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Home is Where the Halo is

big a haloWell after a long delay between posts (thanks to finals, moving back out to California, a quick weekend in Arkansas, and just straight up enjoying being lazy and doing nothing), I’m finally back to posting. I must admit that I’ve just been lazy lately so I haven’t posted much. I was planning on doing a post on the recent 10-game road trip that the Angels went on, but I didn’t ever get around to it, it’s old news now.

But after getting swept at Texas, the Angels rebounded to take 3 of 4 from Seattle and more importantly 2 of 3 from the “cross-town” Los Angeles Doyyers. Que bueno.

Now that I’m finally back and settled back in sunny Southern California, I had been able to do everything I had wanted to do right when I got back… well, almost everything. I had hit my favorite local food spots, gone to the beach, etc. The one thing left on my to-do list was go to an Angel game.

So, mother dearest and I hit up the Angels/White Sox game Tuesday night, fresh off a 17-3 ass whooping the previous night. You can only go up from there right?

The Angels were throwing out their early season ace Joe Saunders who had been magnificent of late, and the ChiSox were sending out former Angel and Cy Young award winner Bartolo Colon, who for lack of a better word, got absolutely raped by the Minnesota Twins in his last outing (the game the White Sox lost 20-1).

Traffic was smooth all the way through the Orangewood exit and right on in to good ol’ Angel Stadium.

It was a beautiful 70 degrees as we walked in to the Big A and man had it been a while since I had seen a baseball game in Anaheim. It had been roughly 10 months between games at Angel Stadium, far far far too long if you ask me.

And of course, whenever you hit up a baseball game, you’ve got to grab yourself some hot dogs. I copped two of those bad boys, and to my delight, they finally reverted on back to having their hot dogs be Wienerschnitzel dogs. After I found this news out, I really didn’t care about the outcome of the game, the Angels answered my Farmer John-for-Wienerschnitzel hot dog swap prayer. Don’t get me wrong, the Farmer John dogs they had for the last 3-4 years weren’t bad, but there’s nothing like the ‘Schnitz. Derlicious.

Anyways, I grabbed a small bag of peanuts and an ice cold Dasani and was ready for the first pitch.

As the Angels do before all home games, they played a nice video collection of all the great former Angel players and great moments in Angel history to the tune of Train’s “Calling All Angels.” Some of the noteworthy clips were of Nolan Ryan moving into 1st place on the all-time strikeout list, Rod Carew picking up his 3,000th career hit, Reggie Jackson blasting his 500th career home run and of course, the final out of the memorable 2002 World Series in which Troy Percival got Kenny Lofton to fly out to Darin Erstad in center to capture the ballclub’s first ever World Championship.

The Angels put in a new piece at the end, a quick 8-10 seconds of Nick Adenhart’s final start and closing with a shot of Adenhart’s back facing the camera with his head down, showing the last name “Adenhart” and the number 34 on the back of his jersey. The crowd roared and applauded as it faded to black, but I had to look away from the still frame for a moment; it’s still so surreal that he is no longer living. Me and a lot of other Angel fans were really looking forward to what this kid could have done this year and throughout his big league career, but it all vanished in the blink of an eye on April 9th.

I then turned my attention to center field, where Adenhart’s image is depicted, to find starting catcher Mike Napoli approach the wall, touch his image briefly, and then write something in the warning track dirt about 3 feet from the wall for a good 10 seconds before returning to meet with tabbed starter Joe Saunders.

The PA announcer went through the starting line-ups and then it was game time, the moment I had been waiting for. Being out in Arizona, they don’t show Angel games out there obviously. I got to see the Opening Day game on ESPN, but that had been it until I had returned home a good month and a half later. It was nice to finally get to see my team in action again.

Scott Podsednik laced a single into left to start the game. Not the way you want to start, considering that between the 2003-2006 seasons, he stole 212 bases, or roughly 53 a year in that time frame. He even stole 70 back in ’04. Napoli hasn’t been able to throw out baserunners for anything this year. Hell, he probably couldn’t throw out Big Papi on the basepaths at this rate, but that’s another story. Thankfully Alexei Ramirez would follow up Podsednik’s single with a nice double play, Figgy to Howie to KMo for the DP. Jermaine Dye would fly out to end the inning.

By this time, I would be absolutely mowing through my 2 hot dogs, just like Saunders and Colon would be mowing through their opposing line-ups for most of the night.

The next 3 half-innings would be 1-2-3, including a Kendry Morales fly out to left, which would end in Torii Hunter trying to advance to 3rd on the play, only to be gunned out by 2 steps by Scott Podsednik (since when does Scott Podsednik have a cannon?).

Saunders was all about damage control in this game. In the 4th, Alexei Ramirez would single and Jermaine Dye would walk. 1st and 2nd with no outs, and a powerful lefty in Jim Thome coming up. Thome would take ball 1, swing and miss on the next pitch, and then ground one to short where Erick Aybar would turn the double play himself with Ramirez advancing to 3rd. Now he has a runner on 3rd with 2 down, with Paul Konerko up. Konerko would work a full count, but Saunders would reach back and K Konerko. Still no score through 3 1/2.

