Hello Angels fans, just a word of warning on the intro paragraph - this might get a little graphic heavy, so apologize in advance to those with a slower connection.
I came by a few weeks ago, to ask the locals for some suggestions, tips, and other general information that is best heard from those who live there, instead of what the internet has to offer. And you guys delivered tons of great suggestions, ideas, and things to do, and places to eat. And for that, I graciously thank everyone who helped me out.
So a week ago, I embarked on a journey to knock out three baseball parks in one trip on my ongoing quest to eventually visit all the Major League Ballparks. A day prior to visiting Anaheim, I saw the Dodgers defeat the St. Louis Cardinals. A day after seeing the Angels tangle up with the Tigers, I would be driving down to San Diego. Get in, get out, keep things short, I suppose.
The game I went to - the Memorial Day Marathon, as I aptly called it - the 12-inning scoreless fiasco that saw more LOB than people running from a shark on the beach. I don't know about you guys, but I totally enjoyed the pitchers duel, and the ensuing battle of the bullpens, and the repeated jam-escaping by everyone. For a traveler like myself, extra innings just means MORE BASEBALL!
I very much enjoyed the simplicity of finding Angel Stadium - where I was staying, it was easy to walk out into the parking lot, wonder where Angel Stadium was, and then to see this giant halo in the sky was like a beacon of simplicity.
I must say that I loved the outside entrance of the park. My only gripe was that Mother Nature decided that pretty much my entire baseball trip was destined to be cool and cloudy throughout it all. Either way, in terms of the newer parks, Angel Stadium definitely has the most friendly and welcoming entrance than all others I've been to thus far.
Admittedly, not being local, and my only real exposures to the Angels is on rare weekend games, and the playoffs, the insides of Angel Stadium were relatively new things to my eyes. Granted, I remembered the geysers from when the World Baseball Classic had games held there, and how when Griffey, Choi and Lee teed off and blasted homers, they went off, but seeing them in person was a different thing. A kid at heart, I loved them.
To a southerner from the East coast like myself, palm trees are so alien. Yeah, I see them on tv and movies, and occasionally in my frequent visits to Las Vegas, but seeing them all over the place in California, and especially in the presence of a ballpark was always a source of amusement for me.
I don't know if anyone could hear these guys, I was way up in the upper deck in right-field, but apparently, these Detroit Tigers fans decided to bring back a tradition that started in Atlanta - Gary Sheffield's "Sheff's Chefs" Needless to say, they had quite a bit of scrutiny, both from displeased Angels fans, as well as park security, making sure their acting out was limited to just boisterous cheering for the Tigers, and Sheffield, specifically. Ironic, how Sheff hurt himself swinging, or running out the grounder, and had to be lifted.
The man himself, Vladimir Guerrero. This is who I wanted to see live, more than anyone else. How a man can take absolutely any pitch in the world, and still find the power to turn it into a park-leaving opposite field shot is remarkable and inhuman. He is the extremity when being referring to crazy free swingers who can hit absolutely anything in the world.
Some in-game action, Jon Garland pitching to Miguel Cabrera.
A little questioning about the park employee uniforms, but at least they were all friendly, from the ones that I encountered. Would be a little weird being grilled by a guy that looks like a park-ride operator.
Anyone at the game should remember this sight, because it occurred seven times! The funny thing is that, I can only say that this must be a California thing - because out of all the parks I've been to, I've never seen any beach balls bouncing around, because the Nazi security would seek and confiscate, as opposed to the more lenient security of all three, Dodger, Angel, and Petco who let the balls fly, until they were caught my immobile security, or managed to get on the field and delay the game. I joked about it afterwards, and said that some of the game delays had to throw off the rhythm of players and pitchers, by having to abruptly stop...
Look at all the zeroes! After six innings, I was wondering if the stage were going to be set for a walk-off, and wondering who was going to finally score already. After nine innings, I didn't want the game to end. To think that the Padres were going through 18 innings at around the same time!
The irony to me is that I went to a game that had guys like Vlad, Matthews, Hunter, Anderson, as well as Cabrera, Sheffield, Ordonez, and didn't see a single home-run, let alone a run actually batted in.
But it had to end eventually. I found myself telling myself the following words: "You traveled all the way to California to watch the Angels and Tigers play to a 12-inning scoreless affair, only to end in a walk-off... walk??"
And then I reminded myself of how totally awesome that was. A part of me still wishes that I were still watching the game, right now.
Obligatory (and slightly blurry) final scoreboard shot. 23 combined LOBs? Eeeww. What an awesome game, and what a silly finish.
And while leaving beautiful Angel Stadium, I paused briefly to take in some of the Memorial Day fireworks. What an awesome evening, and a fun game.
It took me a little while to get back to my hotel, but I swung through a Del Taco on my way back to take in some of the local fast food - we have a couple Del Tacos out East, but sparingly, and the one that used to be in Atlanta disappeared.
As for all the other suggestions I received, I tended to stay in the general vicinity, and didn't go up to Fullerton, or go to play Lazer Tag, or Medieval Times. ;-)
I did however, drive the PCH, and see the various beaches, both the day of the game, as well as the following morning prior to going down to San Diego.
Ruby's is a phenomenon that I am completely jealous of you West coasters for having, because some of the "diners" we have East are no comparison. I didn't go to the one on the Huntington Beach pier, although I did stop for breakfast at HB, but I went to the one in the Citadel instead... I went to a place called Sugar Shack in main street HB instead.
Whomever suggested that I stop at the Shake Shack in Crystal Beach - extra thanks to you. I don't often drink shakes, but Holy Pujols their's was delicious.
But that about does it for my little experience, that I hope y'all didn't mind me sharing with you folks. Because if it wasn't for a lot of your fine suggestions, tips, and ideas, this trip wouldn't have been nearly as fulfilling and enjoyable as it was. And for that, I once again, graciously thank you for all of your help.
You have a wonderful city, and an even better ballpark. Go baseball!