Letters: A real Hall of Shame move by the Angels
The Dodgers had a week so lousy that a travel day felt like a victory. But the Angels have a genius for sinking to the bottom—and staying there. Who else would have treated the inevitable end of Albert Pujols’ career like the firing of an Amazon warehouse worker who was tardy once too often?
For a team that you can count on one hand the things they’ve done right in their 60 years, the Angels seemingly have made another embarrassing move. Take away trading Jim Fregosi for Nolan Ryan, the 2002 championship, and of course re-signing Mike Trout, what have they’ve done right?
And now they DFA future Hall of Famer Albert Pujols. Granted the numbers this year aren’t there, but they just toss him aside like tossing out the trash . This team has a history of heartache and heartbreak. This move just follows suit. Thanks Albert. You have always been a class act.
There is apparently some debate about how the Angels handled the release of Albert Pujols on Thursday, and that he deserved better.
I’m not in that camp. I want the team to win, no matter who’s playing first base, or left field. Albert has earned $250 million the past 10 years, and arguably, has been a detriment to the team the last four years.
The pitching staff is still a mess, because the organization has not made it a priority for many years.
Some day, maybe owners like Moreno will wake up and realize that giving any player a 10-year guaranteed contract is really not smart business, and I’d include Mike Trout in that example.
Albert is a wonderful man, an amazing talent, a sure-fire Hall of Famer, but like the legendary Willie Mays, he overstayed his time in baseball.
I get it. Albert Pujols left his best years in St. Louis. And there were not enough at-bats to go around with Walsh and Ohtani.
But he played hard every day and limped around the basepaths when many players went on the IL for a hangnail. Or a nosebleed like Josh Hamilton.
But to release him like some journeyman pitcher like Matt Harvey wasn’t right.
Pujols wasn’t the problem. Whiz kid GM Minasian followed the same Halo path that has kept them so far in the cellar of late they can smell the mildew, signing has-been hurlers that couldn’t set down the Sisters of Mercy.
This diehard Angels fan just died! Releasing future Hall of Fame player Albert Pujols at this point in his contract and career is not just disrespectful, it doesn’t make any sense. After playing with his heart and soul (not to mention his historic home runs) for the Angels this is how he is acknowledged? I thought the plan was to continue as a coach. And, his mentoring of Mike Trout has been absolutely paramount. I can’t imagine this is sitting well with the best player on the planet. Another shortsighted decision by Arte Moreno and upper management to prove baseball is just a cruel business.
Lynda A. Hernandez
I’m a diehard Angels fan, but I don’t know how much longer I can hold on. Every year I hear how little tweaks and additions of some veteran players, who made things happen years ago, are all that’s needed to carry the team to postseason action. It’s clear that the Angels organization thinks they can do the minimum to win a few more games, hoping to qualify for the wild card, instead of doing what’s needed to win it outright. Trout can’t do it by himself and we can’t live on home runs to save us every game. It’s time to Stop the Maddoness.
Albert Pujols was a great baseball player, but he was a lousy Angels baseball player.
Dylan’s fan club
In Tuesday’s column declaring that the Lakers “are toast” after their 93-89 victory over the Denver Nuggets — and suggesting that their 2020 NBA championship really resulted because they were somehow “immune to the negative effects of the NBA bubble that damaged their rivals’ psyches” — Hernández once again makes assertions that justify his very personal views. Yes, the Lakers have struggled without their two superstars (what team wouldn’t?) and they don’t have much time to find their chemistry again as a team — but my money will always be on the Lakers. It’s disappointing that Hernández, as an Angeleno, doesn’t feel the same.
Not even COVID isolation these past many months could protect Dylan Hernández from falling prey to the hysteria of the Bill Plaschke school of writing. No, Dylan, the Dodger Blue guy in the sky (Tommy?) is not falling. That’s Uncle Bill’s ruse to create columns and controversies.
No two-week-snapshot any time during any season can give one a true picture of how a team will ultimately perform in the marathon of a full baseball season. A torrid start followed by a horrid cycle gives no true indication. As the colorful and quotable Yogi Berra pointed out, “It’s tough to make predictions, especially about the future.” Please leave the frenzy and panic to Bill. You’re a better writer than that.
Dylan Hernández writes a good article as he breaks down the Dodgers’ weak spots. But he left out a very big one ... the manager. Dave Roberts has shown over multiple close games that he does not know how to manufacture a run. The TV announcers have mentioned a couple of times things to try in real time of close games to get a run. But Roberts’ idea of “ putting on a play” to generate some offense is just hoping for a hit. When you lose a lot of games by one run, it might be an important skill to have.
So Dylan Hernández, aka Negative Nellie, writes within a couple of days an obituary for the 2021 Lakers and a doom-and-gloom warning for the chances of the 2021 Dodgers. Has he never heard don’t ever doubt the heart of a champion? I guess he probably also thought that after being thoroughly beat down physically and mentally in their first bout, Rocky’s chances of winning a rematch with Clubber Lang were over!
Danny Balber Jr.
