There is bad juju in the village. Production is low, defense of the land is slipping and it seems like that which has given people hope has faded. There is only one way to appease the mystic forces that govern: Sacrifice must be given!
Sadly, this isn’t a scene happening on a remote island in a tribal ritual, nor is this a documentary on a long-passed civilization. This plot line is happening right now, in Anaheim. There is a certain sect of fan in all sports that believes as a losing streak abuses the spirit of fans, there must then be an abuser held responsible. Once the guilty party is found, the only appropriate punishment is termination (of employment, not life, the whole “human sacrifice” thing is figurative).
At first it seems ridiculous to simply release whomever happens to be next in line. However, one must take into account that twice thus far, the Angels have experienced a modest rejuvenation after a firing. First with the release of Bobby Abreu, then of Mickey Hatcher. Who’s next in line? Some look straight to the top of the dugout and call for the head of Mike Scioscia. It’s an interesting thought, and firing a head coach is nothing new, but assuming Scioscia goes, who takes the skipper’s chair? Anyone taking the position knows it’s a temporary throne, either by an off-season search, or yet another call for sacrifice. The question becomes: How many people have to be thrown to the proverbial volcano god before fans are satisfied? Where does it end? If a team offers up these modern-day human sacrifices, at what point is it enough?
Sadly, it will be as it is in ancient days. The masses will have their pound of flesh, but it will never be sufficient. It’s a treadmill of consumption that has no end and will simply run itself until it breaks down, and takes the franchise with it. Continue to throw the baby out with the bathwater and one will quickly find their team in the cellar.
To offer an alternative to a ritual fraught with negativity, why not consider the polar opposite? The power of positive thinking has been the subject of some ridicule ever since CJ Wilson began preaching the gospel of positive mental attitude (PMA). However, in the decision to release coaches or players, positive thinking might just be what the team needs to break the slump. Give ‘em a chance! Nobody is going to win them all, and while it’s easy to recite the same tired cliches like “We HAVE to take this series!” and “They SHOULD be winning these!”, the simple fact is that it’s a game and teams win and lose every day. If we keep positive as fans, we can trust the team to fix problems. Training one’s weaknesses is a far better pursuit than hoisting torches and pitchforks and looking for the next unfortunate sap on the hit list.
The alternative is sad, indeed. What good is the team if all we have left is Vernon Wells? Not even a volcano god will take on THAT contract.