‘Tis the holiday season. Time to deck the halls, jingle those bells, bring out the lights, tinsel, garland, fa-la-la-la-la la-la la la. As I was preparing to bake some holiday cookies, I thought about this season and the gifts we Angels fans have been given.
The biggest gift of all is, of course, Mike Trout. It is an absolute pleasure to get to watch him play. Whether it’s making highlight-worthy catches in the outfield, becoming the youngest player in the American League to hit for the Cycle, or wreaking havoc for the other team on the bases, his joy is evident and words cannot express the delight I’ve felt each time I’ve been privileged enough to witness his greatness.
Another gift we’ve been given is Jered Weaver. His artistry on the mound is undeniable. His presence is a gift that’s been granted to us at what anyone would agree is a bargain. When he signed his 5-year $85 million contract, he gave all Angels fans the gift of his continued presence and ability. We’ve all had the luxury of observing his brilliance, some were even lucky enough to be at the Big A when he threw his no hitter last year to see in person his capabilities.
C.J. Wilson has been a gift. In the two years he’s been with the Angels, he’s pitched 414.2 innings over 67 games. And while he’s known to nibble at the strike zone and drive his pitch count up, that’s still an average of 6.1 innings per game. He’s been pretty consistent and healthy overall. Not too shabby.
The past two off-seasons, the Angels were gifted the two biggest free agent names available: Albert Pujols and Josh Hamilton. At the time, most fans were elated. I was at the press conference held for both C.J. and Albert with my brother and nephew. The large crowd was cheering and the mood was nothing short of jubilant. Then there’s Josh Hamilton. Nobody saw that signing coming. After years of clamoring for a big name superstar, we had finally signed some.
It was like finding Kay jewelry boxes under the tree two years in a row. Only when we opened those boxes, we found lumps of coal nestled in the velvet instead of the diamonds we were expecting. Maybe heat and pressure can transform these into diamonds in the rough, much like what happens in the real world. Time will tell.
And Mike Trout. Yes, I know I already mentioned him, but I’m so grateful for all his contributions to the team, and he does so much, that he deserves to be mentioned again. And again. And again. You get the idea. Mike Trout is amazing. There is no overstating this.
Sometimes, in the midst of hard times or a bad streak (as the Angels have had a lot of lately), it’s difficult to remember the good things. There have been disappointments, sure, but there have also been plenty of things to be thankful for. As fans, it’s easy to get caught up in the immediacy of failures and forget the positives.
Maybe the biggest gift we’ve been given right now is that there haven’t been more moves by the Angels. It gives us time to adjust to the ones that have already taken place. We can focus on the upcoming holidays and spend time with our families. Spread joy and cheer. Sing carols. Watch clay-mation movies about Rudolph, the drummer boy, and Santa Claus (I love those things. Don’t judge me). There’s still plenty of time for the hot stove to heat back up. Maybe for right now, we can enjoy the gifts we’ve been given and hope that the year ahead brings us more to celebrate.