Would it be a surprise if I told you the LA Angels are in the midst of another disastrous opening month of baseball? The Angels manage to top themselves year after year, making each fresh new opening month feel more cursed than the one that came before. The Angels prodigal ace Shohei Ohtani returned to the mound after a year and a half long absence, along with him most of the hopes and dreams regarding the future of the 2020 season. Except Ohtani didn’t show up at all, as the ace failed to record a single out in his 2020 debut, being lifted after just 30 pitches. Ohtani gave up 5 runs off of three walks and three hits in his debut, and given his inability to record a single out, he is now laced with a legendary ERA of “infinity”.
Things looked to be on the upswing, with the Angels heading back home to face the Mariners after dropping 3 of 4 to the A’s, yet somehow things have gotten a bit worse. Despite Anthony Rendon making his Angels debut, the team has dropped 2 of 3 to the Mariners, a team which is staffed almost exclusively by Triple-A bats and arms. There has been little for fans to cheer about in Anaheim through the first two weeks of the 2020 season. Not only has the team taken unrelenting beatings from its AL West rivals, but now it seems like the players are starting to turn on the fans as well.
After the Angels dropped the second game of a three game series against the Mariners at home, Angel fans took to social media to express their frustrations with the loss. However, it seems Angels reliever Keynan Middleton, who is a big piece of the LA Angels bullpen, took exception to this reaction and blamed the fans “lack of energy” for the teams under-performance, tweeting “If angels fans were half as bought into cheering as they are talking [expletive removed] on Twitter it’d get rowdy lol”:
This was after a night in which the Angels bullpen allowed eight total runs after the 6th in a game which the team led 4-1 entering the inning. Middleton also tweeted “Last night during the 6th was the loudest I’ve ever heard angels stadium … no [laughing emojis]”. The 6th inning saw the Mariners turn a 4-1 defect into a 6-4 lead.
Fan response was livid in response to Middleton’s attack on the Angels fanbase, a fanbase which has gone through some of the biggest hits among MLB franchises in terms of player injury, organizational setbacks, and general disappointment in the hopes-to-success ratio. Last night fans took to his shifting of blame by hurling insults of their own, calling the Angels pitcher “soft”, “a waste of talent”, and “worth less than the paper his tweets are printed on, which is to say he’s worthless.”
Keynan Middleton chose a strange time to blame the fans lack of energy for the teams underperformance when fans are currently bound, totally and uncompromisingly, from attending sporting events across the board. Even so, the Angels ranked fifth in total attendance throughout the 2019 season with a total 3.02 million fans, with the highest attendance rate that year being held by the Dodgers (3.97 million).
Middleton has pitched less than 10 innings over the last two seasons and will look to make his third appearance of the year as the Angels face off against the Houston Astros this weekend in Anaheim.
Featured Photo: Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register