Normally, it is into the third inning before the sold-out seats begin to fill, but not on this night.
Surrounding my View Section seat when I arrive in time for the national anthem is a sea of black sweatshirts displaying Yankee logos.
It pleases me to think the people wearing them are mostly Garden Grove natives who once passed through Kennedy Airport and have fantasized this tenuous connection with New York into association by osmosis with the elitist Yankees.
That they take it seriously is demonstrated many beers later this evening when a fight breaks out behind me between a clump of Yankee sweatshirts and a bevy of Angel caps outraged at this violation of their turf.
The game does not start auspiciously.
The fifth pitcher in the Angel starting rotation, Dustin Moseley, there solely because of the disappearance of Bartolo Colon, is hammered for six blistering line drives in the first inning, three of them mercifully caught at the price of only one run.
After that, Moseley performs well, giving up only one more run while the Angels generate three — and would have had more had Chone Figgins not attempted unsuccessfully to steal a base with the meat of the batting order coming up.
And if point man in the meat department, Vladimir Guerrero, had not dribbled repeated ground outs with men on base.
Wrapped around these early inning missed opportunities is some spectacular fielding that frames the sense of post-season urgency that always accompanies a visit from the Yankees but seems more so on this night.
The crowd actually watches the game, including young women within view who are so bewitched by Yankees Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez they put down their cell phones even between innings.
As the lead passes back and forth, the intensity grows.