John Lackey 2010 Topps with Red Sox

Awww. This hurts Angels fans' feelings.

John Lackey pitched in front of his old fans against his old team last night, and he was pretty solid. He went 7.1 innings, gave up two runs on two hits, struck out four, and most importantly, did enough to line up a 4-2 win for the Red Sox, who were facing Jered Weaver, one of the best pitchers in the American League this year.

Also notable, he was booed by the Angels fans.

I’m on record as stating that when a fan base does this, it’s borderline retarded. It was stupid when Red Sox fans booed Johnny Damon, it will be stupid when Cleveland fans boo LeBron James, and so on. Whether or not it’s stupid won’t ever change. But this doesn’t always happen. Pedro Martinez, during his return to Fenway Park with the Mets, was cheered. When Mike Lowell returned to Miami with the Red Sox for the first time, he was cheered. There are probably more examples of the athletes who were good guys in their first (or previous) city getting a warm welcome upon his return. Hell, Vladimir Gurerro was cheered when he returned to Anaheim with the Texas Rangers. It surprised me that Lackey didn’t receive that same response.

I was pointed to his Baseball Reference page by Jon Couture this afternoon, and the sponsor of the page really brought the insanity of this whole situation home:

Benedict Arnold: John Lackey won game 7 of the World Series as a rookie, and game one of the 2009 ALDS to begin a 3 game sweep. Then he betrayed the Angels for an 82 million dollar payout.

That’s … beautiful. It just ignores so many facts, is so stupid and displays such naivete and a lack of understanding of the entire process that I want to kiss the writer on the mouth.

Let’s recap, quickly. Here’s what John Lackey did from 2002-2009 as a member of the Angels:

  • Won 102 games.
  • Pitched in four postseasons.
  • Averaged 188 innings pitched per season (and 199 after his rookie season, where he didn’t pitch until June).
  • Averaged 162 strikeouts per season after 2003.
  • Shut down the Yankees and Red Sox in the playoffs in 2009.
  • Yes, won Game 7 of the 2002 World Series as a rookie, which by my count is still the only championship trophy on their proverbial mantle.

After this, here’s what the Angels did in the offseason:

  • Tried to trade for Roy Halladay (but who wouldn’t at least try?).
  • Failed to offer Lackey a competitive contract. He then signed with the Red Sox, which was his right as a free agent, lest you forget.
  • Also lost Chone Figgins, who I guess is a lying murderous traitor, too.

Lackey took the high road for the most part, but did have a gem of a comment:

“That won’t be forgotten, for sure. No one wants to get booed like that. Scoreboard talks the loudest.”

It shouldn’t be forgotten. Angels fans, though the years, have built up a reputation as one of the kinder, happier, more accepting fan bases in the country — a West Coast St. Louis, if you will. But on this night, Angels fans revealed that they’re not any more accepting or special than anyone else — they’re just as stupid and gutless as the rest of us.

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