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ANGEL REPORT

No Time Off for Hudler's Vocal Cords

October 15, 2002|--Bill Shaikin

As the Angel players rested Monday, one day after securing the first World Series invitation in franchise history and five days before the Series begins at Edison Field, one man spoke on their behalf.

For several weeks now, Rex Hudler has spoken on their behalf. Now, with the Angels and San Francisco Giants set for the World Series, the Angels' loquacious broadcaster isn't about to shut up any time soon.

Hudler, who played on the 1995 Angel team that coughed up an 11-game lead, makes no apologies for rooting for the home team. He's the one who coined the nickname "X Factor" for shortstop/catalyst David Eckstein, and fans at Edison Field now cross their big red Thunder Stix into a big X each time Eckstein comes to bat.

Since the playoffs started, Hudler said, he has averaged seven radio appearances per day, from a small FM station in Orange County to a booming sports-talk station in Philadelphia. If he has to get up at 6 a.m. to preach the gospel of the Angels to an East Coast audience, he said, so be it.

"I'm a salesman," Hudler said, "and this team is a salesman's delight."

Hudler thanked his wife, Jennifer, for her understanding during this window of time when the rest of the country is suddenly interested in the Angels.

"If it weren't for this fine product," Hudler said, "I'd be changing diapers full-time."

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Tickets are sold out for World Series games at Edison Field, but the San Francisco Giants are selling tickets at 10 a.m. Wednesday for World Series games at Pacific Bell Park. The Giants play host to the Angels for Games 3, 4 and 5 Oct. 22-24.

The Giants will sell half the tickets at Pacific Bell Park. The other half will be sold online at sfgiants.com and via phone at (510) 762-2277.

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Third baseman Troy Glaus went to the playoffs last season -- not as a participant, but as a guest of former teammate Jim Edmonds, who invited him to one of the Cardinals' playoff games at Busch Stadium. The St. Louis baseball fans are renowned as the best in America, but Glaus said the atmospheres at Busch Stadium last October and Edison Field this October are "very comparable."

To the Angels' red sea of fans, Glaus tipped his cap.

"They're loud, they've got those banging things, and they're into it," Glaus said. "It's great to have that much energy in the ballpark."

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In addition to hitting four home runs in the postseason, Glaus has coined a word. In describing the thrill of playoff intensity, Glaus said Saturday that "every at-bat, every play, every possible thing that could happen could be monstra-mental in the outcome of the game."

Said coach Joe Maddon: "I like that word, an accumulation of all the big things that can happen. I think it's something he picked up at UCLA, and he's been holding back for the appropriate moment to cut it loose."

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The craziest thing about that 10-run seventh inning Sunday that sent the Angels into the World Series? Chone Figgins and Alex Ochoa entered the game as pinch-runners, and each got to bat during an inning in which 15 men came to the plate.

Figgins, on the playoff roster as a pinch-runner, singled. He had not batted previously in the playoffs and is not likely to do so again, so he could finish with a 1.000 postseason average.

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John Lackey and Francisco Rodriguez are the first American League rookie teammates to earn postseason victories since Wilcy Moore and George Pipgras of the 1927 New York Yankees. That team, often labeled as the best in baseball history, featured Lou Gehrig and Babe Ruth in a lineup that gave birth to the nickname "Murderers' Row."

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