We received a very long email earlier today from an old friend in the know, something that proved worthy of sharing with our fellow, currently frustrated, Angel fans. The email came as an angry, personal, venting message and included a wide variety of Angel-related topics throughout this season and seasons past.
The message in no way was related to this shuttered blog, rather it was a like-minded exchange between two longtime Angel fans and friends, one a semi-retired baseball blogging hobbyist and the other a “baseball insider,” both of whom have spent the last decade ranting and raving to each other about topics ranging from baseball to (yes, honestly) male pattern baldness, and perhaps everything in between.
This is delicate territory, though. We asked if we could share the email on this site and were told that we could share the sentiment but not the actual message for fear of him being unmasked. Out of respect, we are obliging his request, but we also felt the need to share his sentiment because it’s very telling about what happened this season and, mostly, before and during the ALDS.
As succinctly as possible, all is not well internally with your favorite squad. The email guaranteed a Game 3 Angel loss and explained that this team cannot go forward as it currently exists because too many people, players, coaches, and management hate each other. This ALDS was entirely an issue of “chemistry,” with the team folding up over management’s questionable decisions headed into the ALDS.
The entire team, almost to a man, despises Josh Hamilton and would have preferred a Cowgill/Navarro platoon in LF. They do not respect Hamilton and do not want him on the team, let alone in the lineup. The rumors of relapse swirled through the clubhouse all year, and Hamilton never tried very hard to fit in with his teammates or to assuage their fears that he was not present and committed. It is no coincidence that the Angels played their best baseball while Hamilton was out of the lineup during much of the team’s hottest stretch of the season. The players very badly wanted to prove that they could win without Josh Hamilton and his moody, distant, indifferent, personally combative attitude(s). The rumors of relapses came in large part because of his erratic behavior, his general indifference, and his “druggie eyes.” Wow.
And as much as we were eager, and happy, to blame Mike Scioscia for playing Hamilton during the ALDS, today’s email made it abundantly clear that the order to play Hamilton came directly from Arte Moreno. Apparently, when you pay a guy $25 million per year, you feel some pressure to play him. Scioscia got into a very heated argument with DiPoto and Arte about playing Hamilton and found that, for Moreno, the issue was a non-starter, or a starter as it were. And thus was born the company line of Hamilton’s breakout potential. “Arte was more interested in Josh playing than was Josh.”
Similarly, Scioscia and Butcher wanted to start Santiago or Rasmus in place of CJ Wilson in Game 3 of the ALDS but were told that Wilson was their man because of his significant
postseason experience, er, big contract. Scioscia and Butcher are of the opinion that CJ Wilson is not capable of throwing strikes and may never be again, that he’s done as a Major League starter and wouldn’t fit the lefty specialist bullpen role. Scioscia was so fed up with Wilson’s pitching that his dugout commentary while Wilson was on the mound during the regular season became a running gag filled with insults and profanity. The best team joke about CJ was that his big necklace was referred to as a “choke collar” behind his back. Ooh, harsh.
There is speculation among many in the organization that Scioscia’s return to the sacrifice bunt in game 1 of the ALDS was a direct needle at both DiPoto and Moreno for forcing him to play Hamilton (Scioscia only wanted him on the roster, in fact, as a bench bat) and start Wilson. After the Game 1 bunts failed so miserably, DiPoto and Arte were livid, especially DiPoto. From all indications, either DiPoto or Scioscia will be gone before the winter meetings; they cannot coexist and the attempts to force such have destroyed the team’s best World Series chance in the last decade.
Summarizing: Scioscia hates DiPoto. DiPoto hates Scioscia. Pujols hates Hamilton. Weaver hates Hamilton. DiSar hates Hamilton. Somewhat surprisingly, Scioscia hates Hamilton, too, and also Wilson. Weaver hates Wilson as well. It’s an absolute clubhouse mess that one longtime club employee described to our friend as, “like Terry Collins but with winning.” Ouch. Firing Mike Scioscia is an actual possibility at this point, despite the 98-win season.
