Sunday, August 13, 2006

I'm No Angel: A Trip To Anaheim

I recently criticized Royals management for allowing Kauffman Stadium to deteriorate. A recent voter-approved tax increase promises significant improvements. While I attended a Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim game three weeks ago, I considered what I'd like to see next year in Kansas City.

It starts with my pet peeve- the fee to park. Everyone knows that California is the most car-dependent place on the planet. How is it possible that parking is a dollar less in Anaheim than in Kansas City?

It's just a hunch, but I don't think palm trees would last long in Kansas City.

Aside from the members-only Stadium Club, the $100-plus crown seats, Arthur Bryant's and Yellow Sub, there's really no notable food options available at "The K." Angels Stadium offers a vast array of choices, including several fast food outlets.

Thirsty for a black and tan? No problem. Other beer brands, including Sapporo, have dedicated kiosks as well.

All right! Unfortunately, Hooters girls don't work here.

This nice restaurant seemed to be the equivalent of the Royals' Stadium Club. The spread at the buffet looked impressive through the concourse glass.

I get this look a lot. Everyone in this picnic area seemed to share this guy's antipathy toward me. I had to eat my delicious teriyaki rice bowl back in my seat because no one was willing to share a table.

Hey, is that Mark Gubicza? He doesn't look too happy about wearing a tie. Or maybe he's just another Happy In Bag fan.

Every dorky baseball fan gets a thrill when he or she catches a first glimpse of the field. Anaheim's facility was built in 1966 and was renovated nine years ago. It's not perfect- many of the seats are oddly aligned. The stadium is staffed by hundreds of older men in bowler hats. They're friendly, helpful and knowledgeable- qualities often lacking in the bored, gum-chomping youths employed as ushers in Kauffman Stadium.

Kansas City isn't the only stadium with waterfalls in the outfield. I still don't grasp what Anaheim's rocks are supposed to represent. Is it a rough-hewn "A"?

The stadium's video screen isn't breathtaking, but it's better than Kansas City's offering. What I most appreciated, though, was the additional information it provides about the game- things like pitch count. Furthermore, the screen isn't used to barrage fans with commercials between innings. Are you listening, Royals?

Oakland pitcher Danny Haren shut down the Angels. That's him warming up. Ervin "Little" Santana took the loss for the Angels. Oh yeah- the game was the Angels' 26th sellout of the year.


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