The Perfect Day

My God, I’m a Prophet.

Either that, or a string of not-so-improbable coincidences came together to allow today to happen as I forecast (or, rather, kinda-sorta hoped for) in my Friday night post.  Yes, I was at the game today.  And yes, the Angels clinched the 2007 Western Division Championship!  So now, it’s on to the ALDS against either Boston, New York, or (snicker) Detroit.

It’s the first time I’ve ever been at the stadium for something this special.  I went to a Stanley Cup Finals game in 1993 as the Kings lost to Montreal.  I was at the L.A. Coliseum for an amazing come-from-behind victory by my alma mater UCLA over USC in (I think) 1998.  This was neither a championship game nor was it a special, season-making victory over a rival.  But this was the most special of the bunch.

First off, no Angels fan has seen their team clinch the Western Division in that stadium since 1986.  The last two have been on the road.  That’s why, after the losses of the last two days, I had a feeling of destiny as I walked underneath the gigantic caps at the entrance of the stadium today.  This has probably been the greatest regular season this franchise has ever had (it is in my estimation, at least), and I knew they’d want the culmination of their efforts to pay off in their home stadium (where they hold the best home record in baseball.)  From the first pitch, you could feel that John Lackey was going to make this his day, and Jeff Weaver didn’t stand a chance.

And that’s the way it turned out.

Weaver ended up hitting three batters (including Howie Kendrick twice), and left in the 5th with a "torn thumbnail" (ie:  "Can’t find the plate with both hands and a flashlight.")

I think my favorite moment of the game was the top of the 9th.  I was dreading seeing Frankie Rodriguez on the mound, but he came in, threw about 6 fastballs, and ended the game with a pop-up to Garret Anderson.  If K-Rod can throw like that in the playoffs, we have nothing to fear.

But honestly, none of that was what made this game so special to me.  Sure it was great to see the Halos clinch the West.  Sure, it was a sight to behold as Garret Anderson caught the fly and the Angels came storming out of the dugout, a mass huddle of celebration right on the infield.  It actually brought tears to my eyes as the announcer referred to them as "The 2007 American League Western Division Champion Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim!"

But none of it was as important as the fact that I got to see this with my best friend of the last 33 years of my life.

My dad.

Thanks, Pop.  Thanks for going to the game with me.  Thanks for teaching me to love this sport.

Thank you for everything.

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