Dylon Bindi and Angels Fans v. Keynan Middleton

This fan post is written by one of our site members. Let them know what you think and feel in the comments below!

I think it’s fair to say the Angels’ 2020 bizarre COVID-19 season has not gone as planned. As of writing this the Angels are 7-14, well below expectations for a roster much improved from last season. The team is struggling to connect the dots, either from good offense and bad pitching, or great pitching (Dylan Bundy) and bad offense. The classic #TheHaloWay style of getting the bases loaded with 0 outs and scoring 0 runs is still very much en Vogue for this team, even with a top of the order that can compete with any other teams’. You may think this is the area in which I spend most of my time being upset at this team. Nope. My displeasure stems more from a certain bullpen pitcher for the Angels. Keynan Middleton.

Keynan Middleton, once dubbed the Angels “closer in waiting”, spends quite some time on social media. A lot of time, actually, for a guy still trying to get his footing in the big leagues after Tommy John surgery. Key dazzled in 2017 as a rookie, pitching 58.1 innings to the tune of a 3.86 ERA. The next year he looked to take a step even further, throwing his first 17.2 innings to a 2.04 ERA. While his advanced stats, such as FIP and xFIP, seemed to highlight regression was coming, they did not seem to indicate he was a total fluke. However, Tommy John surgery interrupted what seemed to be a breakout, and it was not until late 2019 that Key reappeared out of the Angels’ bullpen.

Now it is 2020, and fans were excited to see Key step up. Unfortunately, “La Llave”, or “The Key”, has not been all too spectacular. He’s appeared in 9 games, walking 4.5 hitters per 9 innings, has a 5.63 ERA and the advanced stats say he is lucky to be there.

“But Dylon Bindi, pitchers can struggle! Surely you don’t dislike Key for simply struggling like the rest of the bullpen!”. Yes my friend, you are right. The bullpen is struggling. I don’t hate any of our bullpen pitchers for on-field performances. Being a reliever is a thankless job. What I AM angry about, is Key’s use of social media to attack fans. On July 30th, Key posted a tweet stating, “Last night during the 6th was the loudest I’ve ever heard angels stadium … no 🧢 😅🤣”. The fake crowd noise WAS indeed very loud for the game, I’ll grant him that. A 6th inning single got the roar of a walk-off grand slam in game 7 of the World Series. What I did take issue with was his reply to another user, in which Key said, “If angels fans were half as bought into cheering as they are talking shit on Twitter it’d get rowdy lol🤷🏽‍♂️💯”.

A conversation between Keynan Middleton and Angels fans on Twitter, July 30, 2020.

Now, that tweet bothered me. It bothered a lot of my friends as well. It bothered my family members. Even my dog gave me a side-eyed look of “He can’t be serious can he?”. The last time fans were at the stadium to cheer for the Angels, they were 14.5 games out of playoff contention. Trout was injured. What exactly do Angels fans have to get “rowdy” for?

This sort of disrespect to us as fans has happened before. Just last year, Albert Pujols stated he “Couldn’t wait for Trout to see what real fans look like” when they visited St. Louis. Perhaps it IS the fans. Maybe being SoCal, Orange County citizens, we are a little more laid back when it comes to baseball. Maybe we don’t pack the stadium for a 5th consecutive season of sub-.500 baseball. Or, PERHAPS, the fans don’t get rowdy because the team has given us nothing to get rowdy for since 2014. Am I supposed to lose my voice when Key takes the mound in the 7th, as we trail by 5 to the Mariners? Am I supposed to jump and holler when Pujols limps his way to home run 660 that makes the score 8-3 in the bottom of the 9th? Accusing us fans of being “not real fans” or “not being rowdy” seems to be a pretty tone deaf take. The production on the field matches our enthusiasm. One fan defending Key stated “When I was an athlete we fed off the fans energy”. I’m sure Friday night lights in El Modena were absolutely mental, but maybe after 5 years of mediocre baseball and flailing attempts at being competitive, the fans are tired. Maybe we deserve some entertainment for our $50 tickets, $20 coors lights and $10 hot dogs.

Maybe I’m overreacting. Maybe Key simply wants us to be more supportive of him when he jogs in from the bullpen with a lead, walks the first two batters and gives up a single. You tell me I guess. All I know is, being an Angels fan is hard enough without having Albert and Keynan telling us we are bad at it. Dylan Bundy will continue his Cy Young run tomorrow against the San Francisco Giants, and I intend to get rowdy for that. Thanks for reading!

