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Watching the Angels Play Can Become a Real Drag

They played like girls matched against big leaguers, so I wasn’t surprised to see a number of the Angels hitching up their skirts and stuffing their bustiers with sanitary socks after a 9-0 loss to the Chicago White Sox on Wednesday.

The Angels look pretty good, all right, just not in the standings.

And while I must say, Jered Weaver looked particularly fetching in a powder blue lacy blouse over a faded orange skirt atop black leotards, it’s one of those baseball traditions -- rookies getting all dolled up for a road trip -- that I don’t understand.

In a rush to look their best before taking off for Texas, though, the Angels stopped only long enough to get one hit in the eighth inning to break up a perfect game.

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Then it was laughs all around in the Angels’ clubhouse, just guys being, well, girls, and not upset at all after helping to reduce the A’s magic number to 12.

But then as it was, the official acknowledgment the season was over for the Angels came earlier in the day, at 1:34 p.m., with the press box announcement: “No. 63, Kevin Gregg, is warming up in the bullpen.”

By that time the Angels were losing 4-0 -- an insurmountable lead for a team that can’t hit, and on the scoreboard the A’s had already won, 1-0.

Hey, thanks for the memories. Tuesday night ended with an electrifying extra-inning win, and coupled with an A’s defeat, the home-team broadcasters had gone crazy screaming about how the Angels were just 4 1/2 games back of Oakland.

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It’s probably not a good sign, though, when the announcers seem more excited than the athletes, the Angels showing up dead for a home game when supposedly every game counts.

Did the A’s 1-0 victory on the scoreboard take the life out of the guys?

“I think our guys are focused on what we do,” Manager Mike Scioscia said, which apparently was getting one hit and spoiling Freddy Garcia’s bid for a perfect game before calling it a day’s work.

The Angels don’t really have too many guys who can hit, and the one guy who did get a hit against Garcia -- Adam Kennedy -- is the guy most likely to leave the team when the season is over to make room for a younger guy. That’s really worked well for the Angels in the past.

Of course the Angels’ best hitter, Vladimir Guerrero, is always a threat to smack the ball hard, but have you watched him play right field lately? With each lumbering step and misplayed ball in right, he’s looking more like a designated hitter. Maybe the big bat the Angels are going to acquire can play right next year.

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NO, IT’S not too early to start thinking about next season now that it appears this one is over. Maybe the big bat the Angels are going to acquire can put a little life into the troops too, without the need to put makeup on.

For whatever reason, the Angels had nothing to offer against the White Sox. At the bottom of the Angels’ posted lineup card every day, there are words that are intended to inspire. But I wonder if someone knew what was coming, because Wednesday’s thought for the day read: “Everything I’ve learned about life in three words I can sum up: It goes on.” How prophetic -- if you’re looking at a 9-0 final outcome.

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Sometimes it’s hard to understand what it takes to motivate pro athletes. The Angels had won in extra innings a night earlier, everyone jumping all over each other, and you would think such excitement and the team’s playoff situation would carry over. So how come the Angels came out flat?

“When you don’t hit, you’re going to be flat,” Scioscia said, which pretty much explains why the Angels have appeared flat all season long.

“I think we have the best record in baseball since July 1,” Scioscia said, which doesn’t say a whole lot when you consider the fact the Angels were six games behind Oakland on July 1, and today they are 5 1/2 back.

The Angels play six more games on the road before they go to Oakland, including two gimmies in Kansas City, but putting the rest of the season in perspective, if the A’s go 9-8, the Angels would have to finish 14-2 to tie them and force a playoff.

“What it’s going to take to overcome Oakland is playing good baseball,” Scioscia said, which given the way some folks were dressed in the clubhouse, it was probably better than saying, “you got to dance with them what brung you.”

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UMPIRE BRUCE FROEMMING, working first base in the Angels’ game, has officiated more than 5,000 games and been witness to 11 no-hitters, but he’s probably remembered best for keeping Milt Pappas from recording a perfect game in 1972.

Pappas, pitching for the Cubs, had a 2-and-2 count on San Diego’s Larry Stahl after retiring 26 hitters in a row, but Froemming called the next two close pitches -- balls. Pappas said later he began swearing at Froemming and when he ran out of nasty words in English, he began swearing at him in Greek. Then he retired the next batter to record a no-hitter.

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TOO BAD the perfect game didn’t move into the ninth inning. It would’ve been interesting to see if Angels fans cheered for their heroes to go down in order, or rooted for one of them to ruin the historical occasion.

“It’s not that big of a deal,” said Kennedy after spoiling the perfect game, and I think we know now how the players stood on that question.

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TODAY’S LAST word comes in an e-mail from E.O.:

“I’m a Nebraska fan and let me tell you.... “

Why do people insist on telling me their problems?

T.J. Simers can be reached at t.j.simers@latimes.com. To read previous columns by Simers, go to latimes.com/simers.


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