Wednesday, April 22, 2020

I Dig The 2002 Angels - So Sue Me

Among San Francisco Giants fans of a certain vintage, there's not a worse memory than Game 6 of the 2002 World Series. Eight outs away from the first World Series championship in San Francisco. Overconfident and ready to party. I called my dad from the green grass of San Francisco's Yerba Buena Center, where I was convening around a large screen with 2,500 of my closest friends, and told him "Dad. It's finally happening. We're winning a World Series". And then: gut punch. The 2002 Anaheim Angels came back in historic fashion and won - then smoked us in Game 7. When game 6 was over, we knew. We all knew. It was over. You can see why some folks around here call it their lowest baseball moment.

Not mine! I loved it. No, I totally hated that part of it, but man - my team was in the World Series. They were brash, exciting, full of talent - and they were winning. In the postseason! It was incredible, and I guess you didn't merely had to be there, you had to be there the previous 26 or so years as well, as I very much was, in both team sickness and in rare team health.

You want to know what my lowest San Francisco Giants moments were? How about 1985, when we went 62-100? How about the inept teams of 1979 and 1980? Hey, how about getting brutally swept in the 1989 World Series by the Oakland A's, when I had tickets for game 5?? Those were all worse than the late stumbles in the otherwise totally awesome 2002 World Series.

Perhaps because that's my party line, I can also admit to actually having quite a bit of admiration for those 2002 Anaheim Angels as well. Oh I know, they're "from LA", sort of, and so I'm supposed to dislike them. And yet I never have - especially that team. The Angels, too, were perennial underperformers during my baseball lifetime. They were in the American League, and thus we never played them. They lived in the shadow of the pretty-boy Dodgers and always took a backseat to 'em. What's not to at least sort of like?

Since I watched every millisecond of that series, and the playoffs in both leagues leading up to it, I got quite familiar with those 2002 Anaheim Angels. I like them. A lot. Little David Eckstein. Late-season fireballing reliever Francisco "K-Rod" Rodriguez. Rookie starter John Lackey. Sluggers Tim Salmon and Troy Glaus and moderate superstar Garrett Anderson. Orange County went crazy for those guys, and why wouldn't they? I don't think Los Angeles County batted an eyelash.

Anyway, I posted on my Wants page that I was collecting this team. I didn't actually have any of their cards, but now I do - and they're all minis! A local trader (and Giants fan) named mrhaverkamp, whom I've come to understand is "active" in the shadowy world of "baseball card collecting", had some of these 2003 Topps minis that he couldn't unload fast enough. His note to me said "Get these '02 Angels outta here!". Hey brother, I get it. There's him - and then there's me. I'm happy to have these guys around, and they're the first of what I hope will be a fruitful bunch of collecting this team in the months to come. Thanks, mrhaverkamp!


  1. Waited my whole life for 2002, then went crazy with that win as well. Good times. And that's a nice little set to commemorate it with.

  2. mr. haverkamp is a great guy. as for those 2002 angels, i was definitely rooting for them. i was anti-giants at the time. but i've softened with age. i even started rooting for them in 2010.

  3. I attended what was supposed to be the last Giants game in SF. Saw Dibble get the save for the Reds. Left the stadium thinking they'd be in Florida next season.

    That was a low moment for Giants fans, I'm guessing. Though the Earthquake Series was probably worse. Losses both on and off the field.

    1. Hey Elliptical Man - I was at that game, too! The only thing I remember about it is Dibble, and that was just an insult. Although if I remember correctly, it was only a few weeks later that it became clear that we WEREN'T moving. (I maybe thought, after experiencing the Giants-are-moving-to-Toronto thing in the 70s, that maybe this move wouldn't happen either).

  4. The 2002 World Series is my first clear Fall Classic memory. The Angels have been one of my favorite non-Chicago teams ever since -- and the '02 Angels in particular made me a lifelong David Eckstein fan!


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