SABR went to Dodger and Angels Stadium this week, and some members didn’t have kind things to say about Southern California’s baseball cathedrals. This evoked mixed emotions as I have poked fun at both stadiums for over two decades. However, I am not particularly fond of outsiders taking potshots at places that are like home to me. Most circles of friends have one idiot in the circle, and while those in the circle might bash the idiot, they are very protective of outsiders doing the same. Well, over the years, both stadiums have become my inner circle idiots, and I don’t care for outsiders unduly criticizing them, especially god awful Cubs’ fans.
Under Frank McCourt’s reign of terror, Dodger Stadium has become has dilapidated as the team on the field. In my row Friday night with SABR, there were four consecutive broken seats, a mean feat since the stadium went through a hundred million plus renovation not too long ago. Unfortunately, the renovation resembles a bad plastic surgery operation on an aging Hollywood starlet. At this point, only the wrecking ball can save Chavez Ravine. However, its one saving grace is that it is not heavily populated by Cubs’ fans, who think drinking beer while getting their pasty skin sunburned in a baking toilet is the consummate baseball experience (not surprisingly, their spring training facility in Mesa offers the same experience). What makes Cubs’ fan unbearable is the fact that like to travel to other places and ramble on about how great Wrigley is, and how Cubs fans are superior to other fans.
Look, Mr. 1908’s, you guys are Cubs fans. It wasn’t long ago that mounting a Cubs’ fan on the hood of an old gas guzzler and driving him around Scottsdale during Spring Training was not only considered good, clean fun, but a civic duty since the herd is in constant need of thinning. Don’t make cracks about our beach balls while droning on about the sanctity of Wrigley, especially since your bellies look like you ate a few beach balls (yeah, I went there with my big gut, Lard Ass). Baseball is played year round in Southern California. While your freezing your tails off in January, we are taking our kids to their travel ball games. More players from this region make it to the Bigs than any other region on the planet. We know baseball out here and don’t have to pretend that every trip to a major league park is a serious religious endeavor.
Look, bash on the Dodger Dogs all you want. They are terrible, especially since the mustard choices in Dodger Stadium are criminal. However, don’t eat three of them and continue tell us how bad they taste. Instead, try the Doyer Fries, which are quite good and can only help your sickly constitution (the morning dooker following Doyer Fries is indeed a religious experience — The Morning Apocalypse we call it).
Saturday morning, I heard Dave Cameron, the genius behind Fan Graphs, tell people to be prepared unpleasantness at Angels’ Stadium. Unlike some people, I enjoy Cameron very much (I thought his self deprecating joke about the Sixth Best Organization in baseball in front of a packed room at SABR was simply awesome), and his disparaging comments about the odious Rally Monkey were dead on. However, Angels’ Stadium is far more than the Rally Monkey, and Bouncing Baby Jesus on a Pogo Stick, Cameron, you are a Mariners’ fan. While some Mariners’ fans aspire to grow up and become the Red Sox Nation, Mariners’ fans are still babes in the woods covered with the taint of fourteen years of Ron Fairly broadcasting who watch their team in a blimp hangar. Angels’ Stadium is often goofy, but people who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw hand grenades.
I’ve been to major league parks in all the cities in North America besides Montreal and Tampa, plus a slew of minor league parks. Criticizing them to feel superior serves no purpose, except for Petco (the Gateway to El Centro!) because Padres fans aren’t smiley at all. The are insecure whelps who are mad at living because there is a hole in their heart from the knowledge that San Diego will never grow from the shadows of Los Angeles and Tijuana. They live amongst beauty, but can’t get past the intangible “We Should Get More Recognition”. Years of transplants trapesing through their sports stadia have made them even more bitter, so now they take to behaving like Raiders fans. Maybe even worse, because of the high number of tranplants in the area, there is an excellent chance that one might get stuck sitting next to a Red Sox fan, and there really isn’t much worse than that, except for a Pirates’ fan wearing a Lynn Swan jersey in one’s section.
The stadium is clean, but congested because of its Mad Hatter design. The food is decent, but nothing memorable (that is still much better than Dodger Stadium). As for the staff, most of their concession stands are worked by fundraising groups. The workers are volunteers, usally having no idea what they are getting into. Thier groups gets a certain percentage of sales while the stadium gets ridiculously cheap labor. Most of this cheap labor is incompetent, which leads to long waits. The speciality stands are different, but often the help there is snobby, which just makes me want to slap their smug faces.
But I digress. I’d rather have fire ants devour my gonads than go to Petco, but I still go about three times a year. Why? Because they play baseball there. I don’t go to ballparks and bash their fans (that is what the intertubes are for) and their different traditions. If you come to my house(s), don’t bash my idiots — or feed them for that matter.