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THE INSIDE TRACK | PAGE TWO / RANDY HARVEY

Angels Gave It a Go, but the Party's Over

September 23, 1998|RANDY HARVEY

Turn out the lights at Edison Field.

Many fans were late-arriving for the party. The crowd of 38,987 Tuesday night was not quite respectable for the second game of a series that probably will decide how the AL West was won but an improvement over the night before.

The fans Tuesday night also acted as if they had more of an emotional stake in the game. The Angels said they wanted to play in front of a home crowd like one on the East Coast, like New York or Philadelphia or Boston, and got their wish. When they left the field after the top of the eighth inning, down, 9-0, they were booed.

These Angels deserve better.

"I've never been around a group of guys who pulled together like this," Manager Terry Collins said before the game.

"When push comes to shove, talent stands out. That's why the teams that spend $60 million, come September and October, they're there. But these guys are getting it done with guts alone."

He quickly realized he had insulted some outstanding ballplayers, Tim Salmon, Darin Erstad, Garret Anderson, Jim Edmonds, Chuck Finley and Troy Percival to name a few.

"With some talent," Collins added.

It was clear what he meant. The Angels have some talent but not as much as the Yankees, the Indians, the Red Sox and, apparently, the Rangers.

As a result, this season seems destined to be remembered as the fifth straight in which Collins finished second as a major league manager, the first three with the Houston Astros, and another one in which the Angels couldn't hang on in September.

They still have a mathematical chance. They are two games behind but have five to play, including another one tonight at Edison Field against the Rangers. But considering the Rangers' two consecutive 9-1 victories over the Angels, four straight wins including two last week in Arlington, that is hardly cause for optimism, no matter what Yogi Berra might say.

*

How many American League contenders can say their MVP is their ninth hitter? . . .

Besides the Angels, I mean. . . .

The players voted the award to shortstop DiSarcina, proving, Collins said, that the Angels are getting contributions from the top to the bottom of their order. . . .

"If we hadn't, there would be about five of you standing here asking me how we're going to get better next year because we'd be eight or nine games out of first place," he said. . . .

Instead, there were about 30 sportswriters surrounding Collins, asking how the Angels were going to get better Tuesday night after the 9-1 loss to the Rangers 24 hours before. . . .

"What's this, New York?" Angel left fielder Gregg Jefferies said when he saw the media mob. . . .

No, if it were New York, you could read about baseball on the front page of the paper. . . .

Either Mark McGwire, Sammy Sosa or both have had their names in the New York Post's lead headline four times within the last week, bumping Monica and Bill. . . .

Rupert Murdoch, who owns the Post, once said that sex and sports sell newspapers. . . .

He must like sports more. . . .

Angel fans were criticized for not coming out in force for the first game of the most important series of the season, but Ranger fans weren't watching, either. . . .

Not when the Cowboys were on "Monday Night Football." . . .

Both the Cowboys and the Rangers outscored the New York Giants. . . .

Anaheim Sports, Inc., boasted about its "baseball-only stadium," then scheduled a football game there for Saturday. . . .

It's the much-anticipated North-South matchup between Concord De La Salle and Mater Dei. . . .

The Big Ed scoreboard operator can't wait. The nicknames over the Angel and Ranger lineups before Tuesday night's game read Monarchs and Bulldogs.

*

USC has a noise machine at its practices this week in an attempt to prepare for the crowd at Florida State on Saturday. . . .

"But I don't think we can get a humidity machine," Coach Paul Hackett said. . . .

Carson Palmer-mania seems to have subsided. Hackett's press conference Tuesday was the first in which he hasn't been asked about the freshman quarterback. . . .

Ready to return home to Los Angeles from Florida, Pete Sampras is house-hunting on the west side. . . .

He will train at UCLA, where his sister, Stella, is the women's tennis coach. . . .

The NBA is expected to announce Thursday that training camps, scheduled to open in October, have been canceled. . . .

For young athletes who wanted to be like Florence Griffith Joyner, she offered this advice: "Don't want to be be like me. Be better than me. Shoot high." . . .

Marion Jones, who was 12 when FloJo set her 100 and 200-meter world records in 1988, took her seriously. . . .

Unlike other sprinters who have been intimidated by Griffith Joyner's 21st Century times, Jones has vowed to break the records. . . .

Does anyone still believe track and field is an amateur sport? According to the Chicago Tribune, Jones, who went to Thousand Oaks High, will earn $2 million this year in prize money, endorsements and appearance fees. . . .

Fledgling horseplayers still have the rest of this week to take advantage of wagering seminars at Fairplex Park. I went Sunday, then lost both races I bet. . . .

You can lead a bettor to the window, but you can't make him win. . . .

*

While wondering how the Angels are going to get better next season, I was thinking: Bob Toledo was smart to sign a two-year contract extension now because he doesn't have any more Texas teams on the schedule, the Bruins might need a hurricane machine to get ready for their game Saturday at Miami, Ryan Leaf is not a good recommendation for Washington State's school of communications.

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