Thursday, August 18, 2011

10 Reasons why the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim winning the World Series would be good for baseball

My series of Why Each Team's Potential World Championship Would Be Good For The Game moves on with the California Angels.

OK Fine, The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.
It's a stupid name. A great organization but a stupid name. There. I got that out of the way. And I won't make any more references to the silly name.

The organization is a damn good one and they could very well have a big time contender for years to come. I picked them to win the West and the pennant at the beginning of the season on the strength of their starting pitching. However their recent 5 game slide has put them a full week behind the Texas Rangers.

If the slide continues, I won't be able to include them as a contender. So let's knock this out.

10 Reasons why the
Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
winning the 2011 World Series
would be good for baseball

1. Mike Scioscia's Hall of Fame resume would be undeniable

I would argue that Scioscia is the best manager in baseball today. Maybe even a notch about LaRussa and Leyland. He took over an Angels team in 2000 that had never won a playoff series.

By 2002 they were the World Champions. Players have come and gone but the Angels returned to October baseball as Division Champions in 2004, 2005, 2007, 2008 and 2009 and made it to the ALCS in '05 and '09.

He already has as many World Series titles as Leo Durocher and Earl Weaver. If he wins again, then he will have a completely different roster than the 2002 Champs. His resume is already impressive. Another title (plus the fact that he already has 12 years under his belt and doesn't seem close to retiring) would mean he would join his mentor Tom Lasorda in Cooperstown.

2. It would break Bobby Abreu's bad luck streak

Bobby Abreu has logged in 15+ solid and sometimes spectacular big league seasons. The former All Star, Silver Slugger and Gold Glove winner played 8 1/2 seasons in Philadelphia but was traded away before they won the World Series in 2008.

He spent a few more years with the Yankees but was in an Angels uniform when they won the 2009 World Series. He's played in the post season with three different organizations (the Astros, Yankees and Angels) and has yet to play in the World Series.

He has earned a long October.

3. A ring for Torii Hunter

I like Torri Hunter. There are a lot of reasons to like Torii Hunter. He plays with passion. He plays with respect for the game and its past.

And in his prime, he was the most dynamic defensive outfielder not named Jim Edmonds and could hit too.

He's outspoken and colorful, but isn't it nice to have a star who isn't bland?

And he sets up tons of college scholarships through his foundation. Do we really want him to finish his career RINGLESS?

4. The Age of Ace Pitchers will move to the American League

We could be in an age of having 1-2 ace tandems in for contending teams. Halladay-Lee, Lincecum-Cain, Lester-Beckett etc. You are hard pressed to find a better 1-2 punch than Jered Weaver and Dan Haren. Throw in Ervin Santana and the Angels would have probably the most lethal 1-2-3 of any American League staff.

Plus these aces winning would take away some of the sting of 2006. Dan Haren was a member of the Cardinals who was dealt away in 2005 for Mark Mulder. The Cardinals won the World Series that year but Mulder was injured and Haren was in Oakland. Mulder was replaced by Jeff Weaver, Jered's brother. Jeff was cut by the Angels to make room for Jered. It would be nice to see the Weaver brothers compare rings.

5. Old and Young Angels would be rewarded

The picture to the left shows 35 year old Torii Hunter high fiving 19 year old Mike Trout. This team can be a wonderful bridge between veterans fighting for their first title and young kids hoping to get their quest for a title over with early.

Vernon Wells, Abreu, Hunter and Joel Pinero know their window is closing. Players like Weaver, Trout, Tyler Chatwood, Jordan Walden, Peter Bourjos and Mark Trumbo all hope to be fixtures in Anaheim for a while. This year could be a wonderful bridge for two eras of Angels baseball.

6. FINALLY some tourists would discover Anaheim!

Seriously. I feel so badly for the Chamber of Commerce of Anaheim.

Without the Angels, why would any tourist come to Orange County. If only there was SOMETHING in Anaheim that could draw in tourism without being solely dependent on the fate of the Angels.

We've got to brainstorm about that.

7. It would be further humiliation for Frank McCourt... which is a good thing

The Dodgers actually play in Los Angeles and they have the deep rooted love and devotion of the city (even though they arrived in Los Angeles only 3 years before the Angels were formed.)

But with the Dodgers in disarray, losing in front of empty seats, dumping players and needing to be bailed out by baseball, one of the marquee franchises has become a laughing stock.

Having them not only endure this disastrous season but seeing their nominal neighbor win it all would only help getting McCourt and this whole mess out of the game.

As entertaining as it has been, it has run its course.

8. Arte Moreno is a great owner and great owners should have a title.

Moreno took over the Angels after they won the World Series under Disney. So he took over a quality team. But what has happened under his leadership is stability in management, a quality product on the field and class in the organization.

They have developed good players, traded and signed others and consistently contended. And their owner clearly cares to not only win but make the Angels a proud organization.

You think that's par for the course? Why not drive up the 5 and visit Chavez Ravine, then get back to me.

Like Mark Cuban in basketball, owners who really care and put their guts in the team deserve a title.

9. It's best that all teams that won in the Steroid Era win another title soon.

Look, we all had fun during The Steroid Era, but it would be best for the game that it goes away as soon as possible.

The teams that won during the peak would all be better off if they pick up another title so their last October heroes weren't sitting under a black cloud.

When 2002 World Series MVP Troy Glaus' name came up in the steroid investigations, a Giants friend of mine said "See! We should have won if they weren't juicing!" I pointed out that the Giants had Barry Bonds.

Seriously... let's put it all behind us.

10. Maybe another title will FINALLY make the Angels one of the cool marquee baseball franchises

A few years ago, I wrote about how everything was underrated with the Angels.

From Rod Carew and Nolan Ryan building up their Cooperstown credentials to Don Baylor and Fred Lynn launching homers to Reggie Jackson's last October hurrah and Jim Freaking Abbott, the Angels have always provided some great moments and likable stars. And they had Gene Autry owning the team and loving them until the day he died. (Why isn't the stadium called "Gene Autry Park?")

Maybe their lack of championships despite having star players hurt them in getting national exposure. Maybe playing in Orange County instead of in the city has given the Angels an aura of being a suburb franchise and not a cool city team.

But they ARE a model team and have given their fans lots of great baseball. They should be mentioned as one of the top tier teams. Maybe tying the Red Sox and Yankees with World Series titles this century will do just that!

Now as a Red Sox fan, I've never been a big Angels fan. But there is no denying lots of positives would come about from an Angels title.

If they lose a few more games, it would make this whole post moot. Then again, because I picked the Angels, I suppose I should be kind of rooting for them.

If you liked this then go ahead and read the entries for the other teams.


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