Time for a Rally MonkeyThe Angels are in the playoffs, the champions of their division for the first time since 1986. And they are in the playoffs with an interesting cast of teams.
Of course, the perennial appearances are made by the Yankees and Braves. The Red Sox also regularly subscribe to the post-season series, but this will be the first time that they will face the Angels in the playoffs since the 1986 series, which had calamitous and suicidal consequences. And the Cardinals are also in, the team that the Angels might have played in 1982 had they not imploded in the last three games of the ALCS against the Brewers.
More importantly, this is the closest we have come yet to a Freeway Series between the Angels and Dodgers. The closest before was in 1982: the Angels won their division, but the Dodgers were eliminated on the last day of play and the Braves won the western division.
What are the Angels chances of making it to the series? Hmmm. I would have preferred that they play the Yankees before the Red Sox (I am sure Red Sox fans feel the same way). The Yankees were still struggling with AL West teams this year while Boston found some magic key to dominating them after the All Star break. Furthermore, the Angels' bats have been on the disabled list all year.
But it is not hopeless. The Angels' bullpen is awesome: several commentators have noted that the relief pitchers can turn the last three innings of every game into dead ball, and that relief pitching makes the difference in the playoffs. And then there is the Rally Monkey--is it inconsequential or insurmountable.
For the next twenty-four hours there will be a bounce in my step, a smile on my face, and a hello for everyone I see. After that I am the most hated man in New England, and old friendships will be cast aside. Who needs friends when I have baseball? Who fears un planeta californiano?