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October 10, 2002

Angels Know All About

Playing Second Fiddle

The Chicago White Sox long have believed, often to the point of distraction, that they're second citizens in the Second City.

The Cubs cast a big shadow, it's true, but if the Sox would loosen up a little bit, they would notice that the shadow looks something like a large stuffed animal with motor-skills problems.

The Sox instead might want to start paying attention to the Anaheim Angels, who have managed to work their way out of the Los Angeles Dodgers' shadow and into the light of the playoffs.

"I don't think it's anything tricky," said Angel General Manager Bill Stoneman, who pitched for the Cubs in 1967 and 1968 before being paroled to Montreal. "I don't spend my days thinking, 'We're second to the Dodgers.' My job is to get the best players for [Manager] Mike Scioscia and see how many games he can win with them."

A lot, as it turns out, including Game 2 of the American League championship series on Wednesday night, a 6-3 victory over the Minnesota Twins. Some of the credit goes to Stoneman, a man working with limited resources. At the start of the season, the Angels had a payroll of $61.7 million, 15th out of 30 major league teams.

Disney increased its payroll by $13 million for this season, even though attendance had dropped in 2001. The Angels improved this year, and so did attendance. Funny how that works.

The moral of the Angels' story is that neither ownership nor money is necessarily the most important element in winning. Decision-making abilities are.

"Everybody takes shots at Disney because they're an easy target," Stoneman said. "They think the people upstairs are pulling my strings. There couldn't be anything further from the truth. I wish they weren't selling."

None of that matters right now, not with the Angels in the heat of the playoffs. Come to think of it, the Dodgers don't matter much right now.

Rick Morrissey

Chicago Tribune


Forget Kirby and Hrbek;

Remember Pagliarulo

Remember Mike Pagliarulo.

That should have been the battle cry for the Twins as they headed to Southern California.

There is this mystique surrounding the Twins' glories of 1987 and 1991 that it can be traced strictly to Metrodome magic.

If you're a Twins follower who believes in that, then there's a feeling of gloom this morning after the 6-3 loss to Anaheim.

But the Twins were in exactly this same predicament when playing a very strong Toronto team in the 1991 ALCS.

Four years earlier, the Twins had gone 6-0 in the Metrodome while winning the ALCS and the World Series. This led to the belief around here that hard turf and ear-splitting noise would carry the Twins to victory in any playoff showdown.

Then, in Game 2 of the '91 ALCS, Toronto right-hander Juan Guzman--followed by the hard-throwing bullpen duo of Tom Henke and Duane Ward--shut down the Twins for a 5-2 victory at the Dome.

The Twins headed for Toronto with the series tied, 1-1.

The third game of the league championship series went into extra innings. Pagliarulo hit a home run in the top of the 10th off Mike Timlin. The Twins won 3-2, then won two more against the deflated Blue Jays in the SkyDome and completed a five-game romp through the ALCS.

Patrick Reusse

Minneapolis Star Tribune

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