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Never-Say-Die Makes It a Tie

Angel fans watched with dread as the Giants ran up a 5-zip lead. Then the Angels struck back.

October 27, 2002|David McKibben and Janet Wilson | Times Staff Writers

Angels fans throughout Orange County thanked God and the rally monkey Saturday night as the team came from behind to tie the World Series.

From the mall to the barstool to the living room Barcalounger, fans rode a sometimes-nauseating wave of excitement as Anaheim staged a pulse-quickening rally to beat the San Francisco Giants 6-5, setting up a seventh climactic game today.

While many hard core Angels fans watched most of the game in a state of dread, the memory of Thursday night's drubbing fresh in their memories, a late inning rally sent their spirits soaring.

"You don't turn off an Angels game until the last swing," crowed Anaheim fan Tom Milowicki, 45, who watched the game at the Huddle, in Costa Mesa.

"It's unreal. I had an asthma attack," said fan Heather Pone, who watched in her parents' Anaheim living room. Pone, 28, who arranged her wedding plans around the Angels' game schedule and drives a Dodge Neon with the license plate, "HALOFAN," said she tuned in with butterflies in her stomach.

She said that despite a lot of long faces around her when the score was 5-zip in favor of the Giants, she never gave up hope. "We've come back from more. This is a team you just don't give up on."

Others were not as steely.

"In the sixth inning, I was pretty shaky," said Todd Edette, 32. He was hoarse from shouting over the din at Oggi's Pizza and Brewing Company in Mission Viejo. "I thought they'd blow it again at the last minute. I'm kind of afraid for Game 7."

Meanwhile, a stone's throw from UC Irvine, the Steelhead Brewing Company attracted a more international crowd whose loyalties were clearly divided.

A gaggle of MBA students who gathered at the brewery in one of their monthly mixers quickly found themselves in debate.

"Loosen up all you Angels' band-wagoneers, the Giants rule," bellowed Giants' fan Tommy Nguyen, 28, of Modesto. Nguyen, who said he had two golf games and two cases of beer riding on the series outcome, drew increasingly irritated stares from others at the bar during the early innings.

Classmate Ali Mozayeni, 25, of Newport Beach, jeered Nguyen. "Send him back to NoCal," he shouted. Although Mozayeni said he'd been an Angel's fan for all of three weeks, he said his bond with the team was solid. "Listen, listen, if your hometown is in the World Series, you support them."

Nguyen, who grew louder and giddier as the game progressed, turned ecstatic when Giants home-run king Barry Bonds slammed one out of the park in the sixth inning. "Those Angels fans are going to be pulling out their Giants hats."

The rest of the room fell silent.

Nearby, Todd Holbrook, 31, sat impassively, his back to a nearby television set. A die-hard Yankees fan from Tenafly, N.J., Holbrook cast a sour eye on the spectacle.

"It's two loser teams fighting it out for nothing," he said. "The next season starts April first."

The dynamics of the game and the mood of the bar shifted abruptly in the seventh inning, when Angel Scott Spiezio knocked a three-run homer into right field. At Edison International field, spectators began dancing in the aisles.

They never stopped.

"From having nothing to having everything is incredible,'' said John Lologo of Irvine. "There's really no reason for the Giants to show up tomorrow."

Just before the Angels' offensive explosion, a Yankee fan ripped the head off a stuffed Rally Monkey and threw it at a group of Angels fans. Andy Kerr, 27, of Aliso Viejo, caught it. He never let go.

"After that, I kept it in my left hand. And they've scored six runs. Don't mess with the monkey."

Meanwhile, at the Shops at Mission Viejo, Angel fans learned developments by word of mouth.

In the early innings, as the Giants widened their lead, Dale Ferbert, 36, found himself without a television and surrounded by people in Halloween costumes at The Picture People, a photography studio.

"I'd rather be at home, frankly," said Ferbert, as he adjusted a flowing gold wig. "I was told I had to come."

Ferbert, his wife, Loran, 35, and their two children were dressed as Goldilocks and the Three Bears. Despite Ferbert's desire to watch the game at home, his family had decided that the sixth game of the World Series wasn't going to stop them from having their annual Halloween picture taken.

Told that the Angels were falling farther and farther behind, Loran Ferbert said she had already braced herself for what was to come. "We already have disappointment," Ferbert said of the Angels' loss Thursday night. "There was nothing we could do. We were hoping they'd win that night."

Not all the action Saturday was on the baseball field. A pilot towing a banner advertising the Knott's Berry Farm theme park above Edison Field was forced to make an emergency landing on a street -- in traffic -- when his Cessna 150 lost fuel pressure.

No one was injured when Martin Eckman, 61, touched his single-engine craft down in the 1200 block of North Kraemer Avenue. "It was a nice road, not a whole lot of traffic on it," Eckman said.

But the unexpected touchdown was just the kind of incident Anaheim police had in mind when they tried to convince federal aviation officials to ban banner-toting aircraft from over the stadium during the World Series.

"We're responsible for the security at the stadium, and that doesn't stop on the ground," said Sgt. Rick Martinez. "It's safe to say, we were all very lucky."

Eckman, who identified himself as an Angels fan, said he has towed banners over the stadium dfor 20 years without any problems.

Oddly enough, the forced landing gave Eckman his first opportunity in years to watch the conclusion of the game live.


Times staff writers David Haldane, Mike Anton and Monte Morin contributed to this report.

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