Sunday, December 28, 2008

Step away from the edge, guys

Honestly, the rampant fear, uncertainty, and doubt regarding the Angels' 2009 season is reaching epic proportions. Critics are citing the front office's unwillingness to sign an aging free agent outfielder as proof that Arte Moreno and Tony Reagins aren't serious about winning, to which I reply...


The Angels are not a storied franchise. They spent decades of their existence in below league-average mediocrity. They traded away one of the game's greatest pitchers to save payroll. They wore periwinkle blue fake vests. They shared a stadium with a terrible NFL franchise. They lived in the constant shadow of the "real" LA team, but nobody even considered them a competing franchise.

Then 2002 happened. Then Arte Moreno happened. Then Vlad happened. This front office has shown a dedication which, although sometimes misguided, few other franchises are able to enjoy. Aside from the Red Sox, no other team has shown the dedication to the fanbase that the 2004--> Angels have. Look at the other teams in the division. The Mariners have gone from winning 116 games in 2001 to losing 101 in 2008. The Athletics have an owner who flat-out refuses to pay for top talent, forcing the team to rebuild every third season. The Rangers inexplicably trade away top pitching to acquire more hitting talent and continue to lose.

The Angels are the only team in the AL West with ownership that both cares and spends. Letting some of the kids earn their spots for one effing season does not mean every asshole fan with a single ticket stub from a Royals game gets to criticze every aspect of the front office. Sure, the 2009 team won't be as good as the 2008 team. But the 2008 team set a franchise record for wins and had the best record in baseball. They still flunked in the playoffs. Mark Teixeira didn't fix them. Casey Kotchman wouldn't have fixed them.

This team has a simple problem, and it's not getting to the playoffs. The second the ALDS rolls around, everyone, from the manager to Torii, coils up tighter than an old drumhead. If they ever learn to relax, all will be fine. Signing Pat Burrell or Adam Dunn or Manny "Don't Give A Fuck" Ramirez isn't the answer.

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