Normally I would save a story like this just for the Halo Headlines, but this little snippet from the Boston Globe certainly seems to have driven Angel fans into a bit of a tizzy:
This is not going to play well in Orange County …
Question: “Fair or not, there’s a sense that Anaheim, that the fan base is more laid back and the expectations aren’t quite as high whereas in Boston …”
John Lackey, interrupting with a smile: “That would be accurate, yeah.”
As if Angel fans weren’t pissed off enough at Big John for going Benedict Arnold and bolting for the Red Sux, but now that he is taking some shots at the fan base on his way out of town, he might just have become public enemy #1 in Halo Nation.
God I hate you, Lackey.
To be fair, Lackey didn’t actually go out of his way to call out Angel fans for being “more laid back,” but rather just agreed with the reporter who made the assertion. Still, the message is clear, Lackey doesn’t think too highly of Angel fans for their seeming lack of commitment to winning. The easy thing to do here is flame Lackey for his being an ungrateful prick, which he is, but perhaps Angel fans should also look themselves in the mirror at the same time.
As much as I hate to admit it, Angel fans aren’t exactly the most demanding of fan bases in all of sports. You will seldom ever hear terms such as “rabid” or “zealot” or “hardcore” used when Angel fans are described, be that description given by an outsider or an Angel fan themselves. That isn’t to say that Angel fans are bad fans, in fact, I think (with my obvious bias) that Angel fans ARE great fans. Unfortunately, Angel fans are also a little complacent.
Ask yourself right now this question: how upset am I that the Angels have been to the post-season five of the past six years and not even appeared in the World Series, much less won it?
Or how about this one: if the Angels win the AL West again this year but still don’t win the World Series, is the season a success?
Now, it would be awfully convenient if I could get my poll widget working, but I have the feeling that if it was, the answer to the first question would only be “a little upset” and a healthy majority of the answers to the second question would be an unqualified “yes.” Call me cynical, but when I joked several weeks ago that the Angels new motto should be “The Angels, where winning division titles is good enough for us,” a number of Angel fans joked back that they already thought that was the motto. That, my friends, is pretty sad.
This brings us back to what I believe was Lackey’s point: Angel fans don’t demand enough from their team. Maybe it was all the decades of being, let’s be honest, a virtual non-entity in the MLB landscape that has lowered the bar for Angel fans, but a “World Series or bust” mentality just hasn’t emerged in Anaheim. For a hyper-competitive redneck like Lackey, that isn’t good enough. And, you know what? I think he is kind of right.
We’ve got the talent. We’ve got the manager. We’ve got the payroll and the owner willing to spend it. We’ve got a great homefield advantage. There is no reason Angel fans shouldn’t expect the team to win the World Series this year and every year and not just settling for division crowns. The sooner we start demanding a championship, the sooner we can tell John Lackey to blow it out his ass.