Before I divulge into the happenings of tonight’s Angels-Astros game, here is a back-story:
Ever since I stepped foot onto Orange County, I have wanted to attend a pro sporting event; after all, the only pro sports that I have ever attended have all been in the DMV (The District/Maryland/Virginia) area. So, I looked at the two closest teams that were currently in session - the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Anaheim Angels. Since the Dodgers are in LA, while the Angels were an arms’ length away from Irvine, I looked at the Angels’ schedule (sometime last week). I decided to go for the July 5th game (tonight), mainly because of the promotional schedule - it was free cap giveaway day - the best promo giveaway on a weekend for the rest of the season (you can look up the giveaways here). I also wanted a great view of the game, so any 400/500-level seats/outfield seats were out of the question.
After looking daily at Stubhub.com and SeatGeek.com (an assortment of the best seats at the most ideal prices from an aggregate of websites), on Tuesday, I finally found a 200-level seat north of the home dugout for the price of the local speed limit (a little pricey, but worth it) on SeatGeek.com. I also looked up parking, since there’s no clear-cut subway/transportation service directly from Irvine to Angels Stadium. FYI (For Your Information), parking near Washington DC’s Nationals Stadium can run from $30-$40; as much as a ticket itself. Remember that I went to see President Barack Obama’s speech for the University of California - Irvine at Angels Stadium a couple of weeks back? I saw that parking is only $10 (cash only)! To take further advantage of parking, I used the website ParkWhiz, which found $6 valet parking at the local hotel a block away from the stadium, so I booked that on Thursday.
Now, to game day. I spoke to my roommate just before I left; he told me that parking at the stadium is a non-issue (I’m not used to driving to games, since all of the games I’ve attended solo were via the Metro subway system; the baseball team is a block away from the Metro stop, while the basketball team’s arena is literally right above its Metro stop . He also told me to arrive early, since there’s always game-day traffic (I’m not used to that either - see DC Metro). So, I left at 5 PM for a 7 PM game.
Getting to the hotel was a breeze. I reached the stadium at around 5:20, and got the valet service and was walking to the stadium just 5 minutes later. I got to the stadium and picked up my free patriotic cap (it’s one of the flat-billed kind that all the cool guys wear). I then strolled around the 200-level, going around one loop around the entire stadium, to see what the atmosphere was like.
I found my seat 15 minutes prior to the first pitch. I was thinking it was a second-level seat; turns out, it’s part of the first level, but in the back, where there’s shade (think the front of the Orange section of 114 in the DC stadium here). And it turns out, the next two seats belonged to a couple, with the husband being a fan of the away team (the Houston Astros).
I won’t get into the overly thorough details of the game, but this is what happened: we (the hometown Anaheim Angels) were tied with the Astros, 1-1, after 2 innings; then, the third inning happened: there was a baserunner at every base for the Astros (who were batting). Their “worst hitter” (the player on a slump) was up to bat, and he hits a grand slam - a home run where all four players (including the hitter) score, and the Astros’ lead balloons to 5-1. After the Angels tag another run (5-2), I think all hope is lost following three scoreless innings; then, the seventh inning happened. This is about the time when my dad pulls me from the game and decides to go home (or I decide to head home, as the last subway train departs at 11 PM); luckily, promised that there’s also post-game fireworks, I wait it out.
The Angels hit not one, not two, but THREE Home Runs in the one inning of play - two 2-run Home Runs by David Freese and legendary player Albert Pujols - and a 3-run Home Run by rookie CJ Cron! A mind-boggling EIGHT runs that inning. Now, the Astros lead evaporated (much like rain on a 100-degree [40 degrees Celsius] day), and it was 10-5 Angels! (You can see all of the Home Runs here) Once the inning ended, half the crowd left, but the other half stayed for the post-game festivities.
Angels had 3 HR in 7th inning vs Astros; they’re the only team in majors with 2 3-HR innings this season (also April 13 vs Mets).— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) July 6, 2014
Remember about that couple sitting next to me? Well, the guy wasn’t upset that his team just blew a 5-1 lead; instead, he was happily cheering on the Angels, as we were watching history in the making, as well:
The Angels tacked-on another run in the following inning, and the game ended in a 11-5 victory! On top of that, the postgame fireworks were AMAZING! I look a video of the moment:
I enjoyed my first pro sports game away from home, and I hope its one of many more to follow!