This blog has truly become my sanctuary when talking about the Angels. I tend to write about this team’s successes, shortcomings, and my own personal reflections as a fan. It’s these types of entries that I enjoy writing about the most. They help me personally explore my own relationship to this team that always will have a special place in my heart.
The Angels have always had a special and ongoing rivalry with the Los Angeles Dodgers, who we locals call their Freeway series; referring to Interstate 5 which separates Anaheim and Los Angeles. All we have to do is travel north on Interstate 5 and 35 minutes later you’re there. (Barring any traffic, which almost never happens; traffic is a way of life here) in the American League West, the Angels have had an ongoing rivalry with the Oakland Athletics. For almost a decade the Halos and Elephants have exchanged American League West Championships, culminating in 2002 when the A’s won a major league record 20 games in a row and finished their season winning in American League West title; only to have the Angels capture the American League Wild-Card which eventually led them to win the 2002 World Series. Personally, the Athletics are the team that I will always love to hate a little bit more than the Rangers simply because of my time spent in the Bay Area during my college years as well as a trading of division titles during that decade.
This rivalry was temporarily put on hold however in 2010 and 2011 when the Texas Rangers won back-to-back American League West Championships. Both times they eventually reached the World Series themselves. This budding rivalry between these two teams have created an interesting dynamic in the American League West. As we are not battling solely during the season, but were now also battling during the off-season. As the Angels are trying to court CJ Wilson away from the Texas Rangers. This rivalry is starting to feel much more intense come not only because I over Wilson but also the various connections between our two franchises.
In addition to Wilson, I believe that genesis of this rivalry in my opinion began with the trade of Mike Napoli who eventually ended up with the Rangers. Any team that loses a excellent player to a division rival feels the pain, however this one stings a lot more because of the success that Napoli had in this past World Series. It’s interesting to see how this rivalry will develop in the future, especially if the Angels or able to pry CJ Wilson away from Texas. The Angels would be taking away the Ace of the Rangers. Which would probably leave a bad taste in Rangers’ fans collective mouth. For Angels’ fans, it would represent the ultimate coup and be a form of retribution for the loss of Mike Napoli to division rival.
Add to that a compounding factor, Rangers’ Executive Vice President, Nolan Ryan who is a very important part of Angels’ history. Many, myself included still consider him a valuable and vital part of the Angels family. He has never denied using dual career but the fact that he now is part owner of the Rangers, eats at your stomach.
It is these ongoing connections between these two franchises that makes this an important rivalry between these two teams. The fight over CJ Wilson personifies the evolution of what clearly has the potential to become a very intense rivalry between these two teams in the American League West. Whether it’s Wilson, Napoli or Ryan the Angels and Rangers have a bright and bitter rivalry to look forward to.