With the season in full gear, it’s time to face facts. The Angels are hurting and no one can quite put their finger on a diagnosis. Any and all suggestions are being considered as the team looks for ways to hit their stride and begin making a climb in the AL West. Trades, minor league assignments, even coaching changes are all on the table. Every idea, no matter how radical, is being considered as the Halos look for the spark to start racking up some wins.
Here then, are five good reasons to replace Josh Hamilton with a turtle.
1) A Turtle will get on base more often than Josh Hamilton.
Pacific Leatherback Sea Turtles are the largest turtles in the world. At their largest, they’re barely above the knee of a human being. Given that a normal strike zone is said to be between the numbers and the knees, even the largest turtle in the world has basically has no strike zone. Bat the turtle second between a lead off Peter Bourjos or Erick Aybar and before Mike Trout and you’ll have two men on for Mikey to blast three run homers all season! Just make sure Trout does some extra pushups at practice. We’ll need him to pick up and carry his turtle teammate on his way around the bases. Angel fans have sat through Bengie Molina’s base running, but even that patience has its limits.
2) There is no wage scale for non humans in the MLB.
This one may be taking advantage a bit, but if it brings wins, we must consider it. Rookie contracts and veteran minimums are all but set in stone, but turtle wages? There’s nothing on the books! Which means a turtle can be signed for whatever number he’ll take on a contract. Being that turtles live in their shells, he wouldn’t have many financial needs. We may be able to sign him for nothing but some beach land to retire on, a truckload of turtle chow, and an occasional trip to the zoo to get some turtle groupies.
3) The Rally Monkey needs a companion.
We do love the Rally Monkey at the Big A, but could you imagine the tandem of a monkey AND a turtle? As you read this, Disney’s probably knocking out a pilot episode for a cartoon series. Put the turtle on t-shirts, mugs, flags, hats, stuffed animals, the entire spectrum of ballpark souvenirs. Give the kids a stuffed turtle outfielder as a giveaway item. It beats the heck out of a bobblehead! (and who knows if turtles can even bob their heads anyway?)
4) The press will love him.
The media attention from having a turtle as an active member of the roster will be daunting at first, but this is the team that dealt with signing Albert Pujols to a quarter-billion dollar contract. A little media hoopla comes with the turf in Anaheim. Any publicity is good publicity, and increased ticket sales may help drop beer prices back to 2003 Arte Moreno new-ownership levels. It’s way too early to speculate, but just as the 1947 Dodgers helped Jackie Robinson to break the color barrier, maybe the 2013 Angels can be the ones to break the species barrier in baseball!
5) Trade bait
No one is going to take Josh Hamilton’s contract on any time soon (The Angels should simply count themselves lucky to have gotten away as cleanly as they did from Vernon Wells’s contract). However, they may be willing to roll the dice on a turtle. It would be difficult for any outfield sans Bourjos and Trout to cover for a turtle’s low speed in right field, but a DH position wouldn’t be out of the question. If it came to it, the Angels could keep Hamilton, trade the turtle for some relief pitching, and be no worse off than they are currently.
Obviously the problems with swapping Josh Hamilton for an amphibious friend are too numerous to list, but thinking along these lines is not incorrect. The team is in need of something. The Angels lack the je ne c'est quoi that champions possess and if they don’t find it soon, fans will be looking at yet another year of mediocrity where more time is spent waiting for football season to start than waiting for the Angels to turn it around.
Faced with the alternative, it couldn’t hurt to start trying out turtles at the Triple-A Salt Lake affiliate.