The 2014 Angels schedule has been released. YAAAAAAaaaaaayyyy??? Yay, right? We're supposed to be excited about this I think. I'm not entirely sure why. It is just a schedule and it doesn't have any real effect on our lives until nearly six months from now. MLB schedules aren't even inherently all that different from year to year nor is there is wildly varying degree of difficulty from one team's schedule to another. Honestly, I don't know why anyone really cares.
That being said, the 2013 Angels have all of the suck and I can only write so much about just how hard they suck, so screw it. Let's take a look at the schedule and make pithy remarks about it. What? Like you have something better to do?
– Apparently the MLB schedule makers are feeling poetic as they have the Angels start at home against Seattle then finish on the road against Seattle. What a lovely set of bookends.
– The first 12 games of the season are against Seattle (who will probably be bad again), Houston (who will definitely be bad again) and the Mets (who are the Mets and thus will be bad). That is a great slate to start the season because I'm betting that someone will finally inform the Angels prior to the 2014 season that games in April actually matter. That has kind of been an issue the last few years, so good thing they have an opportunity to beat up on some lousy team… or get beat up on by some lousy teams.
– TROUT VS. HARPER. OH MY GAAWWWWWWD! Yes, finally after years of national columnists trying to bait us into a rivalry that doesn't exist, Trout and Harper will actually play against each other. I look forward to the forthcoming needless debate over who will have a better career.
– As you might have gathered, the Angels draw the NL East in interleague play in 2014. That means that Mike Trout gets to play the Philadelphia Phillies. That means the entire Trout clan and likely the entire town of Millville, New Jersey will be in attendance for that two-game set. It also means that I will be having two days worth of nightmares that Trout might be playing a lot more than two games per season in Philadelphia five years from now.
– The Angels get to play the rare Native American two-step in June as they first travel to Atlanta to face the Braves and then to Cleveland to play the Indians. That is going to be a week chock full of sweet, sweet cultural insensitivity.
– This is the part where I am supposed to complain about how much the Angels have to travel. That is a complaint every year, but I am contractually obligated to gripe about it even though it is just a basic fact of life for any team based on the West Coast. This year, the Halos make four separate trips to the East Coast. I have no interest in comparing that to previous seasons, so I am just going to assume that is a lot and then assume that MLB has a bias against the Angels.
– One legitimate gripe I had for the 2013 schedule was that the Astros and Rangers are in the Angels' division but the Halos never played them both in one road trip despite how much sense that would make. Well, in 2014, they finally get to do that… sort of. In September the Angels play both the Rangers and Astros in one trip but for some stupid reason they travel to Minnesota in between playing the two Texas teams. That completely defeats the point. Oh well, maybe they will figure it out in 2015.
– The worst road trip on the schedule in 2014 is the Angels being at home, getting a day off then going to Texas, then Boston, then back across the country to Oakland then home again without any days off. This would enrage me if not for the fact that professional athletes usually fly first class or on cushy chartered planes.
– July is basically the month that will make or break the Angel season due to a very friendly 21-game stretch. They start with seven at home against Houston and Toronto make quick four-game trip to Texas then return home for ten games against Seattle, Baltimore and Detroit. In other words, it is the perfect run of games for a team hovering around .500 to give themselves just enough false hope right before the trade deadline to do something stupid. I am so looking forward to that.
– With the exception of that aforementioned poorly designed trip to Minnesota, all of the Angels' games in September come against the AL West. Playing almost nothing but divisional games in September is the norm for most teams, but that wasn't the case for the Halos prior to the Astros joining the division this year. Frankly, I find it refreshing.
– The Halos finish season with six games on the road, a fact that would be more troubling if the Halos had been a highly effective home team at any point during the last five season. Alas, the Angels just aren't that good at home, so potentially playing for their playoff lives on the road doesn't seem all that daunting.