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Angel Stadium of Anaheim
The Big A
Angel Stadium of Anaheim.svg
Angel Stadium of Anaheim
Location 2000 Gene Autry Way
Anaheim, California 92806
Broke ground August 31, 1964
Opened April 19, 1966
April 1, 1998 (renovations)
Owner City of Anaheim
Operator Angels Baseball LP
Surface Grass
Construction cost $24 million
$118 million (1997–1999 renovations)
Architect Populous (then HOK Sport) and Walt Disney Imagineering (Renovations)
Former names Anaheim Stadium (1964–1997)
Edison International Field of Anaheim (1998–2003)
Tenants Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim (MLB) (1966–present)
Southern California Sun (WFL) (1974–1975)
Los Angeles Rams (NFL) (1980–1994)
Freedom Bowl (NCAA) (1984–1994)
California Surf (NASL) (1978–1981)
Capacity 43,000 (1966)
64,593 (1979)
45,050 (2005)

Angel Stadium of Anaheim (originally Anaheim Stadium and later Edison International Field of Anaheim) is a modern-style ballpark located in Anaheim, California. It is the home ballpark to Major League Baseball's Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim of the American League, and was previously home to the NFL's Los Angeles Rams. The stadium is often referred to by its unofficial nickname The Big A.

Angel Stadium and its surrounding parking lot are roughly bounded by Katella Avenue to the north, the Orange Freeway to the east, Orangewood Avenue to the south, and State College Boulevard to the west. Located near the eastern boundary of the parking lot is the landmark "Big A" sign and electronic marquee, which originally served as a scoreboard support. The halo located near the top of the 230' tall, 210-ton sign is illuminated following games in which the Angels win (both at home and on the road), which gives rise to the fan expression, "Light up the Halo!"

Aside from professional baseball and football, Angel Stadium has hosted high school and college football games, National Football League pre-season games, the short-lived World Football League, two crusades by evangelist Billy Graham, nearly twenty consecutive annual crusades by evangelist Greg Laurie and musical concerts featuring such acts as The Rolling Stones,[1] The Who,[2] and Pink Floyd.[2]

Angel Stadium, the fourth oldest active Major League Baseball stadium, was selected to host the 2010 Major League Baseball All-Star Game.[3]

The stadium also houses the studios and offices of the Angels' owned and operated flagship radio station, KLAA (830 AM).

BeginningsEdit

6505-AngelStadiumUnderConstruction

Anaheim Stadium under construction, May 1965

Angel Stadium has been the home of the Angels since their move from Los Angeles. In 1964, ground was broken for Anaheim Stadium and in 1966, the then-California Angels moved into their new home after having spent four seasons renting Dodger Stadium (referred to during Angels games as Chávez Ravine Stadium) from the Dodgers.

The stadium was built on a parcel of about 160 acres of flat land originally used for agricultural purposes in the southeast portion of Anaheim. Consistent with many major-league sports stadiums built in the 1960s, it is located in a suburban area, though one that is host to major tourist attractions.

The field dimensions (333 feet instead of 330, for example) were derived from a scientific study conducted by the Angels. Based on the air density at normal game times (1:30 pm and 8 pm), the Angels tried to formulate dimensions that were fairly balanced between pitcher, hitter and average weather conditions. The Angels tinkered with those dimensions several times, expanding or contracting parts of the outfield by a few feet here and there, to try to refine that balance.

The Rams move inEdit

File:Thebiga.jpg

In the late 1970s, Los Angeles Rams owner Carroll Rosenbloom brokered a deal by which the Rams would move from Los Angeles to an expanded Anaheim Stadium. To add more seats (eventually about 23,000) for football games, the stadium was enclosed, with the mezzanine and upper decks extended completely around the playing field. An elevated bank of bleachers was built in right field, and temporary seats were placed underneath, to be pulled out for football games. Another bank of bleachers was built in left field. As a result, the view of the local mountains and State Highway 57 was lost.

Additionally, the Big A scoreboard support that stood in left field and was the inspiration for the stadium's nickname was moved 1300ft to its present site in the parking lot, adjoining the Orange Freeway beyond the right-field stands; its usage changed from scoreboard to electronic marquee advertising upcoming events at the stadium. A black and white scoreboard/instant replay video board was installed above the newly constructed upper deck seats in left field, but was later deemed inadequate, especially during day games (in 1988 the scoreboard was replaced by a Sony Jumbotron color video board, with black and white matix scoreboards installed above the right field upper deck and the infield upper deck).

File:Angelstadium-farshot.JPG

The changes did not sit well with Angels fans. As originally built, no seat was further than 109 feet from the field.[4] However, most of the new center field seats were too far from the action. Also, while the expanded capacity allowed the Angels to set attendance records that still stand today, on most occasions even crowds of 30,000 were swallowed up by the environment.

The expansion was completed in time for the 1980 NFL season, and the Rams played in Anaheim Stadium from then until their move to St. Louis after the 1994 season.

The January 17, 1994 Northridge earthquake caused the Sony Jumbotron to collapse onto the upper deck seats beneath it. No injuries were caused, as the stadium was unoccupied when the earthquake occurred in the predawn hours of a national holiday (Martin Luther King, Jr. Day). After repairs to the stadium, the monitor was reinstalled directly on the back of the upper deck stands.

