September 6, 2011

What if?

Hello “Swagger” my old friend; it’s really good to see you again.

I’m definitely feeling it; yes, I am. Call it confidence. Call it pennant fever. Call it whatever you want; it’s all good.

The unmistakable aroma of an American League West pennant is in the air and if things go just right, we’ll be tasting victory once again. There’s nothing like a little three game winning streak to get the adrenaline going and I’m getting more and more excited with each passing day. How could I not?

Think about where this team was a year ago; heck, think about where they were August 18, 2011.

My confidence has been fueled by an old, late arriving friend... It took a good long while for him to get here, but from what I can tell the Angels Offense has finally arrived. Better late than never, right?

The Angels have really been swinging the bat. I’d run down the numbers for you, but quite frankly – you can look that up yourself! It’s all about Torii Hunter, Mark Trumbo, Howie Kendrick, Peter Bourjos and even Vernon Wells. Sprinkle in some Mike Trout and you’ve got a recipe for success.

Any struggles the team had earlier this year seem like a distant memory. It’s all about the now and right now – the Angels offense is rolling. Mark Saxon of ESPN LA wrote that “Vernon Well is hitting .383 with eight extra base hits in his past 12 games.”

If ever there was a barometer for the Angels’ offense, it’s right there with Wells. When Wells and Hunter are hitting the Angels are simply a better, more dangerous team. Speaking of Hunter, I’m actually proud of the way Torii Hunter has risen to the occasion. It really warms my heart to see him playing so well. Just look at his smile and you know – you know he’s feeling it too.

Right now, when the Angels have run scoring opportunities, I feel like they’re going to capitalize. I don’t need to look at their statistics. I don’t need to know what their history is with runners in scoring position or how they’ve faired against certain pitchers over the season. I just feel like this team is competing and that’s all I can ask.

Yes, I feel that swagger again.

Most people and even some Angels' fans seem to have counted this team out and given the way the season has gone, it’s easy to understand why. The home crowds have been lighter and some season ticket holders have even gone so far as to not order play-off tickets. I don’t think Cheryl and I would ever forgive ourselves if we passed on the opportunity to be a part of a special play-off run.

What if? Seriously… what IF?

Now, I understand sometimes life just doesn't allow you to do certain things – but if you love baseball and nothing is holding you back – you need to pay attention.

Right here; right now, the Angels are quietly making a push. I see it. I feel it. This is real folks. This is a good old fashioned pennant race. Some of the national sports media might be ignoring it, but that doesn’t mean you should too.

If you’re an Angels fan and you’re not excited; check your pulse. Yes, its gut wrenching at times, but the thrill of a pennant race is one of the best things in sports. This is what baseball is all about. You gotta love it.

The eventual champion in any sport often come out of nowhere. It’s become common place for the experts to be wrong and the teams that emerge victorious are often the teams no one expected. You can project and predict till your blue in the face, but when all is said and done - things happen that aren't necessarily explainable, but are often magical.

Think about the possibilities.

Ask yourself… what if? What if this ends up being like 2002? Stranger things have happened. I know it seems like a long shot to some of you - but wouldn't it make for an incredible story? How often do we get to take part in something that special?

All I want is that chance. How about you?

Don't make excuses, don't say "but..." - and leave your skeptical self in the closet. Just keeping asking yourself - WHAT IF?

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