Photo credit: Keith Allison, Wikimedia Commons

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GrandpaBaseball
Legend
3 years ago

Angels Fans……..We have lead the league in attendance, more than once……….17 straight seasons of 3 million plus……….We see a sea of “Get your RED on’ every game………….We celebrate loudly on all the big plays and HR’s the teams pulls off………..Attendance has suffered greatly since 2014 because we are not a competitive club…………Albert came here so he could collect big paydays and stop using steroids and his numbers show that……….Wonder how many teams call about trading for Middleton?………2 players that are disappointing are Pujols and Middleton as they do not help much in providing “W’s” in the win column and certainly if Albert was as proud a man as he professes he should admitt his wrong doing to the fans he considers the best in MLB. ……….. Anyone who in anyway knocks us, the Halos fans really should play in Tampa or Miami or for the Brewers or Indians………….FYI Southern California leads both New York City and Chicago in paid attendance every year for MLB and that includes the areas where there is also 3 High A minor league teams and countless Universities, Colleges and Jr. Colleges along with High Schools and Traveling teams and Pony and Little League baseball. We are the Hot Bed of Baseball in the World.And we just have one more year of Albert and Middleton should be happy to have a job.

2002heaven
Super Member
3 years ago

https://www.ocregister.com/2020/08/15/whicker-dustin-may-yet-another-example-of-the-dodgers-eye-for-pitching/
Billy Eppler’s 4.5 yr trainwreck of a tenure has probably set this organization back at least another 3 seasons.
No infield prospects to speak of…….Simba’s time here could be over after this season. Rendon is 30 and the organization can’t seem to decide where the hell to use Fletcher at. And of course…….NO PITCHING meanwhile we saw Dustin May who was a 3rd rd pick in 2016 and meanwhile in Cleveland the Indians found Shane Bieber in the 4th rd. What the hell is Eppler doing…….also he wasted Will Wilson last year. What f*cking fiasco Eppler’s tenure has been here!!

Last edited 3 years ago by 2002heaven
Fansince1971
Legend
3 years ago
Reply to  2002heaven

2002 – this is off topic from the thread but I’ll respond anyway. It doesn’t matter who the Angels draft if they don’t have a good system in place to develop talent. The Dustin May and Shane Bieber type prospects do not just become the players they are. They are developed. It is like a raw piece of marble. Depending who sculpts it will determine whether it turns out to be a masterpiece or a throw away.

Had May or Bieber been drafted by the Angels organization they would probably be languishing somewhere in the minors due to mediocre player development. That’s not Eppler’s fault, it’s Arte’s who has made budget cuts everywhere in the Organization’s foundation from scouting to player development.

The 2002 season was the result of great scouting and player development. Stoneman insisted on it. Disney left it to their baseball operations guys to make those decisions. That is why so many of those players were home grown. That scouting and player development foundation began to crumble during the Tony Reagins administration but it was at Arte’s behest.

The beginning of the end was the firing of Eddie Bane.

Last edited 3 years ago by Fansince1971
2002heaven
Super Member
3 years ago
Reply to  Fansince1971

yeah……i realized that too late.
need to stop gettin mad sometimes. 😆  😆 

JackFrost
Super Member
3 years ago

Well, here’s the thing: the issue of fan involvement/cheering is a chicken/egg syndrome. Are the fans passive because the Angels suck, or do the Angels suck because the fans do not adequately support them?

Just going to the game is not enough. And Key is actually correct in his criticism. The truth hurts. Too many season ticket holders go there because they like a baseball game as a backdrop to discussing their work situation and social lives with their dear ones. That is not what baseball fans do.

And Albert was right. So get off of his case,. You can blame him for not earning his fat contract but he’s right about the fans.

The only thing I question about Keynon saying what he did is that he is still pretty young and more or less unproven. You could say it is bad form for a “kid” to come out with that stuff, truthful as it may be.

With Albert the credentials and respect are there — you can say stuff like that when you are one of the top ten players of all time.

Last edited 3 years ago by JackFrost
Jeff Joiner
Editor
Legend
3 years ago
Reply to  JackFrost

There is definitely a more laid back vibe at the Big A than other ballparks. Great for taking the family to the game and having a relaxing evening. Not great for total volume of cheering, etc.

That changed quite a bit during the heyday. It was still a safe place for the family but the cheers were loud. Not NY or even LA packed house loud, but loud enough, especially in the late innings when we did rival anybody.

JackFrost
Super Member
3 years ago
Reply to  Jeff Joiner

Agree that mid season 2002-2005 or 2006 it was quite loud, in addition to it being packed houses. I would say that a lot of the new fans were part of that. The continued underachieving with Scioscia slowly started to impact that vocal extra group. They stopped showing up. Arte took them for granted.

