After the Kansas City Royals swept the Angels out of the playoffs last fall, Angels pitcher Mike Morin took his girlfriend to Hawaii to relax. He returned to California, packed up for the winter, and boarded a flight to his Kansas City home.
On the first day of the World Series. On a plane packed with fans of the San Francisco Giants, and of the Royals.
"I think I was the only person not wearing orange or blue," Morin said.
After chatting with the Giants fans seated in front of him, Morin let on that he played for the Angels. He advised the fans the Royals were onto "something special," and he would know. He grew up there — "my favorite Royal of all time is Zack Greinke," he said — and he was well aware the Royals were about to play in their first World Series in 29 years.
"I had never seen the city like that," Morin said. "It was bittersweet. It was cool to see how alive everyone came, but it was at our expense. It was a double-edged sword."
Mike Trout said he did not watch the World Series. No hard feelings, he said.
"Can't do anything about it," Trout said. "This year is a new year. No hard feelings."
The Angels led the American League last season with 98 victories. Did they lose to a better team?
"You can't really answer that," Trout said. "They played well when they needed to. They were hot, and they're a great team. You can't take that away from them."
Said Morin: "I couldn't say we lost to a better team. We had a great team. So did they. They capitalized and made plays when they needed to."
The Angels' postseason appearance was their first in five years, but owner Arte Moreno said he was not sore at the Royals.
"Once we were out," Moreno said, "you're happy for them."
Richards raring to go
Garrett Richards pronounced himself fit to rejoin the Angels after a 97-pitch outing Thursday at the team's extended spring training site in Arizona. Richards went 13-4 with a 2.61 earned-run average last season, which ended with knee surgery last August.
"I feel like I'm ready to go," he said.
But Richards said he would not try to fight the Angels on their plan, which calls for him to make a rehabilitation start for triple-A Salt Lake on Tuesday.
"It's not my decision to make," Richards said. "I don't write my paychecks. We want to do it the right way the first time. When I'm ready to come back, I want to be ready for the rest of the year."