1983 was Season Two in the 14-Year Barf - the hellish stretch of Tartabulls and Barfields that came between Thurman/Reggie and Bernie/Jeet. It was Iron Man II... the second Bush term... the marriage between Renee Zellweger and Kenny Chesney... except it lasted 161 games, instead of two weeks.
I know what you're thinking: Shirley, you jest! As in Bob Shirley. That year, we finished out of the running despite such Old Timers Day luminaries as Jerry Mumphries and Steve Kemp. We were on our way to likes of Mel Hall, Andy Hawkins, Deion Sanders, Claudell Washington and the Perez brothers, Pascual and Melido - all while spending the most money in the game. Yes, folks, it can happen. And watching it - and perhaps being scarred for life - were two teenagers named Hal Steinbrenner and Brian Cashman.
Which brings us to the Los Angeles, California, Angels of Anaheim, or whatever they call themselves. Hell's Angels are 16 and 27, the second worst team in the American League, after Houston. That's like saying herpes is the second worst virus going around, after Ebola. The Lastros have a lineup of Theotis Nobodies. The Angels last winter signed Josh Hamilton, ($17 million) adding him to the line up of Trout, Kendricks, Trumbo and Pujols. Pitching? They signed CJ Wilson two winters ago.
Plus, for the last 10 years, the Angels had a seemingly inexhaustible supply of hot prospects, thanks in part to an aggressive policy of spending over slot money to draft picks. Their payroll lists them 7th in the MLB, behind the top dogs - the Dodgers, the Yankees, Phillies, Tigers, Redsocks and Giants.
Second to last in the AL West. They ditched Vernon Wells to the Yankees for a bag of corn meal. He has 10 HRs on the season.
This will change, of course. They should start winning. But in the 1980s, George Steinbrenner had a tendency to panic around May/June - start lawn sales to boost the team and win the back page. Will the Angels?
We know the Mariners will collapse. Oakland? Crap shot. Texas could be for real, and all the AL West teams get extra games against Houston - a huge advantage in the Wild Card race.
But the similarities are there. And Shirley, they mean something.