August 23, 2010

Everyone loves a parade

There seems to be this sentiment out there that if you don’t believe the Angels are going to win the west, you’re basically giving up on the team. Personally, I think that’s a bunch of baloney. Giving up would basically mean stop watching and most of all, stop caring.

That’s certainly not the case with me.

The way I see it, the Angels just aren’t good enough this year to overtake Texas. They continue to struggle to score runs and they just can’t seem to beat the better teams in the league. I don’t have to build a case against their chances; they’re done that on their own.

The perfect segue for another rant? Not today.

I’d like to go back to a happier time and that would be July 13, 2010 when the All-Star game came to Anaheim. More specifically, I’d like to share Cheryl and my experience at the Red Carpet Parade.

We were in New York for our first Red Carpet Parade and I have to admit the one in Anaheim pales in comparison. After all, the one in New York included multiple Hall of Famers and there were times when the parade came to a stop and gave fans the chance to interact with the players.

I remember teasing Tony Gwynn (who is a big supporter of El Cajon Ford in San Diego) about riding in the back of a Chevy truck. He had a good time with my comment and said something to the effect that he hoped they wouldn't see this.

We didn’t have any opportunities like that. The players whizzed by in the back of trucks, tossing out baseball cards and other chotskies along the way. They were often looking down into the bags that held all the goodies when they went by.

We kept wondering if they were going to a fire. A few did manage to wave and smile and acknowledge the fans.

As Ian Kinsler went by I couldn’t resist yelling “Get off our road!” and when Carl Crawford went by I was sure to let him know how much we wanted him in Anaheim next year.

We stood next to a Yankee fan and his son, who were actually very nice. They had traveled out from Atlanta (the dad is originally from New York and had the accent to prove it). They did their part by booing the Red Sox players. We (Cheryl and I) did our part by booing the Yankees (like Derek Jeter) Torii Hunter threw them some Yankee Fuzzy Dice, much to their surprise (and delight). Cheryl and I ended up with some Angel fuzzy dice, also to our own delight.

The players weren’t the only ones participating in the parade; the mascots were out in full force as well. It’s too bad the Angels don’t have a mascot. I guess we’re too cool for that. Whatever…

Some of the mascots I recall included Junction Jack (Astros), the Swinging Friar (Padres), Phillie Phanatic, Bernie Brewer, Billy the Marlin, D. Baxter the Bobcat (Diamondbacks), Gapper (Reds), Mariner Moose, Mr. Met, and Dinger (Rockies). I’m sure there were others.

Brian Wilson (below, left) of the Giants was amped up pretty good. He was standing behind the truck’s cab raising his fists in the air and throwing goodies into the crowd. Corey Hart reminded me of Chewbacca from Star Wars (below, right). I kept looking to see if Harrison Ford would be sitting next to him.

One surprise (at least for me) was seeing a calm, cool and smiling Jose Valverde (above left). He seemed very different from his on-the-field persona, where he appears to be a crazy man who might throw at a batter’s head at any time. I also thought the rookie-phenom Jayson Heyward (above right not in uniform) looked older than I thought he might.

Is it just me or does Ichirio (left) look a little bit like the Rally Monkey? Just saying.

The players weren’t alone. Many had family, friends or girlfriends along for the ride. It was kind of funny to watch them. You would have thought some of them believed the parade was for them, while most seemed to be soaking it all in and just enjoying the ride.

We soaked it all in too. Despite not quite living up to the Red Carpet Parade in New York; it was still a lot of fun. The fans were in a good mood and most of the players seemed to enjoy being a part of the festivities.

Some more pics below include Josh Johnson (Marlins), Josh Hamilton and his family (Rangers), Joe Mauer (Twins), David Wright (Mets).

You know I have to give some props to the Long Beach State DirtBags who were representing! Below are Evan Longoria (Rays) and Troy Tulowitzki (Rockies) who is sporting a mullet (link is to a very funny commentary from Vin Scully about "mullets").

More photos; below are Vladimir Guerrero (Rangers), Justin Verlander (Tigers), Vernon Wells (Blue Jays), and Nick Swisher (Yankees).

The biggest cheers for the day was reserved for the Angels' own Torii Hunter and Jered Weaver (as it should be).

Last, but not least are pictures of David Price (Rays), Ryan Howard (Phillies), Joaquin Soria (Royals), and the always classy Adrain Gonzalez (Padres).

Good times for sure. I'll be posting more stuff from the All-Star Festivities in the near future. I've got pics from the Homerun Derby and the All-Star game itself to share with you.

BallHype: hype it up!

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