<![CDATA[Born and raised about a mile from the Stadium, I am a lifelong local Angels fan. I fondly remember the days of Nolan Ryan as an Angel. In 1982 and 1986 I camped out with my Father at Ticketron for World Series tickets. I was so disappointed after the ALCS loss in 1986 that I ignored baseball for quite some time.
In 1992 and 1993 I went to see Nolan Ryan pitch as a Ranger in Anaheim. In 92 I attended the game with my Dad. In 1993, I had just started dating my girlfriend (now my wife) and she actually offered to pay for her own ticket. The tickets were $85 each as we sat in the front row on the field by third base for Nolan’s final performance in Anaheim. It was a wise investment that she’s more than recouped 😉
In 1994 the strike happened and I was quite fed up with baseball. In 1995 my Mother was a banker that handled a bank account for Angels player Tony Phillips. He provided us free tickets and autographed cards. The combination of this, Ripken’s Iron Man record, and the exciting talent of the 1995 Angels team brought me back into the fold. Unfortunately the 1995 Angels had a monumental collapse but I didn’t take a break from baseball this time.
In 1996 I bought a Leaf Signatures series autograph pack at Target and was excited to pull a Tim Salmon autograph. I started collecting cards and autographs. I met legends such as Hank Aaron, Joe Dimaggio, Pete Rose, and Bob Feller.
In 1997 Interleague Play began and the lines were completely drawn. Dodgers fans swarmed into Anaheim in the early years and a rivalry was born.
In 2000 my son was a baby Angel of the month for UCI and I won a contest from the Angels to attend an Angels-Dodgers game in a suite at Dodger Stadium.
2001 was a disappointing year for the Angels but I did obtain autographs from the entire team on a baseball. The core of this team would become World Champions a year later. I also got my first authentic autographed jersey. I bought an Erstad jersey in the team store and had him sign it.
2002 was magical. After trading away Mo Vaughn for Kevin Appier and signing Brad Fullmer, the Angels were ready for prime time. In March of 2002, I bet on the team to win the ALCS (15 to 1 odds) and win the World Series (30 to 1 odds). Unfortunately I only bet $5 on each but that was still a cool $225. The season started with a thud. We were at opening night when Jarrod Washburn lost to Bartolo Colon and the Cleveland Indians. Things didn’t start happening for the Angels until after their worst start ever, 6-14.
Once they started going, things were pretty magical. Eckstein hit three grand slams. I was at two of the games and called one of them. I can be seen in the video of one of them. I was at John Lackey’s first MLB win against the Dodgers. I met him after the game and had him pose for a pic and sign a ball for me. It is amazing to see the ace he has become now. During the Dodgers series they actually filmed us with a BEAT LA banner after Salmon had hit a two run shot to make it 7-0 Angels. Sele shut the Dodgers down that game and the video footage of us with the BEAT LA banner actually made it to the Red Dawn Rises DVD about the 2002 Angels.
I was lucky enough to attend every postseason game in 2002 and there are highlights galore from these. I took vacation time from work to watch all road games on tv and attend all the games in Anaheim in person. I made sure to attend every postseason game since in 1982 and 1986 I only had World Series tickets and had not attended a playoff game.
One story that was interesting was after game 4 of the 2002 ALCS I asked Adam Kennedy to sign my team pic and told him it was good luck to sign. He did so and the next day he hit three home runs to take the Angels to their first ever World Series.
In 2003 I was lucky enough to win a trip to bat against Nolan Ryan. Baby Ruth had a contest that required entrants to submit a video on why they were a Real Deal Sports fan. Because of the strict requirements, I almost didn’t enter but luckily my Mother and Wife talked me into it. I submitted it on the last day possible and was one of ten people to win. We were flown to Round Rock, TX and hit BP off of Nolan’s Son Reid. Nolan pitched 3 pitches to each of us and I got a hit on the first pitch. Later that night we watched his minor league team (affiliate of the Astros) from his suite. We were able to talk to him for about 20 mins one on one and were able to get seven items signed. I took an Angels jersey, banner of Nolan that hung at Angel Stadium, and other items to get signed. They even gave us the bats we used and he signed those as well. Nolan was a childhood idol of mine and it was amazing to get to meet him.
I’ve attended all of the postseason games in Anaheim this decade and plan to continue to do so. I’ve had writeups in the Orange County Register about my game room and about my chance to bat against Nolan. ]]>
Angels Baseball, Music, Poker, Tailgating,
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