Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Angel Players Losing Patience With #1 Fan
By Adam Dodge - Angelswin.com Senior Writer

Larry Wilkerson, a once remarkable cheerer, who so graciously exhibited every attribute of the prototypical “super-fan,” has continued to slump in 2009 despite the overwhelming support of his peers — the parking attendants, ushers and vendors, and his beautiful wife, Sharon (pictured with him in the photo above.) And even though the Angels players gave Wilkerson a vote of confidence just two short weeks ago, recent comments suggest that the uniformed personnel, those whom this future member of the Hall of Fans has so vigorously supported over the past 20 years, are beginning to concede that “L-Dub” is past his prime.

“Man, it’s tough," said All-Star center fielder Torii Hunter. "You hope to see him out there behind the dugout, standing up with a colorful sign, screaming and yelling at the top of his lungs, but it’s just not happening."

Hunter’s not the only one to notice the apparent decline in skills. Bench player Robb Quinlan admitted he’s seen a drop in enthusiasm, as well.

“For whatever reason, Larry just isn’t Larry this year," he said. "It’s difficult to grasp. It was a shot to the stomach to see what happened in Section 111 last week.”

Quinlan, of course, was referring to the seventh inning of a game against the Chicago White Sox, during which Wilkerson, despite appearing to be giving it everything he had, was unable to rise to his feet during the wave and was only capable of raising one arm.

“I mean he looks the same," Quinlan continued. "The smile is still there, but for whatever reason we’re not getting the same performance out of him that we’re used to."

The players also responded to a rumor that Wilkerson left a game against the Padres in the bottom of the eighth inning.

“All I can say is I hope it isn’t true. I refuse to believe it,” said a clearly emotional Jeff Mathis.

Count Angels manager Mike Scioscia, however, among those who aren't publicly concerned.

"Larry is still a presence behind the dugout," Scioscia said. "I don't think we're to a point where he's not helping the team. He still claps along to 'Car Wash' and says 'Charge!' when the organ player prompts him. He's obviously not where we all expect him to be and know he's going to be, but I think it's premature to suggest we move him to a different section of the stadium."

AngelsWin.com attempted to sit down with Larry and get his thoughts on his struggles, and he agreed, but was too emotional to complete the interview. All he said was, “I’m not done. I will battle through this. It’s not how you start. It’s how you finish.”

According to the Angels sales department, Wilkerson has yet to renew his season tickets for 2010.
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