them play -- and have long since gone home.
But I still remember vividly some years ago -- when I was offering my
heart and soul to the Chicago White Sox -- that they once scored nine
runs in the last inning to beat the Yankees 10-9. And so I am loathe to
concede. But my editor, who is a pragmatist, says that it is time.
If you have been paying attention, you know that I have made a deal with
a Party -- whose identity is my own business -- not to leave this
bountiful life until the Angels have won a World Series. It appears --
no, says my editor, it is certain -- that the Angels won't endanger me
this year. And after the 14-12 debacle in Cleveland Tuesday night, I must
agree. Hence this note of thanks.
The list of individuals to thank is long and deserving, but before I
single them out, I would like to say that from beginning, the commitment
of the Angels to lose on my behalf has decidedly been a team effort (last
in the major leagues by a wide margin, for example, in runs-batted-in).
From the front office to the $80 million man -- with a few notable
exceptions -- the Angels have been consistent and determined
underachievers. In spite of my romantic leanings, I knew subconsciously
by early May that I was safe and that you were going to get this weekly
liberal enlightenment -- the editor willing -- for at least another year.
So let's get to the business at hand and give special thankswhere it is
due -- in no particular order of importance.
The first expression of appreciation goes to general manager Bill Bavasi
who pulled off a coup almost breathtaking in its ingenuity. The Angels
had two players who persisted in performing up to their salaries: pitcher
Omar Olivares and second baseman Randy Velarde.
They caused me some anxiety early in the season. But Bavasi cleverly
traded them in July to the Oakland Athletics. In return, he got three
deep minor leaguers who aren't likely to cause me any problems for at
least several years. Meanwhile, the two former Angels are leading
Oakland's quest for a playoff spot. Olivares is 4-0 with the Athletics,