Angel Stadium of Anaheim

Stadium Name: Angel Stadium of Anaheim

Location: Anaheim, CA

Team: Los Angeles Angels

Stadium Rating: B-

First Game: July 22, 2017, Angels – 7, Red Sox – 3

Beverly Hills (the Nutella-stuffed waffles at whatever brunch place we went to were heavenly), Santa Monica Beach, and plenty of cruising around in traffic made for a fun day two of the trip to LA.

After the loooooonnnnggg drive to Anaheim from near LAX, James and I made it just in time for first pitch. We walked in past the “Big A,” a large “A” with a halo surrounding it (photo below). While this used to be a part of the park, it now sits a few hundred yards outside the stadium in the lot.

This stadium brings me back a lot of great memories, though it’s not because of any trips I’ve previously made here, since this was my first time to the stadium.

No, it was because of my favorite movie growing up. Angels in the Outfield. I estimate that I’ve probably seen it 30-40 times, and loved when Joseph Gordon-Levitt inspired the team to greatness, well before he was Robin in the third Batman.

Since I love a good cliche, I chose to get seats in the outfield.

This was my third Red Sox game of the year, all on the road. The Angels got down early, but thanks to former Brave Andrelton Simmons’ 2-run homer in the third, the Angels took the lead and never looked back. The final was 7-3, and it was a sunny, beautiful evening to spend a night at a ballpark.

While I love the cliche of sitting as an Angel in the Outfield, I would not recommend doing so on a July evening. The sun setting in the west sits right above the top facade of the stadium, perfectly blocking the eyes of those in right field. That, or just bring sunglasses, which I failed to do.

All in all, Angel Stadium is a really nice park. That said, there’s nothing that really separates the good in it from the great of some other parks, like neighboring Dodger Stadium. That said, there are a few cool quirks. Albert Pujols, the greatest home-run hitter of my lifetime (with the exception of maybe Ken Griffey, Jr., but that’s up for debate) has a cool tribute in the outfield. Shortly before I attended, he was just a few home runs from 600 for his career, and they had a large leaderboard to show his progress.

12 days later, he hit number 600.

It’s hard for me to judge places like Angel Stadium, because by giving it a “B-” that seems kinda average. But the truth is, I really love all of the stadiums for one reason or another. But relativity matters on this scale, and they’re not all Wrigley Field.

15 of 18 so far – plenty more to come!

Current Rankings:

  1. Wrigley Field (Chicago Cubs – Chicago, IL)
  2. Dodger Stadium (Los Angeles Dodgers, Los Angeles, CA)
  3. SunTrust Park (Atlanta Braves – Atlanta, GA)
  4. PNC Park (Pittsburgh Pirates – Pittsburgh, PA)
  5. Target Field (Minneapolis Twins – Minneapolis, MN)
  6. Petco Park (San Diego Padres – San Diego, CA)
  7. Minute Maid Park (Houston Astros – Houston, TX)
  8. Oriole Park at Camden Yards (Baltimore Orioles – Baltimore, MD)
  9. Coors Field (Colorado Rockies – Denver, CO)
  10. Citizens Bank Park (Philadelphia Phillies – Philadelphia, PA)
  11. Ballpark in Arlington (Texas Rangers – Arlington, TX)
  12. Miller Park (Milwaukee Brewers – Milwaukee, WI)
  13. Chase Field (Arizona Diamondbacks – Phoenix, AZ)
  14. Safeco Field (Seattle Mariners – Seattle, WA)
  15. Angel Stadium (Los Angeles Angels – Anaheim, CA)
  16. Busch Stadium (Saint Louis Cardinals – Saint Louis, Missouri)
  17. Oakland Alameda County Stadium (Oakland Athletics – Oakland, CA)
  18. Guaranteed Rate Stadium (Chicago White Sox, Chicago, IL)

 

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Dodger Stadium

Stadium Name: Dodger Stadium

Location: Los Angeles, CA

Team: Los Angeles Dodgers

Stadium Rating: A+

First Game: July 21, 2017, Braves – 12, Dodgers – 3

People often ask me if I get tired of going on trips. If the late nights of traveling, hours away from home – a relatively new at that – are worth it.

