October 02, 2011
As the regular season winds down, 22 teams are facing an offseason filled with golf rounds and hot-stove strategery.
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 detain their squads for the equivalent of a Saturday morning detention stay.
Up next is James Rygg, proprietor of True Grich. If you want to say that's the best-named blog in the blogosphere, you wouldn't be wrong.
Los Angeles Angels, you're getting detention. But you really deserve corporal punishment because that's what you should get when you let your mouth overload your butt.
Yeah, that's right; I haven't forgotten the way you popped off last off season and told all your fans how you would upgrade the offense, do whatever it takes, make a "big splash," yadda, yadda, yadda.
That all came back to bite you didn't it?
Well, now that you will be serving detention — I expect you to sit still and be quiet as you contemplate your actions or should I say "non-actions." You need to take time to look within yourself and figure things out.
You need to learn that action speaks louder than words.
Don't look at me for answers. I have plenty to say about your behavior as do most Angel fans, but this is on you.
Stop looking at me like that.
Ok, fine — you asked for it…
That's right — it was the offense, stupid. You had 32 games where you scored one run or less. Guess how many of those games you won? Four. Do the math.
Do you know how many teams would kill to have a rotation like yours? Outside of Philadelphia, San Francisco and possibly Tampa Bay — every single team in baseball.
We can go round and round for days about what went wrong. After all, you have a history here, but the main problem remains that popgun of an offense you boast.
Volumes have been written by writers much smarter than me about how bad he truly is. He is monumentally and historically awful. I blogged about my disdain for him so often, some people might have thought he stole my lunch or something.
There is no excuse for the number of at-bats you gave him. None. Zilch. Zero. Absolutely none what-so-ever. Are we clear?
Partners in Crime: We knew going into the season that the margin for error was very small. After all, the Texas Rangers proved last year that they were playing "big boy baseball." Maybe you thought that was some sort of a fluke. Maybe you didn't take them seriously. Well, shame on you.
The Rangers took advantage of a weak American League West going 40-17 against the division. Meanwhile, you couldn't even manage a .500 record going 27-30. Do you have any idea how utterly pathetic that is?
Face it. You got lazy and you didn't put in the work. Instead you sat there and picked your nose and got left watching the other kids enjoy the swings on the playground.
Like I said earlier — you did a lot of talking. Word around baseball was that in the offseason you were talking like Carl Crawford(notes) was already signed and delivered. How'd that work out for you? Yes, Crawford struggled with the Red Sox, but your failure to sign him lead you to making a ridiculous trade…Yeah, you know what I'm talking about.
Your face just turned Angel red.
I imagine you were patting yourself on the back when you traded Juan Rivera(notes) and Mike Napoli(notes) to Toronto for Vernon Wells(notes). But I can only imagine the look on your face when you heard Napoli was subsequently traded to Texas.
Revenge is a tremendous motivator. Napoli owned you. In 16 games he had a 1.196 OPS and smacked six home runs against you. Heck, he even hit four homers in the last series against you. In your own house, no less! He was the big dog in the neighborhood that pooped on your lawn and left it for you to clean up.
Who got the last laugh there? On the last day of the regular season — one of your pitchers should have sent him a message with a fastball on his left butt cheek. But no, instead of sending the Rangers off to play in New York, you let Napoli go yard one more time, assuring them of a better record than the Tigers that will allow them to host the first two games of their postseason.
Napoli had to be laughing all the way back to Texas. Shame on you for that.
Speaking of shame and laughter — Vernon Wells? Really? I don't even want to go there because I might end up keeping you in detention until next summer and judging by the look on your face — you know darn well that was an epic disaster; so let's move on.
Something to build on: Look, I know you're not all bad. You made some bad decisions and did a lot more talking than you should have; but on the bright side you did bring along some young talent in Peter Bourjos(notes), Mark Trumbo(notes) and Mike Trout(notes). Heck, you even resurrected the career of Jerome Williams(notes).
These are admirable things and something you should be proud of. You got a lot more out of these young guys than anyone could have ever imagined. They were like a breath of fresh air and made Brandon Wood(notes) and even Dallas McPherson(notes) seem like distant odors.
When I think about how much fun it was to watch the guys I just mentioned, I almost forget about how utterly frustrating the season was; like I said — "almost."
Shape up or ship out: You've got work to do. Actual work, not talking. Got it?
You need to realize you can't count on Kendrys Morales(notes) coming back at full-strength and
even if he does — you have to know he's not going to be enough. If you're just banking on him and some sort of resurgence by Vernon Wells; well then, you're going to be back in detention quicker than you can say "rally monkey."
This isn't going to be easy. You have to find a way to fit Mike Trout into the everyday lineup even though you still have Wells, Bourjos and Torii Hunter(notes). Hunter is a team guy and you know you can't count on him to step aside and serve as the primary DH (which brings us back to Abreu …)
You need to find a power hitting third baseman. Alberto Callaspo(notes) is not the answer. You are going to be tested again next season and if you fill in "Callaspo" as the answer to the question who's starting at third — you're going to get more than detention. Let that be fair warning.
And if Jeff Mathis' name is even whispered as a possible starter next year — heaven help you. You see the vein popping out on my forehead? That should tell you how serious I am.
Now get out of my sight, take your finger out of your nose and don't come back until you've fixed the problem.