My father, who had followed the Angels since they were a part of the old Pacific Coast League back in the 30s and 40s, had always dreamed of making a visit to every major league stadium in the country. Well, he died a year ago on September 11th, and not long after his death my sister and I decided that we would take on my father's dream. In the year that has passed since my father's death, we have toured such storied venues as Fenway Park and Wrigley Field, as well as much newer ballparks like Progressive Field in Cleveland.
Last week, after attending countless Angels' games, we decided to take a tour of Angels Stadium. Unbelievable. Unbelievably bad, that is. The tour we were given easily ranks as the worst we've been to so far. The only tour worse than the one we got in Anaheim is the one offered by the Oakland As. The As don't offer an actual tour, but you can take a 'virtual tour' on their official website.
For the cost of three dollars (yes, three dollars), you get to see the VIP elevator that no one on the tour is allowed to take pictures of (?), and are informed that the carpet upon which you stand carries a 'baseball motif' because, well, there are baseball designs woven into the fabric. The tour guide (quite possibly one of the Angel Boosters) helps you imagine what the inside of the Angels' Clubhouse looks like if you were able to take a tour of it, which you are not. We got to see the inside of the press room, where the kindly guide tried to remember where we could get the very same wallpaper should we want to decorate a room in our house similarly. Unfortunately, no one seemed to have the keys to the batting cages, but our guide again helped us to imagine what we would see had we been able to actually tour them.
The tour guide was a nice lady, and probably the very best grandmother in the whole world. But information about how new the carpeting is and where wallpaper can be purchased makes for one lousy tour. In contrast, two days later my sister and I toured AT&T Park in San Francisco and what a difference! First of all, the setting can't be beat. From the ballpark you can visually take in the entire San Francisco skyline on one side, and the Golden Gate Bridge on the other. But even better than that was the fact that our tour guide was quite possibly the most baseball knowledgeable guy I'd ever met. Importantly, not only did he give us great information on the history of Giants baseball, but he gave us great info on the history of baseball in the west, including some history of the Angels during their Pacific Coast years. The cost of the tour was twelve dollars and fifty cents, but it was light years better that the one at Angels Stadium.
Arte Moreno and the Angels stake a claim to being "Fan Strong", and they are. But please, Arte, do your fans, and baseball, a favor: hire a real tour guide and take pride in the Angel history that has brought this franchise to its current championship level of play. Please.