There’s nothing quite like seeing the best player to ever play the game of baseball.
For those of you who know me personally or follow Straight Up Sports, you’re aware of my goal to attend a game at all 30 MLB ballparks. Prior to my legendary vacation to Southern California, I had crossed off the stadiums of 8 stadiums of 6 teams: the Mets (Shea Stadium and Citi Field), the Yankees (Old Yankee Stadium and New Yankee Stadium), the Red Sox (Fenway Park), the Giants (AT&T Field), the Cubs (Wrigley Field), and the Nationals (Nationals Park). Yesterday, those numbers increased by 1, as I went to go see the Angels at Angel Stadium in Anaheim.
For starters, the stadium itself is beautiful. The front of the park features two enormous metal Angels hats, and below them is a brick-constructed full-size baseball field. Around the entire stadium is a ton of green and lively vegetation that makes you think you’re in a National Park versus a baseball park. And when you get inside, everything is open, airy, and refreshing. The best and most iconic of all, though, is the rock waterfall that is featured in left-center field. There’s really nothing like it at the rest of the MLB stadiums, and it’s even prettier when you see it with your own two eyes.
On the flip side, the fans at the game were exceptionally strange. California is definitely a different place from New York. When I go to Citi Field or Yankee Stadium, I fully expect to get bodied by some douchebag or accidentally smacked in the face by some rowdy drunken fan, not to mention everyone in New York walks with purpose and swiftness. In Southern California, the people are on Minana time. I strangely don’t expect to have a beer poured on my head (except my girlfriend DID have a beer spilled all over her). There is no sense of urgency to the way people walk, and everyone is so laid back to the point where the New Yorker in me gets frustrated and annoyed. But with the Brewers in town, the Anaheim locals looked extremely normal, because Milwaukee fans are weird as fuck. They perfectly exemplify being the “Brew”ers, downing beer after beer until they get comfortable enough to take off their sandals and put their bare feet up like they’re in their living room. And the hyper-passionate bring signs that say “The Yelinator” to pay homage to reigning NL MVP Christian Yelich. Their hearts were broken when Yelich refused to sign their creepy poster.
Yelich wasn’t the only MVP in the building that night. If you know anything about baseball, you’re fully aware that the Angels feature 2x AL MVP Mike Trout, otherwise known as the greatest man to ever swing a baseball bat. With those two trying to propel their respective teams to the playoffs, last night’s game was sure to be a good one.
It definitely lived up to the hype. Both stars were fine on the offensive end (Yelich 2-4 and Trout 0-2 with 2 BB), but their defensive performances were both exceptional. Yelich robbed a few Angels of hits and doubled off Albert Pujols on a sliding grab and throw back to second base. The best play of the day, though, had to go to Mike Trout, who perfectly tracked and timed a would-be Yelich home run, which instead he leaped and caught at the center field wall. His superior offense and defense are what makes him a consistent MVP candidate, but to see Trout rob another MVP of a dinger is nothing short of jaw-dropping.
After falling behind 1-0 in the 2nd inning, the Angels took the lead in the bottom half of the frame and controlled the game from that point on. Unlike Christian Yelich, Mike Moustakas actually did end up homering for Milwaukee, and Tommy La Stella, Andrelton Simmons, and Justin Bour all homered for Los Angeles en route to a 5-2 Angels win. And apparently, when an Angel homers, the rock waterfall goes up in flames, a much more intense celebration than the Mets raising the Home Run Apple.
Like I always say with recaps, the best thing about going to sporting events is hanging out with loved ones, and I was lucky enough this time to spend a night at the ballpark with my girlfriend and my dad. The night was nothing short of amazing, and I already wish we could go back and do it again. Next time though, we’ll take the short trip to San Diego and see the Padres at Petco Park.
Purveyor of truth. Breaker of chains. Foolish fan of the Mets, Jets, and Knicks.