This is a new weekly feature in which I (and maybe you, too, readers) detail the various reasons for hating your ballpark. This week: Angel Stadium.
Lost Angels: The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim's Angel Stadium of Anaheim. Say it soft and it's almost like praying. The stadium is a nondescript slab of suburbia whose sole defining characteristic over the years has been its bipolarity. Opened in 1966, it was first a baseball stadium (for the California Angels), then it was a baseball and football stadium (in the latter case for an NFL team based in Los Angeles that would eventually move to St. Louis), then it was a baseball stadium again (first for the California Angels, then for the Anaheim Angels, now for Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim). It has been an open-outfield stadium, an enclosed stadium, and now it is open once more. It has been known variously as Anaheim Stadium, Edison International Field of Anaheim and now Angel Stadium of Anaheim. The stadium — and the franchise — has retained so little of the character and history of the region it's inhabited for nearly 50 years that it feels compelled to remind you with autistic repetition just where it's located. Which is in Anaheim. The place doesn't need a renovation. It needs a shrink.
Fuckin' A: Angel Stadium once offered a nice sense of place — in particular a big, Googie "A" in left field that served as a scoreboard. It was tacky, but in a distinctly SoCal way. After wins, it would light up, and Dick Enberg would say, "And the halo shines tonight!" In 1980, when the stadium got a facelift to accommodate the arrival of professional football, the "A" was moved. It now overlooks that most iconic of California vistas: a highway and a parking lot. What quirks remain today, after the Disney-sponsored renovations of the late 1990s, are at best wholly contrived. If the ballpark has any signature now, it's the pile of fake rocks in center, which looks as if it had been trucked in from Jellystone Park. Alas, Angel Stadium is now left with only one element that truly captures the character of the region. On clear nights, if you look close enough, you just might be able to see a distinguished older gentleman skeeving on a young girl.
If the stadium were an actor, it'd be Emilio Estevez: The stadium has appeared in such films as Angels in the Outfield, The Fan, Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo, and Air Bud: Seventh Inning Fetch, not to mention a number of horrible commercials.
The view from the stands (everything sic'd): "Just as PNC Park gives you a view of Pittsburgh's downtown and Pac Bell Park gives you a view of the San Francisco Bay, Angel Stadium gives you a view of...the 57 freeway. I don't think that there is anything more representative of living in southern California than being able to watch traffic while at a baseball game. ... And if you do decide to walk to or from the stadium to the bar, be prepared to take your life in your hands. The road that leads to the stadium doesn't have sidewalks and includes an underpass where Anaheim's homeless like to gather/use as a toilet." (Jason W.)
"Do you want to know what sucks about Angel Stadium? All of the Red Sox, Yankees and Dodgers fans who ruin the experience for anybody else. ... Smart Angels fans just don't want to deal with it. These fans are akin to suicide bombers walking into a crowded disco. Just give them their space because they are awful human beings. One Red Sox fan was taunting a woman in a wheel chair during last year's playoffs. Who does that? ... But California deserves some discredit here, too. The Raiders moved away in 1995, but their fans remained and have morphed into Dodgers fans. These fans look like the characters from the cantina scene in Star Wars – filled with Guido, Snaggle Tooth and Chewy. Make sure you wear body armor because when the Angels inevitably win, the Dodgers fans get stabby. I'm here to root for the Angels, not become one." (Adam R.)
And lastly, a tipster offers us the photo below, of which he writes: "I caught Bill MacDonald and his girlfriend(s?) at the Angels/Padres game on Friday night. I hope everything is ok, they talked off and on for about 10 minutes while he signed a few autographs, then the blonde walked away bawling her eyes out."
Next up: Rangers Ballpark In Arlington. Got any horrible experiences to share? Send them to firstname.lastname@example.org.