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Rally takes backseat to dinner
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World  Series
10/25/2002 02:07 am ET 
Rally takes backseat to dinner
Fans get an attitude adjustment in Newport Beach
By Sandy Burgin /

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.

Back to "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 ugly."

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 Berlin Wall.

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 bar."

Ledgerwood noted that the site of the bar was actually a market called "Brownies".

"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.

And maybe fewer Coors Lights.

Sandy Burgin is a reporter for and can be reached at This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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