- Steve Etheridge, ESPN Playbook
- 0 Shares
It doesn’t make much sense as it is, but imagine if, just after the flashbulb went off, the former First Lady shoved Mr. T out of the chair and then suplexed him onto the hard floor, rendering him unconscious. Seems unlikely, right? After all, even if she did try to attack him, her efforts would almost certainly be in vain, for he is strong and she is frail.
But the key phrase there is “almost certainly,” as we live in a strange and capricious world where implausible realities routinely come to fruition.
Last week, the $148.5 million Angels moved to 2-8 on the season after being blanked Friday night by the $27 million Astros, tying the record for the worst start in franchise history.
In most instances, you’d pity the fool pitching to Pujols, Hamilton and Trout, but the trio was utterly helpless* against a Houston team that, by most projections, should be baseball’s pre-eminent pushover.
The Angels are now 4-10 after winning the final two games of the weekend series versus the Astros and then losing two straight to the Twins.
And so we wonder: What’s going on with the Angels? With payroll and expectations so high, how could the league’s most fearsome collection of power be so impotent? How could the AL’s Mr. T be twiddling thumbs at the bottom of the standings with the harmless Nancy Reagans?
Granted, L.A. was bound to be overestimated coming into the season. Though they’re undoubtedly stacked with marquee names, both Pujols and Hamilton are now a few years past their peaks, and for Trout to live up to his miraculous rookie season he’d need to keep the miracles comin’ at a biblical clip. And even before Jered Weaver went to the DL, the rotation was far from menacing.
But even giving them every possible benefit of the doubt, you’d still expect the Angels to do better than 21st in the league in offense, and you’d assume that a sub-5.00 ERA would be feasible with their pitching staff.
This stuff will all stabilize eventually, of course, but in the meantime you can’t help but fantasize about all the different ways that that $148.5 million could’ve been better spent. Like on 7,400 hovercraft golf carts, for instance.
Or maybe on a movie. More specifically, a remake of Disney’s “Angels in the Outfield” that’s set in the modern day and based on the current Angels season. If we were to bring back the original cast, particularly the guys who were nobodies in 1994 but have since become stars (Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Adrien Brody, Matthew McConaughey), the box-office revenues would probably soar past the $148.5 million investment.
Seems like a guaranteed blockbuster, you guys. And if you don’t believe me, read the script and I’m sure you’ll change your mind.
ANGELS IN THE OUTFIELD:
TOKYO DRIFTPRAYERS FOR PUJOLS
INT. NIGHT CHILD’S BEDROOM
Nine-year-old ROGER lies wide-awake in his bed, staring wistfully through his window at the stars above.
ROGER: God, if you’re listening right now, I could sure use your help. My dad says he’ll come rescue me from this foster home, but only if the Angels win the pennant. You probably don’t care all that much about baseball, but I’d really, really like to see my dad again. I mean, it’s not bad here or anything, but I found out on IMDb that my foster mom was the crazy pigeon lady in “Home Alone 2.” And that’s kind of creepy, y’know? Sure, she seems harmless, but those birds carry all kinds of communicable diseases, and I feel it’s only a matter of time before she transmits the plague onto one of my Pop-Tarts or something. So, in conclusion, please smite every baseball team into pillars of salt, with exception of the Angels, so that tainted Pop-Tarts won’t kill me. Amen.
Outside, the wind begins to rustle, and a shooting star streaks across the dark sky. Then, just as ROGER is drifting into sleep, a brilliant column of light bursts from the top of the laundry hamper, and out crawls ANGEL CHRISTOPHER LLOYD.
ANGEL CHRISTOPHER LLOYD: Did somebody call for an angel?!?
ROGER: Whoa, what the ... who’s there? Is that you, Dad?
ANGEL CHRISTOPHER LLOYD: Uh, nope. I’m an angel.
ROGER: Hold on, I can’t see you, let me go put in my contacts.
ROGER hustles out of the room to put in his contacts, though he discovers that one of them is ripped. When he can’t find any extras in the medicine cabinet, he scampers across the street to Walgreens to pick up a new box. But then he realizes that he accidentally called in his prescription to the other Walgreens, so he hops on a southbound bus, arrives at the other Walgreens, buys the contacts, signs up for the new Walgreens rewards program, asks the cashier for a pack of Fruit Stripe gum, learns that they stopped carrying that stuff a decade ago, settles on a bag of Krackels, gets back on the bus, and begins heading home. Meanwhile, ANGEL CHRISTOPHER LLOYD sits patiently and chuckles to himself, thinking about a Marmaduke cartoon he read earlier.
