I spent the most of the last week in Anaheim, CA for the big annual library conference. The conference was a lot of fun. I attended some excellent sessions and made some important contacts with colleagues and vendors. My favorite program was one featuring Dan Ariely, the author of Predictably Irrational, a fascinating book that looks at why people make seemingly irrational choices over and over again.
In addition to the conference I did manage to get in some side activities. I did not go to Disneyland but did make it to Downtown Disney, where I bought some Pirates of the Caribbean stuff for Tobe and Jonah. That was enough Disney for me. My brief Disney experience did convince me that the boys would love the whole thing and am finally thinking–against my better judgment–that we will plan a trip to either Disneyworld or -land in the next couple of years.
Most importantly, I was able to add two more MLB stadiums to my list as I work to attend a game in all the stadiums. On Friday night, I drove into LA to watch the Dodgers. It took me 2.5 hours to go roughly 30 minutes. I was very impressed with the stadium; Chavez Ravine is the perfect place for a stadium. I also realized it was the oldest stadium I had ever been to a game in. It was cool to think of all the players who had played there. I was less impressed with the experience. It might have been that the Dodgers were playing the Angels but it was a decidedly different experience for me from any game I have attended in the past. There must have been 30 or 40 fights throughout the course of the game. There was either a guard or LAPD in practically every section and I must have seen at least 50 people escorted from the game. The majority of the audience seemed to have no interest in the game. They were more interested in hitting beach balls in the air (and at each other) and screaming obscenities at anyone wearing Angels gear. They seemed oblivious to the fact that an actual game–featuring the team they were ostensibly cheering for–was taking place in front of them. And, all this, while the Dodgers played a great game and were in control from the beginning. I was sitting by three groups, all of whom left the game early for fear of their own safety.
The game I went to at Angels Stadium was a completely different experience. It is clear the franchise works hard to make games a family event, which is not how I would describe an outing to a Dodgers game. They have family values in their shops where folks can purchase hats for $7 and t-shirts for $10, which are unheard of prices in my experience-even for souvenirs from a minor league game. On top of this, there are family sections where no one can drink alcohol. Also, the exact same hot dog I paid $6 for at Dodgers Stadium was only $3 at Angels Stadium. The Angels were playing the Athletics, which though not geographically as proximate as the Angels-Dodgers rivalry should be even more heated when you consider the Angels and As are currently fighting for the top spot in the AL West. There were a few minor jeers at the many folks in green and yellow but nothing that seemed as dangerous or truly hate-filled as what I saw in LA. The game itself was not particularly spectacular but–as with all games–enjoyable nonetheless as the Angels fell to the A’s with a score of 1-6.
Overall, my trip to CA was a lot of fun but I really missed my family. I could never have a job that involved constant travel. I am glad to be home and out of the land of the palm tree and Carl’s, Jr.