Welcome to the refreshed Halos Heaven! To celebrate the new look and feel of our sports communities, we’re sharing stories of how and why we became fans of our favorite teams. If you’d like to share your story, head over to the FanPosts to write your own post. Each FanPost will be entered into a drawing to win a $500 Fanatics gift card (contest rules). We’re collecting all of the stories here and featuring the best ones across our network as well. Come Fan With Us!
For a baseball-loving kid who was born in a tiny, one horse, southeastern Kansas town, I can say with utmost certainty that I never, ever anticipated the Angels becoming my team. I spent countless summer days from 1986 to 1991 opening packs of baseball cards from the local drugstore/soda fountain, and the Angels just seemed like an enigma; I barely ever heard about them outside of those cards or flipping through a magazine while mom shopped in the grocery store.
I had no clue there was a tidal wave of Halos fanaticism somewhere out there in the world, a life-changing behemoth of a devotion, slowly making its way towards my consciousness. That red-tinted tidal wave never even had to make its way out to the midwest, though, because in 1991, at the age of 11, my parents and I moved to the city of Orange, CA, in the Olive Heights neighborhood.
I remember the first time I saw it; I was standing at the top of Oceanview Ave, and I got my first glimpse of The Big A. To paraphrase Francis Bacon, if The Big A will not come to Josh, then Josh must go to The Big A.
This small town boy was finally in a buzzing, bustling megalopolis known as southern California, and all of those professional athletes and teams I had adored via posters on my wall or highlights from basic cable sports shows were now in reach, but it also meant I had a decision to make.
I had to pick a team. If only the myriad life-changing decisions I’ve made throughout the years were as easy as that decision; I wanted to be an Angels fan. Since then, it’s been a wild ride, especially that apex of 2002 and the subsequent years of AL West dominance, but there have been more seasons of disappointment than seasons of magic and glory. Yet, I’m still here.
So, what is it about the Angels, exactly? For me, I think it’s all tied to my innate reflexive contrarianism and a penchant for the outsiders of the world. It’s not the easiest path to go down in life, but I never wanted the easy way. The mindset that would eventually lead to my immersion in the punk scene is the same mindset that got me into our beloved Halos.
I’m a dude that is drawn to weirdness, to outcasts, to the underrated and underappreciated. That’s where I’ve always found my kind of people, and it’s that sort of anti-whatever attitude that pushed me into the Halosphere.
I could have been a Dodgers fan, but that’s the easy way out. They are an institution of Major League Baseball, and in southern California, they have pushed the Angels out of their original L.A. home and have seemingly made them the red-hatted stepchild of local baseball teams. If that’s the way they want to play, then fine, but give me the Angels any day.
Being an Angels fan always represented an individualistic ethos that didn’t just speak to me, it SCREAMED at me, like a young, angry Keith Morris. The Angels are punk rock, the Dodgers are a worn out Frank Sinatra: Greatest Hits cd. The Angels are Repo Man, the Dodgers are E.T. The Angels are Basquiat, the Dogers are Thomas Kinkade.
There are those baseball fans that decide they’ll like the Yankees or Red Sox, because they’re on TV a lot; there are fans who just go with whatever team their parents like; there are fans that buy into revisionist Dodgers lore and go with them as their favorite team. They have all chosen the easy way.
The Angels can Buttercup me all they want, Arte Moreno can totally botch some more free agent signings, they can continute to make newbie pitchers look like Cy Young, they can have an AL West title drought for another ten years, or they can pull out any and all SNAFUs you can possibly think of and commit them all at once, and it wouldn’t change my mind or make me second guess my fandom in the slightest. I would still love this team.
That’s why Halos Heaven is the perfect Angels website. We’re as weird, wacky and wild as the Angels themselves; we get called a “cesspool” and other inane insults, and we react not with anger or by putting our tails between our legs. We embrace it. We have fun with it and we soldier on, doing our own thing, not caring what other people in the baseball world think is cool, important or deserving of praise.
I was quite the outsider myself, as a kid and teenager, and the Angels were a perfect fit for my against-the-grain mentality. That same mentality also drew me to Halos Heaven, and it introduced me to other people who had for years dealt with the chiding, the ribbing, the insults and trash talk from other baseball fans, friends or family. Yet, we do not care. We chose the Halos BECAUSE we take that chiding and those insults with a smile on our faces, and a reticent feeling of superiority swirling through our brains.
The Angels are not the easy path. It takes a certain kind of iconoclast to love them like we here at Halos Heaven love them. I never liked the easy path, though, because it’s boring and lacks the thrills, the danger, the punk rock spirit. That’s why I’m a fan of the Angels, and that’s why I love this Angels community. Because let’s get real: Ordinary people can’t handle being Angels fans. But then again, who want’s to be ordinary?
Ok, now it’s YOUR turn. Check out the links in this piece about the Fanpost contest, and get to work.
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