Cliches at the big A

At the risk of being a jinx, the Angels appear to have turned the corner. Their recent winning streak and the historic highlight of Mike Trout hitting for the cycle seem to have sparked something in the team. However, the train is only leaving the station. There’s no telling what twists and turns await ahead and if last season’s late runs for Texas and Oakland have taught us anything, it’s that nothing is over until the 162nd game has been played. Thus, the Angels fan mantra at this juncture should be that of cautious optimism. Be excited, but be tempered. There is still a long road ahead.

Wait a minute… Who speaks like that? Ever?

In today’s age of the uncensored internet, intimate scenes on cable television and the millions upon millions of podcasts, why do we resort to cliches? John Keating (later quoted by Robin Williams in “Dead Poet’s Society”) once said “Language was invented for one reason, boys – to woo women – and, in that endeavor, laziness will not do.” We’re clearly not trying to impress the ladies in this instance, but cliches are just that: Lazy. They’re safe. They’re in the comfort zone. Regardless of what’s ahead. The cliches have got to go.

“One game at a time” they say. One game at a time? Well, obviously! How else are you going to do it? Go to a football/baseball stadium conversion and set up two diamonds at the same time? Have Peter Bourjos play right field in one game while having him simultaneously play left in the other? Split an already anemic bullpen in half? If you’re playing frequent doubleheaders, let alone two concurrent games, you’re clearly doing something wrong.

“Plenty of baseball left” some utter. Yeah, there’s always plenty of games left until you’re eliminated because you couldn’t take 2 of 3 from the Astros. There are always plenty of games until it’s over. Jered Weaver thought he had plenty of games to hit his stride, and then he landed on injured reserve. The teams currently in the NHL and NBA playoffs have plenty of games to win their respective series. The Lakers and Clippers don’t have plenty of games left, because their season is over. Funny how everyone that doesn’t play in October suddenly finds themselves out of baseball when there was plenty just a few short months prior.

“We’re going to try some different things.” No, we’re not. The team is going to play the game of baseball with the established strategies developed over the years with a few tricks thrown in. Moving Chris Iannetta from the number 8 slot to number 7 does not count as “different things”. If you want to try “different things”, you can make rookies play in uniforms made of beef jerky. You can superglue princess tiaras to all of the batting helmets. You can replace Mark Trumbo’s bat with a foam pool noodle. If you’re going to try different things, make sure they’re REALLY different.

Cliches are as much a part of baseball as Blackburne’s rubbing mud, peanuts, and the 7th inning stretch. They’re the catch all. Coaches and players don’t want to talk to reporters after a game, they want to take a shower, go home and go to sleep. Cliches are the perfect pre-packaged answers to any question a reporter may ask. For better or for worse, cliches are here to stay.

At least until the end of the season when the fat lady sings, the last train leaves the station, and the last one out turns out the lights.

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