This last series in Texas reminded me of something: Angel fans no longer have anyone to boo! Just look at all the fun those Texas fans had booing Josh Hamilton. Down by five runs? Texas Ranger fan don't care, just boo Josh Hamilton. And let's face it, with the way things are going for the team right now, we really need someone to boo, if only to blow off some steam.
Of course, Halo fans used to have a player to boo pretty much whenever they felt like in the form of Vernon Wells. Before him there Fernando Rodney and before him Scott Kazmir. And, of course, there was always Jeff Mathis. Let's face it, every incarnation of the Angel roster needs to have a goat. Not because we Angels fans are mean-spirited creeps, but rather because, like most fan bases, we have free floating anger that needs to be directed somewhere for the sake of our own mental health. It is essentially just a safety release valve and some poor sucker now needs to fill the role that Vernon vacated when he made his escape to New York.
But who will it be? This current Angels roster is, dare I say, pretty dang likeable. There is no obvious jerk, chump or underperformer on the roster (yet). We could sit back and wait for the a subject of scorn to emerge organically, but who has the patience for that? Let's just get down to it and pick a new public enemy #1 to be the target for all our misplaced angst:
Erick Aybar – Aybar certainly has his fans, but he also has plenty of detractors. It seems like Erick can't go more than a week with committing some sort of mental gaffe in the field, on the bases or at the plate. That certainly is annoying, but annoying enough for the fans to turn on an otherwise pretty solid player, I'm not so sure?
Howie Kendrick – I say Howie, you say GIDP! HOWIE! GIDP! HOWIE! GIDP! Yeah, that's what Howie is known for now, being terribly unclutch and finding ways to hit into double plays even with nobody on base. The real kicker for him though might be that we all had unbridled prospect love for him when he was being touted as a future batting champion and it is now painfully obvious that day will never come. Heck, I'm not even sure he is going to give hit over .300 again.
Sean Burnett – He's new so he has a clean slate, but he also has a crooked hat. We don't think too kindly 'bout crooked hats 'round these parts (spits into a spitoon). Maybe ya best put that hat on straight or get back in yer car and skeedaddle on outta here, boy.
Tommy Hanson – It isn't really his fault that he is on this list since it seems pretty clear that the Halos acquired damaged goods. What compels me to spit bile at him though is all of the uncanny parallels to former hated Halo Scott Kazmir. Plus, since he is a ginger and has no soul, our witty (and not so witty) barbs at his expense won't hurt his feelings since he, by definition, has none.
Alberto Callaspo – Callaspo almost isn't enough of a player to even care strongly about. Now, as a human being, that's another story. If anyone deserves our collective disdain it is a guy who was living with a mistress while his wife was back home with his child in Venezuela, busted for DUI and arrested for slapping around his lady. If anyone wants to start booing one of our own, he gets my nomination.
Joe Blanton – Nobody liked his signing and I'm even willing to throw Dipoto into that lot, if I may be so bold. There is nothing redeeming about Blanton who has already put his penchant for underachieving and coughing up gopherballs on full display. And, shallow as it might be, his doughy physique makes him ripe for ridicule, a key factor when considering a target for frequent scorn.
C.J. Wilson – Step one, be a hipster douche. Check! Step two, be a disappointing big money free agent acquisition. Well, the jury is still out on that. That might by him some time in the hate department and believe you me he is going to need it if I have to sit threw his moronic Head & Shoulders commercials all season long.
Josh Hamilton – He was the source of much Angel fan ire back when he was still a Ranger, so why change? Change is scary. Change makes me uncomfortable. Go away, change! Leave me alone! At this point I think he might be the front-runner given all the residual hate from when he was a Ranger and the rest comes from his massive contract and thus far highly disappointing start to his Halo career. However, he is such an inspirational story that it is awfully difficult for me to come to terms with making him the team's official goat. Maybe I'll change my mind after a few more weeks of him working Jesus into every third sentence and striking out every other plate appearance.
Albert Pujols – Sure, he's doing fine right now, but wait until his contract value starts climbing while his production plummets. Hopefully that won't happen for a few more years, but maybe this is an opportunity to make a long-term investment? Get in on the ground floor of hating Pujols now while supplies last!