I experienced a Cardinals fan nightmare in Orange County this weekend

I was in San Clemente this weekend seeing some of my wife’s cousins and watching a production of the original play Christmas in San Clemente.

While waiting to go into the theater, I saw a guy at a local coffee shop wearing an Angels cap.

Now this was the first time I had been in Orange County since Albert Pujols signed with the Angels. And seeing that I was about to go the next few hours into in laws and Christmas mode, I didn’t mind doing a little baseball talk before the play started.

(PLEASE note that I am lucky to have terrific in laws and I love Christmas time. I just know that this was my lone chance to break down the AL West.)

I said to him “You an Angels fan?”
He responded. “Oh yeah. I’m a big Angels fan.”

That’s what he said. I’m NOT making that up. That becomes an important detail.

I said “You must be really excited.”
At first he looked confused and then said “Oh yeah. They made some moves.”

I grinned.
Some moves?
That’s like Noah saying “Yeah, I think it is going to rain.”

Even though I was 1,800 miles from St. Louis, I could hear Cardinals fan scream.

“Yeah,” I said. “They made a few moves.”
“Who was it again?” He asked.

Now look. I understand being a casual fan. I do. I’m a casual hockey fan. If my team, the San Jose Sharks, made a big trade I might not know the name.

But if San Jose got Sidney Crosby, I would be able to place the name.
And if I couldn’t, I wouldn’t call myself a BIG fan.

I decided to answer.

“They got Albert Pujols.” I said.
He nodded. “He’s pretty good, right?”

And that my friends is the Cardinals fans worst fear.
Not only did they lose Albert Pujols, but they lost him to an indifferent fan base.

Sorry Angel fans. That’s your reputation. The Angels have a fan base that does indeed show up to the games but needs a monkey to tell them when to cheer.

A fan base that wants their team to win, but didn’t give Adam Kennedy a standing ovation when he returned to Anaheim this year as a member of the Mariners.

Remember Kennedy was the MVP of the 2002 ALCS (the only pennant the Angels have ever won.) And after years of coming close to the World Series and never getting in, Kennedy hit the go ahead homer off of Johan Santana in the clinching Game 5. Oh guess what? He hit THREE homers that day.

Like Pujols, he hit three homers in a single post season game. He led them to the World Series and helped win it all.

He came up to the plate last season. There wasn’t even a buzz.

In Boston, New York, Chicago, St. Louis, Baltimore, Cleveland, Pittsburgh, Detroit, Milwaukee, San Francisco, Kansas City… even the Dodgers… he’d get a standing ovation.

And that fan base got Albert Pujols.

So here’s my message to the big fan in San Clemente.

Yeah. He’s pretty good.

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MLB needs to take the Mets away from the Wilpons

The Mets have become the walking argument AGAINST the notion that you need to be in a big market to succeed.

How about New York?
Is that a big enough market for you?

Want more revenue streams than New York City?
How about a new stadium?
How about a new TV network?

I’m not just talking about putting an uninspired team on the field (three straight losing seasons) and I’m not just talking about them losing stars. (I actually think after three straight losing seasons with no end in sight it is smart to shed payroll and go young.)

I’m talking about how the team is run.

Only the Yankees have the advantage that the Mets have. New York! The New York media. The New York spotlight. THE Metropolis that is baseball first. And a passionate fanbase that as recently as 2008 made the Mets the best draw in the National League.

The Wilpons took all those advantages and needed a $25 million loan from baseball to stay afloat.

And guess what? They need ANOTHER $40 million loan now!

I can understand if this were Tampa Bay, Kansas City, Oakland or San Diego.
They are small cities with low revenue streams.

Not the Mets.

Mix this in with the whole Madoff mess and MLB needs to intervene.
Seriously, they did with McCourt and the Dodgers. The McCourts took a crown jewel franchise, drove them into bankruptcy court and Selig and company intervened.

They clearly couldn’t run the team.

Well if the Mets have to keep loans to stay afloat and can’t make a BASEBALL TEAM IN NEW YORK PROFITABLE… then why should they be allowed to run the team?

Baseball is healthiest when each team can put a good product on the field (and the number of different division winners over the last decade shows that we are getting closer to that.)

But it also helps to have a team in New York and Los Angeles be at least competitive. They make for good villains and bring a lot of casual fans to the gates.

(At least the Dodgers with all the bankruptcy mess put a winning product on the field in 2011!)

The Phillies, Braves and Marlins should be competitive next year. If the Mets were halfway decent, it would be the most exciting Division in baseball.

For now they need to rebuild. And who knows? Maybe in a few years they will be a pennant contender.

But it won’t happen with the Wilpons in control.
They have proven that they can’t run the team.

Now Met fans have a tendency to write nasty things to me. They think I am trashing their team constantly and have some sort of vendetta.

Nothing could be further from the truth.
I’d like to see the Mets become successful.
I like David Wright and Johan Santana.
Many friends of mine are Met fans and I’d like to see them be happy.

This isn’t me picking on your team.
This is me being outraged and you Met fans should be the angriest of all!

Somewhere out there is a business man or woman who is smart enough to run a baseball team in New York and make a profit while putting a winning team on the field.

Go find the next Mets owner.
And if you want to write something mean to me, use your time and energy towards the Mets and MLB.

They are keeping the team afloat.
They should go bankrupt and have someone turn the Mets around.

Remove the Wilpons.
We can ALL agree on THAT.

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