New York, New York: 6/25

If you’ve ever had the good fortune to witness a baseball game at Yankee Stadium, you’d know that at the conclusion of a Yankee win or loss, Frank Sinatra’s New York, New York rushes out of the PA system and loudspeakers, surrounding all attendees with the sounds of the city’s official anthem. Listen to some lines of a song that resonates with this native New Yorker.

I want to wake up in a city that never sleeps
And find I’m A-number-one, top of the list,
King of the hill, A-number-one.

Of course, as opposed to most who come to watch some baseball in the Bronx, the team I want to wake up and see as “A number one,” is my Angels, the team I adopted back in ’08 when I first set foot into the (old) House that Ruth Built (a historic park that remained haunted by the ghosts of the Babe, Lou Gehrig, Joe DiMaggio, and Mickey Mantle, until it was torn down a few years back to make way for the House that Jeter re-built). I well remember the first game I ever attended at Yankee Stadium back in ‘08. My Dad placed a baseball with the interlocking NY in my hand and snapped the photo that accompanies this entry. From that moment forwards, I am proud to say that I have not associated myself with the Yanks, or as they are better known a few hundred miles to the east by their arch-enemy Red Sox fans, the Evil Empire. That was a great night for this newly born Angels fan as Torii went deep with a three-run shot and the Angels beat the Pinstripes, badly, 12-6. Root for Jeter, A-Rod, Pettite and Giambi, (3 of whom knowingly consumed the “juice”)? Hell no! Instead, I opted for Figgy, Lackey, Napoli, Howie, and mostly… Vladdy! Interestingly, on that hot New York summer night, the Angels acquired Mark Texiera. Tex batted .358 and hit 13 home runs for us in the remaining 54 games of the 2008 season before joining the “evils.” Those familiar with Angels-Across-America website might have taken note of the photo of Texiera in Angels attire as it appeared on the Yankee scoreboard, July 31, 2008. That picture should forever be cherished by all Angels fans as when Tex later walked out our rear door, it made room for Mike Trout to be welcomed through our front door. Trout was the supplemental pick we obtained for Mark Texiera. Trout could have been a Yankee I guess, Ugh!

It’s been a tough couple of years for Halo fans looking to light up some imaginary east coast Halo after playing the New York Yankees. Sadly, the Yanks, have won each of the last nine games played in the Bronx. Perhaps one day, on the road to the “Fall Classic,” the Angels will pass through the Bronx and become the true “King of the Hill.” This does not look like the year it will happen…rest assured though…one day, our day will come, and Angels fans across America will sit atop the baseball world from the east coast to the west. Maybe we’ll even get the Yankees to substitute I Love LA for New York, New York on their PA system. Well, we can dream, can’t we?

The bad news for me this week was that a nasty virus put me on the 5 day DL and prevented me from attending the entire three game set in the Bronx.  What eventually helped get me back to health was that the “good guys” won 2 of 3!

One thing being sidelined made me cognizant of was that my MLB account blacks me out of watching games on my laptop in my “home area.” It wasn’t easy to be sick and also be unable to have Gubey and Victor keep me company. Watching baseball on the YES television network was not at all fun. What do New York broadcasters know about our Halos? Not much, I’m afraid! And is it asking too much for them to pronounce CJ’s last name as if it has an “e” at the end?  Hey Michael Kay, It’s not Cron as in (we’re not living in) Iran; it’s Cron as in (stop making me) groan!

Without Mike Trout, the Angels aren’t exactly the Angels we’re used to rooting for nightly.  But, seeing Cameron Maybin go deep into the New York night to provide the margin of victory was as beautiful a sight for me as it must be for a visitor watching the Statue of Liberty raise her torch to Gotham. Maybin, who has lifted his average some eighty points since early May has been a valuable addition and provided the Angels with an exciting leadoff hitter who can get on base and run. Currently the leading base stealer in the American League, Cameron’s speed has added a new dimension to the Angels offense. He’s also a solid fielder who can play center field in Trout’s absence. Of course, I would have loved to see Jose Mota interview Maybin post-game but hopefully, I’ll have the good fortune to see Alex or Jose interview many Halo star’s of the game as the season unfolds.

The Angels dropped the second game of the series to the Yankees but won the rubber match. Luckily for me, I’ll be in LA next month and will catch the weekend series with the Rays.  At least being sick spared me from getting beer dumped over my old Dan Haren T as has a way of happening in the Bronx. That 2012 shirt is in desperate need of being retired even though Haren himself won’t wind up with a place of distinction at the Big A. Of course, I’ll never retire my Vlad jersey though it’s aging…it’s the one with Adenhart’s number 34 on the chest…I wish I’d seen Nick pitch, even once.

On this short road trip, the Halo’s next travelled north to play the Yankee’s chief rival, the Boston Red Sox.  If I share one thing in common with Yankee fans, it’s my dislike of the Sox and their so-called “Nation.” Sports fans should know that there is only one true nation: Raider Nation, a once beloved LA team soon to be heading for Vegas.

How satisfying was it to leave NY with a couple of wins and then grab 2 of 3 from the BoSox? Not quite the same as the lone ’09 divisional playoff game victory in Beantown which concluded on Vlad’s game 3 single up the middle off Jonathan Pappelbon. That hit completed a welcome sweep of the Sox to at least, somewhat avenge ‘86.

All in all, it was a wonderful week and weekend!  It also couldn’t have come at a better time for me. I’m spending the next few weeks at the University of Texas at Austin where I’ll be taking two sports management courses. Homesick? Never with Mark and Victor!