Angels Lost, on the Field and Off, 11-3 : Baseball: New Ballpark is impressive, but Magrane isn't against Rangers.

TIMES STAFF WRITER

The Angels walked around The Ballpark at Arlington on Monday as if they were 8-year-old kids visiting Disneyland on spring break.

They stood with their mouths open, eyes bugged out, and kept nudging one another to make sure no one missed anything. The visiting clubhouse was so outrageously large that there actually was a sign that read: "Where to go if lost."

The trouble was no one provided the Angels directions once they got onto the field, and they looked hopelessly lost in an 11-3 setback to the Texas Rangers in front of 35,407 fans.

It took three innings before Angel starter Joe Magrane got his bearings, and by that time, the Rangers rudely welcomed the Angels into their new home with a commanding 5-0 lead.

Jose Canseco had a two-run home run and knocked in four runs for the Rangers, and Juan Gonzalez knocked in three with a double and triple..

The Angels never did look comfortable, much less confident, in their first game in this $189-million stadium. By the time the game ended, they figured Arlington Stadium wasn't so bad after all.

"The Ballpark in Arlington," Angel infielder Spike Owen said, "what kind of name is that, anyway? I think the name should have been, 'The Corral.' You know, come play the boys in the corral.

"But, 'The Ballpark in Arlington,' come on."

Said designated hitter Chili Davis: "It looks like a lot of wasted space to me. I guess in Texas, they have to make everything big, right?"

The Angels, who have lost 20 of their first 33 games, offered no excuses for their play. Yet, it's a bit hard to get prepared when you spend the pregame meeting asking questions: "How do you get to the field? Where's the trainer's room? Hey, has anyone seen the bathroom in this place?"

Angel Manager Buck Rodgers was sitting behind the desk in his luxurious office when second baseman Harold Reynolds walked by, stopped, started, and turned around again.

"Poor Harold, he's been lost going through here three times," Rodgers said. "Good thing he didn't go through that door or he'd be stuck in my (bathroom)."

The new ballpark, which has stolen features from every place from Fenway Park to Tiger Stadium to Comiskey Stadium to Camden Yards to Yankee Stadium to Kauffman Stadium, certainly has attracted the curiosity of Angel officials.

Angel President Richard Brown, Vice President Kevin Uhlich and General Manager Bill Bavasi took tours of the stadium. There will be city officials from Anaheim arriving Wednesday, with tours scheduled Thursday.

"What a great place," Bavasi said. "It's a bit maniacal, but you can't help but love it. It's certainly something we'd be interested in doing."

The Angels, already preparing for the possibility of the Rams' departure, are toying with ideas of refurbishing Anaheim Stadium. They would love to tear out 20,000 seats, convert Anaheim Stadium back into a baseball stadium, and draw up a new lease.

"I think the older guys got more excited with this place than the young guys," Rodgers said. "I don't think anyone in baseball like that other (stadium).

"They've tried to incorporate a bunch of different looks. That's what you'd think a stadium in California would look like with so many transplants in our state."

Certainly, no one can blame Magrane for not caring for the new scenery. It doesn't matter if it's Arlington Stadium, The Ballpark at Arlington or a mausoleum, there's not a left-hander in the game that relishes facing this lineup.

"We don't match up too well against them," Rodgers said, "not with that right-handed power. That's why Will Clark will hit .900 this year. Everyone will pitch every right-hander they can against this club."

Magrane, making his second start of the season since recovering from arthroscopic elbow surgery, didn't have enough control to give himself a fair shot.

He threw only 57 strikes out of 111 pitches, and walked five batters, yielding six hits and five earned runs in six innings.

"I was a little stiff out there," Magrane said, "but hopefully next time it will be better. This is still the latter half of spring training for me because I wasn't able to strengthen my arm.

"I'm still very confident of going out there and giving us a damn good chance to win, but my control has to be better."

Texas Manager Kevin Kennedy was glad Canseco is better.

"Jose is back," Kennedy said. "He worked his tail off last winter to get his form back to the Jose Canseco of two years ago. He's going to be one of the best players in the league this year if he's not already."

Copyright © 2019, Los Angeles Times
EDITION: California | U.S. & World
68°