Monday, April 22, 2013

By Glen Mckee, columnist - 

“We will always be busy making misery” - Soul Asylum, "Misery"

I've been an Angels fan since 1979, when as a wee lad of 10 and I started paying attention to baseball.  I remember having the "Yes We CAN!" button proudly displayed at the top of my button board after I made the decision to root for this team.  Unfortunately, they couldn't.  Not that year, not in 1982, not in 1986, and not any year until 2002 and not again since then. 

I'm still a relative rookie in terms of Angels misery, compared to some of the misery veterans that have been around since the beginning in 1961.  However, yesterday something made me realize that I am indeed a misery-aholic and the Angels are my poison of choice. 

Before I explain that, I have to confess that although I enjoy my Angels misery I understand it's not even a bummer compared to what Cubs fans have experienced.  Or fans of any Cleveland football or basketball team.  However, I do take some sad pleasure in recently passing Red Sox fans on the misery index.  They had a much longer and more miserable spell but they won two World Series' in a handful of years, and that effectively ended their misery cred.  Shut up, Seattle fans.  And San Diego fans.

Anyway...this year, after once again making a big free-agent signing splash the Angels started out horrible.  Some posters on, myself included, were already writing off the season before the game on Friday, April 19.  The Angels were 4-10, a 1/2 game out of last place, and looked horrible.  Starting pitching was awful, the offense was inconsistent, hitting with RISP was - I'm running out of synonyms for "suck" here - abysmal, and the bullpen was a train wreck (apologies to the nice train wrecks out there).  And then Friday night's game ... 

Even for the first seven innings and a 3-0 lead, misery held sway like it usually does.  Scoring opportunities were wasted, Hanson was barely dodging bullets, and it felt like the bullpen was gonna blow the game and justify our (my) misery.  And then in the bottom of the 8th the Angels turned everything around.  They put up a crooked number of runs for the first time since we had a different president, the bullpen did its job against a (struggling) playoff-caliber team, the game was won and misery was hesitantly pushed aside to celebrate the game.  And then Saturday happened ... 

I was at a matinee movie so I missed the incredible first inning (and several after that) so I never had time to get miserable.  After the game was over I found my misery, though, if only just barely.  “They'll probably lose tomorrow,” I thought to myself.  Petting my misery like it was a hurt dog.  And then Sunday happened…

For a while my misery once again seemed justified.  The Angels faced an early 3-1 deficit.  Woohoo, they're gonna blow it again!  Then the Angels tied the game and misery went to hang out in the basement, sulking.  As the game progressed into extra innings misery crept back upstairs and sat beside me.  She (misery is always the opposite sex) didn't have to say anything; I knew she was there and she knew I knew.

Then Trumbo came up in the bottom of the 13th inning and he kicked misery back down the stairs into the basement and slammed the door shut.  She didn't even protest (perhaps because she knew...).  Mark didn't even break his leg jumping on home plate, which was like gagging misery.

I was excited!  The Angels just completed a sweep, and played three straight games the way they should have played most every games this season.  For the last three days everything was firing on all eight cylinders - this team is a V-8 for sure!  But then I looked to my left, and whaddaya know ... misery was sitting there again. 

I thought about the series for a bit and then went to to create a thread titled "How much worse can Hamilton get?" - because he was the only bad spot this weekend. 

After posting the thread I began to feel a little guilty for sharing my misery on what was truly a happy day for Angels baseball.  So shortly thereafter I tried to make amends by posting another thread talking about how good it felt to sweep.  However, that thread sank down the board while the Hamilton thread kept getting posts.  (Apparently misery does in fact love company.)  

It was a feeble attempt to pretend that the misery wasn't riding shotgun with me.  I tried to tell myself it wasn't and then thought about the series coming up: three games with Texas in Anaheim.  My first thought: “Man, I hope we don't get swept.”  I couldn't even enjoy the weekend.

We could build a factory and make misery.  But not now.  That'll start tomorrow night if the Angels fall behind.  Until then, I'm kicking misery back into the basement where she belongs! 

For now.
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