Retro Series: AJ, Texas Ranger (Originally posted 5-1-2013)

Today was another game that wasn’t planned at the start of the season, but a good deal on Groupon and an itch to see baseball (again, before I knew I’d be attending Padres Opening Day) resulted in Lauren and I attending our first Angels game of the year, versus the dreaded Texas Rangers.

We arrived at the stadium as the gates were opening and after a painless pickup of the tickets from the friendly Groupon people in front of the park, we were set to go and experience our first batting practice of the year. The Angels were finishing hitting as we made our way down to the field, and made their way into the clubhouse. We were able to watch the entire Rangers bp and warmups, but despite spending two hours watching practice, no one came over to sign or even threw a ball our way. I did later find out that my friend, Steve, who was at the game, got his first bp ball ever from Jerome Williams, so at least I knew one adult who didn’t get shut out. It was pretty neat seeing Yu Darvish stretch and throw near us, though thankfully he wasn’t pitching that night.

Instead we got to see Derek Holland, with one of the top ERAs in the American league, versus Joe Blanton, who has virtually been the Angels staff punching bag this season. Surprisingly, the Angels managed to score six runs on Holland and Blanton pitched well enough to win, giving up four runs, but Scott Downs blew the save, and Ernesto Frieri lost the game.

Not only did Frieri lose the game, but he managed to lose it in quite possibly the worst way he could have, at least as far as my biased little head sees it. A little back story: AJ Pierzynski, the current Ranger starting catcher, is my least favorite player in baseball. He is half of the reason that I despised the White Sox, and why Michael Barrett who once punched him in the face, will always be one of my favorite Cubs. I once attended an Angels-White Sox game solely to boo him as loudly and vehemently as I could. AJ gets no love in Anaheim either, after an extremely questionable call in which he was involved, proceeded to lose a playoff game (and eventual series) to the White Sox.

Pierzynski proceeded to break the hearts of Angel fans as he lined a pitch from closer Frieri into right field to give the Rangers the win. Not exactly how I had scripted my first Angels game of the year. Joe Nathan came in for the save for the Rangers and my baseball record for the years stands at 1-1, a .500 winning percentage.

Our next game is a Sunday day game versus Baltimore and though I’m not holding out a lot of hope for baseballs or autographs before a day game, I’ve been surprised before, but I do, at least, hope to get back to a winning record on the season!

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