Now, I know there are people out there who will claim that this is when most people jumped on the Angels band wagon. Well, I can offer up a different perspective based on my own personal experience.
I’ve been going to Angel games since the late 60’s. Over the years I would probably go to about 10 games a year. Sometimes more, sometimes less.
When the Angels won it all in 2002, I knew the days of walking up to the box office the day of the game to get a good seat were basically over.
So in 2003 Cheryl and I, along with our friends Ken and Kim bought a 20 game mini plan. As luck would have it 2003 wasn’t a particularly good season (77-85) and the Angels failed to make the play-offs.
Then Vlad happened.
In the off season prior to 2004, the Angels signed Vladimir Guerrero to a five year (plus an option year) deal. The moment that happened, I knew a mini-plan wasn’t going to be enough and ticket demand would go through the roof. Plus -- having bought tickets (from brokers) for both the fifth game of the ALCS and the seventh game of the World Series in 2002 (for the price of what I could have probably bought season tickets for) was enough to convince us it was time to buy season tickets.
So again, Cheryl and I along with our friends bought season seats. Now, instead of 10 or so games a year or even 20 games a year – Cheryl and I now attend more than (gulp) 70 home games a year.
Take our story (and others like it) and multiply it several times and this dispels the notion that the Angels fan base is “full” of bandwagon fans. By the way, did attendance at Dodger stadium go up when Manny arrived? I’m not judging, I’m just asking…
That being said, I do believe that 2002 did bring some new fans to the table and quite frankly, I’m fine with that. I love seeing the stadium packed or nearly full on a nightly basis. Looking at a stadium covered in red shirts sure beats the heck out of an empty stadium. Looking at the stands at… well… let’s say Oakland-- is pretty depressing. I think a Partridge Family reunion concert with Danny Bonaduce instead of David Cassidy as the lead singer would draw more people than the A’s.
Plus if “new” fans are bringing kids along, some of them will grow up to be Angel fans. It’s all good. In fact, I actually love the idea that 2002 gave birth to new Angel fans all over the country. To think that a kid in Fish Haven, Idaho or Encino, California or any number of cities across the country is wearing an Angels hat because of their exposure to the 2002 World Series is pretty cool. It’s great that his or her favorite player became Troy Glaus and they’re now a big fan of Torii Hunter. Again, it’s all good. I want the Angels to expand the brand to every market and increase revenues!
Every so often, I’ll hear a fan say, “I hate all these band wagon fans… I remember when I could walk up and buy a ticket and sit right behind the dugout...” I don’t get that. Are those people so selfish that they’d rather have better ticket options than a stadium full of screaming fans? I'd rather have the stadium so loud, it drowns those people out.
I don’t care if you don’t know who the manager was before Mike Scioscia (Terry Collins). I’m not going to ask you if you know what Kendry Morales’ OPS is (.917) or even if you know what OPS stands for (on base percentage plus slugging percentage which is essentially a measurement of the player's ability to hit the ball).
I’m not going to ask you where you were in 1994 (the strike year) when the Angels were 46-68. All I ask is that you cheer loudly for the Angels, boo Ian Kinsler, Alex Rodriguez, David Ortiz, anyone wearing an A’s uniform (except Adam Kennedy) and of course - A.J. Pierzynski. Speaking of A.J. – if he ever has a son that grows up to play in the major leagues, I’ll expect you to boo him too.