When you frequently engage in baseball discussion online, you come across some pretty fascinating debates.
One debate that has been discussed is choosing a three-year stretch to relive as an Angels fan: the 2007-2009 span or the 2017-2019 span? At first glance, I easily chose 2007-2009, citing the team success being more exciting and fulfilling than watching one historic individual on bad teams. But the argument is more difficult than you’d imagine and many others I talked with chose the latter option.
I decided to take this one step further and change the timeframes to 2004-2009 or 2014-2019. This debate becomes much more interesting. In option 1, the Angels were regular-season juggernauts but experienced major playoff heartbreak. In the latter option, the Angels had one playoff appearance, less playoff heartbreak, and a historic run from Mike Trout.
That leads me here today. I wanted to see what the CtPG faithful said about these two scenarios and which option they’d prefer. Below is a list of some pros and cons of both scenarios, further illustrating why both options have their appeals.
- 94.5 wins per season
- Five AL West titles
- Two ALDS series wins (’05 Yankees and ’09 Red Sox)
- Five playoff series defeats
- Pure heartbreak
- No Mike Trout
- One playoff appearance (2014)
- Six years of Mike Trout greatness (three MVPs)
- Two other generational talents (Shohei Ohtani and Andrelton Simmons)
- Literally a middling .500 team (81.5 wins per season)
- Top 10 payroll+Mike Trout=middling results
- Playoff-less Trout
If I had to choose between the two options, I’d lean towards the first scenario. As much as I appreciate Mike Trout’s annual historical greatness, the consistent disappointment and non-competitive baseball from the whole team has been disheartening. I can see the appeal to both options, however.
What say you, CtPG faithful? Leave your comments below and we can continue the dialogue here.
i think its mistake to look at the last five years as ‘Trout and a bunch of guys’.
Albert Pujols may have slowed down, but he’s still an inner circle HOFer. If you add Rendon’s career WAR to Trout’s career WAR, you get Pujols total essentially.
Ohtani is a once in a lifetime talent – nobody has done on the field what Shohei is doing for the last 100 years.
Simmons is the best defense player in a generation, since Ozzie Smith.
There are four guys that i think will be in HOF one day
I don’t disagree with that assessment, Rex. My intention was to frame it as team success versus individual success (with little team results). I’ve thoroughly enjoyed Trout, Simmons, and Ohtani. I just want to see that balance of making the playoffs while also trotting those three stars out there.
remind me tomorrow to link to the various 2020 MLB simulations going on. The CBS Sports one is the best.
I’m looking at it this way: if I were a fan of another team, say the Dodgers, would I prefer winning the West almost every year, only to come up short, or would I rather not make the playoffs with Trout somehow on my team? Or the Indians….or Cardinals. Would they trade their playoff appearances for Trout? Would any team trade away players for Trout, knowing they’d be out of the playoffs? And enjoy that?
I have to believe the answer is playoff teams are happier where they are. Now let’s talk about us. Let’s say, just for argument’s sake, that the Angels traded Mikey away for a package that made us a playoff team every year. Would we take that? Or would it have to be a World Series Winner (multiple times)? I think if we didn’t have Mike but were in the playoffs but didn’t win the Series it wouldn’t be enough.
I realize I’ve just argued for both sides. That’s what makes it a good thought experiment.
Great response! I think being in the playoffs or constantly competing is a fun feeling as a fan. Sure, the heartbreak stinks at times but the thrill of a playoff race is the best.
Oh man, 2004-2009. I love me some Trout, but having a competitive team with a winning record and making it to the playoffs almost every year wins it for me over having “Mike Trout…and a bunch of guys.” Yes, you can say 2004-09 was “Vlad and a bunch of guys,” but when that bunch of guys included Aybar and Kendrick, Figgy, Kendrys Morales, Torii Hunter, Garrett Anderson, Kelvim Escobar, Scot Shields, K-Rod, the Weaver Bros…that was a fun bunch of guys! Even if it ended in heartbreak, I have much more fond memories of cheering the Angels on in October with a bunch of other people in Danny K’s or Downtown Disney in 2004-2009, rather than stop watching in September….or June….or scratching my head in complete bafflement on how all our pitchers’ arms have fallen off by the end of May, from 2016-2019.
Of course, all of that still beats the 2020 season so far!
