October 12, 2011

Nap-oh-please make it stop

I can’t take it. It’s hard to watch and even harder to reconcile in my head. How in the world did Mike Napoli end up in Texas? Yeah, I know “how” – I should ask “Why?” Okay, I know the “why” as well; I’m just having a hard time wrapping my head around it all.

Every time I hear an announcer or an analyst talk about what a fantastic hitter Napoli is with two strikes or how he doesn’t chase the high fast ball anymore or how good he’s been behind the plate, etc., etc., my head wants to explode.

If you’re an Angels fan, you know exactly what I’m talking about. It’s utterly painful to watch. It’s like being a little kid standing in your front yard while all the neighbor kids pile into a mini-van to head of to Disneyland and your left behind sad and jealous because you could have gone too, but your parents didn’t pay attention when plans were being made (not that this actually happened to me).

How did this happen? Crap. I’m doing it again. I’m asking questions that I know the answers to. I guess what I’m really trying to say is that I don’t understand it and I doubt that I ever will.

This creates a problem for me. You see, I like Mike Scioscia. Heck, I think he’s the best thing to ever happen to the Angels. Yeah, that’s right – EVER. It’s just that I can’t reconcile my appreciation for Scioscia with the fact that he let Mike Napoli go.

Now I know that no one is perfect – especially baseball managers and general managers. They all make mistakes and every move has some risk involved; but never-the-less, I can’t let this one go.

I mean if the Angels had simply decided it was time for Hank Conger; maybe, just maybe I’d understand. I mean I understood the thought process behind letting Troy Glaus go because Dallas McPherson appeared to be ready. And even though that didn’t work out, I could justify it in my head.

But… Napoli leaving to make room for Jeff Mathis? The same Mathis who could be non-tendered any day now?

If I could, I would kidnap Scioscia and lock him in a room; inject him with some truth serum and start asking questions.

Was it personal Mike? Was it really about his defense? Does his family make better Italian food than yours? Does he buy his appliances at Best Buy instead of Howard's? What was it really? I've got to know.

Face it; the complete turn-around of Napoli has been astonishing. He could always hit homeruns, but now he’s turned into Johnny Bench. He’s not the same guy he was in Anaheim and I’m not so sure he would have ever become who he is today had he stayed in Anaheim.

And about that…

What’s that all about? Is Mike Scioscia that hard on catchers? Is Mickey Hatcher really that inept? Yes, I know – I’m doing it again with the obvious questions… you think you know the answers; but do we really? No, really; I don’t want to hear the speculation of a bunch of sheep who spout the same nonsense that everyone else does. I want some real answers.

Unfortunately, I’ll probably never get the answers I want… (I’m thinking about the truth serum idea again).


Somebody get Bengie Molina on the phone. I want to ask him what it was like playing for Scioscia. I’m serious – Molina was the total package and I’d love to get his perspective.

Can anyone validate what happened? Anyone? Hello?

Meanwhile, baseball marches on.

As great as the postseason has been so far; and let me tell you – it’s been utterly spectacular; I still feel a little empty. Actually, make that a-whole-lot-of empty because the Angels failed to get there for the second year in a row and every time I turn on a Rangers game I see signs like “Year of the Napoli.”

Josh Hamilton even made a comment that had something to do with who the Rangers might get from the Angels this off season after watching Vladimir Guerrero last year and Napoli this year contribute to their success. That wouldn't be so funny if it weren't so true.

Seriously… this isn’t fun at all. Oh sure – Rangers fans are yucking it up pretty good, but most die-hard Angels fans are suffering here.

You hear the praise being heaped on Napoli and you sit there starring at the T.V. numb and utterly stunned. And just when you think you’ve come back to your senses – you watch him hit a homerun or throw a runner out or do something that makes you plant your face firmly in the palm of your hands.

And the truth of the matter is that you can’t really hate Napoli for his success. He didn’t choose to be in Texas – he ended up there. I have no problem booing the likes of Ian Kinsler or CJ Wilson, but I can’t muster up any animosity for Napoli at all and let me tell you - I've tried.

