Sunday, May 5, 2013

Stones in My Transitway

Meet me in center field, I'm a little boulder there.
Photo: Scott Gleine, Could You Be More Pacific

It is not that I ever thought that there was some underlying natural order to Angel Stadium. It is, after all, in Los Angeles Anaheim, home to the most influential assemblage of faux environments ever constructed. Nevertheless, having watched only a handful of Angels games in my life, I did have the idea that the giant rocks beyond center field there were somehow rooted in the experience of the place—that there were, say, more such rocks outside the stadium, or that the stadium sat more or less in an at least somewhat landscaped environment, as does Dodger Stadium, with its sculpted terraces.

Sadly, this illusion, too, has now been shattered. I took the train from San Diego to Los Angeles last week, and from the stop at Anaheim, its now clear to me that those rocks probably are fiberglass, and that any grass, trees, or water in the vicinity are there purely by accident or inattention. I now don't know why I thought otherwise.

That said, I love that the stadium is so close to a train station that serves both commuter and inner-city lines. There are not too many that are—indeed, often stadiums sit amid seas of asphalt that have been programmed for optimal automobility: the Milwaukee stadium, for example, is almost an afterthought to its swirl of parking lots and highway on-ramps. U.S. Cellular Field is essentially a rest area off the Dan Ryan. While many cities have pretty good local transit access—though we do have to exclude the many cities that don’t really have public transit worth speaking of—few of them are well connected to larger networks that might bring people in from farther-flung suburbs. And those people are so desired a demographic that most threats to relocate still hinge on moving out of cities, even at a time when it seems as if more people—and wealthier people, who might buy expensive seats—are moving back to cities. While there are at least a few stadiums with easy regional transit access, I can’t think of any other that’s walking distance from an Amtrak depot. Then again, considering that in most of the country Amtrak comes once a day at most, and often not near game time, perhaps that’s an imprecise standard to use.

Apparently there are big plans for further development around the Anaheim station and stadium. Whether those come to pass—and whether they turn out to be areas that lots of people might actually enjoy living, unlike, say, Wrigleyville or Kenmore Square, which appeal mostly to dolts who wear backward caps and drink concoctions that are equal parts melon liqueur, Bailey’s Irish Cream, and regret—is an open question in this economy. But I’d like to see it happen, even if it will all be made of fiberglass.


  1. Others:

    Oakland Coliseum
    Busch Stadium
    Coors Field
    PNC Park (arguably)
    Safeco Field

    Take a tour!

  2. I totally forgot about the Amtrak stop by the Coliseum. Thanks for the list.