The Angels Go On to a Better Place

Photo by Rebecca SchoenkopfIt wasn't quite the bang it was a year ago—but then, what ever is?

You remember last year? That improbable movie script of a season, in which the Little Team That Could did, spurred on by valiant fans making lots of noise with their sticks of thunder, like in He-Man? Our humble boys, saddled with a mild laughingstock of a squad, climbed every mountain and exhausted every clichť: the only one they missed, I think, was winning one for their partner, the cop who two days from retirement had taken that fatal bullet on a one-way trip to the place where dead people live. No, not the Nixon Library! Heaven!

Anyhoo, last year, Our World Champion Angels took what had been a whomping-ugly first half of a season (we were there in that ugly streak, for a game with one hit and three errors; it was explained to us at the time that that was not good) and then parlayed it into Wild Card; into play-offs; into beating mean old Barry Bonds, that uncollegial fellow who wouldn't even take pictures with his own team. It was superexciting! And in the process, our fans became really quite insufferable. I think someone needs a talk on sportsmanship.

Now, I'm not really a baseball girl; as a sport, baseball just isn't bloodthirsty enough for your average Stalinist. But last year, I jumped on that Angels bandwagon like Arnold Schwarzeneggerjumps on joints and orgies. That means I jumped on it a lot!

So we went to the ballpark on Sunday for the last game of the season! And the Angels didn't lose! Which was good because, as a big liberal, may I say that I am ass-tired of losing all the time? (That's not even counting the years I've put in as a Raiders fan. Talk about dispiriting suck.)

Now, the Angels were playing the Texas Rangers, and I was going to do a big column about George W. Bush and parrot everything Molly Ivins (mad props to Molly Ivins!) has ever written about El Prez's losery business acumen, except it seems that was a different ball club. C'est la vie and all those things, as the man you idiots will doubtless elect our governor this week is so fond of saying. Real Americans merely append "and stuff."

But there was the Rangers' Rafael Palmeiro. When we went to the Angels' season opener against the Rangers, Palmeiro, the team's resident Viagra pitchman, batted .000, and we got to make an impotence joke. Impotence is hilarious. But this time out, I don't want to spew snideries at Rafael Palmeiro. I mean, what has he ever done to me? I am not putting in a Viagra joke here. Filthy, filthy minds.

The only other things I can spew are some lamentations that I've never heard of 72 percent of the current Angels lineup. (Stupid hamstrings! And stuff!) I finally start to sound like I know what I'm talking about when I talk about baseball, and all of a sudden, Tim Salmon's the designated hitter, and Chone Figginsis taking center field. Who is this Alfredo Amezaga? This Wilson Delgado? This Trent Durrington? Where is my graceful, if unattractive, Darin Erstad? My Troy Glaus, so handsome and MVP-y on the teevee and so, um, unassuming in person? Where is my Timmayyyyyy-like Eck with his oversize cap? Who will be the spunky one if Eck is gone? And why is the boychild next to me telling me bad things about the Angels possibly trading him? Bad things happen to little boys who tell lies. Oh, yes.

This season, we ended up 19 games out of first place—I'm told again that this is not the best of all possible outcomes—and all our humble heroes, those bright-eyed, win-one-for-the-team kind of boys, are laid up with million-dollar injuries and stuff. No Erstad, no David Eckstein—and I miss them. Who wants to make that emotional investment in a whole new batch of folks? It's hard! Which reminds me: Did we ever get our money back for Mo Vaughn? Just checking.

So how about that Rafael Palmeiro, huh, folks?

In front of us, a woman reads a book. She does not pretend to be a "cool chick" who "likes sports" and "enjoys spending time with her husband." I hope her book's a good one. Heritage Organic Milk is an Angels sponsor. Hey, I drink that! We do not win $1 million.

To every side are the childrens. There are childrens in the front and childrens in the back. There are childrens—okay, one children—with the longest rat-tail I've seen since Gay Pride Day 1986. What are his parents doing to him?

The childrens screech and scream and whine and kvetch. If they hadn't adopted that demmed Rally Monkey, there wouldn't be all these childrens, and we might be able to drink our muy espensivo beers without all the little DARE kids looking at us like we're doing drugs. Which we are, but they're legal. Our friends in Major League Baseball might want to consider this next time they start in with the plush toys!

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