Friday, May 20, 2005


"Beat LA of Anaheim!"

About five years ago, I was sitting in the Pavilion for a Giants game. The SF fans wearing orange were being pelted with food by the usual thugs in the cheap seats. One errant toss hit a young guy wearing an Angels cap on the head. He turned around, pointed to his cap, and yelled out, "Why'd you hit me for? I'm an Angels fan!" The overwhelming response was laughter, myself included. Admitting to being an Angels fan was akin to driving a Yugo in LA.

In my mind, the Angels were nothing more than the cute little team by Disneyland. Stories such the Indian burial site, Dave Henderson's HR, Donnie Moore's subsequent suicide, and the team bus crash added up to a cursed lore which was both tragic and somewhat humorous.

Then it all changed. Proving that anything really can happen, the little Rally Monkeys won the World Series in 7 games over the Giants, a grand finish to a miracle season. (Yes I watched, if only to root against the Giants.) Soon afterwards, a new owner stepped in with bold visions of turning SoCal into the "City of Angels."

What if Spiezio didn't hit that HR in game 6? This budding rivalry would not exist if the Angels didn't win the World Series. The emboldened cousin to the south wears the newer crown while the blueblood to the north brags of past tradition despite only a single playoff win since 1988. So the rivalry builds, and not only on the field.

Petty acts such as selling "LA Dodgers of LA" caps, announcing the Halos as "The Angels of Anaheim", and listing the Angels as "ANA" on the scoreboard only raises the public perception of the Angels to that of the Dodgers. Moreno wants a rivalry, and McCourt has taken the bait. This catfight between the Parking Lot Attendant and the Billboard Painter could turn into the business equivalent of Chan Ho Park's karate kick.

The Freeway Series starts tonight. I'm hoping for a warm reception for Finley, and chants of "Beat LA of Anaheim!" afterwards.

Losing to the fake LA team twice in a row is just sad. Bluw better win tomorrow cause I can't stomach a sweep by Scioscia.
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