Sunday, August 12, 2007

Day 49: Blair Field

All photos from the Getty Center and Blair Field are available on Flickr.

On Day 5 in the LA area, we decided to drive up to the Getty Center. This is museum complex designed by Richard Meier that is up in the hills, north of downtown Los Angeles - in fact, there is no personal vehicle access up to the museum, you have to take a tram. We only had an hour to spend here because it was yet another 57 hour drive to get there, but we got to walk around the outside for awhile. Erik had already visited this museum when he lived out here for a year, so he was more apt to pass time at the bar, where he spent $11 on a sammich and a Diet Coke. I thought the building was pretty cool aside from some odd architectural details, and it had some amazing views to Los Angeles from the top, as well as an awesome garden.

We left the museum around 4:30 anticipating that we would once again hit traffic, which we did. It cleared up as we neared Long Beach and we made it just in time to meet Jay Klein, the general manager of the Armada, at 6 PM. After making $1.75 in three days in LA, we were excited to have a fundraising table here. We did really well and made $81, a new minor/independent league record for the trip (it was actually $76, but upon leaving, Jay gave us $5 so that his team would be in the lead). Jay and the Armada were the most gracious and hospitable team so far on the tour by far. They hooked us up with free seats, some giveaway items, a replica model of the stadium, a PA announcement about our tour, and $15 of free food coupons. A lot of the staff contributed to our cause, and Jay even offered to let us stay at his place - unfortunately, we had already paid for our hotel in Anaheim and could not take him up on this offer. I walked out of the park with a full belly and a bag full of stuff for only $12.

The Long Beach Armada is another Golden League franchise, and we have now seen 2/3 of the league's teams in two days. This is definitely our favorite independent league thus far, unless you can count the Northwoods League as such. The Armada were founded in 2005 and are famous for being host to the attempted comeback of Jose Canseco last year as a pitcher - they even sell his t-shirt jerseys in the team shop for $10, and Erik of course acquired one promptly. The stadium seems to be a bit on the older side, but we definitely had better views that at the OC game since Blair Field chose to leave a large portion of seats unprotected by nets or fence. The food was little pricy for the portions you get, and a large beer cost $12. Other than that, this was our best minor/independent league experience of the trip thus far.

It was Asian-American Night at the Armada game on this particular night. Why? Because GM Jay was looking to unload some Samurai Bears merchandise. The Bears were apparently a former Golden League team that was "homeless," roaming around the area playing exhibition games. Since they had no home park and were owned by the League, there are boxes of their apparel and team gear laying in some storage locker somewhere, and our friend Jay took it upon himself to apprehend a few boxes of it and give it away at the game. Between innings, there was a group of kung-fu artists that would act out fight scenes with plastic weapons, and all the staff members wore old Samurai Bears gear. As for the game itself, it was action-packed, full of cheerleaders and hit batsmen, and it was the first home team win we've seen in awhile. Four players had two hits each for the Armada, and Gary Mayorga hit a towering shot to left to secure the victory. Starter Saenz for the Silver Sox was all over the place all night and was allowed to stay in for five innings, despite surrendering 7 runs on 8 hits, 5 walks, and a hit batsman.

After the game, Erik took me to a place he frequented while attending USC called the Yard House. Last time he was there, it was merely a local establishment by the pier with a few drafts on tap, and today it claims to be the "world's largest selection of draft beer" with 251 and is a national chain. We spent an evening sampling here before heading back to our shady hotel room for the evening. Tomorrow is an off day, and we're at Dodger Stadium on Monday.

park stats and rankings:
aesthetics - 2
views from park - 2
view to field - 10
surrounding area - 3 (the actual beach is further away)
food variety - 4
nachos - 4 (square chips, ran out of cheese)
beer - 6 (they do have Pabst on tap, but they ran out, and a large costs $12)
vendor price - 3
ticket price - 10 (ours were free)
atmosphere - 5 (decent crowd for Asian-American night)
walk to park - 2 (it is right next to a park)
parking price/proximity - 10 (adjacent street for free)
concourses - 2
team shop - 6 (very small, but they did have Canseco t-shirt jerseys)

best food - tri-tip steak sandwich
most unique stadium feature - Long Beach State Dirtbags banners
best jumbotron feature - "walk" animation
best between-inning feature - kung fu fighting

field dimensions - 348/400/348
starters - C. Saenz (REN) v. D. Gobers (LB)
opponent - Reno Silver Sox
time of game - 3:18
attendance - 1625
score - 10-4 W
Brewers score that day - 7-4 W

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