The Los Angeles metropolitan area is massive stretch of land, home to almost 19 million people stretched across nearly 34,000 square miles. With 26 championships across 4 major sports, the LA metro area has as rich of a history as any metro basin in the United States.
In baseball, the two area teams have developed a fun rivalry renewed annually known nationally as the “Freeway Series.” Though only separated by 36 miles, the two homes of these franchises couldn’t reside in more polar opposite places.
Dodger Stadium, often considered a crown jewel of baseball stadiums world wide, resides in a historic neighborhood of downtown Los Angeles with picturesque views and vibrant colored skies often characterized by the greatest announcer of all time as “cotton candy skies.” While turning 55 this year, the stadium has undergone an extensive remodel over the course of the last 5 years with improvements to every level and aspect of the stadium experience. Well, except the parking situation.
Angel Stadium “of Anaheim” resides in a massive commercialized area that includes two major sports teams, a massive theme park operation, a convention center and enough hotels to support it all. The stadium is the 4th oldest stadium in baseball, but it has gone through renovations throughout it’s life and as recently as 2009 with more on the horizon.
As a native to the area and an avid baseball fan, I’ve had the opportunity to sit in numerous areas of both stadiums. While my experience lies predominantly at Dodger Stadium, I’ve been to Angel Stadium enough to have generated a fair opinion of the establishment. Let’s lay out some facts and some opinions of the two to decide which stadium wins the Battle of Los Angeles.
Dodger Stadium is the largest stadium in baseball with a maximum capacity of 56,000. The team averaged 45,700 fans over their 81 home games in 2016.
Angel Stadium has a maximum capacity of 45,493. The team averaged 37,236 fans over their 81 home games in 2016.
Cost of Entry
As per Statista, the Dodgers and Angels had near price parity for cost of entry in 2016. Both teams came in just slightly above the league average of $31 dollars per ticket by team, with the Dodgers coming in at $31.90 and the Angels coming in at $32.70, a whopping .80 more expensive. In my experience, both stadiums have incredible bargains that can be found, but if you just want a ticket into the park, Dodger Stadium can be pretty cost effective.
However, the Angels came in with cheaper beer, among the cheapest you’ll find in baseball. Their average price of beer was $4.50, while the Dodgers was $6.25. Now I know what you’re thinking, I don’t know where they found $6.25 beer at Dodger Stadium either, but I will investigate this season and report back my findings.
The worst part of the Dodger Stadium experience is entry and exit. I will say that, while it is still not good, entry has improved over the course of the last few years, as well as the options available like the Dodger Stadium bus from Union Station and the South Bay. A dedicated bus lane is set up and it makes it pretty simple for the bus to get up the hill. However, getting out of Dodger Stadium is still a nightmare and it has taken me upwards of 2 hours at heavily attended games. A parking cost of $20 at the gate is high, but it can be avoided by purchasing early online ($10).
Angel Stadium has always been pretty simple. Their parking lot has been easy to navigate and the freeway accessibility is pretty great. I haven’t taken advantage of any of their train options, but I plan to this year. I have heard really solid reviews, however. A cost of $10 is also pretty nice, with no added inconvenience of having to purchase ahead of time.
This is where Dodger Stadium begins to run away with it. Though Dodger Stadium does not allow tailgating of any kind, it is generally easy to access the stadium from multiple different levels. There isn’t really a bad seat in the house, and a better seat can often be acquired by finding some of the self service tables through the concourses.
The stadium feels more authentic, with the dulcet tones of Dieter’s organ ringing through the stadium. The video boards are large and offer everything from box scores to exit velocity for the fans to view. The food is iconic and the views of the area surrounding the stadium are picturesque.
The fans can be annoying at times and have had a past reputation of being violent, though that hasn’t been my experience since the Brian Stow incident. The beach balls can either frustrate you or entertain depending on why you came to the stadium that night. I’ve had hit and miss experiences with the staff, and I’m pretty sure I mentioned that the the parking situation is always something you dread at the end of the night.
Angel stadium has always felt just ok to me. The experience has never overwhelmed, including when I’ve sat Diamond Club. It has never really underwhelmed either. The food is run of the mill ballpark food. The stadium feels like it has a little dark vibe, with even the grass taking on a darker green shade. The fans have always been pretty obnoxious, and the stadium still has a little of the “Disney” feel.
There are rocks in center field, which I guess is cool. They allow tailgating, but basically only cooking food and loitering. Alcohol is still illegal and you will get a ticket. However, you know it will be pretty easy to get in and out of the parking lot so you aren’t dreading that at the end of the night. And beer doesn’t cost an arm and a leg, so you know you don’t have to sell an organ to catch a buzz. The experience caters more to the family so the staff has generally been consistently pleasant.
Even though Dodger Stadium is just 4 years older than the Big A, it seems as though it’s seen exponentially more historic events. It’s seen more championships (5:1), more no-hitters (12:7), more perfect-games (2:0) and more hall of famers. It’s also seen its fair share of famous concerts and even an Olympic event.
Angel stadium has had its share of historic music events, but the history of each stadium isn’t close.
In closing, I’m a Dodger fan, so of course I’m going to prefer Dodger Stadium. The experience of Angel Stadium isn’t the worst I’ve had. That would likely to go Busch or Arlington. But it also isn’t among the best. It has always felt middle of the road for me. I do look forward to making it down there for a game in the near future, but as for the Battle of Los Angeles, I think the title stays with the team that is actually in Los Angeles.