The Great American Baseball Trip

Game 18

Toronto Blue Jays vs. Anaheim Angels

Friday, July 18, 1997 - 7:05pm

Anaheim Stadium

Anaheim, California

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Pre-Game Report
 The Angels are the hottest team in baseball. The Blue Jays are struggling to make it to the end of the season. I don't see much of a matchup here -- Angels should run away with this one.

Stadium Stats - Anaheim Stadium

Surface: Grass
Capacity: 45,000 (projected)
Dimensions: Left Field: 370 feet, Center Field: 404 feet, Right Field: 370 feet

baseball diamond image

Team Profiles
Jays Logo

Toronto Blue Jays

 The American League East, with the defending World Champion New York Yankees and the always dangerous Baltimore Orioles, is arguably the toughest division in baseball. Unfortunately, despite some notable offseason moves, the Blue Jays still seem to lack the consistent power needed to be a contender.

 With addition of Roger Clemens, the Blue Jays now have one of the strongest rotations in baseball. In Clemens, Juan Guzman and Pat Hentgen, the Blue Jays send a former Cy Young Winner (Clemens owns three awards), the defending Cy Young Winner (Hentgen), the defending ERA champion and runner up (Guzman and Hentgen respectively) and the three pitchers that held batters to the lowest averages in the league last season. Joining them is Eric Hanson, who besides battling injuries has several good seasons left in him, and a bullpen led by Dan Plesac and Mike "the knife" Timlin.

 In addition to the strong pitching staff, the Jays have a strong defensive core. But, the loss of Roberto Alomar and John Olerud is being felt at the plate. Joe Carter's production has waned over the past few seasons, veteran catcher Benito Santiago is focused on his catching rather than his hitting, and the injury bug has sidelined most of the young prospects the Jays' were depending on for quick infusion of power. And, since neither Otis Nixon nor Orlando Merced are known as power hitters, the Blue Jays will have to look deeper for the power they will need.

Angels Logo

Anaheim Angels

 The Angels aren't the same team that finished 70-91 in 1996. They have a new name (from California to Anaheim), new uniforms, a new logo, and a newly renovated stadium. Plus, the Angels went out and changed their roster, adding both hitting and pitching to make them contenders in the tough American League West.

 Unfortunately, the Angels starting rotation, even with changes, can not compete with the elite pitching staffs in the league. Chuck Finley and Mark Langston will lead the rotation with off-season addition Mark Gubizca and veteran Jim Abbott following in their wake. Todd Van Poppel, if he can find his rhythm, Jason Dickson, if he can mature into a major league talent, and Allen Watson, if he can find the skills that made him a number one draft pick, will all challenge for the fifth spot. The two who don't end up starting will join Mike James, Pep Harris, Japanese import Shigetoshi Hasegawa and Chuck McElroy as long relievers and set up men. Troy Percival, who saved 36 games and struck out 100 batters in 74 innings will be the closer.

 The Angels continue to have one of the youngest, most exciting, lineups in the majors. Shortstop Gary Discarsina is expected to blossom into a talented hitter and on-field leader while Darin Erstad, who was a high school star in three sports (none of which being baseball) will provide some much needed speed and excitement in the leadoff spot. The additions of veteran DH Eddie Murray and third baseman Dave Hollins will provide leadership to this inexperienced team. And, the Angels outfield, with Jim Edmonds in center, Tim Salmon in right, and Garret Anderson is not only the youngest starting outfield in the majors, it is said to be the best trio of young outfielders in decades.

Post-Game Report
 The Blue Jays came all the way from Toronto and stole one from the hometown Angels 2-1 in a big league pitchers duel. The loss ended the Angles 10 game winning streak and put them a game and a half out in the race for the AL West title.

Check out all the details here, including my impressions of the stadium, batting practice, the team management I met, being up in the press box, the food, and the game and the fans

Highlights from the City of Anaheim

Did you know that Anaheim doesn't have a nickname? Interesting...

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