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Concession Speech: 2012 Los Angeles Angels

Kevin Kaduk
Big League Stew

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With the regular season over, teams are facing an offseason filled with golf rounds and hot-stove strategy.

But we're not going to let them get off that easy. No sir. No way. In an attempt to bring some closure between franchise and follower, we're giving a blogger from each team the opportunity to give a concession speech for this year's squad. Up next is our friend James Rygg of True Grich.

Yeah, yeah, I know … this is coming to you a little late. Well, this speech is indicative of the Angels season when you think about it. The team got going late and this speech follows that example by dragging its feet.

So… OK, it's time to concede the season even if the Rangers have already run their white flag and we see the A's are on deck. As for the Mariners, no one's been interested enough to step up and concede the season here on BLS. We'll consider that a victory.

Anyway, let's get on with it. The 2012 season is history and even though a couple players made some history, the team's overall performance will go down as one of the monumental failures of the year.

Mistakes were made: I know that some of you would like to point some fingers at Mike Scioscia. Some of you would like to point sharp objects at Vernon Wells and others want to blame Albert Pujols' early season struggles or any number of things, but the fact of the matter is that this team's struggles should be directly attributed to the bullpen.

The bullpen's inability to hold a lead became so predictable that I began to notice fire trucks circling the parking lots whenever an Angel reliever got up to warm up. Not only did the Angels' bullpen lack the skills to put out a fire, they almost became a danger to themselves.

C'mon, did you really think Jason Isringhausen, LaTroy Hawkins and Scott Downs (combined age: 115) would stay healthy enough all year and all be good enough at the same time? For all the talk about the things that Jerry Dipoto did right, a lot of Angel fans seem to give him a pass on signing Isringhausen and Hawkins, not to mention David Pauley.

This is where I'm probably supposed to cite some statistics to back up my statements about the sad state of affairs in the bullpen. Well, sorry — I don't have the energy and I'm not sure there's a calculator out there that's strong enough to handle the task. Yes, it was that bad.

Mudslinging time: You know what really stinks about the 2012 campaign? The fact that the Oakland A's won the division. Are you kidding me? I guess if the city's former mayor Jerry Brown can get elected as the state's governor — for a second time in a long career, no less — anything is possible. But please, the Oakland A's?

Not only did the Angels fail to make the postseason, they gave the Oakland A's fan base and all the Billy Beane minions of the world the right to spout off about sabermetrics and moneyball from now until the end of Albert Pujols' contract. In other words, a very long time.

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Part of me believes that the Angel players thought they had this season in the bag and all they had to do was show up. Instead of being aggressive in their play (you know, stealing bases, hitting and running, etc.) it was as if they stood around and waited … and waited … and waited some more for Albert Pujols to rescue them.

Look, I love the fact that Albert Pujols is an Angel and at the end of this year's campaign — his numbers certainly look respectable — but I expected more from this team. We all did.

This is the third consecutive season that this team has failed to make the postseason. if I'm asked again next year by the good folks from Big League Stew to write about the failures of the Angels season I'm going to cover myself in peanut butter and lay on top of an ant hill.

Don't make me do that. Please.

Hope for the future: OK, 2012 wasn't a complete disaster. We did get to experience Jered Weaver's no-hitter and the amazing emergence of Mike Trout. I will admit that I had to pinch myself every time Mike Trout did something great because I can't believe we get to watch this kid absolutely dominate the game for years to come. I can't wait to read more comparisons to Mickey Mantle, Superman, Thor, and the like.

A change is going to come: I expect some good news that will give us all hope for a better 2013 campaign.

I expect the return of Torii Hunter. I don't even want to think about life without Torii, so the Angels better get this done and get it done quickly.

I expect the signing of Zack Greinke because if ever there was an opportunity for the Angels to make a giant case for more support from their fans in 2013, it would be right here with Greinke. Get it done.

Most of all, I expect a revamped bullpen, with fresh power arms. If there are any announcements that follow a "blue light" ala Kmart, I'm not going to be happy. In fact, if there are people in blue vests greeting us fans at the gates of the stadium next year — things could get ugly.

I know the winter is going to be long and painful, but hopefully all the suffering we will endure will be worth it in the end. I mean, Mike Trout will still be just 21 years old until late in the season. Albert Pujols will undoubtedly be Albert Pujols from the start again and when spring comes around — 2012 will be a distant memory.

I'm looking forward because that's what good baseball fans do. I'm looking ahead to a time when my favorite team gets back to the business of playing Angels baseball.

My fellow Angel fans, this offseason when you get down and sad, I would ask that you think about Mike Trout. When you get tired and cold, think about Mike Trout. When you wake up in the morning and when you go to bed a night think about Mike Trout … Think about all the stuff you saw him do this past season and imagine all things he's going to do for years to come.

At the end of the day — despite the disappointment, frustration and even the anger — we get to watch Mike Trout play baseball next season and for several seasons to come. Are you kidding me? Even Billy Beane and his minions have to envy us for that.

Follow James Rygg on Twitter and read him at True Grich.

Previous Concession Speeches: Texas Rangers, Atlanta BravesChicago White SoxTampa Bay RaysMilwaukee BrewersPhiladelphia PhilliesArizona DiamondbacksPittsburgh Pirates,Cleveland IndiansBoston Red SoxMinnesota TwinsSan Diego PadresNew York MetsMiami MarlinsChicago CubsToronto Blue JaysColorado RockiesKansas City Royals, Houston Astros

Make sure all your bases are covered this postseason ...
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