Archive for Monday, March 31, 2003

Angels open with thud — again

March 31, 2003

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— The ThunderStix and rally monkeys were out in force, and Game Seven winner John Lackey was on the mound.

The World Series champion Anaheim Angels and their crowd were all set for a fun night. Too bad for them, the Texas Rangers had other ideas.

"It was a great feeling to see the fans and get that feeling again. I just wish we could have rewarded them with a little better game on the field," Anaheim manager Mike Scioscia said after Texas won, 6-3, Sunday in the major league opener.

The Angels began this season the same way they've started all four under Scioscia -- with a thud.

"One more ceremony, and I think we'll be ready to go," Anaheim's David Eckstein said. "We get our rings on Tuesday, and we'd better be ready to play."

Alex Rodriguez, Juan Gonzalez and Michael Young homered, making manager Buck Showalter a winner in his debut with the Rangers.

"It was a special night in a lot of ways," said Showalter, who was particularly moved by the pregame ceremonies honoring American military personnel.

"It was a pretty emotional night for me and the team. It took me about an inning or two to get the emotions out," he said.

The Rangers finished last in the AL West with a 72-90 record last year, but Rodriguez said the team was inspired by what the Angels accomplished.

"It kind of gives everyone a chip for optimism," said Rodriguez, who admitted he has been frustrated by the Rangers' poor records his two years with the club. "We have a great bunch of guys. I think we're a lot more united here than we have been in the last few years.

"I think our appetite is great for winning."

Lackey was hit hard as the Angels stumbled out of the gate again. Last year, they started with a 6-0 loss to Cleveland and fell to a franchise-worst 6-14 before coming back to win a club-record 99 games.

After rousing pregame ceremonies that included the raising of the Angels' first World Series championship flag in their 42-year history, Young quieted the crowd with a three-run shot over the center-field wall off Lackey to give Texas a 4-2 lead in the fourth inning.

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