It was the most perfect wish come true…for eight innings. And then, disaster struck. A grand slam to turn a dream celebration into the birthday blues! Hadn’t Manny Machado realized that the post-game fireworks were supposed to light up the Halo on my night? The script was written, but I guess what happens on a baseball diamond does not always come with a Hollywood ending. Or does it?
The week began with a tough loss in DC, as our old friend, Howie Kendrick, settled a score with us for allowing him to travel up the Freeway to La La Land. Now a National, Howie, sent a pretty clear message with a home run to left followed by a home run to right as his way of welcoming us to his new home in the Nation’s Capital. Needless to say, I felt somewhat dejected exiting the ballpark after witnessing the Halo’s lose 3-1, while getting no-hit into the sixth inning. And then things got worse! It was bad enough that some heavy rain turned a five hour ride from my home in the Big Apple into a seven hour disaster, but, when our car went dead on the corner of Capitol Street and Avenue I as the result of an alternator breakdown, I had had it. Hearing 40,000 fans screaming at my Angels was bad enough but having to endure their car horns blaring in my ears nearly put me over the top. Thank goodness though for the AAA! Not this Angels-Across-America website, but the Automobile Association of America who came to our rescue before the National’s fans could punish me the way they did the Angels. Ugh!
The sun came up in Washington on Wednesday and shined on the Halos all afternoon. I could have lived without the brutal humidity that residents of Orange County are spared, but otherwise, after the first inning which had me cursing a bit at Ricky Nolasco, the afternoon went swell as Kole Calhoun hit a big fly into the “Cal Zone” to secure a 3-2 win.
As the Angels had Thursday off, we used the time available to us to check out some sights and restaurants in DC. The new Museum of African American History and Culture is amazing; you could spend a day or more to explore it. It’s interesting and filled with endless artifacts, yet it is frequently painful and sad to experience while contemplating a shameful part of our country’s history.
No trip though to Washington is complete without a trip to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. Of course, if you come with your kids, be careful! Signs that would certainly be confiscated at the Big A are plastered all over Lafayette Park! I didn’t come with a political message for the President but I did want to deliver a small and simple message of my own. Don’t you think the red in the above photo looks great with the white background? Hmm, I wonder whom President Trump roots for? Hopefully not the Evil Empire from Bronx County! Find his better Angels? We’re here—all across America!
The trip to Baltimore was short and easy, but unfortunately, the rains followed us there as well…even delayed the start of the game on my birthday…the first rain delay of the 2017 Angels season. At least though, the rains finally cleared and the Angels delivered some of their own thunder. Unfortunately, the home team had a sufficient supply as well. A few years back, Mark Trumbo ended the game on my birthday in Anaheim as games are supposed to conclude…with a home run deep into the California night. Trumbo is now an Oriole. Enough said! As for Manny Machado, I’ll root for him to hit walk off grand slam’s under one condition…he hits them in Anaheim as a member of the Angels. He’d be one helluva fit for us when he becomes a free agent after next year. But on what was to meant to be a celebration of my seventeenth birthday, he sadly played the role of Scar and tragically murdered the beloved Lion King.
The drive back to New York was bittersweet; it was fun to see all the guys, but painful to absorb a very tough loss. For the past nine years, my Dad and I have followed the Angels, wherever they might be–across America, in search of just another Halo victory. We’ll look for success again next year, somehow, somewhere.
We left the rain behind us in Baltimore but by Saturday night, the Halos had figured out how to overcome the stormy weather that continued down south. And, while five home runs could not drown the O’s on Friday, four was more than enough to drench them on Saturday.
As for Sunday, thank you Simba for “breaking out the red” in Baltimore and restoring pride to the pride lands! Three big plays, one big home run. The Lion King is reborn. Can you feel the love tonight?