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Series Preview: Anaheim Angels @ Texas Rangers - NERF or Nothing

The Angels come to town for 4th of July weekend expecting a thank you from Josh Hamilton

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Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

I've thought about doing a Top 50 Weirdest Texas Rangers Moments series for this website. There's no doubt that the Rangers are one of the strangest teams in sports. Weird crap seems to happen all the time.

Things like scoring 30 runs in a game (And Wes Littleton got the save!) with Ramon Vazquez leading the offense just days after Johan Santana had struck out 17 Rangers in a shutout. Or going to the World Series for the first time in the same year the team was awarded new owners in bankruptcy court. It's a non-stop circus in Arlington.

Usually when the bizarre hits the Rangers it's funny or interesting things like a ball bouncing off Jose Canseco's head for a home run or a forfeit win because of a fan riot on 10-cent beer night. Things have been dysfunctional in the past with an entire book written about the lowly 1970s Rangers. But other than the end of the Tom Hicks era, and a cutthroat nerd from New York elbowing demigod Nolan Ryan out in the state of Texas, when things get weird of late, it's usually of the seven-inning save variety.

Alternatively, the Anaheim Angels have taken a turn for the dysfunctional lately. Perhaps their first mistake was introducing the world to these abortions:

Or maybe it was when they decided they were from Los Angeles despite playing 30 miles away in Orange County. Thus, the name Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim was born and everyone laughed. Everyone except for the actual city of Anaheim, that is. I think the Angels are officially just the Los Angeles Angels now, but strong-arming the name of the city they actually play in out of their name has the repercussion of making the city of Anaheim less friendly about renewing their deal with the club to keep the team across the street from Disneyland.

These days, Mike Scioscia's tragic illness isn't making many folks smile. The Arte Moreno/Scioscia tag team has had a banner year. We've seen the duo look publicly like cold, heartless (possibly downright evil) jerks while blackballing a rehabbing and relapsing Josh Hamilton out of California. We've seen the organization essentially state that they don't really care if low income families attend their games. And, the latest PR disaster had competent GM Jerry Dipoto resign amid a power struggle with Scioscia where owner Moreno sided with the field manager.

The fallout from that disaster has painted an ugly picture of Scioscia ruling the Angels with an iron pasta fork. Take for instance, Mike Trout. You know, modern day Willie Mays Mike Trout? Best player in generations Mike Trout? Apparently that Mike Trout wanted to bring a fun atmosphere to the Angel clubhouse so he installed a NERF basketball hoop. Scioscia took it down.

There are 29 other teams (well, maybe not the Diamondbacks), who would let Mike Trout install a McDonald's Playland in the clubhouse if he wanted to. But no-fun czar Scioscia risked even mildly annoying Trout over something as dumb as a foam basketball.

That leads us to this weekend. The Angels are coming to Arlington to take on the Rangers for the first time since they sold off Josh Hamilton at the cost of their public persona. So what does Mike Scioscia think about the first meeting between Hamilton's old team and Hamilton's older newest team?

"I hope (Hamilton) will take an opportunity to thank the teammates that supported him and to reach out to (Angels owner) Arte (Moreno) and let Arte know that maybe some of the things he did weren’t what he signed up to do."

That's right. Mike Scioscia wants Hamilton to apologize to Arte Moreno. Something tells me that that's not going to happen. I think the appropriate response would be for the Rangers to install a basketball hoop in the visitor's clubhouse for the weekend.

Series Schedule:

Friday, July 3 7:05 pm: RHP Garrett Richards vs RHP Chi Chi Gonzalez

Saturday, July 4 8:05 pm: LHP Hector Santiago vs LHP Wandy Rodriguez

Sunday, July 5 6:05 pm: LHP C.J. Wilson vs RHP Colby Lewis

Go Rangers!

Anaheim Angels (41-38, 2nd Place in AL West)

Rangers' Record vs. Anaheim: 2-4 (1-2 at The Ballpark)

Anaheim's Recent Results: 2-1 home series win against the New York Yankees

Anaheim's Road Record: 16-20

The Ballpark Park Factors (LHB/RHB): HR: 96/89 - Runs: 109/105

SB Nation Angels Blog: Halos Heaven (Now Rev free!)

Match-up: (as of 07/03) Rangers Angels Advantage
Batting (RAR) -19.4 (18th) -14.5 (16th) Angels
Base Running (RAR) 3.7 (9th) -2.9 (19th) Rangers
Starters (RAR) 23.8 32.5 Angels
Bullpen (RAR) -6.1 (30th) 20.1 (7th) D:
Defense (UZR) 5.9 (14th) 2.6 (15th) Rangers
Overall (UZR + RAR) 7.9 37.8 Angels :(

Questions to Answer:

  • Yay or Nay: Josh Hamilton collects a walk-off hit in this series that makes Mike Scioscia explode into a pile of runny bolognese sauce?
  • Who is your Return of the McLemore Approved Player to Watch in this series? (I mean, it's gotta be Josh Hamilton.)
  • Over/Under: 0.5 times that Josh Hamilton apologizes to Arte Moreno?
  • What's your guess for line (IP/H/K/BB/ER) by Chi Chi Gonzalez tonight as he gets his first crack at Mike Trout and the gang?
  • Do the Rangers exit Freedom Weekend in second place in the American League West?