By Sean Scanlon - AngelsWin.com Columnist
It is a gradual slide; you go from watching every game to not knowing they have a day off. You go from regularly checking score updates on your phone to actively searching through the channel guide to find something else to watch. You go from reading the paper every morning to not even bothering to pick it up from the curb for two days. You have no idea who the starting pitcher is and are shocked to find out Trevor Bell is in the rotation. You go from spending hours a day on a message board, to not checking for days at a time.
You’ve been a diehard fan for decades. You can't talk about 1986. You lived and died with the 95 team, every agonizing bone crushing loss during the epic collapse. You cried sweet tears of joy as the miracle of 2002 ended with the ball landing softly in Erstad’s glove for the final out. You basked in the glory of a golden age of Angel’s baseball, safe in the knowledge that the Angels would win the marathon long season, playoff baseball had became a right, not a privilege.
Was it the loss of one too many familiar faces? Seeing Vlad, Lackey, and Figgins shown the door…while former Angels greats like Salmon and GA had already moved on? Looking through the roster and noticing a hobbled Scot Shields was the last lone link to 2002 glory? Maybe it was the obvious you chose to ignore, the Angel’s baseball you had grown accustomed to was no longer. The first to third, rock steady bullpen, flawless execution of the fundamentals…replaced by a creaky outfield where every flyball became an adventure and a punchless lineup that once featured 9 .300 hitters now featured a cast of players looking up at the Mendoza line.
I can remember a time where a lineup featuring Orlando Palmiero as the number 3 hitter was quirky…yet everytime I see Alberto Callaspo in the 3 hole I shudder and think…that’s probably the best lineup they can run out there. The endless Napoli vs. Mathis debates have lost all meaning, they both lost. The emerging young talent you followed for years made their long awaited debuts and the thud still echoes through the stadium.
Is this what it’s like to be a Pirate’s fan? Maybe my interest will pick back up in September when the young hungry minor leaguers get the call. Or maybe I’ll take some time to refresh and when the winds of Spring Training return and the roster is revamped I’ll catch Angel fever once again. Or, maybe, just maybe, I am becoming Arte’s worst nightmare. Not angry. Not disappointed...Completely disinterested.