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The Day that Forever Changed My Halos
"We need more offense. We need a big bat."
I'm not sure I could keep track of how many times Los Angeles Angels fans uttered those words, in their various forms, during the 2011 season. There were too many to count. We painfully watched as a stellar starting pitching staff was time and again done in by the team's inability to score runs. It was like a broken record, with little hope of being fixed.
But then came a glimmer of hope. With Tony Reagins out and Jerry Dipoto in at the General Manager's position, would this cure the Halos woes? Would this help bring the "big bat" and the other fixes that were so desperately needed? Maybe this change by Arte Moreno would usher in a new era for the Angel faithful. I was hopeful.
However hopeful I was, I will admit I did not believe, for even a second, that Moreno, Dipoto and his team could pull off the seemingly unthinkable. When the rumors began flying around on Twitter the night before the biggest free agent signings in Angels' history, I rolled my eyes at my computer screen. C.J. Wilson? Albert Pujols? Both? You've got to be kidding me. We fans had been in this position before, many times, and ended up with nothing. I wasn't about to be suckered into that again.
Oh me of little faith.
Within the span of about one hour, December 8th, 2011, became the day that changed my favorite baseball team forever. No longer was my team the team that didn't offer enough, was too difficult to work with or was unwilling to budge. Moreno, with his "go big or go home" approach brought the best starting pitcher on the market in C.J. Wilson back home, and the best player of this generation in Albert Pujols to Orange County. Done and done. It's been several weeks and I'm still shaking my head in disbelief.
The debate, of course, rages on as to whether these were actually good signings. Was it too much money? Was it too many years? Is it all too big of a risk? As a fan who saw a front office that seemed to operate in a fear-driven reactionary mode for the past several years, I say this is the best thing that could have happened to this team. The fan base, and the players for that matter, are energized in a way I've never seen. The excitement is palpable, and we all wish the season started yesterday.
I've been following the Angels since I was a little girl, when I spent my summers at the Big A cheering on my hometown team. The '80s and '90s were some rough, even dark years, when wins and excitement were hard to come by. I still cheered, I still showed up every summer, and I was still hopeful, because that's baseball. This, however, is not the Angels baseball of my youth. Change can be good. Risk can be rewarding. And I'm embracing them both with open arms.
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