By Geoff Stoddart, AngelsWin.com Vice President of Marketing & Communications
It’s Monday morning.
It’s September 1, 2014.
It’s Labor Day.
I’m sitting on my back deck, drinking coffee and staring out west towards the Rocky Mountains. The sky is blue and there are a handful of puffy white clouds positioned above just perfectly. Yet, amidst all of this beauty, the only thing I can think of is the amazing weekend of baseball that Angels’ fans just witnessed.
The Angels just completed a four game sweep of the Oakland A’s, the team we’ve been chasing all year for control of the American League West. On August 16th, we caught them. On August 18th, we passed them. And entering this four game series, we held a one game lead.
The weekend was full of amazing moments …
• The A’s media and fans lost their minds over Angel fans doing the Light Wave. They claimed it was 1) tacky, 2) cheating and 3) akin to shining a laser-pointer in their player’s eyes. (Shout out to @CSNAthletics, @brodiebrazilCSN and @OakAsSocksGrl for some top-notch drama.)
• Angel fans who previously hated the Light Wave and thought it was dumb, suddenly loved it because it pissed off the other team’s media and fans. (Shout out to … ummm … me.)
• A’s players came out and said 1) they didn’t even notice the Light Wave when they were batting and 2) the Light Wave was “actually kind of cool.” (Shout out to Stephen Vogt and Brandon Moss.)
Of course, there were amazing moments on the field as well.
• The Angels outscored the A’s 18-4 over the four game series.
• The Angels shutout the A’s two of the four games.
• The Angels pitching staff held the A’s scoreless for 29 consecutive innings. (The 2nd most in A’s team history.)
• With Garrett Richards out for the rest of the season, the Angels were forced to do a “bullpen start” on Saturday, using a club record 8 pitchers (in a 9 inning game). Led by Cory Rasmus, the staff shut the A’s down, holding them to just 3 hits.
It was a glorious weekend, and today is a glorious day! The Halos now hold a 5 game lead over the A’s in the AL West and boast the best record in all of baseball, 83-53. What could be better?!?!
Well … finishing.
Finishing could be better.
I’m keenly aware that many Angel fans don’t have much history with the team prior to 2002. That’s fine. Nothing breeds success, interest and an increased fan base like winning, and the 2000’s have been certainly been the golden age of Angels baseball. (The last four years not withstanding.)
However, the 1990’s were not as golden.
On the morning of September 1, 1995, the Angels held a 7.5 game lead in the AL West. All they had to do was not throw-up on themselves for the final 27 games and they’d make the post-season for the first time since 1986 (another year when finishing was an issue).
Playing .500 ball that September would have done it. Instead the team went 11-16, forcing a one game play-in game with Seattle. Randy Johnson threw a near no hitter, and the Angels lost 9-1.
In baseball, as in all sports (hell … as in life!), you have to finish!
It was an amazing weekend of Angels’ baseball, but the job is far from over. In fact, one could argue that the real work is just beginning. So let’s get after it!
Now, I’m not going to go all Karate Kid on you and bust out a “finish him” or “sweep the leg” quote. That would be too cheesy. Besides, when Sensei John Kreese uttered those words to his fighter, the guy lost.
Instead, I’ll wish you all a wonderful Labor Day!
Enjoy the time off. Enjoy the afterglow of an amazing weekend of baseball. Prepare for the home stretch.
And for heaven’s sakes keep those cellphone batteries charged! Apparently the Light Wave causes great emotional stress and mental anguish to the other team!
If not to their players, at least to their media and fans!