Thursday, March 27, 2014

By Glen McKee and Nate Trop, Columnist/Satirist 

Yesterday, Angels fans woke up to the good news that Joe Blanton had been released, thereby finally eliminating any chance we’d see him on the mound during the regular season.  Well, at least on the mound in an Angels uniform – fate will probably have him throwing a shutout against us sometime soon.  It’s nothing personal against Joe Blanton, he just happened to be the latest in a long and non-illustrious line of Angels scapegoats.  You know the names: Blanton, Mathis, Abreu, Finley (Steve), Vaughn, Stallone – the list goes all the way back to 1961 and Faye Throneberry.  Curse you, Throneberry!  So, with Blanton’s name on the plaque, the question becomes: who is the next focal point?  Which current player will soak up the disappointment and irritation from the Angels fans?

Glen’s choice: Erick Aybar

Let me preface this by saying that I loves me some Erick Aybar.  I think he’s at least a little bit underrated by Angels fans and we’ll probably miss him when he’s gone, unless his replacement is also rough on the eyes and gif-worthy.  But even though I love him, there are times when he pisses me right off.  I remember when he started the 2012 season slowly and I had to threaten to burn my Aybar t-shirt (a sacrifice I was then willing to make, now not so much) to get him back on track.  It worked, and Aybar started hitting to his capabilities.  However, I understand that he would be a great focal point, and here are a few reasons why:

1. His name – His parents couldn't make up their mind to go with the correct spelling (Eric; too bad, all you Erik’s out there – it’s true.  Your name is inferior, much like all the Glenns out there.) and just threw both possible letters at the end.  It could be worse, though – he could be Erickq Aybar.  But yeah, just looking at his name can get your blood pressure up a few points.  (However, you know if Apple ever creates a Short Stop app you know they’ll call it the iBar.)

2. The bunt attempts – I’m not sure which there will be more of this season: Aybar showing bunt and then pulling away, or baseball prognosticators (still) picking the Angels to finish third in the AL West (no whammy).  Probably the former, because we’ll see that at least twice per game he plays.  Everybody knows he’s gonna do it.  Heck, I know it and I only get to watch a few dozen games every year.  It’s not a surprise.  It’s like a kid playing ding-dong-ditch, but instead of hiding after he rings your doorbell he just stands there.

3. The base running – Yes, the base running.  I appreciate base runners putting the pressure on the other team by going for that extra base.  What I don’t appreciate is when they try to do it and they’re out by 10 feet.  Nobody likes that – it’s like anchovies on pizza.  We get enough of that from other players I won’t name.

4. Those occasional errors – Aybar makes some spectacular plays, but in doing them he sets the bar so high that when he boots a routine play it looks so much worse.  It’s like having a Porterhouse steak for dinner and then having sawdust cake for dessert.  Your hopes were so high!  Aybar makes his errors look even worse than they really are.

5. Finally, the expectations – We know what Aybar is capable of.  We’ve seen him go on a hitting tear and we’ve seen his brilliance on the field.  That leads us to expect him to always perform at that level, and that’s impossible.  He’s gonna go through slumps and he’s gonna boot plays.

Heck, it’s even been awhile since he gave us a great gif like this:

Erick: we need more Aybar gifs!  What the heck, man?  Why are you holding back?

All of the above are why Aybar will be my focal point, and he should be yours as well.  Admittedly, he’s an unconventional choice but that’s what makes him so right.

Nate’s choice: Still Blanton after he signs with the Braves and wins 20 games

Glen, you ignorant slut!

Aybar is way too loveable to hate.  I mean sure, Erickq fakes a bunt every time he comes up or gets a bit ambitious and tries to take two too many extra bases, but look at this face!  How can you not love this face?

If that isn't a thing of… something, then I don’t know what is.

The player that will most certainly draw my ire this season is still Joe Blanton.  Maybe even by the time this is published he will have signed with some team.  I mean, let’s all face it, teams are desperate for pitching.

Even guys with a 6 ERA, crazy eyes and a douche goatee.  

Once he gets to Atlanta or StL or San Diego, they will figure out that the reason he had serial killer eyes was because he was drinking six Red Bulls a day, they will switch him to decaf and he will win a Cy Young.  

Maybe they will figure out that he needed to shave that douche goatee because it was making hitters angry.  

Maybe they will figure out that he needs to get rid of that adolescent spikey hair because it was making his head too aero dynamic, throwing off his delivery.  Maybe it is because they have better coaches, or inferior competition.

Let’s face it, the Angels could sign the corpse of Satchel Paige, release him (because … well he isn’t a very good pitcher anymore for some reason), have the Rays pick him up and he would lead the league in saves.  I don’t know why it happens, maybe OC is too laid back and these guys get lazy.  Maybe the stadium is built on Indian burial grounds.  Maybe the other 29 teams have special Angels FA and top prospect voodoo dolls (Trout is immune of course, nobody can stop him).

Maybe the Angels coaching staff is subpar… 

Once Blanton signs with a team; check the schedule (Angels head to Atlanta 6/13-15, calling my shot here), if the Angels face that team you can almost guarantee that Blanton will shutout the Angels at some point during that season.  Let us just hope that he doesn’t end up in Oakland or Seattle.  It could be catastrophic.

If by some miracle Blanton doesn’t succeed with another team, I will always have Mike Scioscia.

Love to hear what you think!

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