Angels fans remaining faithful despite disappointing season

Chris Cruz has been an Angels season ticket holder for years. Cruz, 44, of Irvine, said she has been in the same department at the bullpen since 2016 and has been a fan of the team since 1989. Coming to the stadium to watch the Angels play has always been about more than boxing results.

“We’ve had to watch some of these guys that are here get through it [minor league] System,” said Cruz ahead of the Angels’ 8-7 win over the Seattle Mariners. “We have to meet some of the players, we get to know their families.

“I care about the people. I also have a baseball family here. And we can meet and talk. … Win, lose, we can connect with people.”

The Angels had already won their seventh straight season long before Cruz and the announced crowd of 37,480 fans showed up. Another Angels loss — or another Tampa Bay Rays win (since Friday in the last AL wildcard game) — will mathematically eliminate them from the playoffs.

But fans like Cruz have continued to return faithfully this season, overlooking the losses, coming to experience the experience and seeing some of baseball’s brightest stars, Mike Trout and Shohei Ohtani.

“I love coming to angel games because it’s just beautiful,” said 11-year-old Dylan Frias, who was trying to get a ball from some players preparing for the right field play. “It’s just such a vibe. I love watching Trout and Ohtani play their hearts out.”

Trout gave the fans exactly what they wanted in the fifth inning when he hit a commanding solo home run over the midfield wall and caused a deafening cheer from the crowd. His solo shot, his 36th of the season, gave the Angels a 5-3 lead.

The Angels' Mike Trout gestures as he rounds first base after hitting a solo homer in the fifth inning.

Angels star Mike Trout gestures as he rounds first base after hitting a solo homer in the fifth inning on Friday.

(Mark J. Terrill / Associated Press)

It also extended its home run streak at Angel Stadium to five straight games.

Trout’s Bobblehead Night also added to the appeal of Friday’s game.

“Even if they lose or not,” said Wesley King, 37, another lifelong Angels fan from Banning who was at the game with his family, including his 7-year-old nephew. “He still enjoys coming to the games. And it was bobblehead day, so that was good too. That helped a lot.”

Angels fans were also treated to some other hilarious moments, such as Luis Rengifo’s first career multi-home run game. He hit a solo home run in the third and then a three-run home run in the sixth, giving the Angels an 8-4 lead. The shots also made him the first Angels player to home from both sides of the plate since Kendry’s Morales in 2012.

The Angels' Luis Rengifo looks to the sky after hitting a solo home run in the third inning on Sept. 16, 2022.

The Angels’ Luis Rengifo looks to the sky after hitting a solo home run in the third inning. He added a three-run blast in the sixth.

(Mark J. Terrill / Associated Press)

“We love baseball,” Jackie Shirley, 68, a longtime Angels fan from Fullerton, said of why she keeps coming back. “And there are always surprises. The last game we went to, we specifically wanted to see Shohei’s pitch. We got lucky and he threw and he hit a home run. And you know, it’s just these little magic moments for us.”

Jared Walsh update

Walsh was recovering from surgery in early September to correct his thoracic outlet syndrome. He explained that the procedure involved removing his first rib on his left side, the scalene muscle in his neck, and “cutting off the pectoral muscle.”

When asked when he’ll feel 100%, Walsh said, “100%? I think he said it’s usually five to six months. But…I should be able to swing the bat over like Thanksgiving, which is probably around the time I usually start batting anyway.

https://www.latimes.com/sports/angels/story/2022-09-16/angels-fans-remaining-faithful-mariners-recap-mlb Angels fans remaining faithful despite disappointing season

Emma Bowman

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