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Wednesday, February 04, 2004


When I was a kid, I was a Dodgers fan, plain and simple. It was all about Tommy, Tommy John, Jerry Reuss, that infield, Rick Monday, Dusty Baker, and Pedro Guerrero.

It's not that simple anymore.

I'd been away from the game for years. I lost interest shortly after I graduated from high school, fell in and out of love, graduated from college. By the time the Dodgers won it all in 1988 on the wings of Gibby's miraculous homer, I couldn't have cared less.

The Dodgers have come to represent expensive mediocrity. O'Malley sold to Fox, and, aided by Fox's tall dollars, they sank into perennial third-place contenders, only once getting into the postseason in '96, and failing to win a single game.

In 2002, the Angels surprised everyone and won it all. Yes, it was a fluke. Yes, they got career years out of marginal players like Scott Spiezio and Benji Gil. But they won it all. We bought the 20-game-pack hoping to see something like a repeat, only to be disappointed when we discovered what happens when injury and the laws of averages catch up with low-rent players.

But no matter. This is the year of the Monkey, and as some have observed, the Angels fates seem to be presaged by the Patriots. And with Vlad in the lineup (whose bat the Dodgers should have been) and one of the strongest farm systems in baseball, the Angels look poised to do some serious damage. Meantime, McCourt sputters about a bat he can only dream of, or trade for.

This got started at the suggestion of Tyler Blezinski, he of the Athletics Nation blog, who observed that there aren't any Angels blogs. It's actually not true; there are in fact two that I've found: Purgatory Online, and the apparently infrequently updated Anaheim Angels blog. Angels fans are a hardened lot, like Tigers fans I suppose; there seems to be a lot of animosity over fence-jumpers, as if hey, we toughed it out during the lean years -- where were you? Fair enough, but so what? If the team doesn't show any interest in winning (which the Angels admittedly did not or could not toward the end of the Autry era, and then throughout early Disney ownership), why should its fans care about the team?

This is the fundamental question Dodger fans face now with Frank McCourt. Sure, he MEANS well, but...


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