But I do agree that it was loud in the early to mid 2000’s.

JackFrost
Super Member
3 years ago
Reply to  dylonbindistan

Did you not read what I actually wrote? The other side of the coin is that fan response has a real impact on the game. When fans are passive and dispassionate they deprive the home team of the main advantage of playing at home. Just ask any major leaguer who has been around the block. Engaged fans inspire the team and actually contribute to winning.

And FYI fans don’t need to wait for a rally before starting to cheer (like they do in Anaheim). You can actually make noise the moment your team gets up to bat and HELP to create that rally. Likewise, you can get loud in support of your pitcher searching for that third strike or third out. That helps the team, even if only in a small way. Sometimes it is huge.

So, you missed the whole point I was making about fan involvement. Perhaps you are too dense to comprehend it.

VladsDad
Newbie
3 years ago

You nailed it man. If he wants to take a stand on social issues, cool, good for him. But talking s*** like he does, carrying himself like he’s Mariano Rivera? Eff that. Settle down, focus on being a good (decent even?) pitcher. Flip him to the Marlins for a bag of baseballs. A hole doesn’t know how good he’s got it.

Jeff Joiner
Editor
Legend
3 years ago

When the Angels are good, the fans are loud. When they are not, the fans are not. And nothing takes the energy out of a crowd like blowing leads and lead off walks.

Key wasn’t around when the Angels won 3 straight AL West titles, not that he would have made the bullpen on any of those teams anyway.

I hope he turns his career around and realizes dumping on the fans isn’t a good thing to do.

HalosFanForLife
Trusted Member
3 years ago

Sorry I can’t hear you Keynan – I’ve got this 5.0 ERA ringing in my ear.

LAAFan
Trusted Member
3 years ago

I’m surprised Arte didn’t lose it, he usually hates when players trash the organization. I’m assuming he probably didn’t because of Middleton supporting BLM, as sad as that is.

TXAngel
Member
3 years ago

I had no clue about Key’s political stances as I do not have a Twitter account and tend to ignore Twitter in general. He comes across as a spoiled brat. In my view, it is NEVER appropriate to blame your customer for your failures. And make no mistake, fans are customers. The product that has been provided to us customers has been poor quality for several years. There were no problems with crowd noise in 2002, when visiting teams complained about Thunder Stix and the Rally Monkey. Key wants to blame the fan base for them being quiet, when there has been nothing to get excited about.

Guest
3 years ago

I’m on Keynan’s side. There are way too many fans who come late and leave early, who are more interested in doing “the wave” or playing with a beach ball or with their phones than paying attention to the play on the field, who need a scoreboard sign to remind them when to cheer, who sit through the key moments of a game instead of stand and cheer, and who let Dodger/RedSox/Cub/Yankee fans out-cheer Angel fans when we have the numbers and could easily drown them out.

Last edited 3 years ago by BoyWithApple
red floyd
Legend
3 years ago
Reply to 

who let Dodger/RedSox/Cub/Yankee fans out-cheer Angel fans when we have the numbers

I’d argue that that’s debatable. The last time I was at a MFY game at the Big A (and it WILL be the last time unless things change), 2/3 of the crowd was wearing pinstripes.

I actually went to the customer service booth on the view level and asked the people there if Arte was embarrassed. I was answered with dead silence.

Fansince1971
Legend
3 years ago

Very interesting article. Here’s what I would add.

Key should focus more on his pitching, including holding runners in clear steal situations, than he does on dissing the good folks that pay his salary. I realize we are living in a new world where every thought is shared on social media but somewhere Key needs to grow up and develop a filter.

His dissing the fans who are dealing with Covid, lost jobs and brutal uncertainty while he collects a large paycheck for crappy pitching is pretty questionable. To me it shows a spoiled brat who was given gifts that he does not really appreciate. In short he comes across like a petulant, spoiled child. Laughing emojis do not make up for assholic statements. That comes across as passive aggressive.

None of Key’s political stances bother me. What bothers me are his lack of a filter, unnecessary comments against the fans and his bad pitching. Key – if you read this put down your phone, log off your social media, put your head down and work on you pitching. In short, close your ‘mouth’ and get some outs.

Last edited 3 years ago by Fansince1971
Senator_John_Blutarsky
Legend

I appreciate and respect that you took the time to write an article.

It’s your right to dislike him posting crap about fans on social media, it’s his right to post crap about fans.

