Unless you’re Mike Trout, even on a day during which you got iced by Clayton Kershaw sustaining a scoreless inning streak, it must suck to be a Los Angeles Angel these days. Even when you’re in the thick of the American League West races despite being swept by the now-first-place Astros before dropping the first two against the Dodgers.
In his 1970s days with the Milwaukee Brewers, George Scott, the big colourful first baseman who’d been a Red Sox favourite, had a chat with the team’s then co-owner Edmund Fitzgerald, about whose team Gordon Lightfoot did not write “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald.” “If we’re gonna win,” Scott told Fitzgerald, “the players gotta play better, the coaches gotta coach better, the manager’s gotta manage better, and the owners gotta own better.”
Now that it’s a consummated deal, and Josh Hamilton really is going back to the Rangers, on about four-fifths of the Angels’ dollar, it just keeps getting better and better. The more that comes forth, the more it seems as though the Angels, in NBC Hardball Talk‘s Craig Calcaterra’s words, shot themselves in the foot, by the manner with which they handled Hamilton’s self-reported Super Bowl Sunday substance relapse, and the manner in which they came pay as much as they will to be rid of him.
Merely six games have passed in the new season but there are questions as to whether the Los Angeles Angels’ 2015 might be dying before it really begins to take shape. And whether their own owner and front office hasn’t detonated a poison gas bomb that will take months to clear.
The Hilton Anatole hotel in Dallas has been there before. That’s where Alex Rodriguez accepted $250 million of then-Texas Rangers owner Tom Hicks’s misspent money, once upon a time. Hicks had a club three-to-thirteen-deep in pitching woes, and he decided the most surefire way of plugging up the leaking runs was to commit the near-equivalent of a solid pitching staff to . . . a shortstop.
. . . so let’s catch up on our reading a little bit, with the promise that I will have a few things to say about several of the following matters in the days to come:
* Essentially, the hapless Houston Astros were named as the team to be named later in the deal that sent the Milwaukee Brewers to the National League, with the Astros beginning American League play in 2013 as a condition for approving Jim Crane as the team’s new owner. We hope you can figure out a way to enjoy fifteen-team leagues, two more wild cards, and perhaps interleague play from Opening Day until the final regular season day. I’m not necessarily sure I can, even though I think Jayson Stark had a point when he wrote that among the scheduling headaches won’t be what he calls “trying to fit more postseason baseball into an already-overstuffed schedule.”