September 29, 2011

No small victories

For all intensive purposes the Angels’ season ended on Monday, September 26 in game 160; however, there were still two games left to be played. Fans would still show up over the next two days, pay their hard earned money to watch baseball and say good-bye to the 2011 season.

What did they get for their money?

Monday night they got a 10-3 drubbing by the Texas Rangers, complete with two Mike Napoli homeruns. Somebody remind me why the Angels decided to give up on Napoli and go with Jeff Mathis. Anyone? Hello?

Then came last night.

September 28, 2011 may go down as one of, if not the greatest nights of regular season baseball in the history of the game. Four games (Red Sox vs. Orioles, Rays vs. Yankees, Braves vs. Phillies and Cardinals vs. Astros) had enormous postseason implications and four others including the Angels vs. Rangers had implications on home field advantage (the other 3 being Brewers vs. Pirates, Diamondbacks vs. Dodgers and Tigers vs. Indians).

As the evening unfolded – an epic night would ensue.

In Anaheim – Angels fans showed up hoping for a small victory. An Angels win would give the Detroit Tigers home field advantage in the first round of the post season and more importantly send the Texas Rangers on the road to New York to face the Yankees.

Compared to what else was going on in baseball on this evening – it was small potatoes; however, given the way the whole season went for Angels fans – it was something worth hoping for.

No such luck.

Not only did the Angels fail to give their fans a small victory – they lost it in the worst possible way; at the hands of Mike Napoli.

Napoli would account for all three of the Rangers runs with a solo homerun and a game-winning two run shot (his 30th) in the 9th inning off closer Jordan Walden.

As Napoli rounded the bases in the 9th inning, he did a little stutter step before hitting third base and then crossed home plate and proceeded to chest bump and high five his teammates like he had just won the World Series. That’s not a condemnation of his actions; merely an observation.

Who could blame him?

Watching Napoli round the bases twice in the same game was like having salt rubbed into an open wound. It wasn’t fun at all; in fact, it was painful. Given the monumental struggles of Jeff Mathis this season and quite frankly for his whole career – the Mike Napoli show was enough to drive any fan to the brink of insanity.

Before his at-bat in the 9th, I turned to anyone who would listen and said, “I wish someone would plant a fast ball on his ‘squatter’ (his rear) just to send him a message that he’s looking a little too comfortable.” No such luck.

Napoli went yard instead. What a miserable way to end a season.

Meanwhile the Baltimore Orioles (a team that had a much worse season than our own Angels) gave their fans a send-off to remember by knocking the Boston Red Sox completely out of the postseason. While Orioles fans left their stadium, wanting more and looking ahead; Angels fans left their stadium totally deflated and more than done with 2011.

Quite the contrast.

For an excellent recap of the evening through the eyes of an Orioles fan – please read Justin Klugh’s piece on’s “Call to the pen.” The link is here: Stupid Orioles. Klugh is one of my favorite bloggers and really nails it.

And so the 2011 season ends with a *sigh* and a whimper; kind of like a Jeff Mathis at-bat.

No comments:

Post a Comment