So, after a brief interlude (the last game I attended at the Big A was August 1990), I finally stepped foot on hallowed ground again last night. Some thoughts...
- The Big A is an entirely different beast to the one I remember. The food and beer were both excellent (especially the enormous bottles of Mexican stuff they were serving upstairs) and the view of the game was superb.
- I'm developing an unnatural fondness for Mike Napoli - If I was a girl, I'd probably be stalking him (at least until my flight next week)
- Failbar and the trap - Erick Aybar is lulling us into a false sense of security about his perceived inadequacies. His arm is something to behold - he's wielding a bona fide howitzer. The trap will be sprung one of two ways - either he'll be traded or we'll be snared into loving him through his excellent play. The first trap is worth avoiding.
- Red Sox fans - at the risk of sounding like a broken record, I really don't like them. They're like herpes - they're unsightly, they spread, they prevent you from having a good time and worst of all they're hidden until the time you least want to see then. I had this hugely irritating woman behind me who just wouldn't STFU the whole game. Papi - WOOOOO!, Jason - WOOOOO!, I love you Wakefield - WOOOO!. Sometime in the bottom of the 6th I got this exchange: Boston Trollette no.1 - Who the hell is this guy pitching? Boston Trollette no.2 - No idea... Boston Trollette no.1 - RED SOX PITCHING GUY - WOOOOO! They went home in the middle of the 8th, to everyone's great relief.
- Back home in Blighty, away fans are quarantined into one area of the stadium (if they buy tickets in any other part of the ground they're thrown out by the stewards) usually in a bit with a terrible view - I'd like to see that rule implemented here for Boston and New York games.
- Speaking of fans in general, there's an entirely different feel about the fanbase now to 1990 - everyone is wearing red (or a majority seem to be) and people seem genuinely energized by the team. I seem to remember 13,000 fans and a general sense of "whatever...". How times change.
- Very funny moment when the kiss-cam came on and this somewhat tubby fella just mauled his girlfriend. Repeatedly. And then the cameraman went back for seconds. If he'd gone back for thirds they'd have been half-dressed.
- Matt Palmer - tremendous display of wily pitching. He's got skills. I like him.
- I've probably visited 20 different countries since last I was in Anaheim and I have to say nowhere (without exception) does breakfast as well as you guys. If you're ever in the neighbourhood at that time of day, the Filling Station in Orange is worth a visit (and it's near a roundabout, so I felt right at home) - their Ham and Eggs cut the legs out from under a potentially life-threatening hangover.
- Mannygate - the single most annoying thing that has happened since I arrived in the US happened about an hour after I got off the plane. I got this message on my phone asking me to accept an image (which I did in a travel-weary moment of foolishness), upon which a large picture of Manny Ramirez in 'Mannywood' deposited itself as the background on the phone, with some banal strapline - This Is My Town - and refused to leave, which enraged me (though in retrospect, bearing in mind the ban, it's actually quite funny). I can't be certain, but I'm pretty sure Manny jinxed my phone because the following day I left it on the Amtrak from LA to Anaheim - it is now lurking with some ``bloke called John in La Jolla.
- If the organization wants to do something about drink-driving around game time, they really need to look at some public transport solutions and lobby Orange County to help. It's tricky getting to the game without a car...
- The red jerseys are no longer unlucky (even if they remain a little ugly).
And on that note, I'll sign off. Was going to head to San Diego today rather than tomorrow, but since a certain young man called Ervin is making his season debut today, I might just wander down to the ballpark...