10/25/2002 02:07 am ET
Rally takes backseat to dinner
Fans get an attitude adjustment in Newport Beach
By Sandy Burgin / MLB.com
NEWPORT BEACH, Calif. -- The sign hanging in the window of Blackie's By the Sea said it all.
"Sorry, We Are Open...depending upon customers attitude."
The attitude inside this venerable Newport Beach landmark Thursday night was
pretty negative; the mood dour and downcast for Angels fans almost from the
first inning of Game 5 of the World Series.
Many of the regulars were just settling in at the bar and in the booths when
the Giants put three runs on the board in the first inning.
Joe Aldana of Newport Beach thought he was in his lucky seat at the bar
right in front of the tap.
"I sat right here during the Yankee series when the Angels fell way behind,"
Aldana said. "They came back and eventually won that series. I was sitting
here for the Twins. I was playing softball the first game of that series,
the Angels lost, but I was right back here for the next three games. We won
those games and I was at The Ed (Edison International Field) for the clincher."
Aldana, who plays for the "We're Here For Beerz" softball team in a Newport
Beach Co-Ed League, had a game scheduled for Thursday night. However, he was
able to get the game re-scheduled because of Game 5.
"That was one of my shinning moments convincing the other manager to
postpone the game so we could all watch the ballgame," said Aldana. "Upon
further review, maybe we should have played tonight. This is pretty
By the fourth inning, Aldana discovered that he was sitting on a round stool
cushion instead of his regular square back mode. Unfortunately, by then the
Giants had a 6-0 lead.
However, Aldana, a computer artist, stuck to his guns and his seat and his
"Let's Go Angels" chant may have helped the Halos climb back into the game in
the fifth inning.
But after Jeff Kent's first home run made it 8-4, Aldana's friends
abandoned him and headed out the door to dinner.
"Where's the passion?" wondered Aldana out loud. "That's typical Southern
California for you. Dinner is a lot more important than any rally."
Unfortunately, there wasn't any rally for the Angels and Aldana stayed to the
bitter end of this 16-4 Giants victory in his seat in front of the tap. He
did put back a few extra Coors Lights, but vowed to be back here
Saturday -- and Sunday -- at the same seat.
As for "Blackie's By The Sea", it has been a gathering place for tourists
and locals alike for over 50 years. There are pictures on the wall of
patrons wearing "Blackie's By the Sea" T-shirts in front the Pyramids in
Egypt, outside the Sydney Opera House in Australia and knocking down the
Atop the bar are beer cans and beer bottles from all over the world, some
over 50 years old. Most of the regulars dropped by during the night,
including Tamale Frank, The Avocado Guy, Halibut Hunter, Pete "The Pirate,"
Charlie Nuts, Captain Ed, and Dan "The Man".
Bartender Fred Ledgerwood was serving up a history lesson along with a lot
of Blackie's Specials -- polish sausage, mustard, cheese, and pickles on rye.
Ledgerwood showed us the bar's famous pickled eggs, but wouldn't reveal the
secret 40-year old recipe.
Chuck Frei has owned Blackie's for almost 40 years.
"He was a great hunter
and skeet shooter, I think number 3 in the world," said Ledgerwood. "He used to
work in a gas station and borrowed some money from his mom to buy the
Ledgerwood noted that the site of the bar was actually a market called
"Mr. Blackstock, I don't remember his first name, bought the place and
renamed it Blackie's in 1953," said Ledgerwood.
As for the sign on the window, that was brainchild of Ed Pfirrmann, whose
great uncle was one of the first fisherman to anchor off of Newport Beach
back in the 1870s.
As you leave "Blackie's By The Sea" you can see the back of that sign, which
reads, "Glad We're Closed...depending upon customers attitude."
Angel fans, including Joe Aldana, who will gather here Saturday -- and
hopefully for them Sunday -- will be looking for an attitude adjustment.
maybe fewer Coors Lights.
Sandy Burgin is a reporter for MLB.com and can be reached at
Sandyburgin@hotmail.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major
League Baseball or its clubs.