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Those Heavenly Angels Reward the Faithful

October 25, 2002

Thanks so much to Joe Mathews for his heartfelt "Through the Rabbit Hole to the Angels' World Series" (Oct. 22), about the Anaheim Angels and their faithful, finally rewarded fans. As one of those fans since 1968, I have seen some of the most thrilling games -- no-hitters, record-setting performances, last-minute wins -- more than enough to fill a lifetime. I can't count the nights I went to sleep with headphones tuned to a late game, hoping to nod off with an Angel win.

My best birthday and graduation presents were Angels tickets. My dad would invariably yell insults at players he thought were dogging it. He also gave unsolicited advice to the likes of then-Manager Gene Mauch, who was too polite to go into the dugout in time to avoid his persistent lecture on the merits of playing Jack Howell at third base. I wouldn't trade those memories for anything.

But now I have a cup overflowing with new images: David Eckstein, with his Brian Downing-like persistence; Scott Spiezio and his ever-present grin and Bobby Grich-like reflexes; the sight of Tim Salmon going "upstream" and the image of Gene Autry's smile from center field. Just like the baseball that Doug DeCinces tossed to me at a freeway series (just for booing the Dodgers), this Angels team is a real keeper. Win or lose, it has already given us the journey of a lifetime. Go Angels!

Julie T. Byers

Temple City

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