It is fitting, in a season that swirled around the controversial name change to Los Angeles, the biggest hit of the season (so far) was delivered by a man they call O.C.
Orlando Cabrera even defiantly flipped his bat towards the Yankees dugout after his two-out, two-run single blew open Game 2 of the ALDS. Dude, you are an Angel now. Both literally and figuratively. Some questioned the removal of the popular David Eckstein for Cabrera, but that has now been answered with his heroics. Smacking down the Yankees has become a right of passage in Anaheim. The clubhouse is filled with guys who, at one time or another, have put the Yankees in their place. The Angels pass around the Yankees like they are Fawn Leibowtiz at a Delta House party.
It is what we do in Anaheim, Los Angeles, or even the O.C.
The teams are now tied now as the series shifts to the Angels home park—Yankee Stadium. That is right. No team has made itself more at home at Yankee Stadium than the Angels. This is the point where a respectable journalist would back up this claim with numbers, but trust us. The Yankees did want to go back to New York needing to win two games.
Fans quiet: The typically boisterous regular-season Yankees crowd is thinned out during the playoffs, making them as relevant as your typical Devil Rays boosters. Those in attendance on Wednesday night looked disheveled following the game. Yankees fans are notoriously myopic and will run their mouths even after their team has lost three of four games (like they did earlier this year).
That was gone on Wednesday. Instead of talking about the split in Anaheim, the few remaining fans had that "Here we go again" look on their faces. They know what is coming next. The Yankees and their fans have the same look in their eye that Roddy Pipper, Big John Stud, and Ric Flair all do when Hulk Hogan is "Hulking Up" for a major comeback. There comes a point where no matter how many slaps you throw, the Hulk (in this case the Angels) are going to come back and win.
Whatca going to do?
No defense for they Yankees: Prima Donna Alex Rodriguez and the typically sure-handed Derek Jeter made fans long for the Alfonso Soriano days with their respective lack of defense on Wednesday. A-Rod booted a routine ground ball in the sixth inning that allowed the Angels to tie the game. At least A-Rod has backed up his stellar defense as he has gone 2-for-22 in his last six playoff games. At least nobody remembers Dave Winfield now.
Smack from the manager: Angels skipper Mike Scioscia even took a shot at A-Rod's defense. "I think the lights got to Alex on that play." Yeah, A-Rod is so unfamiliar with playing in Angels Stadium after all of those years with Seattle and Texas.
The Angels manager also mentioned that his dog must have eaten Jason Giambi's drug test.
They play baseball the "right way:" A Yankees fans standing behind terrace section 221 was trying to tell anybody who would listen (which means nobody) that you have to respect the Yankees for playing baseball the right way. Well except for that A-Rod play in last year’s playoffs were he tried to knock the ball out of a first baseman’s glove. Or the whole lack of defense thing. Or that Giambi using steroids deal.
The Yankees play baseball the right way much in the same vein as the "Really Rottens" played the right way during the Laugh A-Lympics on Saturday mornings during the 1970s.
Speaking of Giambi: The slugger has steroid-induced boils on his neck that look like they could hit .330. Plus the guy officially has "the film." You know, that greasy look that makes the guy look like scumbag even moments after he walks out of the shower. How does a guy sweat so much as a designated hitter? He sweats more than Mo Vaughn walking up to a buffet line.
Steroid lottery: Is there a special code among baseball players were all steroid abusers wear number 25? Think about it, Mark McGuire, Barry Bonds, Rafael Palmeiro, and Giambi all shared the number.
Can you dig it? Angels pitcher John Lackey threw more bounce passes on Wednesday night than Kobe Bryant did last season. At least Lackey has not tried to get Vladamir Guerrero traded to the Marlins. Vlade did refer to himself as "The Big Aristotle" after the game.
Excuse me: Ever notice that Jeter gets that "Do you know who I am?" look on his face after he is called out on strikes? The nerve of some umpires.
The fans behind Section 221 are going to hell for this: A group of fans (alright us) started a USA! USA! chant after Yankees starter Chien-Ming Wang was knocked out by Columbia-born Cabrera's base hit. That seems harsh, but Wang opened the game by singing the Russian national anthem before he declared that, "Taiwan No. 1, China No. 1" and then spat when he mentioned the USA.
Wang was making his first playoff start in 2005 after appearing in the Little League World Series last year.