People with short memories — or those who only recently started paying attention — may not believe this. But only a few years ago, playing in Angel Stadium, and before that Anaheim Stadium, frequently infuriated the home team players.
The Angels of the lean years grew to resent the fans? allegiances, which definitely were not with them. The only big-crowd dates were against visitors from the Establishment — Detroit, Boston, Baltimore, White Sox — who drew from Southern California?s vast transplanted population.
Talk about Big A. Those were the days of the Big Annoyance. It was said the only way the Angels would have been able to draw three million was to schedule the New York Yankees 81 times.
Typical were scenes such as in early 1984, when the Tigers hit town amid a historic getaway during which they would have 35 wins before their fifth loss. Crowds of 50,000 packed the then-enlarged ballpark, rooting for the Bengals with one voice.
Players such as Doug DeCinces, Bobby Grich, Bob Boone and even Reggie Jackson would complain after games about feeling unwelcome in their own house.
Tables and turnstiles have turned, of course. In a shrunken house, the Angels keep setting attendance records, and it?s safe to say that of this season?s draw of 3,404,686, 3,404,685 were red-wearing, Thunder Stix-toting, Rally Monkey-doting Angels fans.
?The last three, four years, it?s been a pleasure to play here,? says Adam Kennedy, the Angels second baseman. ?It?s taken to being other places like New York. Fans take a lot of pride in the stadium. They enjoy coming to the game. We felt it in the last series. I can?t imagine it changing now.?
You White Sox may want to consider some earplugs. Check with Rafael Palmeiro, who doesn?t need his anymore.
— Tom Singer/MLB.com