During the middle of the inning, the luring scent of Panda Express right behind our section began to take over my nostrils. My God did Panda Express sound appetizing but I hadn’t yet hit up the sack of peanuts yet. I figured I’d wait till later in the game to hit up my Chow Mein with double Orange Chicken order. This would come back to bite me in the you know what.

Meanwhile, Bart continued to mow throw the Angel lineup while keeping a low pitch count, channeling his ’05 Cy Young stuff that he had with the Halos in that memorable year where he went 21-8. No score through 4.

Then the 5th inning would roll around, which would change the Angels’ fortunes as well as those of the people of section 226.

Two drunk, sloppy hoes, one brunette donning a Jermaine Dye jersey and a blonde rocking a white Konerko jersey, moved in a couple seats down and row below us. Great. Oh, I forgot to mention their plastered boyfriends, neither of which would probably be tall enough to ride 50% of the rides at Disneyland as far as I could tell. You could just tell that we were in for a “treat” (using the expression incredibly loosely) when these 4 mobbed on up to 226. (It’s just like the feeling that you get whenever you’re sitting next to a Boston or New York fan… you know what I mean).

The drunken women proceeded to start saying “LET’S GOOOO WHITE SAAAAWWWWCKSSSSSS!!!!!!” after virtually every pitch during an at-bat for both teams, and also asking people what the score from last night’s game was. We all knew it was a 17-3 pillaging in the White Sox’ favor, but who wants to admit that? Hell, it’s not like they’d shut up anyway.

In the 5th, Jayson Nix would jack a solo homer to left to break the scoreless tie and make it 1-0 Sox. Of course, the ladies were thrilled, and let everyone know it. The brunette would yell out, “WAIT… DID YOU SEE THAT? OH MY GOD, I TOTALLY JUST SAW THAT! LET’S GOOOOO WHITE SAWWWWWWXXXXXXXXX!!!!! (5 claps following).” She’d throw in a couple “WOOOOOOOOOOOO”s and “OWWW OWWWWWWW”s to compliment the let’s go chants, just for good measure.

We weren’t exactly fed up yet, but God would we get to that point soon.

The inning would end at the score of 1-0 Chicago in front.

The Halos would go down 1-2-3, and in the following half-inning, Paul Konerko would single home a run to make it 2-0 White Sox. Everyone was thinking it… “ohhhh s***. Paul Konerko just singled. That damn girl is wearing a Paul Konerko jersey… cover your ears.”

The blonde stood up and started talking to “Pauly” as she affectionately refers to him, saying, “Pauly I love you! Owwww owwwwwwww!!!!! I love youuuuuuu!!!!!!!” over and over and over and over. Everyone’s looking around at each other like, “Great, 4 more innings of this.”

Mother, with the line of the night quite audibly says, “Yeah, I remember my first beer, too.” That’s why I love you, Mom. True champ right there let me tell you.

Nix would homer again in the 7th to make it 3-0 Sox and the women got louder than ever again.

Thankfully in the bottom half of that 7th inning, Bobby Abreu would jack a solo shot to center field for his 1st home run of the year, making it 3-1 Chicago. Bobby finally got that goose egg out of his home run column, and now I feel that his power numbers will start coming, considering the fact that I can only imagine how much that 0 was bugging him.

After the inning ended with the same score, I figured I’d try to go up and get me some Panda, but of course, they already have cleaned it out and closed it for the night. I guess the Big A treats Panda Express sales just like alcohol sales, none after the 7th inning. They don’t want people who want that “one for the road” or any of that mumbo jumbo. Dejected and pretty damn hungry, I decided to watch the rest of the game from the concourse level, mainly to get away from those damn Sox fans. I sure as hell hope they took a cab back to wherever they were staying, because all 4 were incapable of driving period. I can only hope they got back safely, but to think that 1 of them potentially would be getting behind the wheel is scary. I mean look what happened to Nick Adenhart, he wasn’t the one driving drunk, but ended up losing his life because of someone else’s mistake. I pray they made the right choice and chose to take a taxi home, otherwise God knows what may have happened.

Matt Palmer made his 1st relief appearance this season in the 9th, and boy was it hard to watch. It’s as if the strike zone was playing hide-and-go-seek with him, he just couldn’t seem to throw a strike for the life of him, which prompted mother and I to head out.

The White Sox and Halos would each tack on one more run by the time the game was over, and the White Sox would come away victorious 4-2.

Props to Bart, he pitched great and kept the offense at bay the entire night. Saunders did well, but not well enough to get the win, dropping him to 6-3 on the year.

As much as I could not stand the fans next to us, there really is nothing like being at a game and rooting on your team. It had been so long since I was last able to hit up a home game to cheer on my Halos, and top-to-bottom, I was very happy with my stay at the Big A that night (except for the fact that they lost, of course).

I now felt like I was officially back home. And oh what a great feeling it was.

More in-person Halo game stories to come in the near future, hopefully there’ll be some funny stories to tell along with Angel victories.

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Filed under Angel Stories, May Game Recaps