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DLD 05/19: Angels Angels of Anaheim self-destructing?

Today's LA Times has a great piece on the rubble that used to be the LA Angels of Monkeyland's team chemistry.

Seems Darin Erstad had to yell at the lot of them after today's astounding loss to the Blue Jays, when two players got into a yelling match about who was to blame for the loss. Read it and smile:

Angels' Loss Raises Tempers
Erstad is heard in clubhouse yelling at teammates to not point fingers after team blows two chances to win during an 8-4, 10-inning loss to Toronto.

By Mike DiGiovanna, Times Staff Writer
May 19, 2006

The tensions of a highly disappointing season and the frustration of one of the most excruciating and ugly losses of the year boiled over in the Angels' clubhouse Thursday night.

As reporters questioned Manager Mike Scioscia after an 8-4, 10-inning loss to the Toronto Blue Jays, a game in which the Angels had the potential winning run at third base with one out in the eighth inning and no outs in the ninth and failed to score, a heated argument between two or more players could be heard from the shower area.

As the dispute spilled into the clubhouse, Tim Mead, Angels vice president of communications, shut the door to Scioscia's office, but moments later, the screaming voice of Darin Erstad, on the disabled list but still very much the team's leader, could be heard loud and clear.

"This is going to stop right ... now!" Erstad yelled. "There's going to be no finger-pointing, I don't care who you are! It's over! If we go down, we're all going down together! We're going to pull for everybody! No talking behind anyone's back! Let's pull for each other! Let's go!"

Scioscia took it all in, declining to enter the clubhouse, and searched for some perspective to a season in which the underachieving Angels have lost 14 of their last 19 games.

[...]

Second baseman Adam Kennedy seemed to bear much of that burden. He flied to shallow left with no outs and Chone Figgins at third in the ninth, and it appeared he was one of the players involved in the fracas when Erstad said, "A.K. knows he screwed up, and he feels like ... about it!"

For several minutes after the game, Kennedy stared into his locker, his head in his hands. "I don't think it was anything serious," Kennedy said of the dispute, which appeared to include Chone Figgins.

They're not alone in their rage. Over on Halo's Heaven, the RevHaloFan wrapped up his game report with "this group of guys is a bunch of losers." Yikes.

And apparently Anaheim's disease is contagious:

After loss, M's need to talk -- and they do

By JOHN HICKEY
P-I REPORTER

OAKLAND, Calif. -- The Mariners had one for the record books Thursday.

Not the game -- the 6-3 loss to the Athletics was fairly routine.

We're talking about the postgame meeting in the clubhouse, a talk-and-answer session that lasted a full 57 minutes.

Included in the meeting were the players, coaches and manager Mike Hargrove. The clubhouse assistants were shooed out, and the front office staff on the trip -- general manager Bill Bavasi, assistant GM Lee Pelekoudas and others, waited outside with the media.

There are issues on the table concerning Mariners baseball -- whether the season is out of control, whether expectations were too high, whether the offense will produce and whether new faces will need to show up wearing Mariner Blue -- and all those topics were touched upon in those 57 minutes.

Now compare that to Oakland's clubhouse:

A nonbeliever in the "sophomore slump," Swisher is being praised by Macha and had his work ethic compared to that of Seattle's Ichiro Suzuki,who was going through his pregame routine at 3:30 on Tuesday for that evening's game. Macha's point? That Swisher was getting in extra work at the same time Ichiro was beginning his regimen.

"It's nice when guys put that time in and they're getting results," Macha said. "Hopefully he'll continue this type of work ethic and continue to have success. Overall, he's outstanding; he's carried this ballclub."

[...]

"I don't know what it is," Swisher said. "The big thing for me is I'm having more fun than I've ever had. It kind of feels like I'm playing Little League baseball again; I don't have a care in the world.

"If you have a bad game, so what, tomorrow's coming. If you have a good game, so what, you've got to go out and do it again the next day."

[...]

"We (are) the most privileged guys in the world right here. You get to play a game for a living. I love this. I've wanted to do this since I was 6 years old, and now that I've gotten the opportunity, I'm going to take full advantage of it."

I heart the A's.

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