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10 Reasons the Angels will be in the ALCS
- Updated: September 29, 2009
The Angels are headed to the ALCS, after they finally defeat their traditional post season nemesis, the Boston Red Sox. Bet the house on it.
Granted, it’s hard to come up with a solid baseball-based argument to support that bold statement. The Red Sox have owned the Angels in the post season since Dave Henderson broke my heart with his dramatic home run in the ’86 ALCS. Since that home run, the Red Sox have swept the Angels out of the post season in 2004 and 2007, and just plain embarrassed them in 2008.
But I feel it in my bones… this is the year all that changes. And while I’d be foolish to even attempt to support it with any game related facts, here are the 10 reasons why I feel so strongly:
1) I’m the Angel correspondent. If I don’t believe that, who will?
2) Paul Byrd – I hear he’s a lovely guy, but his teams (2004 Braves, 2005 Angels, 2007 Indians, 2008 Red Sox) have all been post season losers. That streak continues in 2009. BTW, Byrd’s nickname is “Frasier”, because of his resemblance to TV’s Kelsey Grammer….
3) Tom Werner – Coincidentally, Red Sox co-owner Tom Werner is an Executive Producer of Kelsey Grammer‘s new ABC series, “Hank.” I’ve seen “Hank”, and it’s not good. I believe the struggling “Hank” will distract Werner from his important day-to-day minority shareholder duties, and the ensuing result will be an early post season exit for the Sox.
4) Jered Weaver‘s Haircut - Granted Weaver has only been a .500 pitcher since he trimmed his locks in early August, but there’s no questioning that he’s a better looking man because of it, and as he adjusts to the enhanced confidence that results from that, he will propel the Angels pitching staff past the Red Sox.
5) Barack Obama – When Boston defeated the Angels in 1986, 2004, 2007 and 2008, the country was lead by Republican Presidents Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush. This year, the Angels are facing the Red Sox for the first time under a Democratic administration, which will lead to a more liberal amount of run scoring and an Angel series victory.
6) My season tickets – I’m not presumptuous enough to believe that my seat location has anything to do with how the Angels perform on the field, but the numbers speak for themselves. For 35 years, my family has had season tickets behind the visiting dugout…. and for 35 years, the Angels have come up empty against the Red Sox. This year, in search of shade, we’ve moved behind the Angels dugout, and concurrently, the Angels are poised to not only win this year’s playoffs, but begin a 35 year period of post season dominance.
7) Regular season dominance - In 2008, the Angels dominated the season series vs. the Red Sox (8-1), only to struggle in the playoffs and lose 3-1. This regular season, the Angels struggled, coming out ahead (5-4), so logic would follow that they will dominate the playoff series.
8) Casey Kotchman – In 2008, the Angels traded Kotchman for Mark Teixeira. The Red Sox traded Adam LaRoche for Kotchman. The Angels clearly got the better of these two transactions, and thus will clearly get the better of the Red Sox in the post season. If you’re not buying that logic… how about, in 2008, the Angels traded Kotchman and were cursed in the post season and lost in 4 games. In 2009, the Red Sox traded for Kotchman, and will also be cursed in the post season.
9) Last Links to 2002 – With Scott Shields on the 60 Day DL after season-ending knee surgery, the Angels have only 2 players on the current roster who played on the 2002 Championship Team – John Lackey and Chone Figgins. Both players are free agents … and attractive free agents whose return to Anaheim is anything but certain. So this playoff drive is potentially the last to be lead by a player with a link to the World Series team, and a sentimental reason to motivate the current roster. But there’s no more sentimental motivation for the Angels than….
10) Nick Adenhart – The Red Sox were the first team the Angels played after the tragic death of their young teammate, and with emotions already raw, they were further angered as the Sox’s Josh Beckett threw at the head of their team leader Torii Hunter. The team has played with Adenhart’s inspiration all season, and they’ll be easily reminded of Beckett’s head hunting and the previous playoff embarrassments. This series will test the character of the Angels… and they will finally shake the proverbial monkey off their backs and rally to face the Yankees in the 2009 ALCS.
Drew Brown is a longtime Angel season ticket holder who blogs about the Angels at AngelsBaseballOnIce.com You can follow him on Twitter @angelsbaseball