He was never one of my favorites, but that’s probably because I knew he wasn’t one of Scioscia’s favorites. Why Mike; why?

We see Napoli having success and we are hopeless to do anything about it.

Our nightmare has been Napoli’s dream come true. Not only did he have a fantastic season, he even put an exclamation point on it when his team ended the year in Anaheim – where he hit four homeruns in that final series. It was like watching a movie in slow motion.

It feels like Angel fans are being punished over and over and over and over and… well, you get the picture.

If Texas goes on to win the World Series I’m not going to be very happy about it (the thought just makes me want to puke), but a small part of me will be happy for Napoli (a really teeny tiny part of me). If it happens (Texas winning *gag*) my emotions will again be in conflict; happy for Nap and disgusted that it happened in Texas.

Regardless of what happens; 2011 season has been sort of a coming-out party for Napoli. It truly has been his year (just like those signs say).

It’s like he was freed from a boss he hated even though he was doing something he normally loved to do. When you hear him interviewed he seems to be having fun. He seems to have found the joy again and I can’t help but be happy for him. He probably never deserved the amount of criticism that was thrown his way; especially, when we compare how much praise has always been given to Mathis.

It just doesn’t compute and I doubt that it ever will.

So here we are… while Ranger fans chant Nap-o-li, Nap-o-li; we Angel fans watch in quiet (or maybe not-so-quiet) anguish. It wasn’t supposed to be like this.

The funny thing is that even though the Angels are in the process of a massive face lift – as they go about looking to replace Tony Reagins and an-ever-growing cast of thousands (scouts, front office personnel, etc.) – I can’t get the whole Napoli thing out of my mind. It’s as if I am looking for some kind of closure; a valid explanation, if you will before I can “turn the page.”

Oh well… Approximately 124 days till pitchers and catchers report. It’s going to be a long off season. Buckle up.


  1. That isn't the Napoli that I remember playing for the Angels. He IS a more patient hitter now and stretching out at-bats. Looking at the Angels hitters the past couple of years, it DOES feel like Hattcher is the problem. Our guys should be looking at more pitches, especially early in the game and start to tax the starter when they can.

    Watch some Yankees and Red Sox games. Those hitters can slow the game down, look at tons of pitches and then get their pitch to hit. They get to the bullpen sooner, too, which usually means the weaker links on the staff - middle relievers. It's a formula that works.

  2. I think it's not as much Scioscia as it was HATCHER that screwed Nap's chances to stay here in Anaheim. Hacker screws up EVERYONE's swing, and that's what is wrong with the Angels. Can't say Scioscia doesn't get ANY blame, but most of it belongs to Hatcher, not Scioscia.

  3. I would like to see Hatcher fired, but as part of an overall purge of the team's offense. I wrote my manifesto for canning him back in 2006; nothing has changed.

  4. The Angels will be back!!! Soon you will forget about Napoli!!

  5. Not sure how I stumbled on your blog, but thank you! Seeing Angels fans suffer in this way has made this Rangers fan's day! Go Rangers! NAP-OH-LEE! NAP-OH-LEE!

    1. HAHAHAHA I THOUGHT THE EXACT SAME THING!!! Especially the "booing the likes of Ian Kinsler", then mentioning the same distaste for CJ Wilson, who the Angels got stuck with plus now our grand choker, Hamilton. Lol. *sigh*... So funny. We will miss Napoli and Michael Young dearly, but it's time to move on to better things. I still won't be getting rid of my "nap-oh-lee" shirt from when Cliff Lee split.

  6. Nap and Rivera had 41 HRS and 149 RBI's with an OPS of about .900. VW had 24 HRS, 66 RBI's with an OPS of .660. VW cost 23 million. Nap and Juan 8.2 million. So it goes and Tony is gone.

  7. bottom line Napoli should have been our everyday catcher and mathis a defensive back up
    - napoli was a great power hitter that needed consistent playing time and never got it with the Angels
    - I am a die hard angel fan its time for Sciosca to go I'm tired of seeing 162 different lineups and the worst #5 in angel history getting playing time

  8. It stopped. No World Series Title for Texas. 51 years and counting.