Monday, May 19, 2008

Deathtour~!: Anaheim Stadium, Anaheim

Part two of the SoCal weekend was down the road in Anaheim. Only a day after the sweltering heat of Dodger Stadium turned my arms five shades redder, the fog and rain made an unexpected appearance in Orange County. It was almost like being back home. If only I’d packed for the occasion. Thankfully it cleared up and warmed up (a bit) for the game so I wasn’t freezing my ass off as I was in San Diego.

Going into the game I wasn’t expecting to come away with a positive experience as I’m predisposed to disliking everything that exists south of Monterray but Anaheim Stadium isn’t that bad. It’s far and away superior to Dodger Stadium and it looks better in person than it does on television. Like Dodger Stadium it’s not around anything. Unfortunately there’s no ballpark scene to speak of. The outsides of every stadium should be lively, the streets filled with revelry. The anticipation of each game should be felt throughout the neighborhood. Sadly, both Los Angeles area ballparks lack this atmosphere.

Anaheim is one of the oldest parks still in use and has been home to the Angels for over 4 decades and 2 name changes. It was originally a baseball only stadium but it later was used by the Los Angeles Rams. Like Candlestick Park, which was first a baseball only stadium with bleachers before being renovated for football use, Anaheim underwent renovations to enclose the stadium in the upper deck levels. After the Rams moved to St. Louis the stadium, once again, became a baseball only venue and again underwent renovations to return it to a more traditional baseball look. The most notable change was the inclusion of a landscape featuring trees, rocks and a geyser. From my couch at home this feature seems tacky but in truth it’s a natural fit with the park. There’s a patio behind the rock feature where you can enjoy a pre-game meal and apertures in the rock allow for a view of home plate. To the left of the landscaping are the bullpens, uniquely adjacent to one another, almost stacked on top of each other.

As is my tradition, I went searching for food before the game. My journey took me around the entire concourse and I was shocked by the lack of selection. Aside from some familiar fast food locations, one Mexican concession and two Ruby’s Diner locations, I didn’t see anything outside of the traditional hot dogs and candy that can be found in any ballpark. When you’re used to choosing between 30 or so unique eateries at home, seeing this selection was quite disappointing. I ended up at Ruby’s, only because I was able to get French fries served in a batting helmet. So at least I was getting a souvenir out of the deal.

A few random thoughts during the game

I thought beach balls only happened at Dodger Stadium. I was wrong. A group of idiot college kids (is there any other kind of college kid?) threw a bunch of beach balls around and were immediately kicked out. I don’t think they were in their seats for a full inning…I’ve never seen so many pitchers with ERA’s over 10 in one game. Angels’ starter Nick Adenhart’s ERA went from 9 to 12 over the course of the second inning…Appropriately the final score was 10-7 Angels…Post game note: Nick Adenhart was sent down to the minors after this start. And he got the win in this game…Unbelievable…No sign of the rally monkey which made me very happy…Angels and Giants fans have something in common after all: a hatred for AJ Pierzynski...This was the second White Sox game I saw on this trip. I hadn't intended to make it a White Sox themed trip as I had intended to make the first trip Giants themed. The Sox third city on their road trip was in San Francisco but I failed to make it out to the yard.

Yes, those are giant helmets outside the stadium.

The 2 bullpens in the left-field corner. I prefer the 'pens down the line but this design is pretty sweet looking.

The view from the patio.

This was cool between inning entertainment. A kid had to run down the 3rd base line, pick up 3rd base and run back to the tape. If finished in under 40 seconds he got to keep the base. He had trouble removing the base so Angels 3rd baseman Matt Brown helped out. He crossed the tape with 3 seconds left and got to keep the base.

ERA of 23.63. His performance in this game reflected that stat. His line in this game: 0 innings, 2 hits, 1 unearned run. He came in after an error so he could have given up 10 runs and none of them would have increased his ERA.

The fireworks explode out of the rock formation after a Vlad Guerrero home run and the Angels victory.

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