More From the Ballpark

It had been years since I went to a ballgame so it was definitely a treat to walk through the gates and enter Anaheim Stadium, a place where I spent many a summer day in my youth.

The place has gone through a few major changes over the years. When I first starting going in the mid-70s, it was really nothing extraordinary. In fact, it was just a functional ballpark as most were back in the day. There weren’t even any bleachers beyond the outfield wall but some were added later.

Then in the 80s, it was decided the stadium was to be enclosed so that it could also accommodate the L.A. Rams. It went from a simple stadium to one hell of an ugly place that also hosted monster truck rallies (YEEEEEEHAWWWWWWW!) in addition to football games, which always bothered the hell out of me because few things are more sacriligous than seeing yard lines across centerfield. It’s just not right.

ana08951mainThe stadium remained enclosed even years after the Rams split town. As a result, the place always looked cavernous and empty even if there were 40,000 people in attendance, since there were still 20,000 seats (not normally sold for baseball) that were vacant. This wasn’t necessarily good since Angel fans at the time were notorious for, well, not showing up anyhow. How do I know this? There were less than 18,000 people in attendance the night George Brett went 4-for-5 and got hits 2,997-3,000. Baseball history in the making and nobody decided to show up. But at least I was one of them in the photographer’s well.

When The Disney Company took over, they took that Frankenstein of a stadium and completely transformed it into what is one of the most beautiful ballparks in all of baseball.

That’s exactly why I felt like a kid again when my buddy Tim and I took our seats on Sunday. The gorgeous green grass that lay before us, the stadium hot dogs that tasted better than a steak (nostagically, of course), and the years of memories of watching some of baseball’s greatest play: Gwynn, Ripken, Brett, Molitor, Yount, Reggie Jackson, Nolan Ryan, etc. Although I’m a Dodger fan, Anaheim Stadium (as it will always be known to me) holds more personal memories than Dodger Stadium, a great ballpark in its own right.

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