“Deja vu is usually a glitch in the Matrix. It happens when they change something.” -Trinity, “The Matrix”.
If deja vu happens when something is changed, then one wonders how the Angels have managed to achieve it without changing a thing. After all, at this time last year, we were asking ourselves most of the same questions. In 2012 it was “Albert Pujols ain’t lookin so hot, but Vernon Wells is starting better!” In 2013, it has been replaced with “Josh Hamilton ain’t lookin so hot, but Albert Pujols is starting better!” The way Arte Moreno spends money, in 2014, it’ll probably be Josh Hamilton starting better with Joe Mauer not looking great.
With all of the big offseason moves for the Angels, one wonders how Arte Moreno could have forgotten a key factor in most of the Angels’ losses last season. It wasn’t that Pujols started finding his homerun swing about the same time Trumbo lost his. It wasn’t that Torii Hunter didn’t fit with the team. It wasn’t that CJ Wilson was more concerned cheering on WWE Superstar CM Punk than he was with pitching. The Halos achilles heel that remained unarmored in all of the offseason moves should induce a 2nd bout of deja vu in fans.
Simply put, the bullpen may as well have a bright neon sign over it that says “HEY! THINK WE FOUND THE PROBLEM HERE!” In true deja vu fashion, the Angels once again find themselves starting the season with an unreliable bullpen. You could sooner trust Lindsay Lohan with your car keys than you could trust the ’pen to maintain a close game. The tension of allowing a one or two run game to go to relievers is akin to a child waiting at the doctor’s office waiting to have blood drawn. There is a holding of breath, a sudden abdominal discomfort, and a purveying sense of dread all capped off by the anticipation of pure pain.
Harsh? Perhaps a bit, but let’s not forget we were only 5 games out of the postseason last year. Every win counts.
Obviously, the season is still very young, but the end of last season should weigh fresh in our minds. The boys sure seem to be picking up right where they left off. The same scenarios are in play and the same weaknesses are evident. Offseason moves have reinforced several of the team’s strengths and it will take time before the new elements come together as Skipper Mike Scioscia is engineering them. As fans, we are somewhat cursed by our past in that we tend to react to what we’ve seen before. Our kneejerk reactions grow to be so from long periods of conditioning our reflexes. With the current situation the Angels are in, a large portion of fans have seen this movie before and know how it ends.
So, what is the solution to our repeat woes? The answer is simple: Stay positive. It is a LONG season and it’s going to be longer if we’re complaining about everything. Cliche as it is, the best we can do at this point is to “fake it until we make it” and keep smiling. Ask that special girl or guy to the ballgame, buy a couple of beers and have a good time. Order up some pizzas and call your friends over to watch the game on your 55” plasma. Cook up some pasta, put on your pajama pants and catch the game online. It’s said that baseball fans will go to a game no matter who’s playing. So, for now, enjoy the game for what it is. We’re still at the point where we have the luxury of saying “Plenty of games left in the season.” and we should take advantage of it.
All of that said, if the Angels are swept by the Astros at any point, let’s agree to throw all of that out the window and start mainlining Prozac.