As sure as the sun setting in the West and rising in the East, the appearance of A.J. Pierzynski and the Chicago White Sox at Angel Stadium on Friday brought a familiar sound from the crowd in attendance: relentless booing.
And like the relentless booing from 25 years earlier toward the late Donnie Moore, the reaction to Pierzynski is exactly two things: pointless and completely misguided.
For those not familiar with the reason for the long memories of Angels fans, Pierzynski was in the middle of a blown call during Game 2 of the 2005 American League Championship Series. With the Angels one out away from forcing extra innings in a 1-1 tie, Pierzynski faced Kelvim Escobar with the bases empty. On a 3-2 pitch that was at the knees and dropping, the veteran catcher swung and missed for an apparent inning-ending strikeout.
However, Pierzynski was awarded first base after running the play out on what he felt and was later ruled to be a dropped ball by catcher Josh Paul. Home plate umpire Doug Eddings gave the out signal, but then reversed himself and allowed Pierzynski to stay on first base.
Replays clearly showed that the ball never made contact with the dirt until after Paul tossed it back toward the mound to begin what he believed to be the changeover before the top of the 10th inning.
Pinch runner Pablo Ozuna then stole second and scored on Joe Crede's double to give the Pale Hose the victory and a series tied 1-1 heading back to Anaheim.
The Angels never recovered from that call, getting shellacked in three straight at the Big A and falling to the eventual World Series champs.
Since then, Pierzynski has heard it nonstop from the faithful in Orange County, a reaction that he continues to laugh at to this day. It is also a reaction that just needs to stop.
Apparently, some Angels fans just don't get it. Pierzynski doesn't care, he has moved on. Mike Scioscia has moved on, as have a number of fans who realize that booing isn't going to change it and that Pierzynski did what we as fans would have expected him to do had he been playing for the Angels.
It's likely the same group that didn't get it when, 19 years to the day before the events at U.S. Cellular Field, Dave Henderson hit that iconic home run off Moore on essentially a golf shot in the top of the 9th inning in Game 5 of the 1986 ALCS.
Those fans overlooked the bottom of the 9th, when the Angels tied the game and had a chance to win before Doug DeCinces hit what was a glorified pop-up to Dwight Evans with the winning run on third base and one out.
Instead, they pointed their wrath toward a guy who had no business pitching in that game to begin with, having just come off a cortisone shot the night before. That wrath resulted in Moore's downward spiral, eventually getting to the point where he shot his wife before turning the gun on himself with the belief she was already dead.
Now, we know Pierzynski will not do what Donnie Moore did on that tragic day. But Angels fans can be better than this.
They can come to the realization that it wasn't his fault the Angels wilted at home when they could have forgotten the loss and played with the best-of-five mentality that they so desperately needed.
They can also realize that the catharsis of the boos should have been done years ago, and to continue it now only shows a level of bitterness that is beneath a fan base that has been a vast improvement over the last decade.
Angels fans can and should be better than this. It's now just a question of whether they ever will be, or if they will just continue to be the fan base that gets laughed at.