On the same evening their preseason got underway up north in San Jose, several Ducks players were able to partake in something much different just across the street from Honda Center.
It was Ducks Night at Angels Stadium, an annual opportunity to display some neighborly unity among Orange County's hockey and baseball teams. There was a Ducks feel to the festivities throughout the night, including a number of fans sporting Ducks gear, Angels players made to look like hockey players on stadium video boards, Ducks-themed entertainment between innings and the presence of Wild Wing and the Power Players.
Hours before the start of the game vs. the Cleveland Indians, Ducks captain Ryan Getzlaf and defenseman Francois Beauchemin took part in batting practice on the Angels Stadium field, an opportunity they had both enjoyed previously. Getzlaf hit a home run during his batting practice session before last year's Ducks Night, while Beauchemin was able to take BP at Coors Field in 2016 while playing for the Colorado Avalanche - part of the run-up to the Avs' outdoor game in that stadium vs. the Red Wings.
Beauchemin, who grew up as a lefthanded pitcher and first baseman in his youth baseball days, hit eight home runs during that session at Coors Field. Yesterday the lefthanded hitter was able to hit one while contending with the high right field wall at Angels Stadium.
Beauchemin rooted for the now-defunct Montreal Expos growing up, but he says he still remains a big fan of the game. "I followed the Angels when I was here last, and I followed the Rockies the last two years," he said.
"Obviously the ball doesn't travel as much as it does at Coors Field, for sure," Beauchemin said. "I hit a couple of hard ones that just made it to the wall, but only one over it. But it was a good experience, a lot of fun."
Getzlaf, who was a catcher until he left home to play junior hockey, was once again able to get one over the leftfield wall. "I love it," he said. "I love baseball, so this is fun to see these guys out here and get a chance to take a couple swings."
Making the time even more special was the presence of both of their families, as Getzlaf's sons Ryder and Gavin and Beauchemin's sons Samuel and Cedric were able to throw the ball around on the field and take some batting practice of their own in the cage near the Angels clubhouse.
All of the Ducks, as well as all Angels players during batting practice, wore slick-looking Ducks/Angels co-branded black jerseys, which were available for sale in the Angels team store. All fans in attendance also received a Ducks/Angels beanie.
The Angels lost to the red-hot Indians 6-3, but that hardly spoiled the night. "It's a great stadium to come and watch baseball," Beauchemin said. "You still feel like a kid out here, getting to play in a major league stadium. It's a lot of fun."