Cheryl and I love opening day and this year we were very blessed to be at two of them; first in Kansas City and then again last night in Anaheim. There’s something special; even magical about one of the best days of the year.
April 9, 2011
We started our day early with a trip to the stadium mid-day to check out the new merchandise in the team store and then stopped by to say hello to Steve Mason of ESPN 710 who was about to start a live remote from under the hats and then to AM 830’s Roger Lodge, who was doing a marathon session from 7:00 a.m. until the pregame show at 5:00 p.m. Kudos to AM 830; this is the kind of stuff that builds tradition.
After a quick trip home, Cheryl and I returned to the stadium; ready for a night of good old fashioned Angels baseball. We were greeted by the Budweiser Clydesdales and a sea of fans dressed in red.
Last night marked the beginning of the Angels 50th Anniversary Celebration and what better way to start off the festivities than to have Eli Grba, the first Angel to ever throw a real pitch, throw out the ceremonial first pitch of the opener? Grba, who is now 76, threw the first pitch to Arte Moreno.
It was a tad bit chilly (game time temperature was 54 degrees), but no where near as cold as Kansas City was on March 31. Opening night came complete with player introductions, the traditional display of the flag covering the field, a fly over and more.
I was standing close to the field snapping pictures when I sighted Hank Conger warming up in left field. I will admit, my eyes grew wide and my heart raced just a bit knowing the young man was getting an opening day start. What a thrill it must have been for him and his family.
One of my favorite moments at every game is when the pitcher and catcher emerge from the bullpen and take their slow walk to the dugout before the game. It’s sort of symbolic in some ways as two warriors prepare for battle. Santana looked like he was ready for business as usual, while Conger appeared to be soaking in the moment.
The game began and our 50th Anniversary Season was under way (again). Eli Grba even took some time during the game to sign autographs for a hundred or so lucky fans. Cheryl and I talked a bit with Tim Mead and complimented him on the night’s activities. We met some Angel fans in line including a couple of kids who were attending their first Angel games ever with their dad. How cool is that?
“Torii Town” made its debut in right field. Gotta love it when fans do something creative like that and I can’t think of a better player to celebrate than Hunter.
The game was pretty uneventful and unfortunately the Angels did not prevail. 514 Fanatics John and Linda, John and Ann, Bo and Mary, Dave and Kim, Steve and June, Dori and Vic along with our friends Jim and Paula were out to support the Halos.
The night went quickly (two hours and thirty five minutes) and the first of 81 home games was in the books.
Player highlights included two hits from both Torii Hunter and Howie Kendrick (who is now hitting .429). We even had a tub of goo (Juan Rivera) sighting; he even managed a couple hits (go figure).
And so it begins…
Below are a few more photos from opening night including Mark Trumbo and Peter Bourjos; Vernon Wells; player introductions, and Kendrys Morales.
Baseball is finally here and we are looking forward to the 50th Anniversary Celebration and a return to post season baseball. Yes, post-season baseball. Look out Texas!