Don't Play Ball!

The Boston Red Sox. The New York Yankees. All the teams in the American League West. Those damned Dodgers. These are the teams that always draw sellouts at Anaheim Stadium when they square off against your Angels. But how about the losers? The teams the hometown nine will inevitably smoke, that you'll quickly ignore in favor of gyrating wildly when Vladimir Guerrero's merengue theme song echoes across the stadium's speakers? The Angels will have many dogs visiting them this summer—here are the mangiest of them:

ANGELS VS. PITTSBURGH PIRATES, JUNE 22-24. The Bucs once produced talented, scrappy players who exemplified their hometown's blue-collar ethic, but that was years ago—15 years, to be exact, the last time they posted a winning record. They've improved somewhat this year, holding second place in the National League Central—but the Pirates still haven't passed .500.

ANGELS VS. KANSAS CITY ROYALS, JUNE 25-27. The American League version of Pittsburgh. They have lost 100 or more games in four of their past five seasons, and—with the second-worst record in the bigs this year—should be headed for another one. I defy anyone to name a Royals highlight from the past decade that doesn't involve the beautiful faux waterfalls at Kauffman Stadium.

ANGELS VS. NEW YORK YANKEES, AUG. 20-22. This series will undoubtedly sell out, but why? The Bronx Bombers may have the highest payroll in baseball, but let's get real: There is no team more overrated in sports. They may have a dugout full of future Hall-of-Famers, but look what happened last time the Angels played them, just a couple of weeks ago: The West Coast swept the Easterners, and Jeter popped up in his final at-bat against Frankie Rodriguez. This series should continue the Angels' streak of being the only team with a winning record against the Yanks in the past decade.


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