We’ve heard it a hundred times before by a hundred baseball analysts about a hundred different baseball teams – “They look good on paper.” Now granted, many baseball analysts get paid to say this, but why is it that they seem to come down with a serious case of amnesia (or are nowhere to be found) when their “paper” team tanks. (I’ve often wondered why the word analyst is spelled with a ‘y’ instead of an ‘i’).
We all know that the game isn’t played on paper and that you still have to play the games, and that anything can happen in this game that we are so passionate about, but in all fairness to these baseball analysts (at least the smart ones), they are generally right more often than not when it comes to picking the best (or at least the better) teams within each division – but not always. In fact, I seem to recall on more than one occasion over the past 25 years where the Dodgers have looked good on paper, and we all know how that worked out.
Baseball analyst or not, it is difficult not to acknowledge that both the Dodgers and the Angels look good on paper heading into the 2013 season. One need only look at their respective line-ups to see that both teams have at least three (perhaps even four) potential 30+/85+ guys; and if this isn’t enough to get you excited, I’m thinking that nothing will.
Being totally objective and honest here, both teams also have their weaknesses. For the Dodgers it would be their defense at shortstop, left field (at least until Carl Crawford proves that he is 100% healthy) and possibly even second base. The good news is that in addition to having what could very well be the best offensive line-up in the National League with a healthy Crawford, a healthy Matt Kemp, Adrian Gonzalez, Hanley Ramirez and Andre Ethier, the Dodgers may also have what is arguably the best starting rotation and the best bullpen in all of baseball.
For the Angels, in spite of having the most powerful (and feared) offensive line-up in both leagues with Mike Trout, Albert Pujols and Josh Hamilton, their starting rotation and their bullpen are anything but the best in the AL.
The bottom line is that not only do both of these teams look good on paper and appear to be in a great position to win their respective divisions, they could also very well win their respective leagues and may provide Southern California with its first-ever Interstate-5 Freeway World Series (much to the displeasure of the cable and television networks).
Heck, the Dodgers and Angels even have the biggest fan on the face of the planet in their corner on this one – Tommy Lasorda.
“Last year, when the Angels got Pujols and that other guy, that left-handed pitcher (C.J. Wilson), I called up Mike (Scioscia) and asked him to put aside two World Series tickets for me,” said the 85-year-old Lasorda. “This year, both teams are gonna be good. This is the best chance we’ve had in a long time for one of those, whatcha call ‘em . . . ?” (Freeway Series, he is helped with). “Yeah, one of those,” he says.
But here again, as exciting as things are going to be around Dodger Stadium and The Big-A this season, the game isn’t played on paper and you still have to play the games; but if Dodger and Angel fans aren’t excited about the 2013 season, perhaps they should find another sport to follow – say… like… half of a hockey season or something.