An angel is generally a supernatural being found in various religions and mythologies. In Abrahamic religions and Zoroastrianism, angels are often depicted as benevolent celestial beings who act as intermediaries between God or Heaven and Humanity. – Wikipedia
Angels do good things Maybe we can’t see them, but apparently they are around. Some are guardians, looking out for us, and many strive to make lemonade out of lemons.
Angels are happy. Angels are….. well…. angels!
We like angels, and think of them as synonymous with love.
So, then, what about the Los Angeles Angels? Based in Anaheim, not all that far from “the happiest place on earth.” They play, in fact, at Angel Stadium; and have since 1966. They are quite storied — Gene Autry, the beloved singing cowboy, was the team’s first owner. The moniker, Angels, was taken as a tribute to the original Los Angeles Angels, a minor league franchise in the Pacific Coast League which played in South Central Los Angeles from 1903 (the year Babe Ruth was born) to 1957 (the year before the Dodgers moved to Los Angeles). Mr. Autry purchased the right to the Angels-name from the legendary Walter O’Malley, the then-owner of the Dodgers who himself had bought the Angels franchise from equally renown Philip K. Wrigley, the chewing gum magnet and owner of the Cubs.
Do you know the name Steve Bilko? Big, hulking home run hitting star in the 1940s, who played for the Angels in the PCL. In his most outstanding season, Bilko won the Triple Crown with a 360 batting average, 55 homes run, and a remarkable 164 runs batted in. No surprise he was inducted into the Pacific Coast League Hall of Fame in 2003.
And what about the current Los Angeles Angels? Mike Trout…. Shohei Ohtani…. Albert Pujols (a future hall of famer to be sure).
Trout is often said to be the best player in major league baseball today. So far he has won Rookie of the Year, the American League Most Valuable Player award, and been named to seven consecutive All Star teams. He is all of 27.
But um…. you see, there is one thing Trout has not done…. much playing in the post season. Mike joined the Angels in 2011, became full-time in 2012, but the guys have only made the play offs once, so far. In 2014 the Angels won the American League West, but were swept out in the ALDS by the Royals. The team has not been back to the play offs since. A lot of people say it is a real shame a player of that caliber does not get the biggest spotlight, the post season, and of course the Fall Classic. Trout is outstanding, on and off the field; but, I think Bob Dylan sang about it: “There’s no success like failure, and failure’s no success at all…”
Still, let’s remember: Ohtani is a wunderkind. He also is quite young. Shohei pitches and hits. Sadly, there is a lot of concern he may need Tommy John surgery in the off season. Still, it says a lot: He chose to go with the Angels. He had a lot of options. And, the Angels have been making real effort to bolster their line up, to strengthen their pitching — both starters and the bull pen. Arte Moreno, the owner of the Club (he bought the Angels from the Walt Disney company) is striving to have a true championship club. As part of the overall transformation, just prior to the 2016 season, the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim dropped “of Anaheim”. There is indeed a dedicated fan base, with an average of over 37,000 in attendance per home game (sixth in the MLB).
So why…. why…. don’t they do better?! What is wrong with the Angels? It is tempting to ask: How can anything be wrong with the Angels? They are Angels!
These are not “fallen Angels”, cast from heaven for disloyalty or worse. These Angels don’t have “bad karma”. These Angels don’t deserve to stumble. They can climb out of the darkness! They can and will!Except, are they “cursed”? There was a freak incident recently where reliever Jake Jewell, seeking to catch a throw at the plate after a wild pitch, got his right spike caught in the dirt and had to be carted off the field; chances are he’s out for the rest of the season. That makes him the fifth Angel pitcher this year to be lost. Let’s not forget Matt Shoemaker, injured after his very first start, let alone Ohtani who had a UCL sprain, and now all the talk about elbow problems. Position players from Zack Cozert to Ian Kinsler, Kole Calhoun to Andrelton-Simmons (such a highly touted young short stop), Kaleb Cowart to Rene Rivera. all have done time on the disabled list.
Invariably, the mind asks: What about “management”. Michael Lorri Scioscia, manager of the Halos since 2002, and currently the longest-tenured manager in the Major Leagues. Yet, some say he is too stubborn, stuck in his ways, and the game has passed him by. GMs (several have come and gone over the years), have been criticized for loading the team up with heavy contracts, as well as players incompatible with Scioscia’s approach. The Angels have the misfortune of the Josh Hamilton experience, and the terrible tragedy of Nick Adenhart. Does Mr. Trout now leave for greener pastures, where the opportunity to play in the post season is a lot greater? I think the Angel management will offer him not just a lucrative contract, but a life time arrangement if possible. He is all-world Angel!
Baseball fans want to see the Angels do well. They are so close, and they have such remarkable talent in guys like Trout and Ohtani. I can’t figure out quite why they are not as competitive as expected. I can only offer hope that they figure out how to click on all cylinders. Scioscia may be retiring, from what I gather. Is a new era ahead? Will they be able to flap their wings and fly? This is one time where the answer that seems most appropriate is: God only knows. I just want to say: Please, guys, make like an Angel and fly!