September 18, 2014
Winning is hard. It’s really hard and I try not to forget that. This helps me appreciate and savor every Angel victory just a little bit more.
Last night, as Cheryl and I stood behind the Angels dug-out while the players poured onto the field in a joyous celebration after clinching the 2014 American League West pennant, I couldn’t help but feel like it was all happening too fast. I wanted to slow the moment down and soak it all in, but before I knew it – it was over. Just like that.
We watched. We cheered. We slapped hands with Hank Conger and we snapped photos left and right. We smiled. We laughed. We savored.
The past 34 games were a blur. When your team is rolling, time goes by quickly unlike when they’re losing and the days drag on forever.
It all started after a miserable home series with the Dodgers and the Red Sox – where the Angels not only lost – they had their stadium over-run by opposing fans. It was ugly.
Then August 12, 2014 arrived and the Angels began the day 4 games behind the Oakland A’s. The mountain that stood before the team looked enormous. Four games felt like forty games. Would they ever put it together?
Fast forward to yesterday and the Angels go from 4 games down on August 12 to clinching the American League West going up 12 games on September 17. The Angels would go 27-7 over that span and in the process blow past the competition like a locomotive. It was impressive. It was even breathtaking.
As the Angels began to engage in an actual pennant race – the anxiety level of a great many Angel fans began to escalate. As the team started to just roll over opponents in devastating fashion, baseball became incredibly fun. Every game raised the level of expectation and every onslaught of offense gave fans unbelievable confidence. It was no longer a question of “could they do it?” It became, “Oh my goodness, they’re going to do this.”
I don’t know about the rest of Angel nation, but I was anticipating a month of anxiety and a dog-fight to the end. Instead, the A’s rolled over and the Angels rolled on past them. The Angels had become the big dogs and they were sticking their head out the truck window as the team blazed a trail down the highway.
When the team clinched the pennant last night – we all got to exhale a bit. It felt good. It felt unbelievably good to be back in the post-season.
So here we are. Ten games left in the regular season and a post-season that beckons us. Yes, the anxiety is about to ramp back up because things are about to get intense. This is what it’s all about.
Embrace the moment Angel fans. This is a special time. Take a deep breath and get ready for one heck of a ride. The journey isn’t over and we still have memories to create. We are blessed to have this opportunity to experience the post-season yet again. And man, it’s great to be back.