Is his posting habits smart? No. But when has intelligence ever stopped anyone from posting stupid shit? Hell, I’ve been spouting off for years about the Germans attacking the US at Pearl Harbor….and I’m a freaking 9 term Senator.

eyespy
Super Member
3 years ago

NO POLITICS, read the rules

HalosFanForLife
Trusted Member
3 years ago
Reply to  eyespy

That’s funny.

eyespy
Super Member
3 years ago

Keynan is bad, what is there to cheer about.

His motto(used to be) “Grip it, and rip it”, which major league batters love.

He is unable to set batters up, and his pitches have very predictable movement, which major league batters love.

His pitches, kind of because of no control over them, go in the same areas, which major league batters love.

He may be in the major league, but he is still a work in progress basketball player that is not scared to throw the ball hard near people, but is unable to go inside on hitters, which major league batter love.

His twitter feed is a mess. No one on the Angels, or in MLB care, he isn’t important enough. I didn’t even know how day it is until today.

Keynan needs a reality check. Getting a check does not make you a major leaguer, but by default only makes you a professional teammate

Eric_in_Portland
Legend
3 years ago

lots to disagree with here but I’ll start with this: “..well below expectations for a roster much improved from last season”.

Bundy > Harvey
Teheran ??? Cahill

Upton 20 < Upton 19
Pujols 20 < Pujols 19
Buttrey 20 < Buttrey 19
Robels 20 <<< Robles 19

sorry but…

Red Baron > Adell

I also think some people are down on Key for political reasons which can’t be discussed here.

Eric_in_Portland
Legend
3 years ago
Reply to  dylonbindistan

I don’t think I like the tone of your post, sir! But tell me, why do you think the team roster is much improved? Slightly, yes. Much? I don’t see it.

Eric_in_Portland
Legend
3 years ago
Reply to  dylonbindistan

and yes, if you don’t like his kneeling you’re less likely to give him slack for anything else he says or does. I look at his “cheering” comments as a pretty minor thing.

Eric_in_Portland
Legend
3 years ago
Reply to  dylonbindistan

possibly

Simba
Trusted Member
3 years ago
Reply to  dylonbindistan

Kole Calhoun > Adell after less than 10 games is one of the most ignorant things I’ve seen.”

You must not have seen much. I’ve seen many, many tweets spouting much more ignorant stuff than making a statement based on small sample size. That said, so far Kole is doing Kole – pretty much right on last season’s splits. Adell’s K-rate is over 50% in 24 ABs. That’s a remarkably bad start. Right now Adell is neck and neck with J-UP leading the race to the bottom.

Rahul Setty
Admin
Trusted Member
3 years ago

If that’s the takeaway from reading the article, you’re missing the forest for the trees. From the article: “The last time fans were at the stadium to cheer for the Angels, they were 14.5 games out of playoff contention. Trout was injured. What exactly do Angels fans have to get “rowdy” for?”

And also: Or, PERHAPS, the fans don’t get rowdy because the team has given us nothing to get rowdy for since 2014. […] Accusing us fans of being “not real fans” or “not being rowdy” seems to be a pretty tone deaf take…The production on the field matches our enthusiasm. […] All I know is, being an Angels fan is hard enough without having Albert and Keynan telling us we are bad at it.”

Fansince1971
Legend
3 years ago

Saying people are down on Key because they don’t like his political stances is a backhanded way of implying racism. Sorry Eric but that’s BS. I could give too shits about his kneeling. Kneel away. What I do care about is his petulant, childish passive aggressive social media comments against Angel fans. This is particularly so because he has sucked. If he was pitching lights out I might give him more slack. But given the current situation he needs to develop a filter and grow up.

Rahul Setty
Admin
Trusted Member
3 years ago

Really well-written post, man!

Angel Stadium was reasonably loud in the times where they could be expected to contend. Obviously, that’s not so much the case this year. Perhaps Middleton’s frustration should be redirected to the front office to win more games, and then fans can get more excited about tangible results over perennial hype. The Angels have indicated they’d contend every year in the last half-decade and haven’t come close even once.

Mia
Legend
Mia
3 years ago

Wait, can they not hear me screaming at my TV most nights?

eyespy
Super Member
3 years ago
Reply to  Mia

Only some nights

Senator_John_Blutarsky
Legend
Reply to  Mia

…they only hear the expletives

Mia
Legend
Mia
3 years ago

So they do hear every word, roger that.

eyespy
Super Member
3 years ago
Reply to  Mia

A mouth full of punctuations.

Mia
Legend
Mia
3 years ago
Reply to  dylonbindistan

Maybe I’ll stand outside Coors next month and scream at them.