ANAHEIM — Hello, and welcome home, Halos.
Why the bedeviled look of a cherub about to get crushed by an oncoming summer of discontent?
Forget the home opening day jitters earlier this evening, with Angel Stadium hardly at full capacity by the first pitch for the first Angel Stadium contest of 2013.
This was a confluence of confused emotions. What to believe, what to doubt, what to remember about what happened a year ago, five years ago and, for those who recall, 11 years ago now.
There are some silver lining, heaven-vs.-hell, litmus test kind of things that can put a sparkle back in Arte Moreno’s money clip.
The assignment on this night was for C.J. Wilson to distract the O.C. fans from Weaver’s predicament and gain their confidence in his ability to perform.
With that, the A’s batted around in the top of the first, scored three times and had the bases loaded when Scioscia got Jerome Williams warming up in the bullpen.
Wilson threw 43 pitches in the first frame to produce a 3-0 deficit. Then he opened the second inning by allowing Coco Crisp to go yard on him. Still, Wilson wasn’t toast until he left after the sixth inning — with a 5-4 lead, no less, in line to be the winning pitcher.
No worries. Everyone there knew that after Weaver and Wilson, the Angels’ No. 3 man was Super Joe Blanton would be ready, willing and able to implode on Wednesday. Unless they needed him in long relief Tuesday.At least the Angels don’t have Dan Haren or Ervin Santana to fall back on for moral support. In a 15-0 loss at Cincinnati last week, Washington’s new No. 4 starter Haren gave up four homers and nine hits in four innings. In a 5-2 loss at Chicago, Kansas City’s new No. 2 starter Santana gave up three homers in the first four innings.
Hamiton was in his new corner locker stall before the game, about as far away as possible from Scioscia’s office, and sporting a T-shirt that said: “Everyone commits errors. But His sacrifice will get you home.”
It was not too early for him, and the rest of his new teammates, to start praying to the baseball gods.
“I don’t even like to use the words, ‘clean slate,’ because we need to remember what we’ve all been through and how we came out of it,” said Hamilton, referring to having the Angels run the gauntlet of having to start the season at Cincinnati and Texas in the “Who Gave Up On Josh Hamilton?” Opening Week Tour.
“I’m cool with how that all went. I’m still adapting to things, but I feel fairly settled in. I just need to be more aggressive at the plate. That’s more my nature.”
This was before Hamilton swung feebly at a third strike with the bases loaded in the bottom of the first. Mark Trumbo followed with an inning-ending double play. Hamilton also failed to push a runner across with the bases loaded in the fifth with a weak grounder back to the pitcher. In his first three at-bats, he left eight runners. Someone mentioned that the record of LOB by one player in a game was 12. There was still time to see Hamilton make history.
“We played four one-run games against a couple of World Series contenders,” reasoned Angels general manager Jerry Dipoto about how the season started.
And another in Oakland, which has former Angels Cy Young Award winner Bartolo Colon still tucked away on their pitching staff but had to come out for opening-game introductions. Dipoto must be checking the scouting reports to see if Bart can still reach the plate.
Having just watched Weaver explain to another gaggle of reporters that he’ll do everything possible to make the four-to-six week recovery closer to four than six, Dipoto continued about his newly adjusted starting rotation: “You’ve got to scatter the jets when you’re in a situation like this.”
With that, six jets came over Angel Stadium at the end of the Star Spangled Banner, in a very neat, tight formation. Even if the media members sequestered in the new press box down the right-field line instead of behind home plate could only see them on the TV monitors instead of in the sky.
That was unusual in itself since fly-overs have been one of the things grounded by the recent government sequestration. The U.S. Navy has already cut the rest of the Blue Angels’ elite flight demonstrations for the rest of the year because of budget issues.
How long before owner Moreno follows protocol with his own blue Angels?
We didn’t see him Captain Arte stroll through the stadium concourse Tuesday wondering if all the cash he just invested in Hamilton was going to reap any instant rewards. AFter the 9-5 loss to the A’s, he wasn’t going to the 7-Eleven to buy party favors. Or to check on Aisle 4 to see if there were any spare power hitters available.
Although, at least he can now buy a Powerball ticket at any Orange County liquor store and get pretty much the same result as he’s seen so far.