Maybe this was the Angels' idea of a lovely parting gift for Marcel Lachemann, their way of saying, "Hey Lach, it wasn't all your fault, see?"
Whatever their motivation, the Angels showed they can be just as awful without Lachemann at the helm as they were with him, being swept by the Minnesota Twins in a three-game series that ended with Thursday's unsightly 13-5 loss before 21,283 in Anaheim Stadium.
Shawn Boskie's traditional summer swoon continued with a mediocre 3 1/3-inning effort, during which he gave up eight runs. And the Angels had only six hits--two of them homers by Jim Edmonds.
The Twins had 17 hits--three each by Chuck Knoblauch and Greg Myers--and took advantage of an error and catcher's interference to score five unearned runs. The Angels, who have lost nine of 10 games, were outscored, 21-6, and outhit, 37-15, in the series.
"I sure hope this is rock bottom, because if we go any lower there might be some suicides," Boskie said.
Interim Manager John McNamara said he "isn't throwing in the towel by any means," but utility player Rex Hudler gave what amounted to a concession speech afterward.
"Fans here have been patient for a long time, and they need to be for another year or two," Hudler said. "We don't have a real veteran team. We need a couple of field leaders, and that's in the developing stages. Hopefully, we can save face and play well the rest of this season, and I think we'll be real good in another year or two."
So much for high expectations.
But as uninspiring as the Angels' play has been, they at least showed a little life in the fourth inning Thursday when Chili Davis was called out on strikes and tossed his helmet toward the plate.
Umpire Al Clark immediately ejected Davis, who marched back to home plate, waving his arms as if to say, "Are you talking to me?" Davis had to be restrained by base coaches Joe Maddon and Eddie Rodriguez.
McNamara came out to talk to Clark, and although the conversation wasn't heated, McNamara was ejected too, giving the Angels their third manager--Maddon--this week.
"I don't raise my voice any more," McNamara said. "But I guess it's the quality of words you choose that gets you in trouble."
Reliever Jason Grimsley hit Pat Meares with his first pitch in the top of the fifth inning, and Clark issued a warning. Grimsley then sent ball four over Knoblauch's head.
But Clark, apparently aware of Grimsley's control problems, ruled the pitch wasn't intentional. Though a brawl seemed likely, there was no further incident.
Davis was steaming afterward but chose to bite his lip. "I've got nothing to say," he said.
What could he say? A team many expected to win the American League West title appears to be in disarray. Players sniped at Lachemann last week, and they have bickered among themselves this week.
Their manager resigned and three coaches were relieved of their duties Tuesday, they were hammered by the Twins, and they were ripped in the papers by their team president.
Among Tony Tavares' observations in the wake of Lachemann's resignation:
--"This team has too many players who look like they came from Newport Beach, where their daddies and mommies gave them everything they ever wanted."
--"This is a team that hasn't focused on being a team. I don't like all the 'I' and 'me' stuff I've read [from the players] in the last week."
Second baseman Randy Velarde played eight seasons in New York under Yankee owner George Steinbrenner, who often blasted his teams, and he wasn't exactly put off by Tavares' comments.
"He's ticked off, because it's embarrassing what we're putting out on the field," Velarde said. "I'm glad he's ticked, because the guy in New York wouldn't put up with this. You've got to answer to someone."
But Velarde said the situation in Anaheim doesn't compare to those he's experienced in New York.
"Playing here is like playing in a country club," Velarde said. "I almost wish this team played in New York, because when you play bad there, they let you know how bad."