With the upcoming American League Division Series between the L.A. Angels and Boston Red Sox, Bleacher community leaders Scott Fowler and Michael Lemaire decided they'd take a different approach to this year's series.
The two mental giants sat down and produced what will be the first installment of a series of articles about this series.
Without further ado, I give you the Top 10 Reasons Why We Hate Our Teams, by Scott Fowler and Michael Lemaire, in no particular order
Lemaire Reason No. 1: Not a single true Boston fan gets to attend games, especially during the playoffs.
The ticket prices soar through the roof and every drunk McCarthy, Flanagan, and O'Shea has to watch the game from the Cask N' Flagon while nursing their eighth Miller Lite. Meanwhile, all the families and corporate fat cats make it into the game, participate in the wave (damn communists), and politely clap for a Ortiz home run like they are at the opera.
Fowler: (Reason No. 1) Oh, man, at least you HAVE fans. Here? The Angels sell out almost every game, right? Sure, we're sold over three million tickets this year, great, right? Too bad when we play the Yankees, Cubs, White Sox and Red Sox, our fans are QUIETER than the visiting lunatics. How can you tell if a fan is an out of towner is at an Angels game? He's the one cheering.
Lemaire Reason No. 2: All the attractive players are on our baseball team.
The problem with these guys is that they bring out the often drunk, always obnoxious, pink hat wearing female fans. Jacoby Ellsbury and Dustin Pedroia are the main culprits. I mean Ellsbury I can understand, look at that physique and that bone structure, but Pedroia? Did I miss something? When did 5'6" guys with neck beards and a little paunch suddenly become such heart-breakers? These women and their "Jacoby will you marry me?" signs...
Fowler Reason No. 2: Angels fans are always trying to borrow a gimmick
We've got the monkey. That's enough! We don't need to try a new seventh-inning-stretch song every season to try to copy "New York New York" or "Sweet Caroline." Let it go!
Bring the cheerleaders with their air (and silicone?) cannons out to shoot T-shirts into the stands while you play the kiss cam thing, bring out the monkey if we're losing, it's close, and it matters, and let us sing "Take Me Out to the Ballgame." The End.
Lemaire Reason No. 3: The end of our batting order.
If you stick to conventional wisdom, the end of our batting order (7-8-9) will look something like this....7. Jason Varitek, 8. Jed Lowrie, 9. Coco Crisp. I mean, does that really scare anyone?
I will admit that Lowrie is much better than the Artist Formerly Known As Lugo, but Varitek and Crisp would have probably been the last kids picked for the sandlot games this season.
We have enough offensive woes, being without J.D. Drew and Mike Lowell, and now we are basically resigned to the fact that our catcher is going to swing at the ball about eight seconds too late, and our center fielder is going to pop out to the pitcher or ground out to second base.
Fowler Reason No. 3: Those Howards TV Ads. Oh My @(#$* God!
I absolutely adore Mike Scioscia, ever since he stopped by my High School Baseball practice and actually sat with the catchers (I caught all four years). He's a class act all the way and knows baseball like few other people.
He is hands-down the reason this team is as successful as they are, year in year out. He's a players manager, and he's a great guy in the community.
Holy crap can he not act.
Seriously Mike, if I ever see you in another Howard's commercial that poorly written, I'm actually never going to shop at Howard's again, and PLEASE don't do more clever stuff w/Howie Kendrick and the name tie-in either. Leave the kid alone.
No more Howard's commercials. Not today, not ever.
Lemaire Reason No. 4: When did the Red Sox become the new Yankees?
I loved it when the Red Sox were the lovable losers that people loved to root for, whether they were a fan or not. Now I have to deal with people who call us fans obnoxious and accuse our team of buying our championships. Guys! We are Boston...Rich Garces? Cowboy Up? Papelbon's Irish Jig?...Nobody going for it? Well so what...We are the defending champions...so there.
Fowler Reason No. 4: FOX SPORTS WEST AND KTLA
Holy freakin' crap in my pants,
If Mike Scioscia hawks another HDTV, all while I'm sitting at my house, four miles from the stadium, watching the @#($* game on a 62" Mitsubishi w/1080p with a signal that looks like it was shot with my !)(@*# cell phone, I'm going to stab someone in the throat with my remote.
There's nothing worse in the world than turning to the game, flipping to the HD counterpart on Fox Sports West and finding that the channel has the "this channel is reserved to broadcast HD signal, when available" message.