Singing the Blues
Dave Roberts and the Dodgers refuse to adjust their style of baseball no matter how long a losing streak they suffer. Dodger baseball is simple. Except for Corey Seager, always take the first pitch. Try to work the opposing pitcher deep into the count. Never bunt, never sacrifice, never steal a base, never hit and run, and with no outs never try to move a runner on second to third by hitting a grounder to the right side. Always swing for the fences.
And above all, never change that pattern no matter how many games you lose. Never change anything at all, not even for just a few games to help you snap out of it.
Charlie Brown’s favorite baseball player is Joe Shlabotnik, whose career batting average is .004. Roberts is giving Charlie Brown competition with Edwin Rios .087.
Just a rumor, but I heard that Bob Dylan is headed to the studio to record a new Dodgers theme song called “Blowin’ in the Wins.”
Did Tyronn Lue really say this about Paul George after the loss to Denver? “But five for 21 is a good sign, because if he keeps missing, he’s not afraid to keep shooting. So we’re going to need that from him going down the stretch.”
Huh? If he keeps missing 16 out of 21, the Clippers will have one brave shooter who loses the game for his team. Maybe the other guy with two rings should get a shot or two. Georgie, don’t be a hero.
When a professional athlete injures himself while acting irresponsibly, a team can often suspend him without pay in accordance with his contract and collective bargaining agreement. So with that in mind, shouldn’t the Lakers suspend Dennis Schroder? He apparently refused the COVID-19 vaccine when it became available, then allowed himself to become exposed to the virus. Now he has let down his teammates just as they are making the final push to qualify for the playoffs.
Regarding the Lakers getting COVID-19 vaccinations, Frank Vogel said, “But at the end of the day, like I said, it’s their own personal choice and we respect that.”
Except the standard NBA contract specifically prohibits boxing, professional wrestling, motorcycling, moped-riding, auto racing, sky-diving and hang-gliding, so why should COVID vaccines be given a pass? It’s far more dangerous than sky diving. You can die if your parachute doesn’t open, but you won’t kill your teammates, coaches or team personnel. A COVID infection can kill others, not just you.
Is it time for MLB to get rid of the MVP trophy and establish a player-of-the-year trophy? I think we can mostly agree that Mike Trout is the best player in the American League, but is he the “most valuable” when it comes to his impact on the Angels’ seasons? The Angels would be out of the playoffs every year (mostly) with or without Mike Trout.
The anointment of Nikola Jokic as the probable MVP puzzles me. Jokic has avoided injury and has put up excellent statistics, but basketball is a game of wins and losses, not individual statistics. Denver was good last year, bordering on very good. Has the team been better this year? Not really. Even before Jamal Murray’s injury, the team was sitting in fourth or fifth place most of the season.
Contrast that with Phoenix. Despite a great bubble session, the team missed the playoffs for the millionth year in a row last year. The team has basically not changed except for adding Chris Paul. Paul has played exceedingly well, has been the team leader, and the Suns now sit tied for first in the west.
It seems clear who is more valuable (and it’s not Jokic).
Andrew E Rubin
Needing a tuneup
A letter-writer to the sports section complains about LA Times (lack of) coverage of NASCAR and IndyCar. Fair enough, and true enough.
Where I part company with that Rancho Palos Verdes letter-writer is that his complaint is about racing’s minor leagues. His complaint is like comparing the Albuquerque Isotopes to the Los Angeles Dodgers. The coverage of Formula 1, Le Mans sports cars, etc., won’t be found in the Times at all (except for a mention on the day’s sports schedule).
The reason is that Southern Californians, by and large, care about football, basketball and baseball. They don’t care about NASCAR, and, frankly, they don’t care about Formula 1, the most prestigious sport on the planet.
We must deal with it.
About 20 years ago, when NASCAR was expanding and trying to attract more fans, my friend dragged me out to a Fontana race. Both of us, from inner city L.A., were hooked the first time those cars roared by at nearly 200 mph. For the next 18 years or so, we followed the sport on television and didn’t miss a race at Fontana. Then NASCAR took one of our two races away from us. This year, no race at all. Next they want to tear down our beloved two-mile superspeedway and replace it with a bush-league half-mile track.
Well, when you don’t care much about us out here in California, we stop paying much attention to you.
Back to the front
What a clever and useful solution to a contemporary journalistic problem! Congratulations on your new Sports cover placement on the back page of the California section. Sports fans, like myself, say thanks.
So I see that the front page of the sports section is on the back of the California section and we have to go from back to forward. So, I guess that means if we look real hard, will we be able to see a subliminal message that says, “The Walrus is Paul”?
Dave Van Proyen
I am wondering if the powers that make these decisions, adopted the philosophy of the Talmud by reading right to left. I’m in favor of keeping the English version.
The only thing good about your cute trick of switching page B14 with page B8 in Saturday’s Sports section was the opportunity to read Bill Plaschke’s story backwards. Made more sense.
I think they should change the Kentucky Derby’s name to “The Bob Baffert Kentucky Derby”! He certainly deserves it.
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