Angel Blues

It is an exquisite summer day:  the type of day that reminds me why we live in the overpriced and overcrowded city of Los Angeles. The girls are fresh back from three weeks of overnight camp, complete with runny noses, croopy coughs, and enough camp songs to make Blazing Saddles look like a true western. After running seven loads of laundry, I am in the mood to curl up on my bench swing with a really good book.

“I have an idea,” beams my adoring husband. “Let’s go to an Angel’s game!” Now our family is always up for a ballgame, butAnaheimis quite literally a far cry from Chavez Ravine. “Don’t worry,” he explains (knowing full well that the idea of sitting in rush hour traffic has already killed my enthusiasm), “We’ll take the train there!” The girls wake up from their post camp coma to chime in, “Mom, it will be fun! We’ll get to take the train! We’ve never been to Angel Stadium before!” So what’s a mother to do? I cave in to the pressure.

Two hours later my adoring husband leaks the news that the train does not actually leave Anaheim Stadium until 30 minutes after the game ends; thus, ensuring that we will arrive home in the vicinity of midnight. Not a good idea. So now we are forced into scenario #1 (2+ hours of rush hour traffic). Even the girls admit the initial appeal has all but faded, but my adoring husband continues to praise the outing as a “Cultural Event” – an opportunity to see how the “other fans” live.

Bumper to bumper traffic releases us at Angel Stadium sometime after 7 p.m. The contrast between Angel Stadium and Dodger Stadium is immediately apparent: the parking attendant actually smiles, and there is no chance of getting jumped. From the looks of it, the Angels employ half ofOrangeCounty: the same half that work atDisneylandfor their day jobs. They are all wearing stupid little straw hats that make you want to hand them a banjo and a corn pipe.

It is Albert Pujols hat night, and although we are late for the game there are plenty of black hats being distributed. Unfortunately the hats are not what we expect. They are cadet style (think J. Lo circa 2003). Really? No baseball hats? This results in an additional round of complaints from our barely coherent campers.

We embark on the two mile hike to the top of the Grand Stand, where my adoring husband purchased seats to this cultural event. Along the way we discover a plethora of eateries.

At last we can indulge in our favorite pastime – eating! But where are the Dodger dogs? They are nowhere to be found. In fact, they’ve been replaced by Wienerschnitzel dogs. And what about the Carnation malts for dessert?  Nope, there’s only a plain wrap brand.

What isn’t plain wrap is the stadium, which is so commercialized that even the field rakes have a Scott brand logo. Their Diamond Vision might as well be referred to as Fox TV; there are certainly enough commercials shown in between innings. The demeanor in the stands is markedly different, too. We can barely pay attention to the game, as the single moms behind us gossip about the neighbors in their gated community. Tough life, eh?

I think my daughter summed it up best … a trip to Angel Stadium is like “watered down baseball.” Yes, it is beautiful. Yes, it is clean. Yes, it is safe. But I’ll take my L.A. Dodger Blues (with a little bit of Magic) anytime over the silly Rally Monkey and the Anaheim Angels.

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