And KTLA? You just suck. Period. At least FSW has half the games in HD. You don't even BROADCAST in HD. it should be a rule that you can't advertise HD TV's on NON-HD NETWORKS
Lemaire Reason No. 5: TERRY FRANCONA'S MAN CRUSH ON MIKE TIMLIN
Look, I will be the first to go to bat for Mike Timlin. He is from Texas, he ain't afraid of anybody, and he wears the same sweaty and smelly camo shirt under his jersey for all of his games. Also, he was fantastic for the team since he was signed in 2003. He has been great in the playoffs, and everyone felt really confident when he went in.
Now, his ERA is 5.66, his WHIP is 1.62, and he has given up nine home runs in just 50 innings. Yes, you read that right, he pitched 50 innings. Look, I understand Terry Francona loves the guy, and I understand he has earned a few innings here and there.
But we are trying to win a championship, and Mike Timlin is doing is best impression of John "Way Back" Wasdin. Every time he comes in now he tries to throw a fastball by the hitter, and the ball either goes over the monster or puts a big freaking dent in it.
Yet Terry Francona was either in the bathroom while this was happening, or he plugs his ears and does the "lalalala I'm not listening" move when Timlin is in because Tito keeps sticking him out there.
Fowler Reason No. 5: Chone Figgins never bats leadoff when he DHs
WHY? What impact does defensive positioning have on batting order? Seriously, he's a DH so he has to hit in the bottom of the lineup? Why? DH's can't run? "Suddenly, yes, it's Chone Figgins, their DH, he's...omg..he's stealing second. LOOK AT THAT Everyone! A designated hitter who can run! I never thought I'd see it in my lifetime."
FORGET TRADITIONAL POSITIONAL BATTING ORDER.
Play with what works best for scoring and generating runs. Period.
Lemaire Reason No. 6: We are Manny-less and people are happy about it
Fowler: Angels fans definitely are, but go on...
Lemaire: Yes, Jason Bay has been great since he came over from Pittsburgh...Fantastic actually, and yes, Manny Ramirez is a spoiled, enigmatic, and clueless player...But Christ Almighty can he rake.
The only player who has been better than Bay since the trading block might be Manny Ramirez. Bay has never played in the postseason, Manny has, and he has played really well. Fans in Boston always seem to defend the trade by saying, "Well, Manny pushed an old man...That's wrong."
It's true, but sorry? I didn't know we were trying to win an ethical championship. I thought we were playing baseball and no one scares pitchers more than having to face David Ortiz and Manny Ramirez back-to-back
Fowler Reason No. 6: Francisco Rodriguez isn't the best closer in baseball
I know he had an amazing year, but if you put Scot Shields or Arredondo in the same role, with 100,000,000 save opportunities, they'd both have broken the record, too.
Seriously, K-rod's probably among the top five closers in the game, but there are better closers out there. More lights out, less heart-attack inducing, the whole nine. Sure, he's pomp and circumstance, that big celebration after every save, a kiss to his grandfather watching down on him, and he's got GREAT stuff, but he's also giving more and more walks, and people realized the only way to counter his slider is to not swing at it.
Seriously, the line on K-Rod is either:
1 IP, 2 Ks, 0 BB, 0 Hits with 12 pitches, 10 for strikes,
it's 1 IP, 1 BB, 1 H, 18 pitches, 9 strikes
I don't want him to go next year, but for the amount of money he's going to want this offseason, if it's him of Tex? Enjoy the Mets, K-Rod *pound pound* PEACE OUT *points to the sky*
Lemaire Reason No. 7: The Red Sox making the playoffs means Dan Shaughnessy gets to write more articles about the Red Sox
Shaughnessy writes for the Boston Globe, and he used to be a fantastic writer, but now he is slowly turning into a bitter old man. Even when the Red Sox win, Shaughnessy loves to get on his high horse and points out Red Sox flaws or questions that will plague the Red Sox.
I mean, I don't understand why ESPN needs to give these guys a larger platform to show their arrogance. I would like to see them drop a cage on Shaughnessy and see him go mano a mano with a member of the Red Sox. Maybe Timlin will be useful after all.
Fowler: At least you have sports writers, which brings me to my Reason No. 7: Our Local Coverage BLOWS.
In light of all the "national" (Bristol, evil four-letter empire) media attention being lavished on any team that plays its games before 6 PM Pacific time, you'd think our home town writers would step up,
DiGiovanna at the LA Times is great, but even in our own back yard, where everyone knows we win ballgames and divisions year in year out, the Dodgers are still L.A.'s team in the local press
Seriously, T.J. Simers, what about the Angels? You too, Bisheff, and the rest of you. Where's the Halos love? We've only won the division four out of the past five years.
