Of Angels, Oaktards and Big A Malaise

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The first indication something wasn't right with Wednesday night's Angels home opener follow-up came from a sign in front of the Big A ticket window announcing $5 seats. Those were for the right-field pavilion, where the view revealed a half-full stadium that stayed that way even after the inevitable arrival delays caused by rush-hour traffic.

Then came the sorry display on the field . . .

Unlike what the Halos could not get at key points against the A's in an 11-5 bloodbath--which was a night after a 9-5 drubbing by Oakland in the Angels home opener--I actually had an out. When the $48 tickets someone gave me were scanned at the entrance, they turned out to be for a June 17 game against the Mariners. That led me to the ticket window and later the cheap seats. Wouldn't you expect a sellout or nearly so from the fourth highest spending team in Major League Baseball, and one that supposedly boasts a lethal offensive attack? Indeed you would. And "offensive" sums up the fan experience Wednesday night.

Five random observations:

-The announced crowd was 36,011. The place holds 45,050. Sure looked less than half full to me, though. That would continue last year's trend and add fuel to rumors owner Arte Moreno is looking for an Anaheim exit strategy. Last night was an embarrassment: The Big A was so empty, the A's fans were as loud if not louder than Anaheimers. The visitors had many more opportunities to make noise, of course. I had to move when I found myself surrounded by Oaktards, who included some young chicks who arrived late, found someone sitting in one of their seats (surrounded by dozens and dozens of other, adjacent empty seats) and had their leader, in her best Nick Kroll pubLIZity voice, squeak, "People aren't this rude in Oakland." She's obviously never been to a Raider game.

-At one point, four large seabirds majestically flew over the stadium, their flapping wings illuminated by the Big A lights. It's amazing they weren't downed by balls off Oaktown's bats. First baseman Brandon Moss alone had 5 RBI, including his second homer in two days.

-Despite everything else going to merde, Angels DH Albert Pujols put on a hitting clinic, going 4-for-4 with two ground-rule doubles, including a screamer down the left field line that I believe was the hardest hit ball I have ever seen in person.

-The Angels being 2-6 is no reason to panic, despite the slow start being what ultimately killed Anaheim's 2012 season. Pitcher Josh Joe Blanton beginning 0-2 after signing a two-year, $15 contract and John Josh Hamilton hitting .156 with a .237 OBP and no homers after inking a five-year, $125 million deal are also not reasons to panic. Neither is the lackluster performance of a starting rotation without ace Jered Weaver for a month. But the bullpen? Yikes! If this keeps up, the Angels should host an open casting call on the Big A mound.

-But the most troubling thing about the whole ordeal last night--and sitting through all that was an ordeal, trust me--was just the general malaise hanging over the joint. There was more excitement in the Chronic Tacos line than there was in the seats filled by mummies in red. I don't know if the Angels are projecting their out-of-sortness on the crowd or vice versa. Or both. All I know is, if the effort both fans and team put up against one of their fiercest West Division rivals is indicative of what's to come the rest of the season, we're in for a long one and Scioscia would be wise to starting printing up resumes.

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14 comments
Jeff Keller
Jeff Keller

"...would be wise to starting printing up resumes." Scioscia can be your editor.

Joseph Mendez
Joseph Mendez

You can tell this Blogger is a huge fan. Tries to use tickets for a game 2 months in advance and calls Wednesday nights game as the home opener when it was actually Tuesday. Idiot.

Brett Scanlon
Brett Scanlon

not even 10 games in? go fuck yourself ocweekly

dtakeda1
dtakeda1

One more thing, while Scioscia catches a lot of grief from the fans after the Angels' failure to make the playoffs the past 3 seasons, I'm going to say this failure is not his fault.  Last season's glaring weakness was the porous bullpen.  Jerry DiPoto's fix for this?  Signing an injured Ryan Madson coming off of Tommy John surgery, signing Mark Lowe and Dane De la Rosa off the scrap heap.  Signing Sean Burnett looks OK so far because at least he's had a decent major league career.  We'll wait and see.  
Somehow he determined Jerome Williams and Kevin Jepsen were good enough to keep around, evidence to the contrary.  
DiPoto was a relief pitcher in his playing days.  If anyone should recognize the importance of a solid bullpen for a team with championship aspirations, it should be him.  Scioscia can only play the team he's been given, and this one is loaded with stars, but without any depth at all.  

dtakeda1
dtakeda1

I'm just giving you a hard time, Matt.  I often slip back into the 80's and refer to him as JEFF Hamilton who used to play for Dodgers.  Despite being a mediocre hitter, he was on the 88 championship team.

I expected a small crowd on Wednesday, because tonight is Trout blanket night.  Anyone who was choosing games to attend chose tonight.  Expect a packed house tonight.

Oh... and it's JOE Blanton.  

MatthewTCoker
MatthewTCoker topcommenter

SomeGuy and dtakeda1: I won't plead guilty to being qualified to write about baseball. I will plead guilty to screwing up Josh's first name, which is really weird because I typed "Josh Hamilton" into the Google to get his avg. and obp. Also, I didn't say say the home opener WASN'T Tuesday. I wrote: "Wednesday night's Angels home opener follow-up ..." and "which was a night after a 9-5 drubbing by Oakland in the Angels home opener." Are you qualified to comment?

SomeGuy
SomeGuy

The home opener was Tuesday. I love ya Matt, but sports apparently isn't your strong point.

dtakeda1
dtakeda1

It's JOSH Hamilton.  You sure you're qualified to write about baseball?

BobLoblawsLawBlog
BobLoblawsLawBlog

Bunk, if he can't manage to make the play-offs with the payroll he's been handed, he shouldn't manage.

MatthewTCoker
MatthewTCoker topcommenter

@dtakeda1 Christ, what do I have? ... I remember Jeff Hamilton from back when I rooted for the Dogs. He got some clutch hits, if memory serves. Or was that Billy "White Shoes" Johnson?

dtakeda1
dtakeda1

@BobLoblawsLawBlog That's basically my point.  He was wasn't handed a payroll.  DiPoto was handed the payroll.  Scioscia was handed a blinged out car with bald tires.

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