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A Dream of Angels

October 29, 2002

The World Series was about thunder sticks, rally monkeys and little boys unexpectedly underfoot. It was about San Francisco wishing upon a superstar and Anaheim responding with a constellation of constantly shifting lesser stars.

The Angels' triumph over the Giants also was about time. Forty-two years since the first flight of Angels landed. A year since the Angels finished 41 games out of first. Angel fans used thundering sticks to beat back the "curse of the singing cowboy." Now Willie Brown is getting measured for a Gene Autry-style cowboy hat, and Anaheim Mayor Tom Daly's campaign manager is hoping that, come Nov. 5, the Angels will prove to have coattails.

Barry Bonds silenced critics who said he was no Mr. October. But the Angels did it again Sunday in the grandest of their postseason string of come-from-behind wins. Garret Anderson -- the team's only bona fide All-Star -- provided all the needed runs early on, freeing the Angels to pour the champagne without the rally monkey on their back.

It is the worst of sports cliches, but the Angels' postseason ride was a team effort.

Three rookies went to the mound Sunday for the Angels -- including Francisco Rodriguez, who became a trivia answer a few days earlier by logging his first two major league victories during postseason games. Platoon player Adam Kennedy joined Babe Ruth, George Brett, Reggie Jackson and Bob Robertson, the only players to have hit three home runs during a single postseason game. Troy Glaus hit a Bonds-like .385 during the series to earn the most-valuable-player award, and Manager Mike Scioscia did what 15 of his Angel predecessors could only dream.

Baseball team owners probably will ignore those eardrum-splitting thunder sticks when they meet this winter. They'll mumble something about insurance regulations and instead close down Dusty Baker's child-care clinic. That would be unfortunate because the televised images of little boys with dreamy eyes the size of major league baseballs reminded us why, to so many, baseball still means so much.

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