Ah, yes, that awkward moment when we Angel fans are forced to root for the hated Texas Rangers because they are playing the slightly less hated Oakland Athletics. I don't like it anymore than you do, but they say that playoff races make for strange bedfellows. Unfortunately, it seems that we Halo fans will be forced to continue this unholy alliance for most of the rest of the season what with Texas facing Oakland in the current series and then again ending the season with a series against the A's. Alas, we are left with no other choice but to make the best of this untenable situation. To help towards that end, the staff at MWAH (OK, just me) has put together a handy guide to help you navigate these muddy waters.
Step 1 – Acceptance
Through no small coincidence, "acceptance" is also one of the stages of grief. Just make your peace early and remind yourself that this is only going to last another few days.
Step 2 – Delusion
If you are really struggling, you can just pretend the Rangers are the Angels. That's actually easier than it sounds. For example, Mike Napoli used to be an Angel, just act like he still is! Oh how excited you will be to cheer on Naps, especially since you can do so without having to worry about him being replaced by Jeff Mathis. If your suspension of disbelief kung fu is especially strong, you can even try and convince yourself that Adrian Beltre really did sign with the Angels before the 2011 season. There are also going to be at least a few games where the Rangers lend you a helping hand by wearing their alternate red uniforms. Deploy this particular step carefully as overuse of it can have negative side effects such as seizures induced by the idea of Ian Kinsler being on the Angels.
Step 3 – Reprieve
This whole rooting for Texas thing would be an entirely different animal if we had to do it for the entirety of the remaining schedule. Fortunately the MLB schedulers have smiled upon us. The Rangers have one three-game series between the current homestand against the Athletics and the season finale in Oakland. That in-between series just so happens to be against the Angels! Ah, glory! A golden opportunity to unleash all that bottled up negative energy!!!
I can't oversell this series enough. It might well the keystone of this whole plan. For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction, therefore the harder you support Texas in the games against Oakland, the more potent your hatred will be when the Halos go to Arlington. Considering the gravity of that series, the Angels will need all the help they can get.
Step 4 – Mathematics
Don't worry, I'm not going to make you do algebra. I merely ask that you look at Texas' magic number. It currently stands at five. Now, if Texas can win their next two games against Oakland, that means all they need is one more win or one more Oakland loss to lock up the AL West title. That's pretty much the perfect time for the Halos face Texas because with their division crown being virtually assured, the Rangers will feel free to kick it into cruise control and thus more susceptible to defeat at the hands of the Angels. See? Math can be fun!
Step 5 – Enjoy baseball in general
If none of the above steps are working for you, just remove yourself from rooting interests entirely and enjoy the beauty of the game of baseball. As painful as it might be to admit, the Rangers have a few players that would be a real pleasure to watch if only they, you know, weren't Rangers. Josh Hamilton's natural talent and smooth swing are both to be envied. When Yu Darvish is on (something Angel fans have seen first-hand more often than they would've liked), he is simply mesmerizing. And if you are one of those "grit and leadership" types, I present you with Michael Young (just don't look at his stat line).
Step 6 – Compare and contrast
Since you are going to have to spend so much time watching the Rangers regardless, you might as well use them to make you feel better about the Angels too. We all know the Halos' flaws so intimately that we forget that supposedly better teams aren't perfect either. Hate how Scioscia uses his bullpen? Just wait until you get a load of Ron Washington! Can't stand how overpaid and unproductive Vernon Wells in? Allow me to introduce you to Michael Young. Tired of Ervin Santana's inconsistency and home run tendencies? At least he isn't Derek Holland (bonus points for his stupid mustache). Now, don't you feel better?
Step 7 – Enhance your mood
I don't know about you, but I'm a fan of everybody once my blood alcohol content gets elevated enough. Also, I hear that marijuana is rather easy to procure in the state of California.
Finally, I leave you with a few notes on certain Texas players that might help make this whole process go down a little easier:
– If you squint hard enough, Craig Gentry is pretty much Peter Bourjos and we all love Peter Bourjos, right?
– The highest of high comedy is watching Adrian Beltre freak out when people rub his head. This only happens after he homers, therefore fans of comedy must root for Beltre homers.
– You are pretty much a horrible human being if you don't pull for Josh Hamilton considering all the demons he has fought and is still fighting in his life.
– Jurickson Profar could be the 2013 version of Mike Trout, enjoy him now before you loathe him next season.
– Koji Uehara's sideburns. Need I say more?