The Disney eraEdit

In 1996, The Walt Disney Company, a minority owner of the team since its inception (the stadium is located less than three miles (5 km) east of Disneyland and across from the Honda Center, the home venue of the then Disney-owned Mighty Ducks of Anaheim NFL team), gained enough support on the board to effectively take control of the team. Soon afterward, the Angels and the city of Anaheim agreed to a new deal that would keep the Angels in Anaheim until 2031, with an option to leave the facility after the 2016 season. As part of the deal, the stadium underwent an extensive renovation, returning the stadium to its original role as a baseball-only facility. Before the 1997 baseball season, the section behind the outfield wall was demolished. Disney briefly considered moving the Big A scoreboard to its original location, but decided against such a move, citing costs, as well as the fact that the Big A had become a Southern California landmark in its parking lot location.

Despite the fact that much of the stadium was still a hard-hat zone, with the demolition and construction being only half-completed, the Angels played their 1997 season in Anaheim. Fans were greeted by a restored view of the San Gabriel and Santa Ana Mountains, the Brea Hills, and the 57 freeway beyond the outfield.

Work that didn't interfere with game play continued throughout the 1997 season, with major renovations resuming in the winter of 1997. These included the installation of outfield bleacher pavilions, a video display board and an out-of-town scoreboard below the right field seats. All of the multicolored seats were replaced by green seats. The exterior of the stadium was also renovated. The concrete structure and ramps were painted a combination of green and sandstone. Much of the facade of the stadium was torn down to create a more open feeling for visitors.

The most notable feature of the renovation, however, was a "California Spectacular" in which geysers erupt and a stream cascades down a mountainside covered with real trees, artificial rocks behind the left-center field fence, and new bullpens. Fireworks shoot out of the display at the start of games, after every Angel home run and after every Angel win (they had been shot off from a parking garage before then).

File:Angelstad-header4.jpg

The field dimensions of the renovated stadium became somewhat asymmetrical, with the 8ft high fence in right center field (which earlier hid the football-only bleacher section) replaced by a 19ft high wall which contains a scoreboard displaying out-of-town scores of other games. A plaza was built around the perimeter of the stadium, and inside are statues depicting longtime Angel owner and chairman Gene Autry and Michelle Carew, daughter of former Angel Rod Carew, who died of leukemia at the age of 17.

The main entrance includes two giant Angels hats complete with New Era tags on the sweatband (including one indicating the hats' size: 649½). The hats were originally blue and featured the Angels' "winged" logo designed by Disney for the 1997 season, and were repainted red and decorated with the present-day halo insignia for the 2002 season. Also outside home plate gate is a full-sized brick infield complete with regulation pitcher's mound and lighted bases, with bricks at each player position engraved with the names of Angels players who played at that position on Opening Day of each season since the Angels joined the American League in 1961. For a fee, the green infield bricks can be engraved with fans' names or personalized messages. The Angels opened their "new" stadium on April 1, 1998 with a 4–1 victory over the New York Yankees.[5]. The renovated stadium has 5,075 club seats and 78 luxury suites.

In 1998, the stadium was renamed Edison International Field of Anaheim after local utility Edison International reached a deal giving it naming rights over the stadium for 20 years, and during this time, the stadium was referred to as the Big Ed. However, after the 2003 season, Edison International exercised its option to exit the sponsorship deal. On December 29, 2003, the Angels announced that from then on the stadium would be known as Angel Stadium (in full, Angel Stadium of Anaheim), some locals can still be caught calling the venue by its original name; Anaheim Stadium as well. After the name change in 2004, its original nickname The Big A was restored. Despite efforts to cover them up with the Angels' halo insignia, Edison's insignia can still be found on the ends of seating rows throughout the ballpark.

In 2004, Daktronics installed light emitting diode (LED) displays at the stadium. The largest video display measures 41 feet high by 67 feet wide. Two smaller displays flank the large display, and a field-level display sits in the centerfield fence. [6]

Notable eventsEdit

The stadium was host to the 1967 MLB All-Star Game (the first All-Star Game to be played on prime-time television, although two All-Star Games were played at night during World War II), and again in 1989 and 2010.[3]

It hosted six American League Division Series (2002, 2004, 2005, 2007, 2008]], and 2009) and six American League Championship Series (1979, 1982, 1986, 2002, 2005, and 2009). Most notably, it hosted the 2002 World Series, which the Angels won in dramatic fashion over the San Francisco Giants, finally winning one for their late and long-time owner, "Singing Cowboy" Gene Autry (and for his widow and business partner Jackie, who is also honorary president of the American League).

Angel Stadium hosted several games during Round 2 of the 2006 World Baseball Classic.

Several major motion pictures were shot here. The final sequence of The Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad! (1988) features an electronically-manipulated Reggie Jackson trying to shoot Queen Elizabeth II. Exteriors were shot at the ballpark, but most baseball scenes were shot at Dodger Stadium. The Disney remake of Angels in the Outfield (1994) prominently uses the ballpark, however, the interior shots were filmed at the Oakland Coliseum. The stadium served as a stand-in for Candlestick Park for filming of The Fan (1996 film) and a scene from Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo also was filmed there. Air Bud: Seventh Inning Fetch also shot scenes in the ballpark.

ReferencesEdit

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