The Angels didn't make the playoffs. This is a fact, a very unfortunate one. So what do you do when the facts don't align with your world view? Act like a presidential candidate and just ignore them!
Yes, I love the playoffs because the games are great but also because of all of the narratives involved. Sometimes the narratives are real and compelling and sometimes they are contrived and rammed down our throats. The more I wish that the Angels were actually in the playoffs, the more I can't help but wonder what their narratives would've been. In fact, I wondered on them so hard that they fell out of my brain and into this blog post… starting now:
- "Pujols and the Cardinals on a World Series collision course!" Yeah, this one would be dominating the headlines across the nation right now. There is nothing more compelling than a revenge story.
- "Which Angel starter gets demoted to the bullpen?" Honestly, the Halos kind of dodged a bullet here. There would've been a major crapstorm regardless of which rotation member got the boot to the bullpen. If it was Santana, which it probably would've been, the talk would've been about how this is a fitting end to his up and down Angel career. But if it was Wilson, the media would lose their mind over him not making the playoff rotation after being signed to such big contract. There would be one side trying to defend him using his bone spur problems and past relief experience, but they would be in the small minority compared to the legion of writers who love to bury GMs for making bad investments.
- "Mike Trout vs. Bryce Harper" The utmost in contrived matchups since, as we now know, the Nats are eliminated. But just think about what the media would've been saying had Trout and the Angels lost in the ALDS while Harper helped lead Washington to a pennant. All the anti-WAR writers would've been falling all over themselves propping up Harper over Trout because even though Trout had a much better regular season, it was Harper who actually helped his team achieve post-season success. The whole thing would be ridiculous either way because the only reason to compare Trout and Harper is their youth, which is really not a valid reason at all.
- "Mike Trout vs. Miguel Cabrera: Round Two" Did you really think the Trout-Miggy thing was going to end with the AL MVP debate? As vitriolic and irrational as those arguments got, it would have been twofold with poeple trying to make the case that one player is somehow better than the other based on how far their respective team advanced in the post-season. And Lord help us if the Angels had ended up playing the Tigers. In fact, I'm kind of glad that the Angels missed out on the post-season because I can't handle anymore non-sensical bickering.
- "Torii Hunter's last best chance at a World Series" No, Torii isn't retiring. Heck, he probably isn't even leaving the Angels. But at his age, this might be his last chance winning the World Series title that he so badly covets. With him being such an amiable, gregarious character, the media would lap that up.
- "World Series or Bust for the Angels" If you thought the Angels got dressed down by the media for failing to make the post-season, don't go thinking it would've been much better had they qualified for the playoffs but made an early exit. They spent the kind of money that buys championship. The knives still would've come out for Scioscia and the team had they done anything short of winning it all.
- "Jerry Dipoto: Genius GM" Now, consider what would've happened if the Angels did win it all. With all his free agent signings and mid-season trades, it would've become a lovefest for the rookie GM that pulled all the right strings to get the Angels back to being contenders and then saved them again after their early season struggles.
- "For now, the Angels own Los Angeles" Again, assuming the World Series victory, but this is the narrative Arte Moreno has been dreaming of. For all their famous new owners and their endless supply of money the Dodgers would have nothing on the Angels if LA were bleeding Halo Red on the heels of the team's second championship.