"My father used to say that not playing to win is like sleeping withyour sister. Sure she’s a great piece of tail with a blouse full of
goodies, but it’s just… illegal."
-Topper Harley (Charlie Sheen), "Hot Shots"
Looking back on a post I made nearly two weeks ago, I want to kick my own butt. I was praying and hoping that I was wrong, that I was a paranoid freak fan that worried too much and trusted too little in the brains and abilities of those whose job it is to get the Angels to win.
Unfortunately, I was a prophet.
I was right to be worried in the last week of the regular season. I was right to doubt Mike Scioscia for his managerial choice of resting players rather than playing for home field advantage. Mike Scioscia, as it turns out, was no smarter than I.
Wrap your noodle around this one: After clinching the American League West title on Sunday, September 23 in Anaheim, the Angels went on the road against, well, horrible teams. They proceeded to get swept in a three-game series in Texas, and lost 2 of 3 in Oakland to end the season. The club got rest, some rookies got playing time, and the Angels finished two games behind Boston and Cleveland.
Consider this: If the Angels had won a mere two more games, they’d have had home field advantage in the first round. Not against Boston. No, they’d have hosted the Yankees.
And we all saw how well the Yankees played in Cleveland. Well, not that it matters, I suppose, because the Indians remembered to bring their bats to the ALCS, unlike us.
But nonetheless, by throwing in the towel, by playing to rest and NOT to win, this club was doomed to play two games in Boston to start instead of two in Anaheim. The Angels had the best home record in baseball.
Would things have been different? I don’t know. No way to know.
But, seeing how New York played, I would have liked our chances.
Now, it’s on to 2008. I’m pulling for the Indians in the ALCS and, hopefully, the World Series. But my heart’s not in it, as my team gets to pay for not having any hitting to speak of in the playoffs.
Perhaps somebody needs to remind Bill Stoneman that you can win a weak division without any power, but you’re only wasting Vlad’s at-bats if you go into the playoffs without someone hitting behind him.
Wait ’til next year.