Oh! somewhere in this favored land the sun is shining bright;
The band is playing somewhere, and somewhere hearts are light;
And somewhere men are laughing and somewhere children shout,
But there is no joy in Mudville--mighty Casey has struck out. --Ernest Lawrence Thayer
Last Sunday night, with two outs and two strikes in the top of the ninth inning, Angels fans could almost taste the victory that would take their club to the World Series. Angels players were ready to taste the champagne, a taste denied them when they lost the playoffs in 1982.
Although they lost that night, fans' support for the team never waned, with thousands camped out on the parking lot at Anaheim stadium for the right to buy tickets for a World Series that would never take place.
In Boston on Tuesday, it was strike two. Strike three came Wednesday night, when the Red Sox won their third straight outing against the Angels to take the American League pennant.
There was plenty of laughing and shouting in Beantown, but precious little in Orange County Wednesday night as the Sox racked up run after unanswered run.
By 7:05 p.m., Jim Maynard was leaving Bilbo Baggins, a Costa Mesa bar. A Mets fan, Maynard was heading home for Laguna Beach, waving off incoming patrons arriving to watch the game on television.
"Don't bother, man," he shouted. "It's 7-nothing. Don't go in there. It's full of Angel fans and they're depressed."
"Typical California crowd," said the bar's owner, Jim Esposito. "Dodgers, Rams, Raiders--they're all falling apart."
With the innings running out, Esposito was not willing to give up. "They've pulled it off before," he said. "They were a pitch away from winning. God Almighty, let it happen just once!"
With time running out, no one suggested that Angels' manager Gene Mauch be stuffed and put on display at owner Gene Autry's planned cowboy museum in Los Angeles, but fans at the bar voted 7-2 that the manager made a mistake by changing pitchers Sunday night.
"Poor Autry," Esposito said, as hard liquor began to outsell beer at the bar.
Don Fisher of Costa Mesa had one eye on the future.
"You'll see a different Angel team next year," said Fisher, who attended Sunday night's game and defended Mauch's judgment. "And it's not done till it's all done. Anything can happen."
But nothing did, as the Angels went under at 8:03 p.m.
"Next year, buddy," said Steve Maynard of Newport Beach, who held World Series tickets. "Jim," he said to Esposito, "change the channel, OK?"