Irrational hate-on time…

I really just don’t like Darin Erstad.

This is what Tomato Nation calls an “irrational hate-on.” And I agree with the writer there who says that having irrational hate-ons is one of the best things about being a baseball fan. But in this case it troubles me.

It troubles me because Erstad is a very good ballplayer. He’s hitting .317 for the season, he’s a competent first baseman (he was a great center fielder, but he had a predilection for crashing into outfield walls and hurting himself, so the Angels moved him to First this season in the hopes that he might spend less time on the D/L this year) and he seems like a pretty ok guy.

The thing is, he’s filthy. You can’t see it in the picture above, but this guy is a mess. I don’t think he knows how to use a razor. Either that or he’s got a special razor that only cuts every fourth hair on this face when he shaves. He always sort of looks like a cat with mange, a look that is especially pronounced on occasions when he takes off his cap. Now far be it from me to pick on the folicularly challenged, but sheesh! Darin needs to come to terms with his thinning pate. He also should spend some quality time with some soap and water.

I used to tell people that the reason I didn’t like Madonna was because she looked to me like she smelled bad. Something about her just said “stank” to me. Well, something about Darin Erstad says “peeeeyooo.” What must it be like for other ballplayers whose teams are facing the Angels? Every batter is praying for an extra base hit, and not just because that’s likely to help them win. No. They just don’t want to have to stand next to Erstad. Once you get to first who knows how long you’ll be there. Heaven forbid you get on first with no outs in the late innings of a game when Mike Scioscia is going to swap relievers in and out of the game to try to get the next three batters out without you advancing from first. It’s probably enough to even make a catcher try to steal second.

Like I said, this hate-on is irrational, so I don’t have to support any of what I’m saying here. I don’t know Darin Erstad. For all I know he may look foul and smell sweet as a rose. But I’m willing to bet that’s not the case. Nope, he’s a reeker.

Maybe he’s a very superstitious player. Maybe he stops bathing in spring training because he forgot to shower one season and hit for great average until the day he took his first shower. Or maybe this is part of the Anaheim Angels’ secret weaponry they use to defeat other teams. The real secret story of the 2002 World Series was that the real battle was between Barry Bonds’ ego and Darin Erstad’s funk, and the funk won. I know what you’re saying here, that’s some serious funk. When Erstad bats the umpire’s eyes water and he can’t see the pitch to make a solid call. That’s why he’s hitting .317 this year.

The other night I was watching the Angels play on TV and I could have sworn I saw food in his teeth when the camera focused on Erstad at first. Like I said, this stuff is irrational.

Why am I even bringing this very questionable subject up? Simple. The Angels are menacing my A’s and we’re close to the end of the regular season. I’m also annoyed that those thrice cursed Angels fell three games straight to Boston. While I’m glad that kept them behind the A’s in the standings, it meant that Boston climbed in the standings. I won’t be happy if the Angels get into the playoffs and the A’s don’t, but if both Anaheim and Boston make the playoffs and the A’s don’t, well, then I’m going to be really angry.

See, my player-level hate-on is pointed at Erstad right now. My team-level hate-on has seldom wavered from Boston in the past year. Boston sucks. I loathe nearly everything about that team. If Darin Erstad is the player I’d least likely want to be stuck in a confined space with due to aromatic issues, Boston is the team I’d least likely wish to share a ship’s hold with for reasons both visual and visceral. I thought they were bad last year, with that ridiculous frat-boy-esque “cowboy up” nonsense and a mullet at every position. This year they’ve grown stupifyingly absurd beards, and someone needs to hold Johnny Damon down and forcibly de-fur him. Johnny, you look horrible. You look like you should be holding a sign that says “REPENT” and pacing in front of a movie theater. And wither Pedro? I used to be really fond of Pedro Martinez. I like his superiority complex and the whole persona he cultivates. It’s exactly the sort of thing that keeps mediocre hitters off balance when he’s pitching. But good lord Pedro… Geri Curl?????

Then there’s this whole Red Sox nation crap. I’m sorry, but if you don’t live in New England and you’re a Red Sox fan you deserve to have your fanny paddled until you won’t be able to sit down until the next Presidential election in 2008. I am well and truly sick of so-called fans of the Red Sox filling up the seats at the Oakland Coliseum once or twice a year and using it as an excuse to do everything except watch the friggin’ game. Go back to Boston already.

Anyway, at least I know that regardless of where they end up finishing the season we can count on the curse to keep the Red Sox from getting anywhere in the post season.

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