By Toby Hunt, AngelsWin.com Staff Writer -
I've only written a few short articles for AngelsWin.com in my time as a contributor, and as most of you know, my articles are based on satire. When Garrett Richards went down last night I thought about writing a funny article to lighten up the mood a bit. But to be honest, I'm not really in a "humorous" mood right now. How could I be? The Angels just lost their best pitcher in the middle of a pennant race. I'm sure most Angels fans will sympathize with me. Losing G-Rich for what will likely be the remainder of the season is a kick in the gut. It feels like the Angels just blew a 4 run lead in the 9th inning of game 7 of the World Series. An already thin pitching staff just lost their ace, their leader, and their best pitcher. At this point, any hopes of making the postseason, let alone winning the division, have been completely destroyed, right? I mean the pundits are already writing off the team as we speak and the words "derail" and "free-fall" are being thrown around sports sites and message boards.
We like to use the word "demoralizing" a lot on AngelsWin. And honestly, never has there been a more appropriate time to use it than now. The Angels have to be completely demoralized , like the wind just got knocked out of them. Garrett is not only seen as a leader on the field for the team heading towards the promised land, but as a great friend and teammate to many of the players. I'll bet the team is more concerned about Garrett the person right now than Garrett the baseball player. This injury has taken the wind out of their sails, and there is simply no way for them to recover from this, right?
Well, let's talk about "demoralizing" again. We as fans are completely demoralized right now. For many of us, the world just ended. Our hopes and dreams for this season have been dashed and things just aren't looking good for us right now. But you know what is funny about that? While we sat at our computers and used our phones to begin writing the eulogy for the 2014 Angels baseball season, something else was happening: The Angels were winning. The team that was obviously so demoralized came back after being down 3-0, after losing their ace, after having their hearts in their throats, and scored 8 unanswered runs to win the game. So I gotta ask, is it the team that's demoralized, or just the fans? You would think that a team so obviously shaken up would have just put their heads down and accepted their fate, kind of like we did here on Angelswin. I suppose the Halos aren't quite ready to do that just yet.
Let us once again talk about that word. "Demoralizing". The Angels' nemesis, the Oakland A's, have made some huge trades this season. They brought in Jeff Samardzija, and more recently Jon Lester. Their rotation is now arguably the best in the bigs. When the Lester trade went down, many fans here were, once again, demoralized. How could the Angels compete with Oakland now?
Just 11 days ago, the Angels had lost a lot of ground on the A's. They went from being just 1 game back to 4 games back in just a few days. Things were looking pretty bleak for this team. The fans were demoralized. This looked to be the point where the A's pulled away from the Angels and buried them for good. And obviously, the team felt demoralized as well. Or, as history would like to put it, the Angels fought back and in just 6 days had a share of first place for the first time since 2011. Early 2011. The A's have now lost 8 of their last 10, and are now looking up at the Angels instead of behind. You want to talk about "demoralizing"? How about going from having a 4 game lead to being down by 1.5 games in 11 freakin' days!
So now we talk about the future, the final 37 games of the season. How can the Angels maintain and even expand their lead in the division after what happened? The A's are licking their chops as we speak. In their minds, the Angels are "demoralized". They just got kicked in the nuts, and are now ready to "derail" as the pundits are putting it. But you want to know what would be truly demoralizing? The Angels going into Oakland's house and f**king bitch slapping them. The proverbial finger wag would tell the A's that the Angels aren't giving up this division. They aren't going down that easy. The A's would have a lot of doubts in their minds after that.
We will continue using the word "demoralizing" often here, but in the end, it may honestly just be the fans who are the ones who are demoralized. Just look at last night as an example. The team on the field didn't look too down to me. In the end, the Halos know exactly what they need to do. So let's just sit back and enjoy the ride.