By Sean Scanlon - Angelswin.com Feature Writer
With all due respect to my esteemed colleague Geoff Bilau, and, well, all Angel fans, I would have to disagree that Oct. 27, 2002, was the greatest day in Angels baseball history. In fact, I would contest that it was the darkest day in Angels history. Forty some odd years of frustration, heartbreak, and fan apathy suddenly turned on its ear in one magically fantastic run.
Oh, I'm sure you are saying “Pray tell, why the darkest day in Angel history?” Well, for starters, it was the day that Angel fans tasted the sweet nectar of being a champion. No longer an under card in their own county, the laughing stock of West Coast baseball (well, with the exception of the Seattle Mariners and their 116 win banner. Laugh. Sorry, always have to pause and laugh when I think of that), the Angels were suddenly the WORLD CHAMPIONS OF BASEBALL! And on that day, what should have been the sweetest of all days in the collective minds of Halo faithful everywhere, well, small pockets of Orange County and various Inland Empire and L.A. County inlets, a switch occurred. Maybe it was an endorphin rush, the same endorphin rush that causes people to jump off buildings wearing nothing but a back pack sized parachute. Or maybe it was a genetic mutation, but somewhere along the line, Angels fans suddenly realized: THIS ROCKS! As Bill Murray said during his closing monologue in “Scrooged” (and I paraphrase) … “and you'll love it and want to experience it every day.” (On a side note, seriously, how did he not win an Oscar for that? Or at least a People's Choice Award?)
Where was I? Oh yeah. So, suddenly on top of the world, Angels fans’ expectations were significantly and permanently changed. No longer were they happy with a brief run during August with the inevitable September crash, or the “Hey. we're almost .500!” finish.
Wait til next year became, “What, they aren't going to go 162-0?” And a playoff appearance, the holy Nirvana of the first 40 some odd years of the Halos existence, was no longer acceptable, but rather a serious letdown.
In other words, Angels fans suddenly became … Yankees fans. Yes, Yankees fans, for whom the excitement of a 90-plus-win season and the playoffs is nothing more than kissing your ugly cousin. Trade deadlines and the offseason became must see TV. A perfect lineup in game one of the season became a matter of life and death. Every pitch, sign, at-bat and game became more than just the most important thing in the world — it actually superseded that and became the most important thing in the solar system. No, the galaxy. Hell, the whole universe!
In fact, now that I think about it, that's what the whole question was. Where does GA bat on opening day in 2008? 4 (bonus points to anyone who catches that reference).
And there you have it, folks: Why Oct. 27, 2002, was actually the darkest day in Angels history. The day the casual Orange County (and inlets in the IE and L.A. County, with some representation from San Diego County and parts beyond) Angel fans tasted success and decided they liked it.