This is where I’m at and I also have the added element of nostalgic memories of those ’04-’09 teams. Trout has been an absolute joy but I think I prefer the team success (strictly speaking as an individual Angels fan and not baseball fan).
Back in 2004-2009 there was the sense every spring that it was going to be another good year. In recent years I want to hope, but the rational part of my brain tells me “Meh!”
I have felt the same way
This is tough. But since it doesn’t count 2002 I have to go with 2014-2019.
Angels got a ring. They made the playoffs they got division wins. They did not, however, ever have a one of the best all time player until Trout. Mike Trout may go down as the Angels Ted Williams and you know what? I’m fine with that.
This franchise is so desolate when it comes to all time greats that the retired numbers are of hof players that popped by at the end of their careers.
Nolan Ryan was the closest to this but that got ruined by letting him go. If he ended up staying and going in with an Angels hat it would be much harder for me. But he didn’t.
Mike Trout is the most important player in Angels history. He gives legitimacy here. Other teams have that one hof player that was most known for that team. That just crushes it. You go on any baseball site and people keep saying Vlad should have gone on am expo. No matter what he did here people still see him as an expo outside of Anaheim.
Maybe that will change the way that Nolan Ryan is remembered as a Ranger thanks to the hat. But for now, the one player that is a HOF player for the Angels remembered by everyone as an Angel is Mike Trout.
Seriously before Mike Trout, the Angels were way behind on the warlord leaderboard. Angels were at 27/30. Only beating out Arizona, Texas, Tampa, and Miami.
50 year old organization and getting passed up by the Rockies, the Jays, even the Expos. Of the 14 expansion teams the Angels were at 9th. The first expansion team couldn’t do better than Chuck Finley. (No offense but when comparing to Tony Gwynn or Ken Griffey Junior… Yeah)
In my view, especially for the expansion teams, the most important things are rings and HOF players that people see as YOURS.
Now of course I’ll be sad if the Angels never win a ws again. Duh. But making the playoffs only to lose? Eh I’ll take Mike Trout over division wins any day.
Oh yeah. And right now, the Angels are 20th out of 30 in warlord. And Mike Trout is one Mike Trout season away from getting the Angels to 13th.
I could make a case for Finley belonging in the Hall of Fame.
You could. And also Bobby Grich. But they aren’t for some reason.
I like this perspective. I do appreciate that this century has been split up into two different parts: the 2000s team success and the 2010s individual/historic player success (Trout, Ohtani).
I prefer the excitement of a competitive team.
As far as Trout goes, I feel like one of the characters in a story where I wished for the Angels to draft a player who becomes the best player in baseball and plays his whole career for the Angels, but the curse that goes along with having this wish be granted (in order to teach me a lesson for being so greedy) is that the Angels will never win a playoff game while he is on the team.
It still amazes me that the Angels have had the best player of this generation and have found zero payoff success. Hopefully, that changes soon.
2nd place who?”
*quick – who else was ALCS runner-ups from 2004-2019?
i believe Trout, Pujols, Simmons, Ohtani will ALL be HOFers. No one from 2004-2009 except Vlad will be.
I think it’s the latter
I wonder what Arte and Scioscia would say
definitely a good debate and hard choice
to me it comes down to having 2002
— if we didn’t have 2002, i’d pick the 2004-2009 and two ALCS appearances
This was something I thought about while writing this. As much fun as it was to witness those Angels teams, nobody (besides us Angels fans) really remembers regular-season juggernauts who didn’t win a title. I still prefer those teams because some of those seasons were so damn fun but the playoff heartbreak was difficult.
Yankees angels A’s Cleveland Yankees? Angels again in 2009. Detroit in 2013 I think. Stupif Boston. Blue Jays in 2014? Or was it 2015. Astros in 2018. Yankees in 2017 and 2019 I think.
The first one, easily.
As someone who became an Angels fan at the early point in that run, I never really understood that making the playoffs every year was not the normal. That being said, I’ve enjoyed watching Trout these past few years, and I don’t think I would trade it for anything. 20 years down the line, my opinion might change!
It’s hard to choose an option that doesn’t involve watching Trout!
As much as I love Trout, seeing the Angels in the playoffs moves to the top of the list every time.
Yep I’m with you. I think my response would be different if the Angels were more competitive each year.