But honestly, when chasing after a dream, the dumb, irrational and sometimes crazy things you have to do are worth it.

So yes. It’s worth it. And that brings us to the current number two stadium on my list.

When two teams have stadiums within about 45 minutes from each other, it just makes sense to try and get them out of the way in the same weekend. If I could go from Denver to Oakland to Seattle in the span of 40 hours to go to two games, then seeing two in the greater Los Angeles are was completely doable.

After a day spent in Hollywood, Beverly Hills, cruising down Sunset Blvd. and visiting the filming location of The Office, James (who flew in from Austin that morning as well) and I took off for Chavez Ravine, just north of downtown L.A.

I was pleasantly surprised by Dodger Stadium. It’s not just because my Atlanta Braves actually showed up for the night and stomped on the home team. Built in the early 1960s, Dodger Stadium is now the third oldest stadium in the Major Leagues, behind Wrigley Field in Chicago and Fenway Park in Boston. I’ve quickly learned that I’m a sucker for the older, nostalgic feel of the original parks.

The baby blue facade of the Stadium is very 1960’s. (Cause I was alive to see it then…) The palm trees all around the stadium confirm that you are in fact in Southern California (see photo below), but they don’t feel out of place at all.

Everything about the park screams “baseball” and despite not having a very intimate feel like Wrigley and PNC Park (Dodger Stadium has the highest capacity of any baseball-only stadium in the world), it was a delightful place to catch a game.

As I previously mentioned, my Braves were in town, facing a pitcher who was 11-0 at the time. I was optimistic that the Braves could keep it close. But I was so far off that it’s incredible. The Braves jumped out to a 5-0 lead thanks to a crucial error by said pitcher and some timely hitting.

Then, in the bottom of the 5th, magic happened. And let me preface this by saying I don’t try to be too dramatic about baseball (I know I am and have accepted this). But there’s just something about a baseball game. Anything that’s not normal can happen at any time.

So when the Braves pitcher came up with 2 outs in the 5th and the bases loaded, it’s fair to say the crowd and I were shocked when he loaded up on an 0-2 pitch and absolutely destroyed a ball to deep right field. I jumped up in shock, and the home crowd went silent. Jaime Garcia, a lefty-hitting pitcher, hit an 0-2, 2 out Grand Slam.

That’s what I love about baseball. You never know what you’re going to see on any given day. The Dodgers were on their way to having one of the greatest seasons in MLB history (only to get upstaged by the Astros in Game 7 of the Fall Classic) and my mediocre Braves embarrassed them on Fireworks Night in July.

It was a wonderful day at a wonderful park.

My food tip for Dodger Stadium? Get a Dodger dog. By far the best hot dog I’ve had at a ballpark.

Current Rankings:

  1. Wrigley Field (Chicago Cubs – Chicago, IL)
  2. Dodger Stadium (Los Angeles Dodgers, Los Angeles, CA)
  3. SunTrust Park (Atlanta Braves – Atlanta, GA)
  4. PNC Park (Pittsburgh Pirates – Pittsburgh, PA)
  5. Target Field (Minneapolis Twins – Minneapolis, MN)
  6. Petco Park (San Diego Padres – San Diego, CA)
  7. Minute Maid Park (Houston Astros – Houston, TX)
  8. Oriole Park at Camden Yards (Baltimore Orioles – Baltimore, MD)
  9. Coors Field (Colorado Rockies – Denver, CO)
  10. Citizens Bank Park (Philadelphia Phillies – Philadelphia, PA)
  11. Ballpark in Arlington (Texas Rangers – Arlington, TX)
  12. Miller Park (Milwaukee Brewers – Milwaukee, WI)
  13. Chase Field (Arizona Diamondbacks – Phoenix, AZ)
  14. Safeco Field (Seattle Mariners – Seattle, WA)
  15. Busch Stadium (Saint Louis Cardinals – Saint Louis, Missouri)
  16. Oakland Alameda County Stadium (Oakland Athletics – Oakland, CA)
  17. Guaranteed Rate Stadium (Chicago White Sox, Chicago, IL)

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