The Sports Broadcast

A blog about sports broadcasting from the great state of Florida. They report. I decide.

Wednesday, September 29, 2004

The Amazins

What the Anaheim Angels have done this year is truly remarkable. If at the beginning of the year you told me they would win the AL West, I would not have been surprised at all due to the offseason acquisitions of Vladimir Guerrero, Jose Guillen, Kelvim Escobar, and Bartolo Colon. Then the injuries came. The poster child of underrated stars, Garret Anderson, was the first to go down, and was out the longest. Also missing significant time were Darin Erstad, Troy Glaus, Tim Salmon, Raul Mondesi, Bengie Molina, Jarrod Washburn, Aaron Sele, and Brendan Donnelly, Troy Percival, and just days ago Adam Kennedy was lost for the season. Many spent time on the DL together. Guys like Chone Figgins, Jeff DaVanon, and Robb Quinlan ended up carrying the team and keeping it in contention, though even Quinlan has found his way on to the DL. Combine that with Bartolo Colon's fatacity (say it syllable by syllable with the t in the first) increasing geometrically, it's a wonder they're over .500 at all. As if that all is not enough, Guillen has been suspended by the team for the rest of the season and playoffs (if they make it) for a recent tirade over being replaced by a pinch runner, which was not the first time he has caused trouble.

At time of press (I've always wanted to write that) they have a half-game lead on Oakland with the result of the A's-Mariners game pending. The Rangers too have been a great story, but they also are a classic case of the Ewing Theory (those young stars needed a chance to get out of A-Rod's shadow) and have slipped towards the end. Buck Showalter still deserves manager of the year though. The Astros' comeback also is remarkable but they were supposed to win all along, didn't have all of the injuries the Angels have had, traded for Carlos Beltran, and still are around a robust 14.5 games back of St. Louis, and it's only that close due to a three-game skid for the Cardinals. The Angels have benefited from the A's Big Three of Hudson, Zito, and Mulder struggling at times (or at all times in Zito's case) and Oakland being under .500 away from the Coliseum. Still, the Anaheim organization deserves lots of praise for having guys like Figgins, DaVanon, and Quinlan who could step up and play how they did, and Mike Scioscia too for using them well.

Since the Red Sox clinched the Wild Card, the Angels are forced to win the division to make the comeback story complete. With the resiliency the team has shown and Oakland's late-season fade to gray, they have a great shot at doing it. It's really too bad I've already picked Minnesota as my Official Bandwagon Team for the Playoffs (since the Orioles and Reds have been out of the race for a while) because the Angels would have been a great pick. At least the Reds have been able to play spoilers against the Cubs, and the Orioles may determine the AL East title this weekend with their four-game series against Boston, though now with a four-game lead, the Yankees appear to be secure at the top - barring a complete collapse, of course, but with a doubleheader sweep of the Twins today it doesn't look too likely.

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