Monday, October 8, 2007

There's Always Next Year

What a difference 5 years makes...

That came to mind as I witnessed live and in person the taking apart and sweeping up of the Angels by the Red Sox yesterday.

All the excuses in the world (top players out of play due to injuries, the failure of the coach to place more importance on gaining home field advantage by winning the concluding games of the regular season, the lack of any long ball hitters on the team and a strategy that justifies that instead of admitting we could use at least one) cannot deny one thing: the Red Sox are a better team than the Angels, and have proven it fairly consistently in the past few seasons.

All of this brought to mind how different a picture it was in October 2002, when a friend who had once held a key position in Major League Baseball, was able to get me tickets for the home games of the playoffs and World Series in which the Angels surprisingly found themselves.

I was a johnny-come-lately Angels fan--I only started following them upon my residence in Orange County in 1987. I had been a lifelong Dodgers fan (much to the consternation of my Brooklyn-bred father who, like all true Brooklynites, referred to the team as "dem bums" for having abandoned home for sunny LA).

I would have been excited enough just to attend a World Series game, but I was surrounded by people who had been loyal Angels fans for 40 years without so much as making it into the series. The longing from such a drought is not to be underestimated, and it created an atmosphere in the stadium unlike any other I've experienced.

All the more so when the Angels forced a seventh game, bringing the San Francisco Giants back to Anaheim, and delivered the victory. Pandemonium is too subtle a word to describe what took place, and combined with being indescribable, its fleeting nature made it one of those moments in time that underscore the thrill of participating in a live audience event.

Until next time...


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