Baseball BeatAugust 30, 2008
Having a Ball at the Angels Game
By Rich Lederer

My nephew Casey went to the Angels game Friday night and was caught on TV holding up a ball that coach Alfredo Griffin had flipped to him earlier that evening.


Casey is 8 years old. He lives in Phoenix. His family is in town for his older brother Troy's ice hockey tournament in Valencia and my Mom's 80th birthday, which we will celebrate at our house on Sunday. Casey was accompanied at the Angels-Rangers game by his cousin Brett. The latter is a professional golfer who qualified for his first Nationwide Tour event – the Northeast Pennsylvania Classic – last week. He shot 70-70 and missed the cut by one stroke. Brett, the 2007 Big West Conference champion, won his first pro tournament – the Rising Star Open on the Adams Golf ProTour Series – a month earlier.

Brett took the following photo of Casey and immediately emailed it to his Dad (my brother Tom), who forwarded it to me while the game was in progress.


In the Dept. of the Circle of Life, the logo on the retro Angels hat that Casey is wearing was designed by his grandfather. The hat made its debut in 1971 and lasted all of one season. I guess the small "a" was never meant to be in a stadium known as the Big A. Nonetheless, the Angels held a retro hat promotion on May 15. It seems as if these hats are now more popular than ever.

Casey and Brett are going to the Angels-Rangers game tonight. However, they won't be in the front row this time. Instead, the cousins will be using my tickets on the club level. The likelihood of catching a ball is remote. That said, they should see a good contest as Jered Weaver will be on the hill for the Halos.

What am I doing to miss Weaver in action? Well, Tom and I are heading to Valencia to watch Troy play an ice hockey game. Our brother Gary is the coach.

Now THAT is called family fun.


Complete aside, but this does something to put the skepticism about the NHL expanding into the south ito some perspective. A Phoenix boy travelling to LA for a hockey tournament... I don't think we would be seeing that without the Coyotes, Kings and Ducks.

Hi Chris, I agree. I believe the explosion in the California and Arizona markets occurred after the Kings acquired Wayne Gretzky 20 years ago almost to the day. My brother Gary and I went in with two other friends to purchase season tickets for the 1988-89 season, and we held them for at least a half dozen years (including the year in which the Kings made it to the Stanley Cup finals).

Although the Kings joined the NHL as part of the sport's first expansion in 1967, ice hockey didn't have much impact until the Great One came to town. In fact, Jack Kent Cooke, the original owner of the Kings, had been told that there were over 300,000 former Canadians living within a three-hour drive of Los Angeles and remarked, "Now I know why they left Canada: They hate hockey!" Cooke sold the Kings, Lakers, and Forum in 1979 to Jerry Buss.

Gary played ice hockey in Southern California during the late 1970s as a teenager and throughout the 1980s when he was a young adult, but the sport has grown by leaps and bounds among youths over the past two decades.

My brother now coaches his son's team. The Phoenix-based Polar Bears qualified for the Pee Wee "A" Division (11-12 year olds) International Silver Stick Championship in Port Huron, Michigan last year. The tournament consists of eight teams from Canada and eight teams from across the US. Teams qualify for the international championship by winning a sectional tournament. The Polar Bears won the Western Regional in Dallas to qualify. Another team from Phoenix won the Pacific Regional in California.

The two Phoenix teams were the only clubs from the U.S. to make the final eight (two Phoenix teams vs. six Canadian teams in the championship round). The Polar Bears lost in the quarter-finals (4-3) to Sarnia, Canada (which lost in the finals), while the Jr. Coyotes lost in the semi-finals (3-2 to the eventual champions).

As for Los Angeles, an L.A. Hockey Club won the Pee Wee National Championship at the USA Hockey National Championship this past year.

From that very seat, Rich Lederer was taped dancing to stadium music and edited into an inter-inning Angel Stadium jumbotron feature backed by some hip-hop song with a prominent chorus that chants "HEY! HO!" Rich appears twice in the segment and has some pretty rockin' moves to the groove.

The 90-second HEY-HO-RICH clip is played at Angel Stadium day games in the middle of the 8th inning (the point where a feature of "highlights from around the league" is played at night games). Rich's clip has made it into some evening affairs that went extra innings, the point where the increasingly scripted stadium experience breaks down.

Rich, GREAT post. That little one sure has the "Lederer" look. Anyhow, this post is the reason why the Internet, and you specifically are so cool. Love it.