Angel Stadium of Anaheim is the fourth-oldest stadium still standing on the Major League Baseball circuit. The stadium has been the host of a World Series in 2002, the 2010 All-Star Game, the home field for the Los Angeles Rams, the first generation, and a host of many CIF Southern Section Football Championships.
Being away from Angel Stadium has been hard for me as a fan. I grew up being proud of being a Los Angeles Angels fan, walking the dirt track for Little League and PONY Baseball days, and getting insanely loud when that Rally Monkey popped up on the screen, banging those big, red thunder sticks.
During the 2000s and early 2010s, we, as fans, were known for being one of the most passionate fans. We have all faced loss with the tragic accident that claimed the life of former Angels pitcher Nick Adenhart, and grieving together after the overdose death of pitcher Tyler Skaggs. Seeing Jered Weaver take the mound in 2009, writing Adenhart’s initials in the dirt behind the mound before he pitched brought chills to your spine. 2009 was also the last time the Angels made the ALCS.
Exactly one month ago, on December 22nd, I got to show my nephew Angel Stadium for the first time. He is a three-year-old who loves the color blue. Not a good sign, but I have plenty of time for him to become an Angels fan. The store was said to be open, but there were absolutely no cars in the parking lot near the entrance.
We pulled up and realized that the store was open with two workers and no fans in sight. Also, no access to a restroom. Shohei Ohtani jerseys were full price still even though he had signed with the Los Angeles Dodgers. I’d never seen the store so dead before and three days before the Christmas holiday. There was literal depression seemingly flowing down the walls of the store which seemed pitch dark. How could any fan be excited about an Angels season, especially little kids, in a place like this?
My cousin and I had ordered a brick in commemoration of my Great Uncle’s death almost 11 months before, but no one knew how to contact the people in charge of that gift when they lay a brick for him in the bricked diamond path in front of the home plate entrance. I still do not know if they have put his brick in the ground to this day.
Angel Stadium is the oldest stadium on the west coast of the United States. They averaged just over 30,000 people for games in a stadium that holds up to 45,000 last season with Shohei Ohtani and Mike Trout on the roster. There were plans to renovate the stadium and surrounding area into a park and a shopping district. Thanks to Arte Moreno and the City of Anaheim, that plan was squashed due to possible bribery and corruption between the owner and a member or members of the City Council of Anaheim.
As an Angels fan, even before Disney took over in the late 90s, my dad said the stadium was a haven for those who didn’t want to be Los Angeles Dodgers fans, families, and hardcore baseball fanatics. True, the Los Angeles Rams and Raiders played there as well back in the day as well. Since then, the stadium still seems like a football stadium at points more than a baseball one. Disney did the last, true renovation by adding the rock pile and waterfall in left-center field. The franchise was based on family thanks to Gene Autry who founded the Angels, and then Disney who took over.
Then came the wannabe baseball man, Arte Moreno. Thanks to the work by the ownership of Disney, the Angels had one of the best farm systems in the majors when Moreno took over. He rode that success until their last postseason run in 2014 when they had the best record in baseball, but got swept in three games by the Kansas City Royals in the ALDS. Some fans and even writers think the Angels need to buy big to get back into the postseason. Sometimes winning can be the Febreze over the hot garbage of a franchise operation. Don’t even get me started on their Spring Training facility at Tempe Diablo Stadium.
For my nephew to see a future Angels franchise that is thriving, we have to tear it down for it to rise again. We need a new stadium that is for baseball only. Look at stadiums in Philadelphia or San Diego as examples. The Angels will never have the Dodgers fan base, but as we saw last year, you don’t need a massive stadium with crazy fans. You need a loyal fan base, competent leadership, and an excited next generation of fans.
The Anaheim Ducks open their new $4 billion dollar space in 2025 across the street. I guess we can just hope the Angels are sold by that time as well. I know there are fans like me fed up with this as just another example of the poor leadership of the past 20 years. There is a deadline by 2029 on what the Angels will do about the stadium situation. If my nephew Thomas ever reads this, we are all in to make the changes to this franchise needed for our generation and yours to make the Angels the beacon of hope like our name suggests.