September 3, 2013

First comes mayhem and then the abyss

This isn’t the worst season the Angels have ever had; it just feels like it is. 

There’s a great deal of chatter out there regarding Angels baseball and quite frankly none of it is good.  The amount of venom that’s being spewed is at epidemic proportions.  People aren’t just mad, they’re fed up and even a little nasty about it. 

There’s a lot of finger pointing going on.  Some of them are pointing at Jerry Dipoto; some at Mike Scioscia and some at Arte Moreno.  Heck, some are pointing at all 3. That finger isn’t just pointing; it’s being waved with intensity.

Fans are fed up; columnists, writers, bloggers, message boards, sports talk radio and the like are having a field day.  Speculation is running rampant and it’s hard to separate the truth from fiction.

What happened? Where did it all go wrong?  Most importantly, what is the truth and how does this franchise rebound?

I can’t ever remember a time when the fan base was this restless; let alone - annoyed and frustrated.  2002 changed everything.  For better or worse - the franchise has never been the same since 2002, as expectations were elevated to new levels.

The good news is that all the anger and frustration is a sign that fans actually care.  They’re passionate about this team and although the end result may mean that many will be walking away from supporting the team at all; all of it is sending a message to the front office…  We don’t like what you’ve done with our team and we want you to fix it!

As I check in with fellow season ticket holders – many of them aren’t renewing.  They can’t justify the investment of time and money.  Their emotions run the gamut of everything from despair to disgust.

It’s sad.  We enjoyed a sort of golden age of Angels baseball from 2002-2009 and I would hate to think that’s as good as it will ever get, but lately – it feels like that might be the case.  Think about it.

The future looks bleak.  Every fan knows that the farm system is in shambles, we don’t know who’s running the show – be it Dipoto, Scioscia or Moreno and it seems like there is massive dysfunction and chaos at every turn.  It’s like the team is auditioning for one of those All-State Insurance commercials with the “Mayhem Guy.”

 It feels like it all went bad overnight and what makes things worse is that it doesn’t seem like the team can rebound the other way just as quickly.  The next few years could be painful and when you’re not accustomed to waiting and watching a rebuilding process – it just sucks.   Not only that, it’s painful too.

I’ve been an Angels fan for a long time – since the late 60’s and I know all about the lean years, but like I said earlier – 2002 changed everything.  I want to get back to that 2002 feeling.  I know it’s never easy winning a world championship and quite frankly that’s what makes it all the more special.  What I want is some leadership and a plan; and right now, I’m not seeing either.

So I’m about to give you my take.  I’ve given all of this a lot of thought and I’ve spent countless hours mulling this all over in my head. 

When I think about Moreno, Dipoto and Scioscia – I think about the one individual in this group who has had success at the major league level and that’s Mike Scioscia.  The way I see it – Scioscia along with Bill Stoneman are the two individuals who changed Angels' baseball forever and the farther away we get from their original plan – the more likely we’ll continue to see the demise of the franchise.

Scioscia is the one of the three with a track record and who clearly had a vision for how a franchise should develop players and play on the field.  I don’t get a sense of vision from the other two.  I assume they have one – but I just don’t see it.

You can say what you want about Scioscia and some of you are attacking him pretty hard, but at the end of the day – I’m going to back Scioscia 100%.  Even though I don’t know him personally, I get a sense of who he is as a man and I respect him a great deal.  I believe that given the proper tools – as in the kind of players who play the way he wants – this team will be successful.  Anything less than that isn’t going to work.

I love the way Scioscia’s team played when they were winning.  I loved the fact that they had the sabermetric community scratching their heads because they often outperformed their projections.  I mean that was a beautiful thing.

I don’t have any confidence in Dipoto.  Why should I?  I also have less and less confidence in Moreno – given how he’s portrayed in the media.  I know I don’t know the whole story and I’m never going to have all the facts about what’s really happening behind the scenes, but that doesn’t mean I can’t draw my own conclusions.

I don’t like what I’m reading and I certainly haven’t enjoyed what I’ve seen take place on the field. 

Angel fans are beginning to lose hope.  That’s a big deal because without hope, the will to fight and hang in there vanishes.  Our little utopia is crumbling and the real impact is the loss of friends who sit around us at games.  I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to go back to a time when it was easy to get a seat at the stadium.  I would much rather see the stadium full and decked out in red with rally sticks thundering.

Things feel out of control and almost desperate.  It’s like we’re looking into the abyss.

I don’t know how to fix this franchise, but I’m guessing Mike Scioscia does.  My head hurts when I try to think of what needs to be done and how long it might take.  That being said, I do have an opinion.

For me – the plan is simple.  First – Arte Moreno needs to stay out of the baseball business, period.  Second – we need a GM who thinks about the game the same way Mike Scioscia does.  Put the two together and then get out of the way.  It’s a simple plan, but it’s easier said than done.  There are egos to contend with and a fan base that wants to see improvement right now.

I have hated almost every moment of this season and that’s not how it’s supposed to be.  The joy has been sucked out of me and I’m not happy about it.  I will still support the team, but my enthusiasm has taken a hit. 

Let’s get back to basics.  Let’s get back to solid pitching and defense and forcing the issue on the base paths.  Let’s get back to winning.  Let’s get back to playing Mike Scioscia’s brand of baseball… or else.

1 comment:

  1. I'm with you on you management/owner thoughts.......they, as a whole need to figure out the pitching and bullpen nightmare problems in a big way and give me a reason to drive the 570 miles from my driveway to the be A. to see my Angels!!