The Angels are taking batting practice now, a few minutes after Torii Hunter took some cuts what the recent Red Sox-Angels history means.
The Sox, of course, have knocked the Angels out in round one the past two seasons and three of the last five years. Speaking in the Angels clubhouse, Hunter at diagnosed the problems the Angels had last season and dismissed them.
“I don’t think it’s because of Boston, man,” Hunter said, when asked why the Angels made mistakes in last year’s ALDS. “I just think it’s because of the hype. Last year, a couple guys got caught up in the hype of playoffs, of Red Sox and Angels, the past. Guys are a year older. They’re a lot more mature than in the past, and I think they’re going to go out there and do some great things.”
Late this year, after the Sox beat the Angels in the first two games of a series at Fenway Park, Hunter called out his team for playing differently against the Red Sox than lesser teams. The words carried a lot of weight given Hunter’s stature in the Angels clubhouse. Back in last August, this is what Hunter said:
“It’s not more important. It’s not more important. You just play the game like you’ve been playing the whole season. Play every team the same way. This team is not more important than the Tampa Bay Rays or the Seattle Mariners. Same team. You play the game to win, no matter. You have fun. You do what you do. You don’t change nothing because it’s the Red Sox or the Yankees. Play the game. If you play nervous, you’re going to make mistakes. Show some nuts.”
Asked if he thought Hunter had solved those problems against the Sox, Hunter had a slight case of amnesia.
“I didn’t say anything about Boston,” Hunter said. “I said you need to play with some nuts. [Note: That’s very true.] You just got to go out there and play the game. It’s the same game. You can’t get caught up in the hype, nothing like that. Just play the game. Play the game the right way. That’s all I was asking.”
Finally, Hunter decided the 2008 ALDS needn’t be discussed anymore.
“Last year is last year. I’m not talking about last year. You can talk about it all you want. You can write about it all you want. I don’t give a damn about last year.”