After watching a thoroughly enjoyable A's win on InDemand last night, I flipped to the local broadcast of the Angel game just in time to watch them come from ahead to lose. The halo loss was just about as exciting to me as the A's win and I began pondering why. Why so much satisfaction from seeing the Angels lose? Part of it, of course, was that the A's picked up a game on them but there must be more. There must be. I went to game seven in '02 (long story but it had to do with a mad sprint through the parking lot at 6:00 AM on the day of the game for extra tix) and actually was rooting for the gnats - an NL team over an AL team?! (this may be do to some deep rooted allegiance in my subconscious growing up in NoCal and needing a favorite NL team but, again, I think it is more).
So I started to list off reasons in my head and now I am transcribing them. There are probably others out there who have similar feelings about other teams they can't stand.
-The fans are the biggest bandwaggoners in the league. I moved to SoCal in the early `80's and I go to a handful of Angel/A's games every year. Until '02, the crowds were always in the low 20K range and there were always a good contingent of A's fans (20-25%) - especially in the field level sections near the foul poles. Now they usually sell out. I have always been of the opinion that attendance would have returned to its pre-02 levels within two years if it was not for Arte, his money, and Vlad. Now, I can barely find a descent seat and I end up paying an arm and a leg...and I am surrounded by a sea of dipshits in red.
-Which brings me to Arte. If you can't stand Steinbrenner, you can't like Arte...even with his reduced beer prices. If you are of the mind that the ridiculous salaries and inequities between teams are bad for the game, then here is your poster child for what is wrong with baseball. Or maybe I am just jealous of his payroll.
-Maybe it is my brother-in-law - he was a casual baseball fan when I met my wife-to-be. I hooked him on to the A's around '90 - a pretty descent team. Like a true bandwaggoner, he dumped the A's when they hit their mid `90's rough patch and he latched on to the Angels. Worse off, he procreated. Now I have Angel fan and mini Angel fan running their mouths when the come over for dinner on weekends. That's okay though, I have three of my own little A's fans and we still outnumber them.
-Maybe it is their homer announcer, Hudler. He is as irritating as the announcers in New York, Boston and Chicago. I used to appreciate his enthusiasm and liked the way he played the game but the more I listen to him, the more I would like to hang him from the big A in the parking lot. Maybe he feels that he has to be such a homer to keep his job or that he owes Arte for keeping him after Hud was busted for pot possession at the airport a couple years back. Either way, can't stand the jackass now.
I am sure there are many more reasons for my hatred though no bigger reason than the fans who have come out of the woodwork since '02. Nothing worse than hearing fans of a rival team yap when their team is winning when, prior to '02, I am not sure I had ever met an Angel fan.
Maybe all this is coming out as frustration because my boys are in last. That is okay because I know it is temporary. Sure the Angels will be right there year in and year out because of their payroll (though no guarantee - see current Yankees) but I take satisfaction in knowing we will be right there with them after we get over this learning curve...and we will be there for awhile.