The Los Angeles Angels Are A Baseball Tragedy
We all have bad takes. It's the nature of the beast, but my take that "These Los Angeles Angels Might Be Different" has to be up there among the worst I've had so far this year, and trust me, I've had some doozies. The Angels are the best worst organization in all of sports. They consistently rank in the top 10 in terms of attendance. They're responsible for drafting and developing the best player of a generation in Mike Trout and signing Shohei Ohtani, who last season had one of the greatest individual seasons the sport has ever seen. From a business standpoint, the people in charge in Anaheim are geniuses. They do just enough to keep their fans invested.
But I hate them.
And I don't hate them because they made me look stupid for thinking they might be good this year. If I held a grudge against every team that made me look foolish, I would probably have a vendetta against every organization in sports. I hate them for what they represent. There are bad organizations across the sports world, several of which are in my state. Still, there is not a single organization responsible for wasting more generational talent than the Los Angeles Angels have. Building around a player doesn't work in baseball like in football or basketball. The Kansas City Chiefs have built around Patrick Mahomes, possibly because they used the "Kansas City Model," and the Cleveland Cavaliers tried to build around LeBron James on two separate occasions, resulting in a championship in 2016. You can't exactly do that in baseball. With that said, Mike Trout is now in his eleventh full season in the league and has won zero playoff games. Fans in Detroit consistently lament that Matt Stafford and Calvin Johnson never made it past the Wild Card round, but this is so much worse.
I think we live under the assumption that Mike Trout will be 25 years old forever. That isn't the case. Mike Trout is 30 and has already missed substantial time in multiple seasons due to injury. His prime will be ending soon. The same goes for Shohei Ohtani. Can anyone expect this guy to pitch and hit at an elite level well into his 30s? Like I said, building around a player is difficult, especially in baseball, but 11 years with the best player of a generation, one playoff appearance, and zero playoff wins is one of the great travesties that the sport has seen in a long time. The Los Angeles Angels have currently lost 14 games in a row. Only the 2021 Orioles and the 2013 Astros have lost more games consecutively over the last decade, and neither of those teams had the talent that these Angels do.
This was an Angels team that tried to sell baseball on the fact that they were finally ready to break out. They had an offense full of studs, and their pitching staff had finally figured itself out. We were once again lied to. Their managerial hires have been questionable (who the fuck thought it was a good idea to get Brad Ausmus another job?), and you can argue that there might not be a worse organization in baseball at developing starting pitching. The last time the Los Angeles Angels drafted a starting pitcher who made it to the All-Star game was Jered Weaver, who last made the All-Star game in 2012, which was Mike Trout's rookie season.
The sad truth is that Mike Trout has spent his career in the worst situation possible. He hasn't played on exclusively awful teams, but if Mike Trout got drafted by the Dodgers, the Yankees, or the Red Sox, we would have seen him be a part of multiple playoff runs by now. If the Tigers or the Orioles had drafted him, at least those teams probably would've had the decency to trade him at some point in his career. Still, he's stuck in Anaheim, with an organization on the verge of wasting the prime of the most outstanding player this generation has ever seen. Maybe one day they'll figure it out, but the best version of Mike Trout will never sniff postseason success, and that's a baseball tragedy.