At the end of the regular season, apparently, “two pitchers” nearly came to blows in the locker room, with only THREE players “interested in breaking it up.” Our friend was not told who the pitchers were. Guesses? Our guess is Weaver and Wilson (assumably after Wilson’s last, pathetic, regular season start) but we have no way of knowing for sure.
So, the sac bunts are clearly on Scioscia, as is starting CJ Cron all three games of the ALDS. But playing Hamilton and starting Wilson were not on Scioscia. And here we were blaming him for everything!
Who would have guessed that there was an entirely different meaning to “October drama?” Wow.
Next, Torri Hunter did not re-sign with the Angels directly because of Albert Pujols. Those two absolutely hated each other and Hunter’s contract was up while Albert’s 10-year albatross was just beginning. The two of them had to be separated at least twice during the 2012 season, with Hunter actively interested in kicking Pujols’
poohole ass to prove a point. Pujols didn’t like Hunter’s leadership style and Hunter didn’t like Pujols’. Pujols apparently also resented that Trout was leaning so heavily on Hunter rather than him. Between the emergence of Mike Trout in 2012 and Torri’s popularity with fans and media, Albert’s very fragile ego (“smallest dick in the locker room” for you meat peekers out there) could not handle it. Torri had to go for Pujols to be happy, which made Trout upset after that first season. Scioscia wanted Hunter back, he got Hamilton instead, and he’s not let DiPoto forget about that.
Last item, and this one’s a real doozy…almost unbelievable in a way but so intriguing as to elicit some wonderment. Pujols was [allegedly lawyer dude] tied up with Biogenisis! When MLB bought/stole the evidence and company records, Pujols was [allegedly, fact checker] implicated heavily. MLB was then faced with a very difficult decision. They enjoyed felling AROD over it, but Pujols was [totally allegedly as we’re sure you by now understand] too big to fail, to be implicated, so MLB [yep, allegedly again] struck a deal with “Mr. Alcantara” that involved Albert [allegedly, totally allegedly] agreeing to miss the rest of the season with his “plantar fasciitis” injury (one that did not require surgery and one with which he was curiously, at the time, committed to playing), an unofficial and entirely precedented form of backchannel MLB suspension.
Arte, Albert, and MLB [of course allegedly] agreed to protect the product and, in the process “Mr. Alcantara.”
Caveat emptor: Since “Mr. Alcantara has never knowingly used performance enhancing drugs,” of course, we feel compelled to mention that these rumors of Albert Pujols being a lying, cheating, overly litigious asshole are exactly that…rumors. So we are not in any way suggesting that “Mr. Alcantara” used steroids while mentored by Mark McGwire, or that his decreased production of recent years is any way related to him protecting his legacy by giving up the juice. We give him the benefit of the doubt and know in our hearts that he must, given his birth certificate and pseudonym, be entirely legitimate. Did we mention that he totally gives money to charity and that he’s very religious and that has a special needs child? Really, we are just passing on some information that reminds us that there are some pretty interesting rumors…speculation…out there that some people (not us, of course…of course not us) find believable, or at least see as passing the PED sniff test. (Hello, Martin D. Singer, Esq., and thank you for joining us here at our mostly defunct Angel blog. Let us help you by reminding our readers that “Mr. Alcantara has never knowingly used performance enhancing drugs.”) We would also like to remind you that the St. Louis Cardinals were most likely incorrect about their concerns regarding “Mr. Alcantara’s” real age. Seriously, who in their right mind would possibly believe that “Mr. Alcantara” lied about his age or knowingly took PEDs? Certainly not us (Mr. Singer, you are a gracious and attentive and highly skilled attorney and we appreciate and respect all that you do for you client(s)).
Well, here’s to 2015 being a season of solid team chemistry and more winning…and less sweeps.