Off Base
Let There be no Mistake About it, This is L.A. Baseball

October 7, 2008, 9:00 p.m. Not that crap they play in Anaheim. And oh man, is that bad baseball.

The 2008 Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, with their overly-appreciated boob of an owner and that prepositional phrase of a name,
are toast. Molded, butter-less, hard-as-a-rock toast. They are not to be taken while operating heavy machinery, and are best left ignored until at least April, and even then, only if you have to.

But let there be no mistake, and I will continue to belabor the point until I am Dodger blue in the face - the Angels are not Los Angeles' team. Not in the least, not when playing watchable baseball, not when winning the World Series, not now, not ever.

The club belongs to Anaheim and the County of Orange solely. No self-respecting fan outside the lines of that inferior-in-every-way, soulless excuse for a city cares one iota about the LAA of A. Not really.

L.A. is the house of Dodgers. Period, exclamation point, no preposition required, and has been for every second the earth has turned since 1958.

Through thick, thin and Tommy. Through strikes, riots, earthquakes, J.D. Drew, News Corp. and Jim Tracy. Los Angeles is the Dodgers town. It just plain is, OK, and what is played there is L.A. baseball. Repeat: L.A. baseball.

It's not just that the Angels wasted a season in which they were supposed to win, and that the Dodgers are still playing, when by all accounts they were expected to fall flat on their faces before September and be nowhere near the National League Championship Series - uh wait, come to think of it, it is just that.

Plus the notion that the Angels looked like a fumbling, stumbling bunch of wannabe winners, who couldn't get out their own way if their careers depended on it. And in some cases, it did.

Like the Cubs, and in truth, like the Dodgers for much of the regular season. The Dodgers improved, however, while the Angels self-destructed. Unless you had a legal pad handy from the start of the Boston series, there was no keeping track of the miscues. So what the hell; hit em when they're down, I say.

Twenty years is an agonizingly long time, which seemed a lot worse than the last long drought, from 1966 to 1974. Twelve years worse (duh) to be precise, but it sure seemed longer than that.

Yes, we absolutely know that they aren't in the World Series yet, but with their past five weeks of play, the Dodgers have turned a rather large corner (say, the three-way intersection of Sunset, Hollywood and Virgil). Going from 65-70 on August 30th to the National League Championship Series is something to celebrate, and celebrate now.

And yes, we can do the math for the poor Cubs fans, and we get that the Philadelphia phaithful has been waiting since 1980. But only one team can represent the National League in the Series, quite obviously, and sorry, but I'm pulling for the home team. I'm selfish that way. It's October, and it's my job to rally the base.

Now, about the Phils and the NLCS. The glorious NLCS. As I said during the division series, unless there's a track record, you never know which players are going to crumble under the pressure of October competition, and which will to rise to the occasion.

This much we do know. Manny Ramirez leads all NLCS comers by a ton, with 98 postseason games played, participating in 13 playoff series victories (that's series, not games) and hitting 26 home runs. Jeff Kent, who I believe will make an important contribution, has a .290 postseason average, with nine homers in 44 games.

Nomar Garciaparra, who may start against Cole Hamels and/or Jamie Moyer, has hit .314, with seven homers in 29 October contests. And of course, Derek Lowe has won some huge games among his 19 appearances over 10 postseason series, and holds a fall ERA of 3.31.

While Philly has Jimmy Rollins, Shane Victorino, Jamie Moyer and Hamels, who have played well in the postseason, they also have key players Ryan Howard, with his one homer and .217 average, and Chase Utley, with his zero homers and .154, Pat Burrell and Pedro Feliz, with their .217 each.

Additional reasons for Dodgers fans to be concerned include that silly Citizens Bank Park, where you merely tap the baseball and it goes out, Brad Lidge, who hasn't blown a save all year, and the potentially difficult-for-the-Dodgers-to-pitch-to lefty bats and switch-hitters.

Additional reasons for Dodgers fans to be confident include a healthy Rafael Furcal, a rested-like-never-before Russell Martin, the better-of-the-two-managers in Joe Torre, a great bench, and Brad Lidge, who hasn't blown a save all year. Plus, as Vin Scully often says, they're playing with house money…

Talkback: Your comments are always encouraged…

Media Savvy: From Rotoworld: "Ryan Braun said Sunday that CC Sabathia has indicated that the Brewers have a good chance of re-signing him this offseason. 'I’m not going to tell you what he said specifically but I know he enjoyed it here,' Braun said. 'He likes the guys on the team. He recognizes that we’re going to be good for a while, too. I don’t think he’ll take a discount financially but he might take less years for the same amount of money, which makes it less risk, less commitment from the organization.'"

Comment. I have two words for Ryan Braun: dream and on.

Line of the week comes from favorite, Bill Shaikin, of the LAT, about the Angels: "They are the Atlanta Braves for a new generation, an unhappy label not easily removed."

Word Association: Quick, Brett Myers? Right. Brett Myers, wife beater. If you don't remember or didn't know, don't count on a single member of the traditional media mentioning it during the NLCS. But please don't thank me. Just boo the damn guy when he shows up at Dodger Stadium.

A critical Internet blurb and a few cat calls at a game amount to a very small price to pay for the Phillie, who was arrested in 2006, after hitting his wife in the face on a street near Fenway Park, of all places. The Philadelphia organization did nothing in response and were criticized for it. And rightly so.

Nothing else matters when it comes to Brett Myers. He's a wife beater first, a starting pitcher a very distant second. He's a scum bag, actually, to be treated as such pretty much permanently. He's Bobby Cox, without the limp. Next…

Statue for Sandy: The Koufax in bronze campaign continues. Please Vote “Yes on 32.” And tell a friend…

Remember, glove conquers all….








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