Monday, March 14, 2005

An Angel Looks at 40

Steve Finley turned 40 years old on Saturday, much to the chagrin of fans who preferred the Angels target a different, and younger, center fielder this past offseason. But Fin is hitting .444 so far this spring with a double and is one of only three expected Angel starters to have a stolen base (Erstad and Figgins are the others). Not bad for an old dude.

Living in Arizona I am very familiar with Finley from his Diamondback days. This guy is/was and always will be a fan favorite here in the desert. Besides keeping himself in incredible shape and always leaving everything he's got out on the field, there are the other little things that bond him to the fans. Case in point this last Sunday. Finley was trotting out to center early in the game when a fan sitting near me on the lawn in right-center screamed out "Happy Birthday Steve!" Now most ball players are conditioned to block the fans out for the most part, good or bad. But Finley, without looking, pointed a couple of knuckles towards the fan and gave a very small wave. It took about a second and a half but Finley did not just win over that one fan, he just added about 400 more to the club. Steve Finley is going to have a lot of fans in Anaheim before this year up and not just because he is likely to hit .280 with 25 HR but because he is a fan-friendly player that puts the game, and those who love it, first.


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