Something that has always fascinated me are the homes of teams. Whether it be baseball's ballparks, football's stadiums, hockey's rinks, or basketball's courts: I love the places that teams call home (I can name every single one in American professional sports, too). Particularly ballparks stand out to me because of the personality they take on. The ivy on Wrigley Field's outfield wall, Bernie Brewer celebrating a home run on a slide in Milwaukee, the old yet modern feel at Camden Yards, the history of baseball at Yankee Stadium, and of course, the rocks in the outfield and the Big A in Anaheim are just some of what baseball has to offer.
Because I am from the New York metropolitan area, my regional sports networks are SNY (Mets) and the YES Network (Yankees); therefore, I am surrounded in the nation's favorite market and I am not a fan of either team. I am an Angel fan! I want Fox Sports West!
Since I subscribe to MLB TV at the All-Star break to save some money, I have to rely on MLB Network, ESPN, Fox, and TBS to see my team play (for the first half). I keep track through alerts on my phone, computer, and watch for a "live look-in" on MLB Tonight when the Angels are not on those channels. My greatest chance to witness the Angels is in October when every single game is televised. In 2002, I saw it all.
I remember when the Angels won the 2002 World Series; however, I am relatively young so I will not lie and attempt to recite almost every moment of it. Particularly two items stand out to me: the Rally Monkey and thundersticks. From the series, I can recall the frustration of the fifth game when it was looking grim for the Halos and even worse when they were scoreless in the seventh, down five runs in game six. I can only imagine how the older Angel fans were feeling.
When Troy Glaus came up to bat and delivered a single followed by Brad Fullmer's, I remember the Big A erupting because of the cameo appearance by the Rally Monkey in the outfield after Dusty Baker made a pitching change. Joe Buck sent Fox out to a commercial and I felt the excitement from the people in Anaheim. Nearly 3,000 miles way, I felt like I was there! Later on, Garret Anderson (my favorite player behind Vladimir Guerrero) sent a blooper to Barry Bonds. Bonds misjudged it and I remember the curiosity of winning building up even more. Dusty Baker came out again. The crowd erupted again. Then Troy Glaus came up to bat again. It was all happening. Again. Glaus delivered a double and brought in not only the tying run, but also the winning run. The game ended with Troy Percival getting the save.
My hope turned into an expectation. How could the Angels lose game seven in Anaheim? John Lackey (not exactly one of my favorite Angels, in part due to his departure from the Halos) got the nod to start the final game. The rookie came out and pitched a pretty good game. Lackey faced twenty Giants and gave up only four hits while striking out the same amount in five innings. As for the Angels hitting, the scoring occurred early. After the Angels scored three runs in the third and they were winning by three, I felt relaxed. And finally, the fly ball in center field to Darin Erstad.
That was it. The Big A lit up and the outfield rocks were firing off a showcase of red light. As Victor Rojas would say, "light that baby up!" The Rally Monkey energized me, the thundersticks motivated me, and the performance on the field amazed me. I was on the other side of the country. Yet, I felt like I was in Anaheim.