Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Fack Youk Field Trip: The Big A

As I mentioned yesterday, I'm stuck out in Southern California this week for work. I suppose there are worse places to go, but I'm an East Coast guy through and through. The pace of life out here just isn't my speed (e.g. going to dinner Friday night and having to wait a good five minutes before the bartender even acknowledged my presence - and it wasn't busy). Besides, going away for a week for vacation is one thing, having to get out of the usual routine and leave home for a week for work is another - especially when it costs me a precious weekend.

But it's not all doom and gloom out here. Having just got into town the night before and with the time difference in my favor, I woke up fairly early Saturday morning and managed to get my work done before noon. With that behind me, I hopped in a cab and shot over to the Big A to take in a game between the Halos and the Twinkies - I couldn't let Jay be the only Facker to spend Saturday afternoon at the ballpark. Despite my earlier misgivings about the relative safety of doing so, you'll be happy to know (or maybe unhappy to know), that I made it through the experience unscathed - no beer bottles to the head, no gun shot wounds, etc.

A tribute to Nick Adenhart still exists in front of the Stadium. Having just finished Marty Appel's Thurman Munson biography on the flight out (probably not the best setting to read a book about a guy who died in a plane crash), it was eerie to see the memorial to another man who died while an active Major Leaguer - a situation the Angels have dealt with far too many times in their relatively brief history.

The differences between The Big A and Yankee $tadium were apparent from the get go. Ballpark parking in Anaheim is $8 compared to $19 in the Bronx. I walked up to the box office and scored a field level ticket, twenty two rows back in leftfield, for $33. That kind of money won't even get you out of the terrace in New York. The beer is a lot cheaper as well - $6.50 for 16 oz.

I had hoped to take in BP, maybe even score a ball given my seat's proximity to the field, but it wasn't to be. There was no batting practice Saturday with the day game after the night game - or at least there wasn't at about 11:45 when I got to my seat. Rather than bake in the sun for an hour and a half, I decided to take a walk through the stadium to see what I could see.

As I passed by the Guest Sevices office, I dropped in to see if there were any attractions in the ballpark. I realize that not everyone has a Monument Park or a ballpark museum, but I figured there had to be something. Apparently not - my question was greeted with nothing but quizzical looks.

History apparently is not something readily embraced by the Angels organization. The retired numbers are located behind snack carts in the rightfield upper deck. The Angels Hall of Fame consists of a few paintings on a wall in the mezzanine - including one time Yankees Don Baylor and Jimmie Reese.

Also on the mezzanine level are wall sized photos of former Angel "greats". I laughed out loud at seeing the great Mike Witt up there. Witt, you may recall, was sent to the Yankees for Dave Winfield in 1990, and was perpetually injured, starting just 27 games over four seasons and pitching to a 4.91 ERA, all for the low low cost of $7.5M.

Without a horse in the race, I was just hoping for something interesting to happen during the game. So I was turning into a Twins fan after Nick Blackburn was perfect through three. That all came to a screeching halt in the fourth, as the Angels put up a nine spot on their way to an 11-5 victory.

I did get to see something interesting though, as a fan decided to take to the field in the late innings. He eluded security for a good bit, making it all the way to the outfield grass behind shortstop after jumping on from the right field line. Security usually lives for a situation like that, but the takedown was pretty weak. As the police escorted him out right by my section, the PA announcer made sure to remind the fans that running on the field is now classified as a felony. A felony! With one dead fan and one paralyzed one under their belts already this year, perhaps the local authorities should be more concerned with protecting the fans in their seats rather than prosecuting the ones out of them.

You'll also be happy to know that Bobby Abreu did not come within twenty feet of a fence all afternoon. I hope to be able to get back once more before I skip town.

1 comment:

  1. When I first attended a game at "The Big A" in 1975, the iconic symbol of the Angels shown above resided in center field and held the scoreboard. The halo would light up with an Angels victory and remain lit up for the night. In those days, there wasn't much danger of running up the electric bill. The A moved to the parking lot when the Rams moved to Anaheim in 1979 and the stadium was converted to a bowl arrangement. Fortunately that arrangement lasted only until 1996 when Disney bought the stadium and the Angels and began a restoration project to return the stadium to its former "glory". Hmmmm.