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Angel Fans Play a Waiting Game

Baseball: About 20,000 unexpectedly show up for a chance at buying World Series tickets--just in case.


An unprecedented crowd of about 20,000 Anaheim Angel fans, gambling on the chance to buy World Series tickets, swarmed Edison International Field early Wednesday.

The massive turnout took Angel officials and Anaheim police by surprise. Police hurriedly called in about 80 officers--some in riot gear--to help manage the line, which had wrapped itself around the stadium twice before numbered wristbands were distributed at 6 a.m.

"We expected to have large crowds, but we did not expect to have this many," Sgt. Rick Martinez said.

The crowd occasionally grew impatient, but the sales were mostly orderly. Many in the crowd passed the time lounging in lawn chairs, reading newspapers and chatting on cell phones as they waited to buy tickets to four possible home games ranging in price from $60 to $175. Fans were limited to four tickets per game.

Some wily fans avoided the crush altogether, instead jamming telephone lines and the Internet.

Deborah Parks of Chino started strategizing Tuesday. She stayed home and tracked down out-of-state phone numbers for Ticketmaster, figuring the California lines would all be busy.

She settled on Orlando, first calling at 6 a.m. with hopes the tickets would go on sale at 9 a.m. Eastern time. No, a Ticketmaster agent said, call back in three hours.

She called a couple minutes early, allotting just enough time to run through the lengthy automated system. At 9 a.m., she was ready to buy World Series tickets. She charged about $2,000 to her credit card and bought 16 tickets--four to each game. She was off the phone by 9:21 a.m.

"I just tried to figure out what everybody else would be doing," said Parks, a fan for 11 years. Then she did the opposite. It paid off--for now, anyway.

There's no guarantee the Angels will advance past the Minnesota Twins and into the World Series for the first time in the team's 42-year history. The Angels had not been to the playoffs since 1986.

Hours after Parks secured her tickets, 34-year-old Matt Russell of Laguna Beach was still waiting at the stadium, with a book--"Art and Propaganda in the 20th Century"--in hand. He's not even an Angel fan.

"This is the first time I ever bought tickets for an event like this," Russell said. "I'm looking to make money. Tell all my friends to call me."

Even among the fans, there was no shortage of deal-making. James Orosco, 25, of Anaheim sold his wristband for $50. A family friend was buying his tickets. He made a beer run in the midafternoon to help pass the time and said the whole experience was less than fun. But he wouldn't have it any other way.

"The World Series is once in a lifetime," Orosco said. "If they do make it, I'm not going to sit at home and say, 'Darn, I wish I would have gotten in line.' "

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