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Ballpark Review: Angel Stadium

I have a dream: to visit every major league stadium in the nation.

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Over the past couple of years this has become more and more difficult due to moving franchises, brand new billion-dollar ballparks, etc. But the quest continues. Recently, I found myself visiting family in Los Angeles and I made a quick stop at Angel Stadium of Anaheim.

Angel Stadium has been home to the Angels since the 1966 season. Although the team has gone through a number of name changes over the years: Los Angeles Angels, California Angels, Anaheim Angels, and now Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim), the stadium has held its ground. It’s located just a few blocks from Disneyland in a relaxed suburban area.

Originally designed to seat 43,000 fans, in the late 1970’s, Angel stadium underwent more reconstruction; this time to accommodate the NFL’s Los Angeles Rams, and seating increased to 65,000. The Rams skipped town to move to St. Louis in 1995, and the stadium was tweaked once again, settling on 45,000 for baseball.

Over the years, although the stadium itself has gone by many names (Anaheim Stadium, Edison International Field of Anaheim, and now Angel Stadium of Anaheim) many fans call it “The Big A.” In addition to baseball and football, the stadium has played host over the years to music acts such as Madonna, The Rolling Stones, and David Bowie. It’s the fourth-oldest active major league stadium and will host the 2010 MLB All Star Game.

Here are some of my impressions of my visit:

  • Like Kauffman Stadium, home of the Kansas City Royals, ticket prices were reasonable, unlike some other baseball outings like Yankee Stadium and Nationals Park.
  • It’s a very modern-looking stadium, despite its age. Credit the many renovations since its opening for this.
  • Also, like Camden Yards, home to the Baltimore Orioles, it’s a very fan-friendly environment.
  • When I arrived at my seats I was embarrassed not to be wearing red considering that three-quarters of the stadium was wearing red or white. If you go, and want to fit in, bring teams colors!
  • The atmosphere of the fans was very supportive, which reminded me of the fans at Chicago’s Wrigley Field or Boston’s Fenway Park (home of the Cubs and Red Sox). (Ironically, early in their history, the Angels also played in a stadium called Wrigley Field, not the same one in Chicago, though.)
  • The food was fine… nothing special… ordinary ballpark food. (The best I’ve had so far have been the fabulous Fenway Franks.)
  • As I mentioned, the stadium seats 45,000, and 42,088 people attended the day I was there. Angels’ fans love their team!
  • One tradition that stands alone hit me by surprise: the “Rally Monkey”. Made famous during the 2002 World Series, the Rally Monkey is used when the Angels are behind late in a game to try and propel them to victory. I was very impressed that most fans whipped out a monkey and started waving it wildly. It didn’t help the day I was there. The Angels were bested by the Texas Rangers, 8-4.

A great experience. And so my journey continues. Seven stadiums down, 23 to go.