Legends On Deck

Bingo, Yahtzee, and the LA Angels

Falling means moving without control. It’s not intentional, a momentary victim of circumstance. How many falls can be a coincidence? Flagrant on the other hand is obviously offensive. What started as a hero falling sorrounded by other valiant Angels who simply, yet often tragically, kept coming up short has turned into an offensive waste of a Hero who can’t lift the sum of his angelic legion’s parts.

If you were to ask any Los Angeles Angels fan about the teams current trajectory, the word “PITCHING” will surely follow. It’s a defining single word answer, like “BINGO,” or “YAHTZEE!” One that carries with it a burden of knowing you lost a round, or a game; or just another year of an All-Time great career with nothing much to show for it?

Sure, MVP candidate in the face of a losing team is still impressive, year after underachieving year, but it’s not about accumulating awards anymore. Before we saw it for a solid decade that flash would help define greatness among peers, but now we know where that conversation stands. Mike Trout is not a one or two year wonder. His is the only name consistently in the hunt for these awards every single season. Trout has won MVPs after missing the last month of the season, he has competed for it as winner or runner up against other historic seasons when they were statistically not even his best. Think about that, it’s absurd, especially on a losing team. The only mirror that can even compare to it is other great players in Major League history who competed against other great peers despite their own manumental achievements, thus coming up short. Is Mike Trout still breaking through to what he will ultimately become and persevere through in the analogs of baseball history? Or, is his legacy tied to an Organization that will never get out of its own way? A team that chooses to spend money on all the wrong things, despite having plenty of it to throw around? Is it really that simple?

I know, I know, it’s not a fair argument. Albert Pujols is a top hitter ever. Anthony Rendon is a clutch guy with winning intangibles like very few modern players. How about CJ Wilson? Josh Hamilton? Justin Upton? Why swing for the fences for offensive production when every season ends with pitchers determining the outcomes of championship seasons? Matt Harvey, Julio Teheran, and Trevor Cahill don’t exactly sing the song that sounds like rotational serenity. Despite a solid bullpen at times the last several years, over taxing any decent bullpen makes it less than solid, more like mushy. Noe Ramirez for 4 innings, Cam Bedrosian for 3, Buttrey for 2, and Robles for what’s left. When you add in the gluttony of pitching injuries since the Angels last playoff run and best record season in 2014, fans understandably have serious doubts about decision makers and coaches within the Organizations higharchy. Do we have the right people in place? Do we know what to spend money on? Is everything an excited money grab based only on recent events? Can Arte let a General Manager work, or will he decline trades like Ross and Joc for a back up infielder again, because it took a day longer than he was comfortable with? Speaking of GMs…

What’s it gonna be? Perseverance or Negligance? Recovering from a few falls, or flagrantly denying their existence? Billy Eppler was brought in to redefine the teams farm approach, and to “win now.” Five losing seasons later, “winning now” seems like a Disney fairy tale we only vaguley remember from, well, when Disney last owned the team(yes, 2002, pre-Moreno)! Since Eppler’s termination at the end of 2020(after a weird extension just months earlier), most of his replacement candidates seem to be from scouting backgrounds instead of administrative ones. Finding talent we all know is vital. Reid Detmers certainly looked like a great example of that last draft at number 10 overall; stud starting winner from a program like Louisville(hey, we’ll take it)! Still, who will be the General Manager? We have heard of interviews, and John Carpino saying their would be “no rush” but they want to have “someone” in place around Thanksgiving. So is former Gm and Advisor Bill Stoneman acting on decisions in the mean time? And if not, who is? Tony La Russa is a Manager again! Hello? Are you still reading? John!? Bill?! Who’s it going to be?!?!

I’m really asking! Yes you, the reader! Because no one else has any clue. And moreso,

How involved will they be as a final decision maker? Who will be the Assistant GMs? The say of Joe Maddon? How about Mike Trout? A player who has earned more than regular say in decision making through generational wealth and attention he single handedly creates through ridiculously consistent performances. People buy Angels tickets because Mike Trout is smiling on them on fine red print. They do not buy them because Arte Moreno lowered beer prices. I’m not saying prices should be higher, but your product on the field is why people need to be there to get tipsy in the first place! A sobering fact met head on with the drunken looking signings pertaining to our starting rotation the last 5 years. Maybe it’s time to spend money on someone who knows what they’re doing when it comes to spending money on building a team… with money. See, even I sound disoriented talking about it! Can we stop stumbling?! Sign someone who can throw!

Bundy was a trade. Nice try, hey, how many fingers am I holding up?

BINGO! YAHTZEE!

PITCHING!

Benny Bam
Sport&Style
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