Growing up, my brother and I had a real passion for the game of baseball. During our childhood we inherited our dad’s team, the Dodgers as our own. My favorite Dodger player as a kid was the “penguin”, Ron Cey. It was his power and solid defense I came to appreciate. Cey was a perennial Dodger all-star from ’74-’79. I cheered along side my dad when the Dodgers were finally able to overcome the hated New York Yankees in ’81 after losing to the Bronx Bombers back to back in the ’77 and ’78 World Series’ and then beating the heavily favored Oakland A’s in ’88 (queue Kirk Gibson WS home run trot).
Double fist pump!
When I moved to Newport Beach in ’97 my allegiance to the Dodgers was altered. I began following the Angels who trotted out the likes of Garret Anderson, Tim Salmon, Darin Erstad, Chuck Finley and my favorite Angel until he left the club in 2005, Troy Percival. Percival was introduced late in the game with Godsmack’s “Keep Away” blaring over the stadium speakers, a kick ass way to come into a game IMO.
The Angels were generally a pretty mediocre team in the ‘90’s. That was until Mike Scioscia was brought in to manage the team in 2000, a former Dodger player and member of the L.A. championship teams in ’81 and ’88. Mike brought in several former Dodger players onto his coaching staff including, Mickey Hatcher, Alfredo Griffin, Ron Roenicke and Bud Black. This made the transition from a Dodger fan to an Angel fan pretty transparent. These were all guys I grew up watching in Dodger blue who went on to win World Championship rings with the Dodgers and were now coaching my new home town team, the Angels.
Scioscia turned the team around pretty quickly winning the 2002 World Series against the heavily favored San Francisco Giants led by a juiced up Barry Bonds. That was a magical year for the Halos, I was fortunate enough to attend World Series games 2 and 7 in Anaheim. Percival got the save in both games. It was an experience I’ll never forget, jumping around in the stands after that final out in game 7 was exhilarating. High fiving other fans as the trophy was brought onto the field and given to Mike Scioscia. The Anaheim Angels were World Champions of Major League Baseball.
The Angels have had continued success behind Scioscia winning the AL West 5 of the last 6 years but coming up short in the LDS and ALCS.
I was given a $100 Ticketmaster gift card a while back and finally got around to using it. Two seats in the club level on the 1st base side at Angels Stadium for opening day 2010 against the Minnesota Twins, April 5th. The Angels start the season with a 6-3 win over the Twinkies including homeruns by our newest free agent acquisition DH Hideki Matsui, first baseman Kendry Morales and catcher Jeff Mathis.
Here’s to hoping the Halos can regain the magic of that 2002 season and bring home another trophy to Anaheim.