As sports fans, it sometimes falls on us to show a modicum of grace in defeat. In most recent Halo history, that defeat is the loss of Dan Haren and Torii Hunter to free agency. It’s easy to whine, place blame, and get angry at the loss of two great players. Rather than take the easy way out, instead we should wish them all of the best and help them make the tough decisions that will create the next chapter in their careers. Thanks to Google, there are a lot more “amateurs” in the world. The numbers of amateur chefs, amateur real estate agents, amateur craftsman and amateur sports writers are among many that have grown exponentially with the advent of the internet. One particular area that has seen more amateur growth than most is the area of travel agents. It is in this way we can give our former Halo heros a proper send off. What better way to help Haren and Hunter scout teams than by scouting the cities in which they may choose to play?
For example, Milwaukee is a fine baseball town. The Brewers name is a franchise that has been graced by baseball greats such as Rollie Fingers and Hank Aaron. Haren and Hunter could easily carve out a niche there. The shores of Lake Michigan would provide the necessary substitute for the sands of Huntington Beach and the snowy peaks of San Bernadino can’t hold a candle to Milwaukee’s average winter temperatures, which can fall below freezing. Year round hot cocoa with marshmallows for everybody! The fact that the Brewers play in the National League and that the Angels would not have to face off against the revitalized Torii Hunter bat, or a Dan Haren with newfound curveball control does not figure in, of course. We, as fans, only want what is best for these men that have given us so much.
Maybe the great white north isn’t in either man’s future. Perhaps the heart of the country will lure them in with its siren song. The winds of the plains may blow through and carry one or both of these athletes to into the gateway to the west: St Louis, Missouri. With musical culture fueled by the likes of Chuck Barry and Miles Davis, the entertainment can more than hold its own against the bright lights of Southern California and the warm glow of the Hollywood sign. Furthermore, midwest barbecue is a culinary experience that rivals even SoCal’s signature taco stands. As with the brewers, the Cardinals’ position in the National League is irrelevant. The Angels would not need to fear Hunter chasing down fly balls to right field, nor would they need to concern themselves with Dan Haren splitters with such rotation that that look like they rolled off an invisible table. Our primary goal at this time is the happiness of the two athletes that brought us so much joy.
If leaving California is not in the cards for Torii or Dan, then maybe a trip down the 5 freeway to beautiful San Diego is in their future. The town that gave us the NFL’s Ryan Leaf would go a long way towards erasing a black mark in sports history by bringing Hunter or Haren to Petco Park.The city is host to the renowned Gaslamp district, where history and contemporary nightlife combine to create a cultural experience unlike any other. Any person with an inch of fame should be delighted to work in such a city and embrace an opportunity to become the next Ron Burgundy! It also stands to reason that both men would rather have their relocations be measured in freeway miles instead of airline miles. The Padres’ seat in the National League means that the Angels would not need to fret over how to pitch to a streaking Hunter, or how to dissect the strike zone of Haren. This holds no bearing however, as our design is only to provide our former team employees with an avenue by which they can find new happiness in their future endeavors.
Wherever Dan Haren and Torii Hunter end up, it is safe to say that no Angels fan should wish them ill. They have contributed greatly to the team we love and lending their talents to our fair city is worth more thank-yous than we could ever give. We salute them and offer, in parting, only our gratitude for their dedication and hard work while wearing an Angels uniform.
And should they not be wearing said uniform next year, we only hope their new dress codes don’t include pinstripes, or the bright azure tones frequently seen around LA’s Echo Park neighborhood.