ROGER: OK, I’m back, sorry 'bout that. So you’re an angel then?
ANGEL CHRISTOPHER LLOYD: Yes, Roger. And God tells me you could use some help.
ROGER: Yeah. If you could ask him why they don’t make full-size Krackel bars yet, that’d be great. Seems like that should be a no-brainer.
ANGEL CHRISTOPHER LLOYD: …
ROGER: Oh, and, uh, I also need you to summon all of your heavenly resources to help the Angels win the pennant.
ANGEL CHRISTOPHER LLOYD: You mean, like, the Los Angeles Angels? Of Anaheim?
ANGEL CHRISTOPHER LLOYD: Even though they’ve got Pujols, Hamilton and that kid with the really thick neck — Trout or whatever.
ROGER: Yeah, and Trumbo’s pretty good, too. But the team still sucks. So make it so they don’t suck so much.
ANGEL CHRISTOPHER LLOYD: Roger, do you realize that there are entire countries whose GDPs are smaller than the Angels’ payroll? And that in those countries there are needy families who make less in a year than Josh Hamilton makes in a single swinging third strike? And that maybe — just maybe — those families might need divine intervention a little bit more than a baseball team does?
ROGER: Actually, that hadn’t occurred to me. I’m 9. According to my third-grade syllabus, we still gotta learn about rhombuses and the hands on a clock before we tackle global income disparity.
ANGEL CHRISTOPHER LLOYD: OK, point made. But here’s the thing: The Angels have already been blessed with every gift they could ever need to win — they’re just not using what they’ve got. You just gotta have faith that they’ll realize this and eventually live up to their potential.
ROGER: Orrrrrrr you could just ravage their opponents with boils and locusts.
ANGEL CHRISTOPHER LLOYD: C’mon, kid, the season’s only, like, five minutes old. No reason to get worried yet.
ROGER: So you’re not gonna help me?
ANGEL CHRISTOPHER LLOYD: Sorry, Roger. I’m needed elsewhere. But if the All-Star break comes and goes and things are still looking grim, you can call this number to speak directly with the Angels.
ANGEL CHRISTOPHER LLOYD hands ROGER a phone number written on the back of an old scratch-off ticket.
ROGER: So you’re saying I can use this number to call heaven?
ANGEL CHRISTOPHER LLOYD: You really think we get reception up there? No way, kid. That’s Mike Scioscia’s cell. Call him and threaten to go to the media if his ballclub’s ineptitude costs you the chance to reunite with your pops. No team in the world has enough money to bounce back from that kind of press.
ROGER: Dude. That’s really sinister.
ANGEL CHRISTOPHER LLOYD: You know how in cartoons a guy will have a good angel on one shoulder and an evil one on the other? I’m your evil angel. I’m the reason you daydream about burning things.
ROGER: Wow. That’s so messed up. I’m not sure I’m comfortable with you being here anymore.
ANGEL CHRISTOPHER LLOYD: That’s cool. I gotta split, anyway. Time for me to head back to the future.
ROGER: Huh? What does that even mean? Seriously, dude, get out of my room.
ANGEL CHRISTOPHER LLOYD: FAREWELL, ROGER! AND REMEMBER, WHEN ALL ELSE FAILS, BLACKMAIL SCIOSCIAAAAAAAAAA…
A DeLorean time machine magically appears. ANGEL CHRISTOPHER LLOYD hops in and drives away through the bedroom wall, destroying the side of the home. Months pass, and the Angels end up finishing the season third in the AL West. ROGER's dad never comes back for him, but things end up working out regardless. Thanks to a couple of vaguely threatening phone calls, MIKE SCIOSCIA decides to adopt ROGER, and the Angels narrowly avoid a PR nightmare.
On second thought, that’d be a terrible movie. I guess it’s up to the Angels to salvage the storyline.
* True, Hamilton and Trout managed to homer off the Astros later in the series, but in that first game they might as well have been swinging Twizzlers.