I need to see something that makes me think he’s doing that.

Scioscia has asked his players to be more patient and selective and yet – he moves Torii Hunter, who has to be the biggest free swinger on the team into the #2 hole. Picture me shaking my head again.

Yeah, okay – let’s not move a player who is struggling down in the order, let’s have him move into the second slot in the batting order, a spot that really requires being able to move runners along. Hello? What’s up with that? Since the team can’t score runs with runners in scoring position, let’s put Hunter in the two hole so that he can ground into double plays and take away any scoring opportunities all-together.

I am no longer shaking my head… I’m pounding it on my desk. Please make the losing stop before I lose my mind.

End of rant.

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