If there’s one commonly-shared characteristic among the Angels fan community that I find myself struggling with on a regular basis, it’s probably the inferiority complex. This inferiority complex is inside scores of the Halos’ most hardcore acolytes, usually showing itself in a handful of ways, both in real life and online. Sometimes, it’s bemoaning the amount of Yankees/Red Sox/etc fans that show up at the Big A to root against the home team; other times, it bubbles to the surface simply to remind people (for the 1,325,253th time) which team was in L.A. first, and so on and so forth.
Seeing as how I am a full-fledged, fervent and frenzied fanatic when it comes to the Halos, I can also attest to giving in to those inferiority complex instincts and reactions once or twice. Ok, who am I kidding? I’ve gone into that headspace on too many occasions for me to possibly recall or even guesstimate. How do you NOT feel that way as an Angels fan, though?
The Angels and Dodgers have shared the southland since the 60s, and in that time, they’ve seen themselves be made the de facto second fiddle when it comes to pro baseball here in the sunny megalopolis we call home. A few decades of being treated like red-hatted step children is going to cause some feelings of inadequacy, and season after season of watching the Big A be overran with fans of whatever team is visiting Angels Stadium at the time is going to cause some resentment.
Let’s get real, though: That’s part of the allure of being an Angels fan. We all know, deep down, that when you make the decision to be ride or die for the Halos, that you’re choosing the OTHER team, the team that is going to leave you open for attacks, jokes, etc.
Most of us sign up ready and willing to take those attacks and those barbs and dish them right on back; we chose the contrarian Los Angeles-area baseball team for a reason, and that’s because we LIKE being the outsiders. Most MLB fans couldn’t handle being down for the Angels. To quote The Swanky Modes, “Any ordinary man would’ve given it up by now.”
Angels fans are no ordinary baseball fans, though. No sir.
Still, that doesn’t mean we’re not prone to those pesky feelings of inferiority and inadequacy, and that doesn’t mean we won’t gripe about the treatment of the Angels at any chance we get, and here’s why: We’re chock full of righteous indignation.
When I say “inferiority complex”, in this sports team/fan context, it could basically be substituted for “chip on our shoulder”. We obviously have that in spades when it comes to handling our MLB neighbors up the 5, in Dodger Stadium, for the aforementioned reasons, not to mention when it comes to how we get treated in our own home stadium. Yet, I haven’t even mentioned the biggest contributor to having that collective chip on our shoulders: Mainstream sports media.
There is never any shortage of Angels fans bellyaching about coverage from the bigger sports news outlets; it’s basically a daily battle, railing against the lack of coverage, or the quality of coverage, doled out by stale media behemoths.
“Everybody says that about their own team, though, Josh. That’s not really specific to the Angels and their fans”, says the random MLB fan, in response.
That random MLB fan would be fairly accurate in that statement, too, but they’d still be missing the larger point. Yes, we can whinge with the best of them, and it often seems like little more than a defense mechanism for that inferiority complex, but remember what I said about righteous indignation? Well, when it comes to bitching about sports media, the Angels actually have reason to complain.
For instance, it seems like only the Angels would be caught in a tight, exciting and crowded Wild Card race and yet still be omitted from an MLB Channel infographic on the subject:
It’s so crowded that the Angels apparently don’t exist in the eyes of MLB Network. pic.twitter.com/uAYVqHmYb5— CJ Woodling (@CJWoodling) August 11, 2017
That was from Friday. It’s now Monday, and the Angels, who are not anywhere to be seen on that screen touting “AL Wild Card race”, are currently the owners of a Wild Card spot. Huh. How about that.
That’s just one example of mainstream sports coverage that consistently struggles to remember there is another team in Los Angeles besides the Dodgers, or that there is indeed baseball played on the West Coast, far from their East Coast offices and headquarters. Get out of here with your “everybody thinks ESPN/etc. doesn’t care about their team” nonsense. Angels fans get that ALL. THE. TIME.
If you’re still not convinced that Angels fans have the best case for having such deep-seated defensiveness, then I’ve got one more recent nugget that made me blood red mad. First, check out this post-game article from yesterday’s victory in Seattle, courtesy of the L.A. Times. Ok, now that you’ve looked at that article, do you notice who wrote it? Yep, Associated Press.
For the Halos’ sixth win in a row, one that clinched their first 4-game road series sweep in almost three years, which also saw them come away with a Wild Card spot all to themselves, the L.A. Times has an article written by the AP wire service. Want to know why? Because the times took the Angels beat writer and assigned him to cover the Dodgers.
Angels pull within 1 game of wild card. LA Times pulls beat writer to cover Dodgers...— Chris Dufresne (@DufRankman) August 11, 2017
You won't read this kind of reporting in the LA Times because it took its Angels beat writer off the road. https://t.co/Q9AM6wrAEh— Elliott Teaford (@ElliottTeaford) August 11, 2017
It was a decision they made in the middle of last week, just as the Angels were inching closer and closer to that #2 Wild Card, and over the weekend, we saw the fallout that the decision has caused. You have a triumphant Angels team and a fired-up fan base that’s now unable to read any good coverage from the road...BECAUSE THE L.A. TIMES DECIDED THEY DIDN’T NEED A BEAT WRITER FOR THE LOS ANGELES ANGELS WHILE THE ANGELS ARE IN THE MIDDLE OF A HEATED PLAYOFF HUNT.
That is just pure insanity. The Halos deserve better, and their huge fan base deserves better, too. Then again, this is just par for the course when it comes to the type of respect and professionalism we expect, as Angels fans, to receive from the rest of the sporting world...it’s just the latest in a long, long line of sports media erasure.
That’s why being an Angels fan isn’t for everybody. Your team will not be coddled and fawned over by the media, and in fact, your team wont even get mentioned by the media, to begin with. The local paper of record doesn’t think they’re important enough as to require a dedicated beat writer, even though the Angels are, as of today, a Wild Card team.
You will see your stadium filled up with faded pink Red Sox hats whenever Boston is in town, giving the number of Halos fans in attendance a run for their money. You will have fans of the other local MLB team telling you who the REAL L.A. team is, even though the Dodgers are just transplants themselves. You’ll even know, deep down, where the L.A. logo on those blue hats actually came from, originally, but good luck ever getting any non-Angels fan to listen.
That’s the life of an Angels fan, in a nutshell. We’re pushed to the side, joked about and dismissed without reason. To be among the Angels’ biggest fans is to be among a group that is used to going against the grain, and the more we’re looked down upon, the more our contrarian hearts are filled with happiness.
Our fanaticism is a middle finger to all the MLB fans that went the easy route yet still have the nerve to act superior. Oh, and if MLB or ESPN wants to leave the Angels out of their broadcast? See how that goes, buddies, when Mike Trout is winning another MVP award and the Angels are making another storied post-season run.
Still, that’s one sure-fire way to build up an inferiority complex for Halo honks; it’s also a sure-fire way to put a chip on our shoulders, but just remember...none of these grievances I have brought up here exist solely in our imaginations. They’re all real, and they can be infuriating, if you don’t know how to shrug it off and laugh. We’re Angels fans, though, so that’s a piece of cake...for us, at least. Any ordinary fan would’ve given them up by now.
We’re not ordinary fans, though. We’re Angels fans.