It is so quiet in Angel camp, you can hear Vladimir Guerrero smile.
It is so quiet in Angel camp, you can hear clubhouse concrete dry.
"The message is real clear around here now," pitcher Jarrod Washburn said. "Either you are on the same page as everyone, or you're gone, and it doesn't matter what numbers you put up."
While the Red Sox preen and the Yankees grumble, the team that could be better than either says little and grins steadily, its lineup strengthened by several acquisitions, its personality shaped by one giant cut.
The Angels' stunning decision to suspend their second-best hitter during their most important two weeks of last season — then later trade him — resulted in not only an amazing division championship, but an unmistakable message.
"Everyone around here knows now, the law here will be laid down," Darin Erstad said. "Any time, anywhere."
What Jose Guillen's loss cost the club in statistics, it paid off in leverage, giving Angel management the rarest commodity in pro sports front offices.
The Dodgers must dance around Milton Bradley. The Angels dance around no one.
This winter, they dumped their longtime closer and leader Troy Percival. Any players have a problem with that? We still haven't heard.
They also dumped their shortstop and fan favorite David Eckstein. The silence has been deafening.
Replacing those players with the accomplished Frankie Rodriguez and Orlando Cabrera was certainly enough to soothe hard feelings, but still.
In nearly every major league clubhouse, there is at least one discontented veteran who will pop off on just about anything. Not here. Not anymore.
"Things are done a certain way around here," Erstad said. "And if not, action will be taken."
Bill Plaschke for the L.A. Times.