Ballpark Review part 1 of numerous!

[Editor's Note: Cleaned up because Quinn can't write]

Hello all,

I am in L.A. well actually the OC on business for the week but I am thinking of it as more of a baseball roadtrip, which rocks. Anyways I attended the Angels-Dodgers Crosstown Rival Weekend game on Saturday evening at Anaheim Stadium and I was pretty impressed with the park and the atmosphere.

Anaheim Stadium or the Big A, as its know because of the large red steel structure outside the right field wall. The structure no longer houses a score board nor faces the field due to the renovations on the stadium from when it housed the LA Rams. The Manager claims earthquake stability reasons?!? But it's still a cool defining feature of a stadium that is homey for its size.

I had to work until 4:45 and the game had an odd 6:05 start time which was never explained. Anyways I arrived at the gate around 5:35 with no tickets with a Dutch kid who was 23 and never been to America or a ball game. Now everything I had heard or read about Angels' game said "no tickets, no problem" but of course this was Angels/Dodgers and it was sold out. California has strict no scalping rules, so we wandered backwards from the main gate that has a great entrance (more later) into a parking lot that was surrounded by concrete walls which had loads of smoke rising from it and a constant stream of people coming from the gate. The other side of the wall contained a packed lot of coolers, grills, and rowdy 20 somethings tailgating up a storm. It was sweet! The Dutchman was amazed and impressed. There was a hot dog stand complete with hot dog guy in and Angels jersey that said "hot dog guy" across the shoulders. Tickets were scant but at the back corner after many "no's" and plentiful offers of beers to ease the pain we found a pair of tickets in left field along the third base line. They were front row of the upper deck and not a bad find for 20 bucks a pop.

Back to the stadium. The home plate entrance to the Big A is great, with two giant Angels' caps (New Era size 639 and a half) that bracket the front walkway which features a baseball diamond laid out in bricks which feature light up bases and pitcher's rubber as well as bricks at each positions (including the right handed batter's box for the DH) listing the starting player for each Opening Day from 1964 to 2007. Pretty cool. The inside is nice for a stadium with a capacity of 44,280. The interior of Anaheim Stadium was increased to 68,000 for the LA rams for like 6 years and then re-done in 1998 by the new cookie cutter "throwback" park architects KOH. The park looks good with sight lines to the San Fernando mountains and quite the display (on days when it isn't too smoggy) in center field. The fake rocks combined with waterfalls and a Corona Beach ad would be pretty cool if the rocks were A) real and B) they gave away passes to sit in the giant Corona Beach chairs every game. The large score board in right field is tall with grand stands above it reminiscent of PNC Park but just digital scores and no pitching info. The sight lines from most seats in the front few upper deck rows were good and seemed to be nice from all seats below there.

As for the crowd: they really brought it for this series! The Dodgers' fans showed up in full force and my accompanying Dutchman's first comment upon taking our seats was: "They let the reds and blues sit together? They would never ever allow that in futbal!" The game proved a perfect arena for some good natured yelling. [Editor's Note: COMANAYEEAAAHAAA!] It was a back-and-forth 3-2 game until the Angels blew it open in the bottom of the 7th with four hard earned runs. Hendericks pitched pretty well for the Dodgers and young Jared Weaver turned in an 8-inning gem for the Halos.

The Dodgers' fans made themselves known but Angels' fans fought back. There seemed to be strong contention added to the rivalry since the Angels' name change and neither side seemed to agree with the decision, as neither side wanted any association with the other. Though in true LA style the choosing sides was described to me as solely based on colors.

Me: "So is the Angels-Dodgers' rivalry a North/South or East/West thing?"
Guy Who Sold Me Tickets: "It's an East/West thing."
Guy's Friend: "No, it's a North/South thing."
Guy Who Sold Me Tickets: "Really it's all about color red or blue, just like everything in LA."
Me: "gangs?"
Guy Who Sold Me Tickets: "No just everything..."

So, I have no idea what the hell that meant.

Anyways the Dutchman's review of the game: "I liked the second half better." I have no idea what constitutes the second half of a game but the hollering did increase three-fold as the game went on and sweep possibilities were raised. The stadium was very nice and the crowd really cranked it up a notch. I was pretty impressed by a park which was a NFL field of 68,000 at one point. I would say it could make the top half of the MLB and top of the stadiums in baseball.

A few other points: [Editor's Note: Quinn's Audition for Zagat's]

Beer and food was not too impressive, but not cheap. The featured foods are California Pizza Kitchen and Panda Express. All the beer on tap I could find in the uppers was Bud Select @ 6.50 for 16 oz (boo), Corona bombers (22s) were available for 12 bucks and Bud and Bud Light aluminum bottles at 6.75. An all beef dog was 4 bucks and nachos were 6.

Tickets sound like they are available for all non-Dodgers and pennant race games at the door with reasonable gate prices for all tickets including field level. Around 29 bucks for baseline past the dugout and 12 bucks for uppers and bleachers. The Big A seems to have a great tail gate scene in the aforementioned concrete walled homeplate lot and behind center field where the over sized parking is.

Next: Chavez Ravine and some Dodger Dogs. See ya soon.

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1 Responses to “Ballpark Review part 1 of numerous!”

  1. # Blogger Maximis

    Nice review of the stadium...I love that place and have been there many times.

    Angels fans suck at all times that arent:
    A) The Playoffs
    B) The SoCal series.

    This rule generally applies to Oakland A's fans, Giants fans, and San Diego fans.

    If you can, go to Petco Park, its fantastic.

    Have fun, and fuck Bud Light aluminum bottles.  

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