Thursday, August 9, 2007

Day 46: Angel Stadium

All photos of Angel Stadium are available on Flickr.

Last night after our PCH adventure, we had intended to meet up with my old friend Fionnegan out in Woodland Hills, which is just east of LA. Unfortunately, taking the scenic route took us nearly 11 hours to complete instead of 6, so we instead drove to Anaheim, the site of our first game in the LA area, to find a hotel. As expected, there was a strip o' hotels near Disney Land, which greatly reminded me of Wisconsin Dells, all of which looked a little shady and definitely in our price range. We ended up taking a room for a week for $335 at the Covered Wagon Motel (although the sign was partially burned out, so it was the "Covered Wa Motel"). After a long day of driving, you kind of want to arrive at a place slightly nicer than what we walked into - no lamp, paint chipping off the walls, and sheets of questionable character. But we soon became accustomed to the best deal we could find, and what would be our home for the next 7 nights.

We spent our first day in nearly 7 weeks doing what Erik and I do best but have unable to do the whole trip - NOTHING. It was all that I thought it could be and more. I personally just needed a day to lounge around and nap and watch movies, and that's exactly what we did until around 4pm when we had to take off for the game. We have plenty of time to be tourists before we leave for San Diego on Tuesday.

The ballpark is of the semi-urban, large parking lot variety, and we typically do not do well fundraising at these parks, but we set up anyways. We made an incredibly disappointing total of $1.75, but we are seeing a game in Fullerton later this week that goes to the same Habitat affiliate, so I am confident we'll make some more cash for the Orange County HFH.

Angel Stadium was built in 1966, although most probably do not realize this since the Angels have changed names and uniforms so may times. The park has gone so many major renovations in the past 10-15 years that it seems like a totally new park anyways - much like Pamela Anderson, it is a 40-year old, with many of its parts being half that age or less. The most significant architectural feature is definitely the rocks in center field. There is a large pile of rocks that sprout geysers and running water between innings that was installed back in the Jim Edmonds/Edison International Field era of the stadium. We were right by the right field foul pole and really couldn't see it in all its splendor, but it did look pretty awesome from what I did see. The outside of the stadium is lined with palm trees and the concourses are very spacious. There are also two huge team shops. Driving in on I-5 seeing the outside of the park and the giant "A" metal sculpture alongside, the stadium doesn't look like much, but it was actually pretty decent - good views and two large scoreboards. I did expect it to be much more corporately influenced than it was, since it was so close to Disney Land. We were also fortunate to be at a game which the Angels played the Red Sox, so it was a full house and a very rowdy crowd. Much like the Cubs, or the Packers in the NFL, the BoSox faithful follow their team everywhere and packed the stadium with at least 1/3 Boston fans. The competitions between "Let's go Angels!" and "Let's go Red Sox!" being chanted over one another were incredible.

Besides a belligerent crowd, we knew we had one other thing to expect from watching the Sox - a long game. The Red Sox won 9-6 in probably the longest 9-inning game I've ever seen, over 4 hours. Both starters left early (3.1 and 4.2 innings respectively), but when Lester left with the game tied, one kind of expects the bullpen combo of Okajima, Papelbon, and newly-acquired Eric Gagne, and the potent offense of the Sox, that they would pull it out, which they did. Mike Lowell went 4-4 in the game, Dustin Pedroia hit a solo shot, and Manny Ramirez hit a 2-run double and still has not washed or cut his hair in a couple of years. Chone Figgins had 2 hits and 3 RBI in a losing effort. We have now seen the Angels 5 times with five different starters, plus one of their minor league affiliates in Orem.

Tomorrow we start a series of three games in the LA 'burbs to kill time before the Dodgers come back home.

park stats and rankings:
aesthetics - 5
views from park - 2 (parking lot)
view to field - 7 (most seats are good)
surrounding area - 7 (Disney Land, Ducks arena, Knotts)
food variety - 6
nachos - 5
beer - 4 (very pricy, low variety)
vendor price - 9 (excellent except for beer)
ticket price - 3 (we paid a lot, they played the Sox)
atmosphere - 10 (very rowdy crowd with the Sox in town)
walk to park - 2
parking price/proximity - 8 ($8 is pretty good for the majors, right next door)
concourses - 7
team shop - 10 (two huge ones)

best food - i can't speak to this, I only had a hot dog...they did have several Chinese food vendors though
most unique stadium feature - rocks in CF
best jumbotron feature - Rally Monkey!
best between-inning feature - t-shirt toss

field dimensions - 330/400/330
starters - Jon Lester (BOS) v. Dustin Moseley (ANA)
opponent - Boston Red Sox
time of game - 4:02
attendance - 44240
score - 9-6 L
Brewers score that day - 19-4 L

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