The Angels season ended in a very familiar way last night.
The Angels, shocked and awed, standing quietly, watching the Red Sox celebrate another series victory in October.
Third baseman Chone Figgins stood near third base, hands on his hips, drinking in the moment quietly.
Emotionally, Angels fans are a mess.
The LA Times made mention that we are the new Atlanta Braves, and I have to concede that's a damn fine comparison.
Highlighting a postseason appearance run of 14-straight seasons, the Atlanta Braves only won the World Series once in that span.
If you were a horse with those numbers, you'd be glue.
The Angels are looking more and more at themselves this morning, and what they see, they truly can't like. 100 wins this season was the most of any team in baseball, and better than any Angels team before it. It all meant nothing but 1-3 in October, and another first round ousting at the hands of the Red Sox.
On paper, the Angels might be considered the better team, but come October, they just don't show up.
This is particularly difficult given the management stylings of the team. Execute. Play small ball. Do the little things.
In this play off round, they didn't do any of them. Some can blame the spotlight, but winners want the ball when it matters. They want the chance for the at bat to win the game, the series, to drink in the moment and get the job done.
I can't say with any conviction that aside from maybe John Lackey, the angels have winners on their club.
They play the game well during the regular season, show up, get the job done, though usually barely. The Angels won something on the order or 65 games by one or two run margins, and while that's good enough for wins, it's not good enough when it counts.
The Angels had 43 men left of base this series, in 4 games.
I think Howie Kendrick left 42 of them, or so it seemed.
Boston's Dustin Pedroia, Kendricks 2nd base counterpart for the Sox, had a horrible series that followed and MVP worthy season, and what did he do tuesday night with the game on the line, early?
He banged one of the monster.
That about sums it up for this series.
The Sox are gamers and do what it takes to win, regardless of the situation.
The Angels are great ball players who play the game like it's their job. And while they may love their job, they don't leave it all on the field.
If they did, they'd still be playing, maybe even celebrating, october baseball.
No ridiculous running gaffes that get marquee players thrown out by 30+ feet.
No bobbled routine popups, miscommunicated or otherwise.
No routine grounders turned into RBI's.
No 0-for's in the ALDS.
No missed bunts.
Winners do what it takes to win, and losers always talk about how proud they are to be in the game. Sean Connery, in the movie "The Rock" said it best:
"Losers always talk about their best. Winners go home and @#($* the Prom Queen"
Next year, and here we go again, already talking about next year and it's Tuesday, October 7th, the Angels are going to be a very different team, and it goes without saying that the "new look Angels" aren't going to be anywhere nearly as good on paper as the Angels were this year.
The ones who just lost the ALDS.