Friday morning I was back at work in my factory. By 8:30 am I’d already accomplished the main objective of the day: route through and get approval for a process improvement.
I’d been up to Tempe Diablo Wednesday for the first workout, but had to miss Thursday because of work and it was starting to kill me with the thought of missing Friday too, especially with rain on the way for the weekend.
So I made the executive decision to run up to the stadium for a quick “brunch” break. And I was sure glad I did.
When I arrived after 10 am, the players still hadn’t made their way out, so I went up to the main stadium to see what was going on. There wasn’t anything happening there yet either, but soon some players in red started showing up, led by a familiar #17, “Coach” Darin Erstad.
The NU Cornhuskers had arrived for their doubleheader with my alma mater, UCR Highlanders, later that day. Erstad oriented himself with the grounds and the 3B dugout for his team, and then the Halos pitchers and catchers started filtering out to cross the main filed to their workout to the west; a few coaches and Angel personnel made their way over to say hello to the Nebraska skipper, and then another hero of those turn-of-the century Angel teams, Troy Percival showed up, skipper of UCR. Definitely awesome to see their reunion.
Then Mike Scioscia trekked over to join too, and Tim Mead stopped by. Suddenly Erstad ran back to his dugout real quick and brought out a ball and glove. What?!? THE ball!? THE glove!? Whoa. Even Scioscia was jazzed at seeing that.
Definitely a big thrill for me - I was with those guys and two pieces of equipment too about 5,745 days ago in Anaheim when the heavens opened up and THE ball fell from the sky into THE glove. More on that at the end of this post.
That was enough fun and remembrance for old times. I still had enough time to go see some pitchers fielding drills, get some pics and caught up with some newer guys in camp like Kenyan Middleton (the 2017 AL ROY), Bud Norris, and Yusmeiro Petit. A few pictures there and then got back onto the factory floor by 11:30 am.
Definitely a productive “coffee break”.
It wasn’t a restful Friday night though – I had to drive my daughter up to Williams, AZ and back for church Winter Camp. I left at 9pm and didn’t get back until 3am with the rain just starting to fall when I pulled back into town; a 6-hr round trip through Flagstaff and back.
With the rain on the way, I was somewhat doubtful there’d be a workout today so I slept in as long as I could and could hear the rain the rest of the night. I got up about 10 am and checked in on Angels news to see Mike Trout and Arte Moreno were giving some interviews. I also checked the weather; it was pretty wet, but appeared there was a good break of a few hours between rain fronts, so I decided to head up to Tempe just in case they’d take advantage of it.
After getting a cup of coffee, I headed to the freeway but there was rain and it was coming down enough that I pulled over to reassess. I decided I might was well check it out – it’s only 20 minutes away and besides cleaning my house, there wasn’t anything else scheduled.
Arriving at the stadium, I saw NU was holding an event for their alumni and fans on the concourse (plenty of those red fans were around for a brunch – the college game today was cancelled but Erstad and his team were going to drop by for a meet-and-greet) but nothing was happening Angels-wise, besides Jose Mota walking by and didn’t think there’d be a workout as no stadium staff was around either.
I hung about for a bit and then realized, rain cannot stop our Anaheim lads – pitchers and catchers were filing out of the clubhouse to make the walk down to the practice fields. I hustled down there for a few pics and only one other fan and a volunteer with walkie-talkie was around.
The walkie-talkie was key because I heard the position players weren’t coming down but would be on the main field so I went back up there.
They eventually came out, threw a bit and hit in the batting cage behind the right field wall – not much …. but there was our starters, old and new guys! That was it for the rain shortened workout. Enjoy the pics.
Heading out, I checked out the NU scene again and had a moment to chat with Erstad after all the NU faithful had their chance. I was geeked he had seen my twitter photo, but I mainly wanted to ask him about THE ball and THE glove- “where had it been?”
He said after 2002, he tried to give it to the Angels and the ball to Percy, but they both told him to just keep it, so it’s been lying around at the bottom of his trunk for years.
I think the Angels were getting a display together so he brought I back this year.
The real rain is starting to fall and it looks like it’s here to stay for the afternoon and evening. Time to clean my house and get ready for a real workout hopefully Sunday and Monday.