Monday, July 12, 2010

Angel Stadium Beats Dodger Stadium, Explaining MLB's All-Star Game in Anaheim

So says Bill Plaschke at LAT, "As a beautiful place for a ballgame, Angel Stadium has it all over Dodger Stadium." I'd have to agree, as a long-time Angel fan:
This week, the baseball world brings its marquee game to its Southern California shrine.

The best players will gather at a spot that looks like a park fiesta, smells like a beach picnic, feels like a summer night.

The national attention will focus on the only Southland venue that has staged a World Series and an All-Star game in the last 21 years.

That this place is Angel Stadium is a triumph. That it is not Dodger Stadium is a shame.

Baseball has implied it, longtime baseball fans have felt it, I'm finally going to have to write it.

This week's All-Star game was awarded to Angel Stadium because it is the best ballpark in Southern California by about a 450-foot homer. Angel Stadium is everywhere, Dodger Stadium is nowhere, and for every heart that leaps, there is one that breaks.

For every person who loves the vacation that is a trip to an Angels game, there is someone who mourns the chore that a visit to a Dodgers game has become. This is a great baseball town deserving of two great ballparks, and for all the joy that comes in baseball's recognizing the flashy kid in Anaheim, there is sadness at the decline of the aging lady of Chavez Ravine.

Counting the 1989 game in the pre-renovated Anaheim Stadium, the Angels will have had two All-Star games during a time in which the Dodgers have had none, and one must ask, how is that even possible?

First, it is because the Dodgers, with baseball's third-oldest stadium, realize their limitations and have simply stopped pushing for All-Star games. Second, well, they wouldn't get one if they asked.

Baseball prefers Angel Stadium and, frankly, so do I. This, even though some of the best memories of my adult life have been laced together at Dodger Stadium.

Angel Stadium has been around since the 1960s, when the Angels first moved there from Los Angeles. I've spent many evenings at the park and I can't ever remember having a bad experience. It's what baseball should be. Now, if the Angels can just win another World Series we'd be really stylin!