Editor’s note: For Halloween, please enjoy (or share in our misery) this scary piece on some of the misfortune both Anaheim teams have endured over the past decade. Boo.
Something wicked this way comes…For the City of Anaheim itself is an entity. A living breathing thing and it doesn’t like to be insulted. Think of Anaheim as maybe...IT from the Stephen King novels. The city lures you in with its red balloons of sunbeams and palm trees, entertainment atmosphere, cute little mouse ears, and lucrative contracts with up-and-coming teams. However there lurks a spectre: Insult Anaheim at your peril and see what befalls you.
Tragedy large and small.
With the loss of players too fresh to name in our minds, let’s walk carefully through this spectral path into history. There are many other shadows here. A quick perusal of the list of notable “active MLB player deaths” shows Anaheim as the macabre league leader in that category. The Ghost of Games Past rattles his mighty chains, and their somber creaking whispers the names of players who stood on the diamond, but only echoes remain. If you listen closely, you will perhaps hear the crowds still chanting their names decades later, cheering for their lost champions. May they rest in peace.
Those tragic horrors happened on the other side of Katella. I’m proposing something more is amiss in the City of Anaheim.
The 57 freeway divides more than two sports franchises...in its sinister grip are spirits of games played too fast, too loose, and with sometimes deadly results. Terrifying doesn’t begin to characterize the spectres haunting the massive capital A that casts its looming shadow across to the pond.
Simply put, there is a curse...
Evil spirits and gremlins work at every opportunity to slow the progression of Anaheim’s sports teams. Change the name of your franchise? Perhaps to one that arbitrarily claims Los Angeles and see how that angers the spirits. Mess with tradition or change the uniforms and the curse resurfaces. Then there are the dark horrors that befall those players who even to dare to sign a contract here. The players race with the wind, and in the stride they fall, succumbing to concussions, broken limbs, mysterious ailments, shattered dreams, and addictions that demand a toll be paid.
Seasons don’t fear the reaper, but they should in Anaheim. Specifically baseball and hockey season.
Anaheim is a harsh mistress. Let’s just look at recent history.
Patrick Eaves, signs a contract extension. Bizarre disease possibly ends career. Traded to Anaheim, Stephane Robidas, playing his first game back in Dallas, broken leg. Simon Despres, signs extension contract. Concussion ends a promising start with the Ducks. Ryan Kesler, signs an extremely lucrative and hamstringing contract with the Ducks. His hips degenerate faster than Bo Jackson. (double meaning there, pats self on back) Perry, injury. Gibson, injury. Fowler, injury. Kase, injury. Manson, injury. American hero Troy Terry...broken leg injury. Even your captain Ryan Getzlaf isn’t immune as he hasn’t played a complete uninjured season since 2012. (Seriously, invest in a visor. Really. Please) Anaheim has claimed many more along the way, these are the highlights.
Want to walk across the street with me?
One of the greatest hitters in history, Albert Pujols signs a giant contract, endures plantar fasciitis. I had never even heard of that before. Ohtani, signs a contract with the Angels, BOOM! Tommy John surgery. (Actually, I could write an entire article about promising young pitchers that had Tommy John surgery while coming up with the Angels, and maybe I will) Frank Jobe should just move his clinic to Newport...oh wait, he did. Go back a bit, and the feared Mo Vaughn. Falls down stairs and blows up his career. Anaheim claims another victim. Dave Parker, David Winfield “Daves of Thunder” injured. Even Michael Trout. Signs the largest contract in baseball history, and deservedly so. Season ending surgery in the same year.
Sign in Anaheim at your peril. It’s worse than the EA cover curse.
It’s not just while you are here, the curse of Anaheim follows you relentlessly. Todd Fedoruk, one of the most feared fighters in NHL history, his career was essentially ended with a single punch. Paul Kariya, Andy MacDonald and Chris Pronger did not re-sign in Anaheim. Kariya and MacDonald live their lives with hazy memories of time passed. Paul doesn’t even remember his most famous goal, “off the floor and on the board!.” Chris Pronger...lives in forever darkness.
Anaheim never forgets...
This city is the embodiment of the true Hotel California, you can check out anytime you like, but you can never leave...
*The use of Spooky Season is nod to Felix. I’ll sell it if Jake won’t.