This is gonna be a tough one.
For nine seasons, there was one consistent presence in the Angels locker room. Howard Joseph Kendrick played 2nd Base and wore #47 for most of those nine seasons (splitting time with Adam Kennedy and Macier Izturis a bit in those first few years). He was always going to be the Angels next batting champion.
In 2012, Kendrick (along with Shortstop Erick Aybar, who disappointingly remains an Angel at the time of writing) signed a four year extension to cement the middle of the Angels infield for the next few years while they begun to sign big name after big name (and got lucky by drafting some kid named Trout).
Howie had been here through it all. He had seen the last hoorah of the Guerrero years, when we finally vanquished the Red Sox in the playoffs. He had been here for the 2010 All-Star Game and 50th anniversary season (earning himself a spot in the All Star Game in 2011). Which also means he was here for some pretty dark years. Nothing extraordinarily bad, but playing a lot of meaningless baseball in August and September.
He was also here for the resurgence, and the signings of guys like Pujols, Wilson and Hamilton. Sure, none of those guys are really effecting how well the team is doing today, but those were exciting times, right?
So in 2014, in large thanks to Mr. Kendrick (who finished 18th in the AL MVP voting), the Angels returned to the postseason for the first time in 5 years (when they beat those damn Sox). After being upset by a team-of-destiny in the Royals, the Angels front office said they wouldn't be making a ton of moves, and why would they? The Angels were the best regular season team in baseball with some good players returning from injury. To quote Jerry Dipoto: "If it ain't broke, don't fix it".
Somehow, "If it ain't broke, why not break it?" wasn't also said by Mr. Dipoto.
I'm sure the players the Angels received for Kendrick are some quality guys... but they aren't Howie.
So now, the effin' Dodgers are going to get those batting titles. The effin' Dodgers are going to get the glory years of Howie Kendrick. Of all the teams in the league, why did it have to be the Dodgers?
I'll miss Howie for a number of reasons. Naturally, he was one of my favorite players since joining the club, despite taking the spot of my former favorite player, Adam Kennedy. He was the lone bright spot of those 2010 and 2011 seasons. He was also the sole inspiration for starting this blog. It was a walk-off bunt against the Indians to win the Angels a big game back in April of 2010 that got this place started.
For his nine years of service to the Angels organization... for his countless big plays and great attitude... for everything you have done since arriving in 2006...
Thank you, Howie Kendrick. You were a great Angel and you will be an even better Dodger.
I mean, it would be pretty easy to be a better Dodger... the bar is so much lower there.