True fans understand the dynamic of sports fandom. You cheer your team, you boo the other team, you have a few hated rivals to whom you say inflammatory things in order rile their fans and get them kicked out of your home ballpark (for example, reminding Yankee fans that Derek Jeter allegedly gave Jessica Alba herpes). This is the world of the fan and to survive here requires a certain edge. When fans’ chemistry is off, that edge becomes dull. The buzz around the Big A has never been greater with the switch to DiPoto as GM and his big name signings. Yet, their remains a certain gap in our gusto.
The gap I am referring to is that of the team scapegoat. Players, coaches and even management can become a scapegoat. Why do we, as fans, require this? The same reasons as anyone. Someone has to take blame. We will not accept the “win some, lose some” mentality, lest we “lose some” that cost our team entrance into the postseason. Someone must be held accountable, by god! We will find that person and hold them responsible for our misery!
Jeff Mathis! Front and center! You sorry excuse for a catcher! Scoscia may like you because you catch for our ace pitchers, but we as fans will not be satiated! What with your sub .200 batting average and your horrible-
…Oh. Toronto. Right.
Fine! Scott Kazmir! You hack! ERA above 17 for the Salt Lake Bees?! Their our minor-league affiliate, you imbecile! How dare you leech money from the team like that and-
…Free agent? Ah, well then. Best of luck in his future endeavors.
Very well! Tony Reagins! You sorry excuse for a GM! You let Vlad go and kept Rodney?! What were you thinking?! You get up here right now and take your-
…Resigned? Jeez, this is going to be harder than I thought.
There is only one option remaining. We must blame someone or something for the bad things that happen to the team. The only way before us is a narrow one, but I believe that we, as fans, can think outside the box and make it work. We do not do this traditionally, we blaze a trail in shifting blame and we do this as only Southern California fans can.
The Angels new scapegoat: Bobby Abreu’s age.
It doesn’t seem fair, does it? Well, this is a need that has to be filled. Bobby’s a tough guy, he can take it. He earned his stripes, so to speak, in New York, the mecca of bandwagon fans. If you can stand up to the boobirds there, you can take a some abuse from otherwise kinder fans. Furthermore, with Albert Pujols’s contract now on the books, and nobody willing to talk about how much Vernon Wells is being paid, Abreu is flying under the radar. He doesn’t have to take as much punishment as you think. We’re not going blame him specifically, just his age.
For example: Peter Bourjos has a sophomore slump and is a functional player, but not the future star we hoped. That’s okay, it’s not his fault. It’s just that he’s having trouble getting on a decent sleep schedule now that the team eats dinner at the 4pm early-bird special so old man Bobby can be home in time to watch Jeopardy.
Not so bad, right? Again: Jeff Mathis pulls a Mike Napoli and decides to find his bat and rock the hell out of the AL East. Jerry DiPoto could not possibly have seen that coming. He is blameless. He was too busy ordering prescriptions for the trainers to give to Bobby Abreu, because Bobby is so very old.
This is getting easy now! One more: C.J. Wilson pulls a Josh Hamilton and gets drunk one night, destroying his straight edge image and sending him to rehab, putting him on the restricted list for “undisclosed treatment”. That wasn’t a moment of weakness, that was C.J. finding a coping mechanism for Bobby Abreu’s constant “Back in my day…” stories, because Bobby Abreu is, in point of fact, quite old.
Given the final piece of the puzzle, I expect that Angels fans will now be able to go full bore into this season with all of the energy and fervor that other top-tier MLB teams have. We are armed completely and prepared for the season with our new secret weapon. We will cheer loud and long for our Halos and they will reward our thunderous applause with a fine season indeed!
However, should they not satisfy us with a playoff run, be not concerned. They never really stood a chance. It’s not like they were in a position to win a lot of road games. Everyone had to be tired after helping to load up Bobby Abreu’s collection of walkers with tennis balls on the bottom, because he is greatly, profoundly, indubitably old.