The halo that once shone brightly over Anaheim, a beacon of good news that the California Angels had just won, will shine again after more than five years in the dark.
The Big A, the monument that towers over Anaheim Stadium, soon will get the first major face lift in its 25-year history and again signal Angels baseball victories.
Greg Smith, general manager of the stadium, said that the Big A was never the same after its transition from a scoreboard in the outfield to a message board in the parking lot in 1979. The move was part of the stadium’s preparations for the arrival of the Los Angeles Rams football team. But by fall of 1984, the sign was completely on the blink and had to be shut down for good, he said.
Recent profitable years at the stadium, however, such as last year’s revenues of nearly $1.5 million, have made improvements possible. And repairing the 234-foot-high, 210-ton sign and its 70-foot-wide halo inevitably came up as an option.
“At one time, it was the tallest structure in Orange County. . . . It’s a landmark,” said Smith, who justified spending $642,000 on the renovation by saying that the cost will be partially offset by money made from advertising on the message portion of the sign.
That electronic message board, which once posted game scores in the outfield, now sits on the eastern edge of the stadium parking lot, in clear view of commuters on the Orange Freeway. Now it will advertise games, exhibitions and events held at the stadium--as well as their sponsors. Smith said the message board can be seen from nearly a mile away, but he could only guess on the halo’s visibility: “as far as the Southern California smog will allow it to be seen.”
Repairs are scheduled to be finished by mid-December, as long as the Anaheim City Council approves the suggested contractor as expected at its meeting tonight.