When I heard Gustavo was prepping his apologia for OC residents who pledge their undying allegiance to the Los Angeles Dodgers, I told him the undertaking was utter blasphemy! Hell, I created the 'Lives in Anaheim, Roots for the Dodgers' meme used in his post a long time ago, baffled by the phenomenon. To his credit, the Mexican-in-Chief offered his five best reasons last week from the perspective of caring about both the Dodgers and the Angels. There's really only one response: We're not LA!
Now I can't claim coming from the same perspective. I'm an Angels lifer and so is my family as we have suffered through many seasons of futility and brief moments of promise.
There's so many to recount: Dennis Eckersley of the Oakland Athletics closing down the Angels for yet another loss back in my youthful days at the Big A. My big bro's crushed hopes when our hometown team was one strike away from the 1986 World Series before Dave Henderson walloped a Donnie Moore pitch into the left field seats. A decade later, Mark Langston blew it in the 7th inning against the Seattle Mariners in a one-game playoff in 1995 as I mournfully watched on television. The Angels held a late 13-game lead in the standings against them before blowing that too. Suffering builds character and good things come to those who wait…so they say.
The year 2002 seemed like another ho-hum season in the works before the Angels took the San Francisco Giants in game 7 of the World Series that October. My brother met his future wife there at our tailgate party (a story I think I recounted in my drunken Best Man speech at the wedding that got at least one loud 'Angels!' chant from the room) and we all celebrated on State College Boulevard deep into the night.
Now who in their right mind would be from OC and root for the Los Angeles Dodgers, whose homegrown fans probably don't want your ass anyway?
5. The Whole Winning Thing
Yes, the Dodgers are the more-storied franchise. Hang on to that hobbled homer by Kirk Gibson in 1988, though, because that's as good as it's been for a long, long time. As an Angels fan, I've actually had the pleasure of celebrating a World Series championship…this century. Since then, our squad has been more dominant (let's conveniently forget this season) so why would OC defections be in order? Get with the team of the 21st century or risk becoming a caricature of Uncle Rico from Napolean Dynamite, always living in glory days past.
4. The Ballpark Experience
What more needs to be said about Dodgers Stadium other than its history of being built atop a demolished Mexi community? I can't really tell you about the place now as I've never been there…ever! As a kid, my parents took me to Angels games and I can remember the drab hallways painted with Rams football players back then. The stadium's definitely got a nicer look these days and what's so bad about the artificial rock fountains? During game 5 of the 2009 ALCS playoffs against the hated Yankees, they served as a prop for one of the great moments in Angel fan history. Jose Cervera decided to take a dive in the pools to the eruption of applause in the stadium and laughter throughout the nationally televised audience. Better yet, he was 100% sober, which is more than I can say for my crew who bought $5 cheap seat tickets back in the slim years, ate sunflower seeds while standing all game long in the Nestle Zone boozed up and rowdy! Plus, the geyser shoots water after every Halo homer and stuff…
3. The Home-Viewing Experience
I wouldn't be the first to blaspheme the Dodgers' longtime announcer in the Weekly. That honor goes to Dodger hater Dave Wielenga and his brilliant piece “Goddamn you, Vin Scully” about his friend throwing a foul ball back onto the field at their stadium. The act was inspired by a rant the announcer went on when years prior when someone else did the same. A pact was born and carried out! Even then, Wielenga went easy on Scully describing his work in glowing terms.
Allow me to take it one step further: Vin Scully is a bore! I just can't watch Dodger games on television and suffer through his one-man show trying again in vain last night. It's all Scully with no sidekick. Even the golden voice of Chick Hearn had Stu Lantz who he wisely kept to a minimum! I don't know how OC Dodger fans willfully endure his sleep-inducing NPR-like voice. For me, Rex Hudler and Steve Physioc were a good enough pair over the years (Mostly Hudler's on-air antics). So what if Wonder Dog got busted for some weed in KC? Scully's the one who sounds like he's high! And while we're on the subject, pre/post-game man Jose Mota's English has improved over the years. Victor Rojas? Yeah, he's a little rough, but at least he tells Angels fans just what to do after a victory: Light that baby up!
2. The Owners
The McCourts dragged the Dodger franchise through the mud of their messy divorce and the team needed a image rehab after it all. Riding in on a $2.15 billion dollar sale, everybody fell for the 'Magic' trick that followed. The Lakers legend flashed a charismatic smile as a frontman for Guggenheim Partners, the real money movers behind the purchase. They are a global financial services firm who, over the years, have hired guns from asshole companies of the Great Recession. As Dave Zirin wrote in the Nation last year, “the cost of buying of the Dodgers will be passed on to the already strapped city of Los Angeles. The real buyers, therefore, are not Magic and the Guggenheims but the people of Los Angeles, most of whom will never set foot inside the stadium.” There will be little dissent because everybody thinks Magic owns the Dodgers!
Under no illusions, Angels Baseball-loving Anaheimers have been in a pitchfork battle with owner Arte Moreno for years starting with the pendejo's move to rename the team 'Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.' Division titles and playoff runs continued abating anger until recently which makes the win-loss column skid all the more ill-timed for Moreno's next scheme. With a corporate welfare-loving local government at his disposal, the Angels owner is on the take, hinting he could build a new stadium anywhere else so as to pressure current negotiations to his favor. The usual Anaheim hell-raisers are doing their thing, but I'm getting emails from everyday fans and friends who are pissed off and not just at the possible 'Of Anaheim' scrubbing, either.
Unlike hoodwinked Dodger fans, who will get punked next year once the new Time Warner Cable deal ups their cable bill, dissent just might be warming up for round 2 in Anaheim. How's the Magic Man's smile looking now?
1. We Are Not LA!
Is there really any other reason beyond territorial pissings? Listicles demand more and I've offered retorts to my editor's assertions, but Orange County has a baseball team centered in Anaheim and born and raised folks want to root for the Dodgers? Move to LA then! Now, as I've had this same debate over the years at summer BBQ's with friends, I'll offer these few, valid exceptions: If your parents raised you wrong and took you to Dodger games as a youngster, you're excused and…well, Ok, that's really the only one. For the rest, you're banging for the wrong hood! And there's nothing more silly than that.
Now if you'll excuse me, there's a San Francisco 49ers game against the Seattle Seahawks this weekend that I've got to get hyped for. Go '9ers!
Follow Gabriel San Román on Twitter @dpalabraz