Monday, August 9, 2010

By David Saltzer, Senior Writer

This season hasn’t turned out how anyone would have wanted. With only two months left to play, the Angels have about a 2% chance of making the playoffs. The team is hovering around .500. It’s easy to be frustrated with the team and to tune out, but here are the Top 10 reasons why you should still continue to come out and support the team.

Top-10 Reasons Why You Should Still Support the 2010 Angels

10. It’s baseball. It’s summer. And it’s fun.

What’s summer without a baseball game? The sound of the ballpark, the smell of hotdogs, peanuts. The buzz in the crowd. Summer is made for baseball. The weather is perfect. Angels games are very affordable entertainment. Fans can find discount tickets and affordable food packages at a rate comparable to going to the movies. By now you’ve probably taken the kids to see Toy Story 3 and Despicable Me, so, you’ve seen the best from Hollywood. Go to an Angels game for a great chance to watch a game with family and friends for a comparable cost.

9. Peter Bourjos.

Whether he is or is not the future of centerfield, he is an amazing athlete. He’s already made an impact on the team with his defense and he has the potential to be a gold glove outfielder. Go out to see him to see for yourself if he has what it takes to become a permanent fixture for the outfield and maybe you’ll see him make an amazing play or two or swipe one or two with his amazing speed.

8. It’s better than anything on regular TV.

Okay, so there are some shows on cable worth watching but Shark Week and Deadliest Catch are over. Compared to anything on regular TV, baseball still is king. So called “reality TV shows’ are no one’s reality (at least no one that I know). The only real TV show during the summer, where the story is completely unscripted, is baseball (sorry wrestling fans). If you have to watch something else, program your DVR and relax and enjoy a baseball game.

7. The new guy—Dan Haren.

Trading for Dan Haren was a great move. At the time it gave the Angels a chance to keep up with the Rangers. But, more importantly, it gave the Angels another ace to pair up with Jered Weaver. Haren is an All-Star pitcher who will keep the opposition on its toes. He strikes out a ton and gives 100% in all of his starts. He is well worth the price of admission and you will want to get to know him as a player before next year when he will form a formidable punch at the top of the Angels’ rotation.

6. Torii Hunter’s infectious smile.

Torii Hunter is as fun to watch on the field as he is off the field. Having already shown the fans that he’s willing to do whatever it takes to win, it’s always a pleasure to watch him play. And, when the Angels win, it’s always a pleasure to hear him interviewed after the game. Watch him make the adjustment to right field with the grace and dignity as the captain of the team.

5. The rest of the kids.

Besides Peter Bourjos, there are several other kids on the team worth watching. How Michael Kohn fares will have a big impact on what moves Tony Reagins does to address the bullpen. At some point, the Angels will bring up Mark Trumbo, a local kid out of Villa Park High School, to see if his thunderous bat will pan out in the Major Leagues. There’s something special about seeing a kid develop in front of your eyes, and over the next two months, you will have that chance with several players on the Angels.

4. The Promos.

Who doesn’t like getting free stuff? The Angels have plenty of good promos left. Hats, blankets, backpacks, candy jars and fireworks! There’s lots of good stuff out there for you to scoop up over the next two months. Throw in days when your kids can run the bases on a Major League field, and you have the makings for some fine promos.

3. This will still be the core of the 2011 team.

Even if the front office has a busy offseason (which I believe it will) most of the guys on the field right now are likely to be back next year. It’s safe to assume that about 18 to 20 out of the 25 guys on the roster right now will be back next year. So, you need to know them. You can’t call yourself a fan of the team and forget about the guys this year only to come back next year. Even with the problems on this team, there are guys out there busting their buns trying to earn your respect and give you 110%. Don’t give up on them because the team is struggling overall.

2. Jered Weaver.

If there’s one pitcher right now in Southern California that you should pay to see pitch, it’s Jered Weaver. He’s gone from being a good pitcher to a Cy Young contender. He’s leading the Majors in strikeouts. He’s fourth in the A. L. in WHIP. He’s seventh in the A. L. in ERA. He’s as good as anybody out there. He’s become a calm, cool stud on the mound who gives the Angels a chance to win every time he’s out there. Come out to see him pitch so that you can say years down the road that you saw him when he was at the peak of his game.

1. To earn your street cred when the Angels win the World Series next year.

For those of us who were fans during the 1980s and ‘90s, 2002 was a miracle for us. We went from being chronically underachieving and nearly contracted to World Champions and a large market team. For those of us who suffered through all the bad, we earned our right to brag about 2002 and to wear our gear with pride. That’s because for 40 years, all we had to say was “maybe next year we’ll make the playoffs.” But, if your first memory of the team is from this century, you haven’t had the same experience that the long-time fans have had. You haven’t earned your street cred with the team because only once since 2002 have you had to say “maybe next year we’ll make the playoffs.” While this year may be frustrating for you, for long-time fans, a .500 was a great year for most of the franchise’s history. Do yourself a favor: stick with the team. Remember, it’s summer. It’s baseball. And it’s fun.
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