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What better way to celebrate the 4th of July than singing the Star Spangled Banner before a baseball game at Angel Stadium... Our family did just this while on holiday in Anaheim this year and had a fantastic experience. The stadium is home to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim baseball team. Located in the large parking lot is the landmark Big A sign, a 230 foot tall sign with a halo located near the top. This is illuminated following games in which the Angels win, both home and away, and gives rise to the fan expression “light up the halo”. Tailgate parties were happening in the carpark as we arrived - a tailgate party is held on and around the open tailgate (car boot) of a vehicle in the parking lots at stadiums and arenas on game day. People are said to be tailgating and some don’t even go into the game, they just go to the tailgate to party. There were BBQ’s, picnic tables, umbrellas and gazebos set up on the concrete car park and people congregating around the cars having a great time.

There are loads of food options throughout the stadium including branded vendors such as Ruby’s, California Pizza Kitchen, Carls Jr, and Panda Express along with many others selling the typical fare of hotdogs, popcorn, nacho’s and nuts. There are plenty of bars selling beer, wine and soft drinks although prices are typically similar to what you would pay at Eden Park!

Before the start of the game, a huge American flag was carried out and laid on the outfield in an operation that had obviously been done many times it was so well orchestrated. The national anthem was sung before the start of the game and what an experience that was! The whole crowd stood, removed their hats and sung the Star Spangled Banner with meaning and emotion and an enormous Boeing C17 Globemaster performed a fly over. It was all very patriotic and I felt like I was in a movie! We had visited the official merchandise store on our way in and purchased T-shirts and baseball caps and the 43,000 crowd was literally a sea of red and white.

Angel Stadium

The Angels were playing the Detroit Tigers and although all I knew about baseball was what I could remember from playing softball at primary school, the game was easy to follow and the fans around us taught us a few terms. A huge favourite with the Angels fans was Torii Hunter – everyone cheered when he came out to bat and he lived up to his reputation by hitting a “homer”. The crowd went wild and the Angels eventually won 5-1. 

Between innings there were songs such as “Take me out to the ball game – take me out to the crowd” and other lively music, the mexican wave and heaps of audience participation through the big screens, all adding to the atmosphere and entertainment.

At the end of the game, which lasted just under three hours, there was a fabulous Fourth of July fireworks display. We all agreed that it was a definite highlight going to a baseball game and would recommend it if you are going to the United States on holiday. Nothing is more American than a ball game.

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