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Angels in awe as Muhammad Ali visits team before game

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Former heavyweight champion Muhammad Ali was escorted into the Angels’ clubhouse by his wife and sister-in-law before Wednesday’s game, and the normal pre-game banter and chatter came to a halt.

‘Silence ... it’s like royalty walked in,’ outfielder Torii Hunter said as he described the reaction of teammates, club officials and media members. ‘We’re all in the presence of greatness. Every athlete respects what Muhammad did, all the butt-kickings he put on all those boxers. He’s the greatest of all time.’

Ali, who is 69 and suffering from Parkinson’s Disease, satin a chair, and Hunter, hardly the bashful type, was the first to approach The Champ.

‘It’s an honor to meet you,’ Hunter said to Ali. ‘I like that watch! That’s nice ... that’s The Champ!’

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Ali posed for pictures with every player, coach, team official and media member who wanted one, and he watched the Angels-Giants game from Tempe Diablo Stadium.

As the visit wound down, Hunter yelled out, ‘Tell Scioscia I ain’t playing today! I’ve already had a good day!’

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-- Mike DiGiovanna in Tempe, Ariz.


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