I mentioned in the my last race report that I was on a non-NASCAR vacation towards the end of last week. It wasn’t a non-sports vacation though as the main purpose of my trip was to go to a major league baseball game (my first ever)! As part of (bff) Misty’s Christmas present last year I gave her a baseball game- but not just any baseball game but a baseball game of her two favorite teams playing each other. That would be the Yankees and the Angels. So I scored us tickets and we met in Anaheim for the game. Our hotel was centrally located between Disneyland and Angels stadium which was great because pretty much we could walk everywhere we needed to go- the Garden Walk in Anaheim has all the restaurants one could need for a short trip and was just a couple blocks from the hotel and Angels Stadium was just over a mile away so we walked and saved ourselves the $10 parking fee.
Yeah that is my first observation about the difference between NASCAR and MLB- the parking fee. The NASCAR tracks I have been to do not charge for parking- unless you want to park in VIP parking that is close to the track (which both Vegas and Phoenix offer- I am not sure about other tracks). And while we did walk through the parking lot to get to the stadium- I dare say that NASCAR fans are bigger tailgaters then baseball fans- per my observations from the Friday night game at Angels Stadium anyway.
I had no idea what to expect when we entered Angel’s Stadium. The facility was really nice. It probably had two to four times the number of bathrooms than any race track I have been to – which is REALLY nice. So there were twice the number of bathrooms and half the number of fans than at any given race track on a Sunday- so that made lines in the potties non-existent. There were food vendors readily available for all levels of the stadium too which was also nice. And yes I was surprised that they actually sold cracker jacks at the baseball game (Misty felt the need to tweet out my surprised exclamation about the cracker jacks right there in line). I thought that was just the lyrics to the song. By the way- I did have a ball park frank and cracker jacks because I might as well have the FULL experience. If I didn’t that would be like going to Martinsville and not having one of the famous Martinsville dogs. You are missing out!
One huge thing that was missing? Opposing team merchandise. I guess because it’s ANGELS Stadium. Misty and I walked all around the stadium looking for just one kiosk selling YANKEES goodies- anything a hat? a foam finger? ANYTHING! Since they were the opposing team we could find NOTHING. There were lots of GREAT stores selling Angels merchandise within the park- most on the lower level of the stadium and were actual really nice walk-in stores. I figured there would be at least ONE Yankees kiosk set up somewhere…well we walked all over looking for it and we couldn’t find anything. I mean NASCAR manages to have many many drivers merchandise available at all the tracks- why can’t the baseball stadiums have at least a little kiosk where they sell a couple tchotchkes of the opposing team’s merchandise?!
My next major observation is that at baseball the cheaper the seats the farther away / higher up you sit- where in NASCAR pretty much the opposite is true- the cheaper the seats the closer / lower you sit. Egads is baseball a quiet sport. I didn’t even realize the game had started until one out was done with! I don’t know what I was expecting but there were no real baseball introductions the way driver introductions are done. There was no pre-game ceremony other than the singing of the national anthem and then I think there was first pitch thrown out but like I said it’s a quiet sport so I am pretty sure I missed that. There was no presenting of the nation’s colors, definitely no invocation, no fly over except by the Goodyear blimp that continually circled the stadium I thought I would at least hear the crack of the bats way up in the cheap seats…but no. You know how at a race there is the announcers giving the play-by-play at the track although you can’t really hear them when the cars are roaring by you? Well at this baseball game there was no real play-by-play and it would have been easy to hear since I have decided that baseball is the quietest sport EVER.
For the most part- even the fans were quiet. Oh sure, there was some smack talking back and forth between fans of Angels and Yankees in our area (somehow we ended up seated in the middle of a big group of Yankee fans which was fine since they are Misty’s #1 team and she was wearing a Yankee shirt) and the occasional yelling (heckling?) at a specific player. Maybe it is because of the track noise that NASCAR fans are subjected to that they are just inherently a noisier breed of fan? Misty did observe that the longer that we were at the game the more boisterous the fans got- especially with each other- no doubt due to the adult beverages being consumed but overall it was a way more quiet and tame experience in comparison.
It was weird to me being around fans of only two different teams especially when those numbers are so lopsided (i.e. larger numbers of one team (Angels) than the other (Yankees) in the stadium). At any given race track you mingle with a greater variety of fans because if you think about it- 43 drivers make the Sprint cup race every week. At the baseball game- while there were definitely more Yankee fans than I thought there would be- it was blatantly obvious I was in ANGELS stadium as it was awash in a sea of red. If a Yankee struck out? A funny little blooper noise would come over the loud speakers. I noticed that noise didn’t happen when an Angels player struck out- so even the facility was biased- which was interesting. That would be like Talladega raceway playing a weird noise every time Jimmie Johnson or Tony Stewart went a lap down- but not when Dale Jr did.
All in all- I had a GREAT time and it was lots of fun. I am pretty sure that Misty had fun too (even if her overly competitive nature may have caused some under the breath smack talking of her own). I would definitely go back!
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