By On the occasion of our 20th anniversary
By Gustavo Arellano
By R. Scott Moxley
By Alfonso Delgado
By Courtney Hamilton
By Joel Beers
By Peter Maguire
By Charles Lam
So did you go see your Anaheim Angels play the surprising Tampa Bay Rays this past Monday—not so much to enjoy the game, but to get yourself a John Lackey bobblehead doll? What, you didn't know? You'll go next time the Halos offer such a collectible? Tough tamales, Pedro—no more bobbleheads for the rest of the year. Instead, the Angels revert to such tried-and-true giveaways as crappy hats, flimsy binders for the kiddies and Friday-night fireworks that they light for your enjoyment (piss on the Los Angeles Dodgers all you want, but I'm sure they'd give their bleacher bums some M-80s to toss at opposing players).
Not all is lost—there are some good goodies to be had this summer. Here are the best:
RALLY NOODLE: Now that those horrific ThunderStix are no longer in vogue (and thank God for that—it's not kosher to say, but the X that fans hoisted by crossing two Stix whenever midget David Eckstein batted was fruit-tay), enjoy the latest in fan distractions—wannabe Terrible Towels! (Vs. New York Mets, first 30,000 fans, June 18, 7:05 p.m.)
TWELVE-PACK COOLER: Owner Arte Moreno's first act as patron was to lower beer costs, and he continues this proud alcoholic tradition by handing out these storage units to all fans. Perfect for smuggling beers. (Vs. Oakland A's, Aug. 25, 7:05 p.m.)
NIGHT-LIGHT: Apparently, Angels brass don't think the A's will bring in many fans without presents, even though they're the team's most bitter American League West rivals. Two days after the cooler comes a night-light. No clue yet on how it'll look, except the Angels' website promises it will light up your room in 3-D. May this gimmick be the last Disney influence outside of those lame fake rocks and waterfall. (Vs. Oakland A's, Aug. 27, 7:05 p.m.)
SALSA BOWL: Nothing like a good-natured nod toward Orange County's Mexicans to get gabachos riled up, so it'll be interesting to see how fans react when they receive a free salsa bowl. Will they toss it in the trash? Rail about illegals? Use it for their Pace Picante come Super Bowl time? Refuse it on principle? The possibilities are endless—and caliente! (Vs. Seattle Mariners, Sept. 13, 12:55 p.m.)
NEW YORK YANKEES: No giveaways scheduled for the Sept. 8 to 10 series between the two squads, but considering the Angels are the only team with a winning record against the Bronx Bombers over the past decade and that the Yankees are gawd-awful this year, this is likely the last remaining sure sweep.