Ever since Omar Moreno bought the Los Angeles Angels, there has been a war for supremacy in the Southland’s baseball market. Moreno may not be Georgi Zhukov, but his Red Army achieved as decisive a victory this past weekend at Dodger Stadium as Zhukov did against the Germans in 1943. Battered in this battle over the past few years, and just waiting to be exposed for the “smoke and mirrors” job they really are, the Dodgers have already dropped two of three at Chavez Ravine, which now could be renamed Kursk.
For far too long, the Angels were the red-headed step-child of L.A. baseball; sharing a small, sad room with L.A.’s other sports bastards, the Clippers and the Kings. After all, the Dodgers were the storied old franchise; the Angels were “just that other team owned by some singing cowboy.”
But for this life long Angels fan, this weekend’s Freeway Series officially marks the end of the Dodgers’ occupation. Los Angeles now lies in the hands of its namesake team. Face it, Dodger Blue. You have been defeated on the field of battle, and it is time for you to relinquish your sword.
Even the most delusional Dodger fan cannot dispute the following case for undisputed Angel supremacy.
1) Numbers and Stuff
- Largely because the Dodgers can’t score, they have lost five of their last eight home games against their crosstown rivals despite pitching to an ERA of 3.40. Of course the reason isn’t hard to figure out, the Dodgers are relying on a clean-up hitter who now that he’s off the performance enhancing drugs has a slugging percentage that would rate him as the 59th most productive hitter in baseball had he enough at-bats to qualify.
- The Angels are 22-8 in their last 30 games against the Dodgers
- The Angels have won something in the last 20 years.
- The Angels are NOT the ones who brought you “Baseball Boogie.”
2) The Angels don’t revere a douchebag.
Tommy Fucking Lasorda, again. At least Don Rickles had the right idea.
3) The Guys who brought ‘em here
Dodgers – Walter O’Malley
The first owner to move a franchise who was universally regarded as an infected anal wart by those in the city he abandoned. Nobody remembers any bitching when the 1901 Baltimore Orioles headed for the Bronx to eventually become the Yankees; nor when the St. Louis Browns replaced the Orioles in Baltimore in 1954. Franchises in all sports have played musical cities before and since, yet for generations Brooklynites were pissed O’Malley headed west with the heroes of Flatbush Avenue. After all, nothing says home-spun tradition more than winning a single championship in over 50 years of existence.
The problem is O’Malley made the right move. The Dodgers won three World Series in the first decade after occupying the City of the Angels (1959, 1963, 1965). Dodger Stadium allowed the team formerly known as the Bums to routinely lead the league in attendance.
Worse yet, New York fans were placated in 1962 with the invention of the Mets. This is a franchise deliberately dressed in Dodger Blue and spent 36 seasons of it’s existence in a utilitarian version of Dodger Stadium (from the air, Shea Stadium really did look like three-quarters of a Smurf anus). Unlike the Brooklyn Dodgers, the Mets are slightly less futile, having won two championships in under 50 years of existence. However, for purposes of this comparison, this achievement deserves a Frick-ian asterisk, since one title was a miracle, and the other involved a curse.
In other words, O’Malley took a risk, and it all worked out.
Angels – Gene Autry
A kid from the flatlands of Texas goes to Los Angeles and becomes one of the biggest movies stars of all time. Granted, I don’t expect anybody to remember when Autry was “The Man” of the singing cowboy genre (suck it, Tom Mix). But drinking crosses generational lines, and Autry was the sort of guy that fraternity brothers throughout time can only tell stories of him that start with the line “Shit, do you remember the time that…”
Here’s just such a tale. Autry was notorious amongst American League beat writers in the 70’s for hosting industrial-strength booze-fests at his Southern California estate. When the Angels advanced to the American League Championship in 1979, the singing cowboy held just such fest for all of his sports-scribing buddies.
Despite the fact that Autry was in his 70’s by this time, he ended up as the sole survivor of a scene that looked more like Jonestown than Orange County. In other words, 4 a.m. was too early for Autry to quit drinking, and he hated to drink alone. So, in order to put a bit of life back into the party, Gene-o rolls a lawn mower into his own living room, and with of couple of less-than-elegant cord yanks, brings the two-stroke monster to life.
I don’t now how Autry knew that a 110-decible engine spewing petrochemical fumes might awaken people, but to remove any doubt, Autry made his intentions cleat with the announcement: “Wake up you sons of bitches, we’re not done drinking yet!”
In other words, O’Malley may have been an astute businessman, but Autry was living the frat-boy life until the day he died.
4) This Billboard
This picture was NOT taken in Orange County; this is Sunset Boulevard in the heart of Dodger country. You can even imagine Dodger owner Frank McCourt whizzing past it in his convertible during his monthly commute to the ballpark; secure in the belief that his chronic erectile dysfunction is strictly the result of his wife’s extreme unattractiveness, and NOTHING else.
This may be the best example of how times have changed. O’ Malley would have had somebody killed had this happened under his watch.
5) The Angels are 100% McCourt-Free
New at the Dodger Deli: Bleached Ass Kiss on Douchebag.
Speaking of the McCourts, at least Dodger fans can say that the dysfunctional relationship between the husband-and-spawn-of-hell team of Frank and Jamie McCourt mirrors so many similar type Southern California situations. In fact, the public divorce of the Dodger co-owners has been so traumatic they have hired a healer for the team.
The sad part is that’s not even the best example of the wackiness that is the McCourt regime, the Dodgers have become a regime as isolated and delusional as North Korea. While the following is a bit dated, these excerpts from a USA Today on-line chat with Jamie are the prime example that Dodger ownership has lost contact with reality.
Glenwood, NJ: Given that multinationals such as Fox and Disney have gotten out of baseball – especially in sunny California – what did you and your spouse see in the Dodgers that would make you want to get in?
Jamie McCourt: When we came to Los Angeles, we were so impressed by Dodger fans and their love for this team…
The reality: There are no real Dodgers fans. Los Angeles is the capital of “Fair Weather Fan Land.” When the Dodgers are winning, the stadium is full of the “white wine and sandals” crowd; when they are losing the crowd morphs into drunks from Van Nuys and Mexicans. I’m guessing McCourt’s first contact with the Dodgers was during one of their useless NL West winning campaigns.
Jamie McCourt:…what we saw was a storied franchise with a winning tradition – both on and off the field…
The reality: Sure, the Dodgers have won the NL West multiple times in the last twenty years, but can you name the last time Dodgers won a playoff series? Think 1988. They’ve won a usually weak division four times since then, and have yet to advance. That doesn’t exactly ring of “winning tradition.”
Jamie McCourt:….and we were excited to have the chance to return the Dodgers to their rightful place as the model franchise for Major League Baseball.
The reality: When the fuck were the Dodgers the model franchise? Has this woman ever heard of the New York Yankees? Love them or hate them, the Yanks are the flagship franchise of the majors; they have been for over 80 years, and despite their current state, they still are.
Face it, Dodger dogs…Los Angeles is now truly the City of the Angels.