by Todd Jackson
Now we know why the world has been suffering so many volcanoes and earthquakes lately. It wasn’t 12/12 after all. It was 12/13. The LA Angels just put two rivals in deep doo-doo: the Dodgers, with whom they share the city, and the Rangers, with whom they share the American League West. The New York Yankees ought to be a little nervous, because now, for all intents and purposes, the Angels now are the Yankees. There’s a new Murderer’s Row in baseball, and they play in Orange County.
The Angels just gave the Texas Rangers the best trimming since Delilah ran off with Samson’s mullet. Josh Hamilton.
No, this calls for all-caps. JOSH HAMILTON.
Not enough? Let’s do it this way. NO GOD NO. NOT JOSH HAMILTON.
Last off-season the Angels made the biggest splash in baseball by signing the best player in the National League, one Albert Pujols, fresh off a World Series championship he punctuated with by jacking three home runs in one game. Adjusting to a new league, Pujols started off in a terrible slump, ending up with a mere 30 HR, .285 and 105 RBI – numbers which, for Pujols, is a sort of sick joke, and which The Machine absolutely will obliterate this year. Count on it.
- Albert Pujols
Now the Angels made the biggest splash in this off-season by buying themselves the most talented talented player in the American League. .285, 43 HRs, 125 RBI.
Well…he would be the most talented player in the league, except for a certain rookie named Mike Trout, also with the Angels, who won’t turn 22 till the Dog Days of next Summer. Trout hit .326, leading the league in hitting for much of the season, 30 HRs, and 83 RBI – from the lead-off position. Of course, that’s just the beginning with Trout, who stole 49 bases and was the most exciting outfielder in the game. For those of you who are boorish enough not to follow baseball, think RGIII in a cap.
Then there’s Mark Trumbo, who garnished his merely-mortal ,268 average with 32 HRs, including some of the longest blasts seen this side of Hamilton.
- Mike Trout
The Angels have another superlative player in their lineup: the Luckiest Hitter in Baseball. Since Trout, Pujols, and Hamilton will be three of the first four hitters in the Angels lineup, that’ll be the other guy, who’ll see pitches fatter than anything seen in SoCal since Mama Cass sang for the Mamas and the Papas.
Hamilton also gives the Angels a left-handed bat to go with all their right-handers, further rounding out their lineup and giving opposing pitchers no relief. Nor is it simply that the Angels now have Hamilton. It’s that the Rangers – the team favored to win the division every year, and the AL champion two of the past three years – don’t have him.
Nothing is ever a lock. Injuries happen. Hamilton is streaky. And somebody besides Jered Weaver is going to have to actually throw the ball. Ervin Santana and C.J. Wilson were respectable, but teams don’t sleep fitfully at night before facing the Angels pitching staff.
Of course, there’s an upside to that. If you’re a baseball fan looking to turn on a sugar-addicted, action-oriented baseball hater into a believer, have that dummy tuned in to the Angels. Because, baby, it’s gonna be a show.