Our generation’s Special Order 191, except instead of cigar paper it was a ticket left on a counter at a beer stand
The Los Angeles Angels (of Anaheim) are a baseball team located in Anaheim, the crown jewel of Orange County, California. The Angels have a single World Series title, several Hall of Famers, some of the best hitters in the American League, and a stadium policed by the most overbearing ushers in Major League Baseball.
When my boy Mike and I made the drive up to Anaheim this past weekend to watch the Angels take on their AL West rival, the Seattle Mariners, we had little desire to spend the big bucks to get good seats. Luckily, this was also a mid-season game against a mediocre team, so cheap tickets were plentiful. He and I made our way into the park for a meager 15 dollars per ticket, which placed us in the uppermost deck possible.
I recommend Angel Stadium if you’re looking for a solid upper deck experience. The spectators in the 500 sections feel further away from the field of play in Angel Stadium than they do in other parks I’ve experienced, but there’s a nice vista behind the back wall featuring the 405 freeway and some mountains. I don’t recommend it if you’re as neurotic as I am and your understanding of the stadium’s relative age (built in 1966, one year younger than my Dad) makes you question just when the fifty-year old concrete is gonna give out and if you’re going to be on the upper deck the night it somehow falls off in the greatest stadium catastrophe of all time. However, that is a problem I face any time I’m in any structure so I’m able to tune it out for the most part.
My home ballpark, Kansas City’s Kauffman Stadium, and my adopted home ballpark, San Diego’s Petco Park, are both paragons of fans just kinda walkin around wherever they want. I one time spent more than half of a Royals game walking laps around the pavilion in the lower sections of the ballpark. Angel Stadium is not privy to that sort of spectating. For instance, if one is to buy outfield seats, they would need to enter the stadium through a different gate than the one used by everyone else in the park. The hallways within the stadium are narrow and feature low ceilings so I don’t think I’d really want to mosey around even if I had the ability to do so. Spectators are required to show an usher in a red jacket and a big hat their tickets in order to access their seats.
These rules work directly against my general baseball stadium gameday plan, where we buy cheap upper-deck general admission seats using old student IDs, then we wait until like the third inning, go down to the main concourse to “buy food”, and then we sneak into some of the plentiful empty seats of the field seating section. It’s a genius plan and it works every time because, for the most part, the employees of the park do not care. Since the owners of every baseball team are rich, and they seem to be the only people who could feasibly get hurt by this, I have declared this habit to be a form of anti-capitalist praxis.
Mike and I were prepared to bow to the restrictive fist of the Orange County Stadium Seating Impresario and accept our fate in the upper deck. However, on a trip down to a beer stand on the main level, we were blessed by a serendipitous hand from above – Some sort of Baseball Angel of Anaheim, if you will. There, on a silvery bar in front of a series of taps of $15 craft beers, sat a pristine ticket for Section 110, Row 24, Seat 2. A $105 face value. Unclaimed.
Thinking quickly, Mike picked up the ticket and pocketed it before paying like fifteen dollars for some IPA thing. (I, a frugal genius future millionaire, spent only eleven dollars on a tall boy of Coors Light, which I knew to be cold and refreshing because I saw that the mountains on the can had turned blue).
We knew what to do. This was a gift from the Gods, or at least an accidental gift from a forgetful Anaheimer. Mike and I entered the field level. We tried to be sneaky, sitting a section above where the ticketed seats were, not wanting to fly too closely to the sun. However, an usher in a big wicker hat and the baggiest pair of khakis I’ve ever seen sussed us out and forced us to move to where our ticket said we were supposed to be.
This begat the moment of truth. If we were to stumble upon Section 110, Row 24, Seat 2 and see a happy family sitting together enjoying some American League action, then the mission would’ve been aborted. We would’ve hightailed it out of there and headed back to our home in the upper deck, a place we’d so cruelly abandoned. But when we approached?
Nobody. Two empty, pristine seats. Not even a leftover Dasani bottle or anything. Somebody must have entered the stadium, thought about buying some beer, put their ticket down on a counter, and left the stadium shortly thereafter.
You may think that this was either luck or fate. I choose to believe it was neither. Shortly after Mike found the ticket, I posed for this photograph with my tall boy of Coors Light:
That’s me with Gene Autry, former cowboy actor and the late owner of the Los Angeles Angels (of Anaheim). I choose to believe that he knew we intended to pay respects. He saw us from on high. He sent us that ticket as a way to say “Find me, pay your dues, and enjoy some Angel Baseball”.
So we did. We watched as the Angels dominated the Seattle Mariners over the rest of the night. And we praised him.
Thank You, Gene.
Also uh the Angels Stadium isn’t as bad as people make it out to be, it was a perfectly enjoyable time, and also if Gene Autry was involved in that red scare shit and blacklisted people then I immediately retract any of the good things I said. I’m Joe Bush and I’m online on Facebook, Twitter, and Ko-Fi. Patreon is also to come next month, but be cool about it!!