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Angels Celebrate in Disneyland

October 29, 2002

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ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) _ With Jackie Autry riding alongside Mickey Mouse, tens of thousands of screaming Angels fans cheered their championship team Tuesday at a Disneyland parade.

Manager Mike Scioscia held the World Series trophy aloft in a theme park awash in Angels red, with shirts, hats and faces painted with halos.

Many people lined up outside the theme park before dawn in hopes of getting good seats along what was being called the highway to heaven.

Autry, the widow of Gene Autry, who formed the expansion team in 1961 before selling it to The Walt Disney Co., rode in the parade with Mickey Mouse.

A second parade followed, beginning at Arrowhead Pond, home of the NHL’s Mighty Ducks, and ending at Edison Field, home of the Angels. Players, coaches and their families rode on top of a dozen fire trucks and other emergency vehicles to the stadium, where a rally was held.

Mike Goetz, 44, arrived at Edison Field at 5:30 a.m. with signs that read, ``Thanks for the dream, Walt and Gene″ and ``And after the seventh game, we party.″

The parade and rally at Edison Field were free. However, fans had to buy admission to Disneyland and a later event featuring the players at Disney’s California Adventure park. Disney has come under criticism for charging fans for the events at the two parks.

Cherie-Amor Rodriguez, 17, said she got her mother’s permission to skip school.

``I probably shouldn’t tell you that, but we wanted to make sure we were here,″ she said from Disneyland.

Disney characters carrying ThunderStix and other paraphernalia took to the streets to rally the crowd.

``I’m here for these wonderful guys called the Angels,″ Linda Johnen said. She held ThunderStix on which she had written, ``They are the wind beneath my wings.″

The Angels had never won a playoff series before beating the New York Yankees this month in an American League division series. They followed by beating Minnesota to win the pennant and then defeated San Francisco in seven games in the World Series.

The Angels, long shots to win the World Series at the beginning of the season, beat the Giants on Sunday night to win the first championship in the team’s 42-year history.

The victors have been making the rounds. Five Angels joked on ``The Tonight Show″ with host Jay Leno, and first baseman Scott Spiezio read the Top 10 List on David Letterman’s ``The Late Show.″

On the list of the Top 10 remarks he reportedly overheard in the Anaheim locker room: ``I feel bad for Barry Bonds. Just kidding.″

At Edison Field, Kelly Baas, 18, arrived for the parade wearing angel wings and a halo.

``Everyone is making fun of me, but I don’t care,″ she said. ``I missed school. I missed work. I missed everything to be here.″

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