The same advice could be given to the other Angels. The promises of spring and the problems of summer have put them on a psychological roller coaster. Rightfielder Bobby Bonds, who is leading the team in virtually every offensive category, observes, "I figured we would win our division and I couldn't wait for the season to start. Then when Bobby and Joe got hurt it was like an earthquake had knocked down a house we were building. Since then we haven't been as enthused or aggressive as we should be."
According to Tanana, the opposition has been quick to take advantage of the Angels' condition. "Other teams know we're down so they're confident they can walk over us. There's no reason to fear us. Certain guys, like Rudi and Grich, can carry clubs and other guys are supplements. Well, that's what we have now."
Even so, wishful noises are being made about a closing pennant rush. Robinson, in fact, is taking batting practice just in case his 41-year-old body is needed. Garcia called the team together before a three-game series in Minnesota last week to tell everyone, "It can be done, it's not impossible." Whereupon the Angels lost two of three, with Ryan and Tanana starting in the losses. The lone victory was turned in by Lefthander Ken Brett, who had lost his previous four decisions since coming over from the White Sox on June 15. Autry was so pleased at this piece of good news that he called Brett to congratulate him.
Neither Dalton nor Autry regrets splurging on the free agents, and both suggest that they will go looking again this year in a continuing effort to improve the team. Despite his fame as the singing cowboy and his fortune as a broadcasting magnate, Autry admits that he has always been a frustrated ballplayer. At 69, he may be too old to be activated, but there is still enough time, he says, to fulfill "one of my last dreams, which is to win a pennant and carry it into the World Series."