Name: Angel Stadium
Location: Anaheim, California
Opened: 19 April 1966
Architect: Noble W. Hertzberg and Associates (original)
HOK Sport / Robert A.M. Stern / Walt Disney Engineering (renovations)
Cost: $24 Million
Capacity: 43,250 (1966)
Surface: Tifway 419 Bermuda Grass
I want to say something nice about Angel Stadium. I genuinely do. But there's really just not much to work with here.
For many of these parks, I've said "this is such a beautiful park, the only real down side to seeing a game here is the horrible team on the field." Angel Stadium is, in some respects, the opposite of that. While the team is fairly horrible, there is no other park in baseball you can go to to see the home games of the greatest player in the game, and arguably one of the top four or five ever.
And I'd go to a lot worse ballpark than Angel Stadium to see Mike Trout play in person.
But as for the park . . . It's old. It's the fourth-oldest ballpark in the majors, and the second oldest in the American League after Fenway Park. It's been there for more than 50 years. But, while Fenway and Wrigley are holy shrines to the game, and even Dodger Stadium, for its faults, is a legendary and iconic place to see a game, Angel Stadium is just . . . old. And not in the good way.
A major renovation in 1997-1998 (after a handful of the new golden age of ballparks were built -- Camden Yards, Jacobs Field, and Coors Field were built to great acclaim from 1992-1995) was literally led by Walt Disney Imagineers, and, while many ballparks have labeled (pejoratively) as having been "Disneyfied", as far as I can tell, this is the only one where it happened literally.
The result, rather than a classy old dame dressed up in modern clothes, became a mish-mash of weird fake-feeling elements plopped down on a tired, old frame. There is a very fake-looking rock feature out in left center which features a waterfall, and occasional fountains and even fireball explosions. And there are the giant helmets plopped down at the front entrance. I'll let you make up your own mind about those. (Although I haven't ever heard of anyone who likes them. Not even kids.)
Like its counterpart up "the 5", Dodger Stadium, Angel Stadium is plopped down in the middle of a giant parking lot. If you've read any of the previous ballpark profiles, you'll know our feeling about that.
(If you haven't read the previous profiles . . . we're not fans of a ballpark in the middle of a parking lot desert.)
On the plus side, the Angels have been discussing a new Master Plan to build a new "ballpark community" around Angel Stadium, which is a nice step forward. (Note: the giant red batting helmets are conspicuously absent from the renderings of the new plans.)
This ambitious plan would cost several hundreds of millions of dollars, and it may just be that the Angels scrap the whole thing and start fresh with a new park. Given the dated elements of the current stadium -- narrow concourses, out-dated and uncomfortable seating, not-great sightlines, this may be the best plan in the long run.
Either way, Mike Trout will be a Los Angeles Angel (of Anaheim) through the 2030 season. As long as he is playing there, "The Big A" is worth a visit.
Have thoughts about Angel Stadium? Chime in below for a chance to win a FREE PRINT from Ballpark Blueprints!