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September, 7 2006: California Dream

The Yankees and Red Sox are both off tonight, so here’s something to fill the void: an account of my recent trip to Anaheim to see the Yankees play the Angels.

It’s really, really sunny in Anaheim. It’s so sunny that when corwin and I took in a beautiful day of baseball at the “Big A”–which they now call Angel Stadium–we got sunburned even though we sat in the shade all day. Perhaps it was just how scorching hot the Yankee bats are that left us reddened.

We came to in Anaheim for a business trip, but when we realized the Yankees would be in town at the same time we were, we decided to bag out of the conference a day early and take in a game. You’re never too old to play hooky for baseball. It wasn’t our first trip to The Big A; we went a few years ago to see an A’s/Angels game back when it was called Edison Field and owned by Disney. But this would be our first Yankee road trip since the day we took my Dad to Tropicana Field for his 70th birthday.

Although there have been the kerfuffle’s about nomenclature, not much about the field itself seems to have changed since Arte Moreno bought the Angels. We didn’t have a lot of time to walk around before the game, as it started at 12:35 for no apparent reason. Trained to 1:05 starts in the East, we were nearly late. Instead, we had just enough time to hop a cab from the hotel, get some barbecued chicken down at field level, and then find our seats way up on the 500 level.

Our normal preferred place to sit in any stadium is in the upper deck behind home plate. We couldn’t quite get behind the plate this time, and were a bit off to the third base side, but upon reaching the seats we discovered a distinct advantage to their location: our seats were shaded and would remain in the shade the entire game. (Did I mention the Southern California sun is much brighter and hotter than the weak rays we are used to in the northeast?)

I was disappointed to find that Jason Giambi was out of the lineup since the Angels were starting lefty rookie Joe Saunders, as I remain convinced that Giambi will hit a home run for me whenever I’m in the park. (I’m of course wrong about this, yet the delusion persists.) Instead, as Derek Jeter’s ball left the yard in the first inning corwin turned to me and said “I guess he told Jeter to hit one for you instead.”

“Well, then Bernie has to hit one for you,” I replied. Even though corwin had neglected to pack his Bernie Williams shirt.

Well, of course, Bernie hit one in the second. 3-0 Yankees. The embarrassment of riches continued in the third as the Yankees piled on five runs, capped by Bernie’s second home run in two innings. That knocked Saunders from the game, and destroyed any possibly tension we might have felt about the game. (The Angels have that knack of beating the Yankees…) Jeter hit a second shot himself in the eighth, so he and Bernie really paid us double.

It was Southern California, and we got to kick back and chill out. Dude. By the end of the day, Bernie had four hits and in the eighth inning a chance to hit for the cycle, something I’ve never seen. Sadly, he grounded out. It was also interesting–by which I mean like how it’s “interesting” to watch crocodiles at the zoo–to se Alex Rodriguez in the depths of his slump. Three strikeouts, two of them looking, and a pop-up–his swing simply looked terrible. But he was a little lucky, hit a grounder that got through the infield in the middle of the five-run rally… and as we now know, as soon as they got home, went on a tear.

The only really urge to scream like a New Yorker I had was in the bottom eight, when Kyle Farnsworth came on to pitch. He walked the first two men, gave up a single and a stolen base, then walked the number nine batter, and was removed summarily from the game. All I can say to that is… what the F***, Farnsworth? Three of the four men he put on scored, and the Angels even scratched a run off Mo in the ninth, thanks to defensive indifference. The final score on our lazy afternoon ended up 11-8, a little scary, but given where we were in the standings, we didn’t let it bother us.

Anaheim. Great place to see a game, especially when the Yankees win.

Notes on the Season as of September 7th:

Dmitri Young was released by the Tigers today. Does this mean the Boys and Girls Clubs won’t play his ad for them anymore?

Boston media today is crowing delusionally about how the Red Sox “almost swept the White Sox,” and did take two out of three. Excuse me guys, but you scored a total of five runs in three days, squeaking out the two wins 3-2 and 1-0. Football season starts tonight and it’s time to concentrate on the Patriots.

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