Fowler: which leads me directly into my Reason No. 8: The Dodgers.
Lemaire: I don't want to get in the way of the creative juices
Fowler: I know this is supposed to be a "what I hate about the Angels thing" but one of the things I hate the MOST about Angels games is Dodger fans.
They pile into the stadium, and seriously, these people are ALL the same people that make up Raider Nation in the NFL. I actually saw two fights, about baseball break out in one game vs. the Dodgers, and the people fighting were Dodger fans—They even fight themselves!
Owner Arte Moreno is in love with the marketing idea of the L.A. Angels (of Anaheim), and while I'm in the OC and think it's lame, I get it. He was actually close to being L.A.'s team, then they went out and got ManRam, and the Angels clinching the division fell to a PAGE SIX snippet in the Times' sports section, all because of the @)#($* DODGERS.
Lemaire Reason No. 8: Daisuke Matsuzaka and his love for walks
Dice-K, statistically, had a great season. I mean, what team in baseball wouldn't take 18 wins, a 2.90 ERA, and 154 strikeouts? But nothing gives me a heart attack like watching Dice-K dominate the first two hitters of the inning, then walk the next two, give up a single to load the bases, and then get someone to line out to left field.
It's great as long as that is what happens...every time. But I have this unfounded fear that Dice-K will hang one of those fabulous splitters to someone like Vladdy Guerrero and Guerrero will hit it all the way into Oakland.
Stop walking people, and I think everyone in Boston would love you more big guy.
Fowler: I'm almost out of ammo!
Lemaire: Yeah, I know! I think I got two more
Fowler: I can come up with two...
Lemaire: I will go with No. 9, give you time to think..
Fowler: Go for it.
Lemaire Reason No. 9: Celebrity Fans
The negative side-effect of the new success of the Red Sox means that they are turning into the new hot spot for any celebrity or pseudo-celebrity that happens to Boston. Ben Affleck is a fan, and Stephen King is a fan. But why do I have to watch the rest of the people as well?
As a matter of fact, I don't ever want to turn on NESN and watch Don Orsillo and Jerry Remy talk about how Mr. Affleck and Mr. King are in attendance, and hear another long, boring story about how they have been lifelong fans. Spare me!
Show the one or two hot girls that actually get to Fenway, or show some drunken idiot singing with his shirt off, just please don't show any more celebrities.
Fowler Reason No. 9: The Wave
It's 2008 people. I think professional sports, as a whole, were finished with the @!^#$ WAVE 25 years ago. Hell, by the time the first wave made it all the way around for a second time, it should have been done. Three weeks ago, I'm at a game, it's the bottom of the eighth, a few runners on, some potential for a tying or go-ahead run and the only time people in the whole damn stadium react is when the wave comes back around to their section?
People sitting near me "oh, get ready, wait for it, wait for it, here it comes! GOYAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!" and sit back down. Me, mumbling under my breath, then standing alone in my section, cheering as rookie Sean Rodriguez hit's a go ahead triple in the eighth...
Except for the section who happened to be wave-ing. Bastards, all of 'em.
Lemaire Reason No. 10: The Red Sox aren't as good as last year, and the Angels are better
This isn't something I hate as much as it's something that petrifies me. The Angels are zero for their last millennium against the Red Sox in the playoffs, but as you already mentioned, it's 2008 people, not 2007, and not 2004.
The Red Sox have had more injuries than the Pittsburgh Steelers, and the Angels actually have the occasional guy who can hit the ball over the fence this year. Angels fans don't annoy me yet, but I am very afraid that that will change after the ALDS
Fowler Reason No. 10: The Angels Can't Beat Boston in the Postseason
If it's the 1986 Angels (though I would like to say hi to Bill Buckner, here) or ones from this decade, the Halos haven't won a single game versus the Goliath from the East in the postseason in 22 years.
I don't care how good you are, that number sits in the back of your head. Visions of ManRam destroying a Frankie cut fastball that plopped right over the plate (which, incidentally, I think landed only last week, somewhere near Biloxi). Or Garrett Anderson's pink eye, or Jarrod Washburn's one pitch to Ortiz to end the series before it began in '04, the Halos' only kryptonite comes from beantown and wears a "B" on their caps.
All in all, we both want this series to be fun, exciting great baseball. It's got all the makings of a great series, and we'll be here to rub each others noses in it every step of the way.
Keep an eye out for us, we're not going anywhere yet.
And Michael's here for at LEAST three more games this season.
For Michael Lemaire, I'm Scott Fowler saying: GO HALOS and good night.