If you've been an Angels fan for even just a short amount of time, one thing you quickly begin to notice at home games is the propensity for opposing team's fans to pack inside the Big A and root for their out-of-town team, of which their fandom is probably based on the most tenuous of reasons( "my grandparents are lived outside of Maryland for a short time in the 1960s, so I root for the Orioles"). It's something that can be infuriating, but it also just comes with the territory. For all their big market aspirations, the Angels are still treated as a smaller market team that just happens to have a superstar or two. Couple that with the transient nature of southern California, and specifically Orange County, where you have people of disparate origins and corners of the USA all settling in this sun drenched baseball paradise, and you have a recipe for people using the Big A not as a place to see their local club, but to see their "back home" team, and get a taste of the miserable place they fled in the first place. \
This is really no different than what happens in the Freeway Series, the only difference being the Dodgers are our crosstown rivals, and there are USDA Grade A beefs behind the games being played. We've all been there, or have seen it on the broadcast. Last night was a perfect example: Dodgers fans galore...being louder than Angels fans...being lively, raucous, and enjoying the hell out of their night. Does this make you mad, Angels fans? Does the fact that they can come down the 5 freeway, fill up more than half the seats and scream their lungs out make you mad, all while the Dodgers are taking care of business on the field?
If it does, I totally understand where you're coming from and don't fault you for thinking that way. But perhaps we shouldn't feel so outraged, embarrassed or upset. Perhaps we need to think about it from the perspective of the Dodgers fans, and where they're coming from. It's called empathy, people. We need to not only tolerate Dodgers fans at the Big A, but we should welcome them with open arms, hearts and minds.
After all, they are Dodgers fans. If we don't look out for them nobody will. Here are some reasons we should put the animosity towards the yearly Dodgers fan Big A influx aside, and show some neighborly, crosstown compassion.
1. Los Angeles baseball enlightenment:
Look, unless you plan on going to a lot of Raiders games this upcoming season, you're not going to have a better shot of having this many Dodgers fans in one place, and having them in one place is an amazing opportunity to educate them about the history of not only the Angels, but also the Dodgers. For instance, you could tell them that the Dodgers are originally a team from Brooklyn, New York. You could then pepper in some info about how the Angels were playing baseball in Los Angeles long before Walter O'Malley decided to ship them out here. If you want to get political, you can tell them all about how their stadium was built on the destruction of a community owned largely by Mexican Americans. Most Dodgers fans you'll meet at the stadium have a limited knowledge of baseball, mostly coming from Facebook posts shared by their chill cousin, and they'll be extremely appreciative of you for dropping some science on them.
2. Fun facts galore:
Maybe you don't want to get too deep into their team's history...it can be exhausting enough condensing all those years of Dodgers and Angels history into a single, quick conversation at a ball game, but add in the fact that you'll be trying to do so for simple, slow Dodgers fans, and all of a sudden it seems impossible. Don't fret. Start with small, easily digestible, fun facts. Here's one: The Dodgers famed logo is really just a reappropriation of the PCL Angels' logo! Neat, huh? Or how about the fact that the first no-hitter thrown in Dodger stadium happened on May 5, 1962. The pitcher? Bo Belinsky, of THE ANGELS! Using fun facts like these examples are going to make the Dodger fan stare at you, with no expression whatsoever other than a speck of drool beginning to form in the corner of their mouth. Don't worry, this is normal. The information is just making it's way through their neurons, and will eventually their brain will signal a response. Go easy on them. This is a lot to take in, after all.
3. Even Dodgers fans deserve a nice stadium:
I don't normally support the idea of poverty tourism, but with that in mind, I do think it's important that all Angels fans go to at least one game at Dodger Stadium. You will be shocked and saddened, and if you have a bone of compassion in your body, you'll know why we shouldn't be mad that they flock to the Big A. Dodger Stadium sits on a hill of bad vibes, with a design that would have been state-of-the-art only in an alternate reality where the USSR won the cold war in the 60s. The parking lot is a place where idling car temperatures go to die, and where drunken fans run the risk of falling asleep at the wheel as they wait to get out of the self-imposed carpocalypse. The sound system is atrocious, and even the most seasoned stadium PA announcer is going to sound like Satan's farting into a tin can. This may all sound funny and a thing to scoff at, but these are baseball fans just like you and I, at the end of the day. They are just looking for a nice, clean, well constructed stadium to watch their favorite team in. Sure, it'd be better if they could find this comfort and solace elsewhere, but the fact is we're their neighbors and the Big A is close by, so we need to welcome these imbecilic baseball refugees with a smile and a pat on the head. "Don't worry. You're at The Big A. Everything is okay now."
4. The post-season will crush them, so let them live a little now:
The Angels have to be one of the nicest teams in MLB. This year, they've continually allowed the Dodgers to trounce them, but it's all because they know how the game will unfold in October for the Boys in Blue. The Dodgers will get tossed from the playoffs quicker than Vin Scully mispronounces latin players' names in the opening lineups. We need to take a cue from the guys on the field and let them win some every now and then. That's part of being a good neighbor. Clayton Kershaw is obviously going to melt away and whither, as he's known to do in games of importance, so why not let him get some strikeouts and shutout innings here and there? Mike Trout, the best ball player in MLB, is also one of the nicest. He'll gladly give up some ABs while padding Zack Greinke and Kershaw's numbers, just because he knows this is all they'll have. Once November rolls around, most of the Dodgers fans you see at the Big A will be in the same dumps, wondering what happened to their fantastic team. I say we give them something to cheer about in the regular season, because it aint coming for them in the NLDS or NLCS.
All of these things are merely suggestions; suggestions to living a better, more sympathetic baseball fan life, and all towards a fan base that is often derided, but should be felt sorry for. These are fans of the Los Angeles Dodgers, many of whom don't know about baseball other than "Hey, that thing says L.A. on it. I like them?", all while being bombarded with billboards from the likes of Justin Bieber and Kim Kardashian. Put yourself in their naive, dull, shortsighted and ignorant shoes just for one second. See? Doesn't feel so good, does it?! When they come into the Big A, remember these things and act accordingly.
"“Be kind, for everyone you meet, especially stupid Dodgers fans, are fighting a harder battle.”-Plato