Baseball’s would-be saviors need to be saved by Mike Trout and Shohei Otani.
Their LA Angels are closing in on another horrendous finish, another missed playoff. They have a temporary manager long term plan to create a rival one day and a record of 39-53.
Heading to the Tuesday night All-Star Game at Dodger Stadium, Trout and Otani are stuck in Major League Baseball purgatory with an organization that somehow can’t figure out how to fuel their skills and win. Call it Dante’s nine pitches in baseball hell.
If these two have to keep losing, the Angels should at least make it fun. It’s time for the outlandish. How about shoulder rubbing on the pitch to relieve tension as losses pile up? I’m all for no porridge and no hitters stealing first base.
We can call it the Troutani project. Or Operation Scream. Choose. It’s all about creating a new atmosphere.
Think about what these guys go through watching their All-Star seasons, huge home runs and shutouts go to waste.
For all their superiority, all those “oh my God, did you see that?” the moments they give to the fans, Trout and Otani deserve a carefree and joyful baseball life in exchange for the drumming of defeats.
We can start with a prescription: Trout and Otani should be allowed three timeouts per game to call in a masseuse for pressure relief, neck and shoulder massages on the pitch.
Maybe that will ease the tension. It could also give their fans time to deal with the reality of this season. The Angels are in full swing to finish under .500 for the seventh consecutive season and for the eighth consecutive season without making the playoffs.
What a mess. Trout, who is still in his prime at 30 and already the winner of three American League Most Valuable Player awards, made the playoffs once. He has one hit in the postseason, albeit a home run.
Otani, 28, had a season in 2021 like no other baseball game has had since Ted (Double Duty) Radcliffe and Babe Ruth. He became the American League MVP, led the league in threes, and compiled a 9-2 record as a pitcher. Otani was already in the playoffs, even winning a championship with the Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters in the Japanese Pacific League.
These two are not just stars, they are supernovae. However, their career turns into reflections on unrealized genius.
Of course, these two will get millions in bushels. But the fattest bank accounts can’t buy the happiness that comes with winning. What can we do to make life better than losing Trout and Ohtani? Maybe we’ll start by helping them stay out of life-sucking traffic jams in Southern California on game days. Elon Musk has free time. Hey Elon, in compensation for playing with Twitter, how about creating a test case for your long awaited underground tunnelsdig the one that links Casa Ohtani and Villa Trout to the Angels’ locker room?
I say it’s time to let the Angels have in-game barbecues in the dugout. They deserved their burgers and beer – along with Ohtani’s favorite pancakes – for all the losses they’ve suffered.
While we’re at it, to save on wear and tear, let’s haul both players onto the course every inning in a forced golf cart, one with a baseball glove-shaped leather sofa. (Yes, I stole this idea from the carts that carried the jugs to the embankment at Olympics in Tokyo but why not?)
My apologies to interim manager Phil Nevin, but at this rate he won’t be staying with the Angels for long. Let Trout be the player and manager leading the team from midfield. If he does that, maybe, just maybe, he will become something more than an unknowable slugger machine. Perhaps Trout is beginning to channel his inner Billy Martin the beginning of skirmishes with the judges, tossing and fighting. Baseball fans are finally getting to know that he really does have a personality.
If they keep losing, at least everyone around Trout and Otani will be able to have fun – both the team and the fans. The angels must receive it. This is the team that gave us rally monkey, after all. And the players took over crowns teammates who hit home runs with a cowboy hatan allusion to the team’s victory in the 2002 World Series.
Fun as a mission, we could also make the biggest change of all. Until they start winning big around 2030 at this rate, every Angel game should be played at a lower cost. Banana ball rules.
These are the rules created by the Savannah Bananas, a collegiate summer league baseball team that competes. baseball tradition torch in the name of … preserving baseball traditions.
The team with the most runs in each inning scores a point, and the team with the most runs wins the game.
No game lasts longer than two hours. There is no pitch out of the batter’s box.
The hitter can steal first base and score on the fly (yes, the last part is a bit tricky, but what fun).
If a fan catches the ball in the stadium, it is out.
And, oh yes, oatmeal is off limits. As Savannah Banana’s website explains, “If the batter hits, he will be out of the game.”
No bows? Now it’s a match for Trout and Otani.
Look, yeah, it’s all crazy, insolent, bullshit. But we have to try something. Because without a change in circumstances, the Angels will have the most boring outcome in baseball: their stars will become New Yorkers.