As the baseball world has become centered on the Golden State, one of the most interesting and frustrating facts has been that Southern California’s pizazz has outshone Northern California’s winning. Perhaps it’s the media, perhaps it’s the money (it’s definitely the money), but it seems to me that the playoff watching Dodgers and Angels probably don’t deserve so much more ink than the AL West Champion A’s and World Champion Giants. True, I guess if you include the fact that when you bring up the Padres, most fans will ask if they are even still a team, not every team near La-La Land gets a vomit-inducing amount of coverage. And I guess the San Diego ambivalence balances out some of the sickening So. Cal love. Really, I guess if you are a fan in the Bay Area you’ll have to be content with playoff teams; while our brothers and sisters to the south wonder why their baseball seasons end in September.
Why do the two LA teams (well, one LA team and one in Anaheim with a huge superiority complex) get so much press? Well, it’s really easy to find out, just look at their payrolls. And why will both the Dodgers and Angels be watching the Giants and A’s in the playoffs from their couches? That’s an even simpler question it’s how they spent their money! Showing how they both attack problems differently; the Angels thought I’d be a great idea to spend over 100 million dollars on an injury prone left fielder whose best days were clearly behind him, while the Dodgers thought it would be a great idea to trade for a 100 million dollar, injury prone left fielder whose best days were clearly behind him.
The Dodgers traded for all the worst parts of the dysfunctional Boston Red Sox to get their hands on Adrian Gonzalez last August, because they were tired of having a powerless first baseman. So, they figured Gonzalez was the answer. If the question was name a first baseman with three straight years of declining home run numbers and who topped out last season with only 18, they were right! The Angels felt they were one great player away from being a playoff team and added controversial superstar Josh Hamilton. Clearly the sting of missing the playoffs by a single game in 2012 was forcing them to do something, big and drastic.
When you look back, the biggest culprit to the cold winter in Anaheim last year was their super cold start in 2012 through their first 13 games the Angels were a pitiful 4-9. After adding Mr. Hamilton and former Braves top prospect Tommy Hanson in an effort to prove last season was fluke, through their first 13 games the Angels are…4-9.
I guess I shouldn’t be so hard on the Dodgers. Los Angeles realized that you can never have too much pitching and started the season with 8 starting pitchers, on major league deals, to cover their 5 openings. It takes a real genius, like those in the Dodger brain trust, to look forward and realize their $147 million dollar man, Zack Greinke, would try and stop a rampaging Carlos Quentin with his left collar bone. I would have probably just told Greinke to run away, but then again, that’s probably the reason I don’t call the shots in LA.
In the same line of thought, kudos to the Angels in realizing that they needed to upgrade their bullpen if they wanted to be a World Series contender. They passed on former Angel K-Rod, pos season bust Jose Valverde, and others so they could go with Ryan Madson as their closer, even though he didn’t throw a pitch last season. Well, they showed all of us how smart that move is by so far getting zero scoreless innings from their disabled closer.
The Dodgers and Angels are too of the most hyped teams in recent baseball history and in all honestly it’s very easy to see why, both teams have all-star studded lineups and ace pitchers at the top of their pitching staffs (although the Angles ace Jered Weaver is on the DL with a broken arm). The problem with both teams however is that in the modern day MLB the only players that come up for bidding are the ones with serious warts and no disfigurement is more common than being injury prone.
The two LA juggernauts can look to the Yankees and be afraid because most of their major stars and acquisitions have either spent time on the
DL in recent seasons or are starting to get banged up. For instance the only two players in the Dodger starting eight who can expect to avoid the DL this season are Gonzalez and maybe catcher AJ Ellis. The Angels might have the most coveted player in the game in Mike Trout, but they are paying through the nose for the downsides of Albert Pujols and Josh Hamilton’s careers.
The real reason that it seems that Northern California has regular and postseason champions and South California has offseason dynasties is that the Giants and A’s have young players who will grow together and win, while the Dodgers and Angles have older players who will just play out their last days together … that or pitching. You know it’s probably just the Giants and A’s pitching forget about the rest.