It was “Little League Day” at the stadium. That pretty much sums up everything you need to know about our fan experience. Lots of kids and my seat ended up being kicked for a vast majority of the game. Despite that–and the final score– it was a good time at the old ball yard.
For the second year Lauren gave me Angels ticket vouchers, which were then redeemed for 2 tickets to 5 Angel games throughout the season and today’s game was to have been the first game of the season, but then other opportunities arose and it was, in actuality, my third of the young season.
Again, we arrived at the stadium early, even though we knew there was to be no batting practice, and again, we were shut out for autographs and baseballs. Rumor has it that Mike Trout was signing a few before the game, but we never saw him.
Today was a decent pitching matchup, Jerome Williams with a 1-0 record and no runs allowed versus Orioles #1 starter, Jason Hammel. I was hoping Williams would pitch well, and kick Joe Blanton out of the rotation, but that was not to be.
The Angels flexed their muscles in the bottom of the 1st inning, after Williams allowed a run in the top half of the inning. Trout stole a base and there were several “station-to-station” base hits and 3 runs scored as the team batted around.
This was a good thing. This was a throwback to the Angels division winning teams of the late 2000s, small ball being executed and opportunities that have lately fallen by the wayside were taken advantage of. This was not to last.
In the top of the 3rd inning, there was a delay of approximately 10 minutes, with no one on the field and no announcement made to the stadium, so of course, I took to my iPhone to see if anyone on the world wide interwebs had any idea what was going on.
As it turns out, home plate umpire Larry Vanover had gotten hit pretty hard by a Mark Trumbo foul ball earlier in the game, and was unable to continue, so the delay was for Manny Gonzalez to get on the home plate gear, as he moved from second base. It just would have been nice to let the fans know, since I spent most of the delay assuming the worst.
J.J. Hardy tied the game with a two-run home run in the top of the 4th and Mike Trout answered with a homer of his own in the bottom half of the inning, but, alas, that was the end of the Angels offense for the game.
Anemic offense notwithstanding, Dane De La Rosa’s performance in the game was nothing short of dreadful. Williams allowed 5 runs, but he actually left the game only trailing by a run–a still very winnable game, and then the bullpen…or more correctly, Dane De La Rosa gave up 3 runs in only 2/3 of an inning and put the game beyond the realm of a reasonable comeback, particularly with the Oriole relievers putting in a sparkling performance.
As I said before, despite the final score and all of the kids surrounding us, the game was quite enjoyable. Baseball games are made for lazy Sunday afternoons and the weather–overcast with temperatures in the lows 70s–made it quite comfortable out in the outfield pavilion.
It never ceases to make me laugh, though, to see how many people left early after the top of the ninth, presumably to “beat traffic.” First of all, with the masses that shared this idea, there isn’t much of an advantage to leaving at the same time as thousands of fellow “time conscious” fans. Secondly, it’s a late Sunday afternoon. Where do you have to go that you have to get out of the stadium immediately? Finally, I have been a baseball fan long enough to know that however improbable, you do not leave a game before the final out is recorded. You never know what can happen. That’s the great thing about baseball. There’s no clock to tell you when the game is over, it doesn’t end until the last man has had his chance.
That being said, the Angels went down in order after Josh Hamilton hit a leadoff double and we left the stadium with a much smaller crowd than if we had left the game early. This game leaves my record at 1-2 with both Angels games accounting for the 2 losses. If they don’t win the next time out, I might have to start looking at myself as a potential jinx.
Our next scheduled game is on the 21st for Mike Trout pint glass night versus the Mariners, though I may try to squeeze in a game on the 16th for the Mark Trumbo bobble head and to boo the hated White Sox. Only time–and my work schedule–will tell.