Saturday, July 11, 2009

Angel Angles

Made two predictions at a recent L.A.-Texas game at Angel Stadium.

One was spot on. The other spot off.

With Juan Rivera up and the count 2-2, I did a Russ Hodges imitation: "Tell it bye-bye, baby!"

Rivera jacked the next pitch straight into the rocks.

Then in the fifth, with John Lackey leading 3-0, two out, no one on, I told my neighbor, Scott Paullin: "Knock on wood, but Lackey's cruisin'."

That's when the cruise crashed. Six runs crossed before you could say Ranger rout, and Mike Scioscia had the hook out. Luckless Lackey again. Or maybe he's pitchless these days.

Here it comes: The Angels will make a huge deal this month. That comes with the same guarantee I made while saying Phil Jackson would stay. I was right. Charles Barkley wrong.

Yes, our OC boys bashed the Yankees to our glee Friday night. But that flop against the Rangers, just when we had Team Ryan on an Express down the division, showed the Angels need power and pitching.

Watch Los Angeles let one of its catchers, Mike Napoli or Jeff Mathis, go. And Lackey.

Turn it down:'s Rev is calling Steve Physioc the worst announcer in baseball.

Why? Because the broadcaster has the gall to call attention to the biggest offensive night of the season. Or would've been if Andruw Jones had parked No. 4.

What, was Fizz supposed to scintillate us with a breakdown of the No. 1 Angel Stadium experience? Because if you wanted homer musings from the booth, that was the only thing left in that Ranger series.

Or could Physioc reach for a homer of substance, one that ties history? Good for him that he announced the news.

Which adds to his credentials as the worst announcer in baseball? Against what list? Worse than John Sterling, whom Yankee fans and the Post's Phil Mushnick are trying to ditch? Worse than voices for the Marlins, Royals, Twins? I doubt if the Rev has a clue. About the only listeners who do are those of American Forces Network, which airs games from every market for our troops around the globe.

I used to be one of those AFN listeners. And knew that despite L.A.'s love affair with Vin Scully, he was not the best. Certainly not better than the Giants' Hank Greenwald, the Orioles' Chuck Thompson and the White Sox combo of Harry Caray and Jimmy Piersall.

No, Physioc isn't the worst. Not even among Angel play-by-play guys. His voice far surpasses the tone of Rory Markas and Terry Smith. And the Fizz has more fun playing off Rex Hudler (with me and my Angel book above).

As far as our Orange County ears can figure, Physioc might be one of the best.

Quit this fire-Fizz campaign. It's childish.

We'd be better off bitching about something of substance: Angel players who don't speak English. At least not with a mic in front of them.

This Kendry Morales ignoring our language for Spanish the way Vlad does is outrageous. This is an American team with American fans paying them American millions.

Learn to speak to us without a Jose Mota dictionary, for crying out loud.

Follow hockey's lead. Guy Lafleur and Mario Lemieux were two French Canadians who entered the NHL knowing hardly any English. The Habs and Penguins made sure they learned it. Simple marketing. They knew their fan base spoke English, so get with the program, guys.

The Angels should do the same. So should every team in baseball, which has crashing attendance as it is.

Fans want players they can relate to. It sure would help if they could understand them.

Bucky Fox is an author and editor in Southern California who runs

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