5 Legitimate Reasons Why an Orange County Resident Would Root for the Los Angeles Dodgers
This past August, I went to more baseball games--4--than I had attended over the past 5 years. It was split evenly between the Los Angeles Dodgers and your Anaheim Angels of Anaheim, each visit to the stadium also split between the fancy areas (the Diamond Club at Angels Stadium, the seats right next to the visitor's dugout at Dodgers Stadium) and the cheap seats (the right-field madhouse with Los Doyers, upper deck next to right field with los Serafines). And at each trip, I've been called a traitor--by Dodgers fans for supposedly favoring the Angels by going to their games, and by Angels fans for daring to go up to Los Angeles and betray our Orange County homeland.
No one believes me when I tell them I actually care for both teams. I want the Angels and Dodgers to do good, if only so I don't have to hear my friends and cousins (equally split in their followings) whine about their team and trash-talk the other. I follow both teams, and hate only individual antagonists (the McCourts in Los Angeles, the Albert Pujols/Josh Hamilton/Vernon Wells/Gary Matthews, Jr. disasters orchestrated by Angels owner Arte Moreno). So while I'm glad the Dodgers are having a great season after years of disappointments, I'm furious that the Angels are sinking due to Moreno's ineptitude after years of brilliance. And when you have a disaster like the one happening in Anaheim, you start to realize there are actual, legitimate reasons why Dodgers fans not only exist in Orange County--they might actually be increasing.
5. The Whole Winning Thing
Nothing against you, Bobby...
Yesterday, I overheard on the Angels' television broadcast that Bobby Knoop was going to be inducted into the Angels' Hall of Fame. I remember Knoop because in 1987 (or was it 1988?), the Angels offered an awesome giveaway: a book featuring all the Topps baseball cards of every single Halos who ever donned the uniform. The Knoop name stuck with me, and as I got older, I realized what a good guy he was: three-time Gold Glove winner at second base, longtime coach, overall nice man.
Nothing against Knoop, but that the Angels induct nice guys into their Hall of Fame instead of, you know, actual Hall of Famers reflects each organization's expectations of winning. Sure, the Angels have had a better record than the Dodgers since their 2002 World Series win, with more division titles, more playoff victories, more everything--and it still doesn't begin to catch up to the winning tradition the Dodgers established upon reaching the West Coast. That legacy explains why the Dodgers historically outdrew the Angels, historically sold more merchandise, historically beat the Angels in everything. Winning begets winning--and can you blame OC residents for going with a team that expects excellence instead of one that continues to act like it accidentally falls into it every couple of years?
4. The Ballpark Experience
Don't believe the Know Nothings who always bring up the Bryan Stow beating for not wanting to visit Dodgers Stadium; nowadays, there are muchos LAPD and security on patrol. And, as I always like to point out to said Know Nothings, there have actually been more killings at Angels Stadium (3) since 2002 than at Dodgers Stadium (1).
More on the fans in a bit--let's focus on the ballpark. Dodgers Stadium is an icon, from the palm trees to the organ player, and the experience has only gotten better with all the recent improvements. I wasn't around to experience the original Angels Stadium before it was turned into a multipurpose concrete hull for the Los Angeles Rams, and all I've known about the stadium since is what Disney glued on: tackiness, from the faux rocks in center field to the hideous helmets and bats in front of the box office to the club music before games that sounds like a stream of KIIS-FM 102.7. At Dodgers Stadium, you go to see a game; at Angels Stadium, it's the worst of the IE and OC architectural sensibilities, surburbia meets Roller Coaster Tycoon.