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Gidley, Servia and Mears visit Anaheim Angels

9/12/00


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September 12, 2000, Anaheim California: Indy Lights driver Casey Mears and Champ Car drivers Memo Gidley and Oriol Servia joined forces today to throw out the first pitch for the Anaheim Angels game at Edison Field. The Angels provided the speed-obsessed trio with an action-packed day at the ballpark, featuring celebrity batting practice, throwing instruction, an autograph session, and an opportunity to meet Anaheim's $80 Million Dollar Slugger, Mo Vaughn.


Left: "Mo Vaughn" with Memo Gidley, Anaheim Angel Mo Vaughn, Casey Mears and Oriol Servia at Edison Field "California Speedway Night".  Right: Servia, Gidley and Mears prepare for opening ceremonies, with Mears wearing batting gloves borrowed from Angels third-baseman Try Glaus. 
(All photos courtesy Gregg Spotts and Donnie Graves)

With barely a half-season of T-Ball between the three of them, the drivers had a lot to learn. Mears looked sharp in the batting cage, regularly hitting balls into center field. Perhaps it was the batting gloves borrowed from Angels third-baseman Troy Glaus that gave Mears the edge.

Servia, who had never handled a baseball before, was delighted that the visiting team bore his first name. His allegiance wavering to the Baltimore Orioles, Servia was brought back into the Angel fold by slugger Mo Vaughn, who remarked of his new driver friends, "I've got speed, but not like these guys."

Meanwhile Gidley was challenged to a sunflower-eating contest on live television by legendary Angels broadcaster Rex Hudler, and won handily. Gidley was not so lucky in batting practice, left awestruck by a sinking curveball.


Left: Servia, Mears, and Gidley looking sharp before taking batting practiceRight: Gidley, Angels Hitting Coach Mickey Hatcher, Servia and Mears, after throwing lessons in Angels batting tunnel.

During the pregame ceremonies, the three drivers arrived at home plate on the back of a Toyota pickup truck, and Mears headed towards the mound. Simulating a game situation, Mears threw out the first pitch, with Gidley standing in the batters box and Servia acting as catcher. After the third inning, Gidley and Mears assisted the groundskeepers in "dragging the infield." Gidley headed to the nearest wastebasket to shake the clay out of his shoes, but Mears said his own reddened sneakers were headed for a trophy case.

The day at the ballpark was a joint promotion between the Anaheim Angels and California Speedway, promoting the season finale of the CART FedEx Championship Series and the Dayton Indy Lights Championship Series October 27-29 at Fontana.

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