Monday, March 19, 2012

Twitter Helps Heat Up AL West Rivalry

For about 4 years now, Twitter has been a popular place for athletes (both current and retired) to connect with their fans.  From the incredibly popular (like Chad Ochocino and Shaq) to the relatively obscure (Logan Morrison), many athletes can now quickly establish a huge fan base by simply being interesting or funny on twitter.

Well, last night, C.J. Wilson may have crossed a line.  As a prank, he tweeted the phone number of former teammate and current Texas Rangers catcher/first baseman (and former Angel) Mike Napoli.  Now, for many Angels fans (myself included), Napoli was always a favorite.  Even as a Ranger, we rooted for him to do well.  For the most part, we have no ill will towards the former backstop (many of us even think he unjustly lost playing time to the offensively inept Jeff Mathis), but he seems to have quite a bit of ill will towards his former teammates.

Things always seemed tense last year when Nap played against the Angels, especially when Jered Weaver was on the mound.  It makes you wonder if there was more going on behind the scenes than Angels fans knew about.  Could tension between Weaver and Nap led to his being traded for a terrible contract?  Maybe I'm reading too much into it, but regardless, things are about to get even more tense between the clubs.

As reported by Drew Davison, of Foul Territory:

"I don't even know why he did it," Napoli said. "You don't do that. I am not taking it as a prank.

"You know, I haven't even talked to him since the end of last season. We don't have that type of relationship."

Wilson tweeted this later: "Okay I think we've all had a good time, I'm even with mike for saying he can't wait to hit homers off me."

Napoli doesn't remember saying he wanted to hit home runs off Wilson specifically, and was confused why Wilson took it that way.

"I don't even remember saying I want to take him deep," Napoli said. "But as every power hitter, you're always trying to take pitchers deep. So I'll say it now, I'm going to try and take him deep."

So, its pretty clear that outside their working relationship as a pitcher and catcher, Wilson and Napoli didn't really get along in Texas.  Things aren't going to get any smoother with the recent "prank".

I'm quite conflicted as an Angel fan right now.  I want to side with Wilson, as he is now "my guy", but what he did was a little messed up, even if its an easy fix for Napoli (get a new number).  But, at the same time, I want to chastise Napoli for coming off as a bit of a jerk in the media surrounding the incident this morning, but the dude did just get his phone number sent out to 100,000 people, and has likely been fielding prank calls and texts for the better part of 12 hours.

I think I'm going to have to wait and make up my mind during the season, and watch how the whole thing plays out.  For the next week, its going to be sensationalized by the Dallas Media, and laughed off by the Los Angeles media.  Then, it will probably be forgotten about until the teams meet up for the first time this season on May 11th in Texas, where C.J. Wilson will be hit with a wall of boos.

In the end, it will likely just be another chapter in the Angels/Rangers rivalry, which is shaping up to be one of the best in baseball in 2012.

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