As each of the eight postseason spots are taken over and occupied, we at the Stew will ask the hopeful candidates to issue a formal acceptance speech and explain why they're the team that will be hoisting The Commissioner's Trophy in October. First up are the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, who clinched the AL West on Wednesday. This is their address.
Mr. Commissioner, Owner and Mrs. Moreno, General Manager and Mrs. Reagins, Manager and Mrs. Scioscia, Mickey and Mrs. Mouse, my fellow Southern Californians, Greater Los Angelenos, O.C.ianados, Anaheimers, Residents of Wally World and Angels fans.
Our opponents in the West ran fine campaigns, and had fine seasons, and we should applaud each of them for giving us a good race. Among them, the Texas Rangers, whose formidable offense includes the remarkable power comebacks of Josh Hamilton and Milton Bradley, along with the effective and diverse punch of Michael Young and Ian Kinsler, certainly have a base on which to build. They need only 8-10 pitchers to become a true threat in the American League.
To our longtime nemesis, the Oakland Athletics (pause for Monkey). ... Sure, Jack Cust is their only hitter above .400 in slugging percentage, and the Rich Harden trade hasn't panned out yet — give it 4-5 years -- but we look forward to an all-left-handed starting rotation in '09. That also ought to be fun for your fanbase.
To the Seattle Mariners, the team of Erik Bedard's shoulder, Kenji Johjima's contract and formerly of Richie Sexson's judgment — and a club that sports both a Putz and a Dickey — better luck in the coming decades.
Fellow Monkey-lovers, we are not here to talk about what is done — no matter how glorious. No, what lies ahead — that's where our eyes focus. Capturing AL West is nice, but we have a bigger goal. We believe the Los Angeles Angels have what it takes to be Major League Baseball's next World Series champion! (triple pause for Monkey)
Little Halos, we can win it all because most of our roster has been repeatedly playoff tested, and several key players — including ace starter John Lackey and closer Francisco Rodriguez — wear World Series rings. Lackey would have been an All-Star, joining Ervin Santana and Joe Saunders, were he healthy in the first half. Rodriguez, who established himself as a premier reliever in his rookie season of '02, still confounds opponents with his chaotic delivery — even if he's ditched his trademark goggles — and is ready to break the single-season record for saves. Disciples of Don Aase, we are here to say that K-Rod owns the ninth inning and ain't nobody can take that away! (pause for Monkey) ...
Comrades of Carew, our lineup is full of tough outs with varied skills. Vladimir Guerrero, Torii Hunter and newcomer Mark Teixeira hit for average and power; Chone Figgins and Howie Kendrick get on base and can run, and all of our baserunners take the extra base better than anyone else in the league. We can't wait to introduce them to the rest of the AL playoff field.
Finally, Friends of the Cowboy, we have the best manager in baseball, Mike Scioscia has led the team to the playoffs in every season, save one, since 2002 when we beat Barry Bonds and the Giants in the Series. He pushes the buttons better than any skipper still afloat. He knows when to yell and when to pat on the butt. And he knows when to let the Rally Monkey do his thing! Let's hear it for the little Monkey! (pause for Monkey) ...
Devotees of Devo, thank you for your support. We pledge to continue what we started in the regular season, to not let another off-season go by without you fans knowing who's the best team in the big leagues. The Los Angeles Angels will be World Series champions in 2008. May Bobby Grich bless you and may Grich bless the Angels! Show 'em the Monkey! Let loose the Monkey!