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T.J. SIMERS

End of the world, or going to an Angels game? It's a tough call

The good news is, the rapture didn't happen. Bad news is, that means the Angels are still playing. But the way things are going in L.A. sports, what else is there to do but go to one of their games?

May 23, 2011|T.J. Simers
  • Injured Angels outfielder Vernon Wells talks to his teammates during the Angels' 4-1 victory over the Oakland Athletics on Monday.
Injured Angels outfielder Vernon Wells talks to his teammates during the… (Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles…)

I wasn't rooting for the end of the world over the weekend, though there was some disappointment knowing I had no choice now but to join the Angels.

You know — the ones down here who struggle so to be halfway decent Angels.

The thing is, there is just nothing going on in Los Angeles, so there's nothing else to write about. I checked the Internet all the way up to game time, a little disappointed Kareem hadn't taken a sledgehammer to Magic or Jerry West's likenesses.

It's so bad right now, I found myself looking for some golf tournament or horse race to write about instead of a baseball team that can't score. So this is what it feels like to be Dwyre.

To make things worse, there's every chance the Angels might end up playing extra innings with the A's, the two combining to do so 23 times because they don't have the ability to put anyone away.

Take our very own two Los Angeles baseball teams, please. They began Monday night a combined 22-25 at home, things so bad down here the Angels had Tony Phillips throwing out the ceremonial first pitch.

It was a great chance for parents to point to the mound and tell their youngsters that if you keep on fighting, you, too, can beat a rock cocaine possession charge and come back someday to take a bow.

"They can say whatever they want," said an Angels spokesman. "He's an Angels alumni; we'll have Scott Spiezio throw out a pitch too."

Spiezio pleaded guilty to misdemeanor drunk driving and hit-and-run charges, providing another fine teaching moment for parents as the season continues. Finally a reason to go to an Angels game.

The team spokesman said he would check to see if the Angels had any more criminal alums and get back to me.

Meanwhile, I ran into Mark Gubicza, who provides the color on Angels broadcasts, as tough a job as there is in sports.

"I like the Dodgers team," Gubicza says, and after watching the Angels every game it's understandable but an indication of just how horrid the Angels must be.

The Dodgers just lost to the team with the worst record in the National League with Clayton Kershaw pitching for them, blowing a two-run lead in the ninth inning. I wish I could have been there for the excitement.

I haven't been here all season long, taking the hint when owner Arte Moreno moved the media parking farther from the stadium. The last thing Arte wants to do is make it easier on folks to stop by and ask if anyone here has seen Vernon Wells.

The Angels traded for Wells with four years and $81million left on his contract, which only goes to show they can pay you all the money in the world and it still won't prepare you for Mike Scioscia.

Scioscia keeps everyone around here so uptight, it's no wonder Wells cracked.

Scioscia has become so serious over the years it's like the Angels' clubhouse is in lockdown. As tightly wound as everyone appears to be, it's no surprise that the last eight games Scioscia has missed for whatever reason, his relaxed players have gone 8-0.

Torii Hunter went 28 games without a home run, but as soon as Scioscia left the park, so did the ball Hunter hit Sunday.

There's no question Scioscia is a good manager, as well as a control freak. Mention that to him, and he turns to another reporter and says, "What have you got for me?" Just his way of controlling an interview.

Before Fox's Michael Eaves put a camera in front of Scioscia's face, he asked him if it was OK to mention the Angels' success while he's away from the team. Maybe things would have been different with Gary Matthews Jr. if I had sought permission before asking him what he had done with all the HGH he had ordered.

There was a time when Scioscia was really a nice guy and capable of laughing at himself, but it sure seems as though he's taking himself more seriously these days. I know last year the Angels were a bust, and they don't seem much different this year, but no one would dare go after him.

He's still a beloved Dodger because there just aren't many of those around anymore. He has no worries. He's also a successful Angels manager, and the team's owner thinks he walks on water. Scioscia and Moreno obviously agree on that.

I've maintained Scioscia sucks the energy and personality out of his teams; other reporters joke if they didn't go to Hunter every day for a quote, they would get none worth using.

"I don't want to be the only person people read about or talk about," says a tired Hunter. "Somebody is going to have to step up."

I agreed but kept on talking to him because why should I be any different from anyone else?

"Eventually we're going to turn it around," Hunter says. "Vernon is going to come back banging; he's going to come back a different player."

Make it Josh Hamilton, and now he's talking.

Unfortunately, the Angels are waiting on the return of a .183 hitter? Goosebumps, baby.

The Angels are giving everyone in attendance Tuesday night a Kendrys Morales bobblehead. Apparently it's hard to find a guy who has played here in recent memory.

I understand because right now I need Rick Neuheisel to come out and throw his alumni support behind Kareem. Closest he'll ever get to talking about a statue.

If not, I'm back here looking for to find someone interesting to interview. I might have to settle for Dwyre and write his life story. And aren't you disappointed the world didn't end?

t.j.simers@latimes.com

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