Will The Real Angels Please Stand Up?

Los Angeles StadiumBy Judy Asman

LOS ANGELES(RUSHPRNEWS)10/05/2008--The last time I checked, the Angels had the best 2008 record in Major League Baseball. The highest number of wins in the regular season, the most-won games on the road and—to top it off—five out of six victories against the reigning champs, the Boston Red Sox. All of that combined seems reason enough for fans to expect the Halos wouldn’t cower under pressure against those “reigning champs” in the first playoff series.

You would think.

But now with Angels down two in a five-game series, the team’s harrowing record is looking more like the New England Patriots losing the Super Bowl in the 2007 season. All hype. No championship.

Walking into Angels Stadium the other night—after treading through car and foot traffic, paying $10 more to park across the street than it was to park in the stadium lot—and having settled into our seats alongside a cheering crowd might have hinted of hope and exhilaration. Except that it was the pervasive Boston fans, amid a sea of Angel-red sweatshirts, baseball caps and thunder-sticks, making noise for their team who was already beating the Angels 4-0. Jason Bay, the man behind the game-one win, started the follow-up contest with a three-run homer in the first inning.

The Angels clawed their way back for eight innings until they tied it up at 5. For a moment, there was an air of confidence in Angel Stadium and Red Sox players and fans alike seemed to break a sweat.

But that moment was fleeting when Boston’s David Ortiz opened the ninth with a double to right field and, two batters later, J.D. drew knocked the definitive home run to deep center bringing the final score to 7-5.

“We have a challenge,” Angels coach Mike Scioscia said in the post-game news conference on Friday. “This game ain’t over until somebody wins three games. [The Angels] are down, we go into Boston, win a game and the pressure is back on them. We need to play baseball.”

Angels center fielder Torii Hunter isn’t hanging it up either.

“As an athlete, you just don’t think like that,” he said. “As long as we have breath in our bodies, we’ll be all right.” Later, Hunter abruptly ended his post-game media interview when asked if he’d considered the possibility that he’d played his last home game of the year. To that, Hunter simply replied, “I’m done.”

Meanwhile, just north of Angel’s stadium, the Dodgers took the series 3-0 against the Chicago Cubs on Saturday. Entering the playoffs with a less-than-glowing record, the Dodgers have already exceeded the expectations of MLB followers. But with the Angels teetering in the wings, hopes for a freeway series in Southern California look bleak.

But then again, sheepish optimism is starting to creep back in.

Angels-Red Sox, Game 3
Boston, Fenway Park, Sun., 7:17 p.m. ET on TBS

About the author: Judy Asman is RushPRnews’ sports columnist. Her media career started in the late 1980s, when she was a college disc jockey and promotions director for KUSF-FM, San Francisco. She earned her Master’s in journalism and public affairs at American University in Washington, DC and served as a producer for Potomac News Bureau and C-SPAN’s “America and the Courts.”  She is also the producer of judythefoodie.com. You may contact Judy at judyasman@rushprnews.com .