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Halos Heaven, in memoriam

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Commander_Nate’s personal favorites in the history of Halos Heaven.

Juan Rivera-era-era-era...

What’s up and happy belated new year to everyone! As you’ve no doubt heard by now if you’re a reader of this site, there are some major changes on the way for Halos Heaven and around SBN more broadly in the next couple of weeks. Namely that most of the people who write for it and run it, like Jessica and Jeff, will be cast out and replaced by someone else. Most likely a soccer fan who lives in Sacramento and who will spend about as much time making HH happen as they will wishing they could afford to live in San Francisco with all the cool gig economy tech people. If only they could write better scripts to write articles for them...

...not that I know that’s gonna be the case, but probably. I guess we just can’t have nice things in America anymore.

In light of all this and the fact that the overall sentiment in the announcement threads about the AB5/Vox-Are-Basically-Sith threads was in favor of leaving HH for another site where the community could continue to thrive and operate under its own merit, I decided it would be fun to go on a historical journey from my perspective on this site before all that happens.

A younger Commander_Nate joined HH just over 10 years ago after the Angels’ last noteworthy postseason run, so I like to think I’ve had a pretty good vantage point to serve as an informal village oracle in addition to being one of several resident degens around here (reformed somewhat now, thank you very much). I don’t remember the exact nature of my joining, but it had something to do with the MLB.com forum sucking, wanting to argue passionately about Juan Rivera, and generally finding Rev and Wi and the rest of the old guard’s DGAF, refined punk rock vibe right up my alley. Things sort of spiraled from there over the next few years, when I was probably more productive on HH than I was at my dead-end job at the time (and so were a lot of you, admit it).

After some painstaking research (seriously, the search function on this site...mother of God), I’ve compiled the below list of some of my personal favorite moments on HH. Hopefully you’ll remember them all as fondly as I do, and hopefully you’ll share your personal faves in the comments, because that’s what this place is really about: you, me, and all the rest of us.

5 - Gary Matthews Jr., The Trading Away Of

Yep, Gary Matthews Jr. Bet you haven’t thought of that name in a while, huh? Remember when this team only wasted $50 or so million on overrated outfielders it didn’t need? Those were the days, and we had the Mets to thank for ending what at the time we thought would be our last fiasco of this sort. After getting inspired by some pretty funny writing about Brian Stokes, whom we received in return for GMJ, I wrote this piece, which to this day remains one of my favorite contributions to the site. Taking a look at all those names again led by Vlad makes me a little bummed that group never got a ring, but hey, they were fun to watch and at least Howie’s got one now.

4 - WiHaloFan’s Comic Series

Depending when you joined HH, you should remember these as they were a staple on the front page for some time. And they were always good, especially when they focused on HH itself and included site members as characters, like this one. There are many more and you’ve probably got your own favorites if you remember them. Unfortunately the search function wasn’t as helpful here as I hoped it would be.

3 - Rabble Rousing Against the Front Office and their Jeter Tribute Plan

This one is pretty self-explanatory, but it’s still pretty cool that one post turned into a PR nightmare for the team and actually got one of us on the phone direct to Tim Mead. Internet fueled fandom at its finest. Well done again, folks. More appropriate to remember this one now given the HoF news too.

2 - The Pujols and Ohtani Signings

Again, these are both pretty self-explanatory, but the sheer joy and camaraderie that came with them is something I’ll always remember about this place and these moments in the team’s history. Being around for these was honestly a bit like being in the stadium at full capacity, but better because you could actually talk to each other and not just the drunk person next to you (which was also still an option, obviously). From the lava-shitting-infinite-navel-drinking debauchery of the Pujols signing thread to the euphoria at the history we were about to watch when Ohtani signed and the possibilities of him paired with Trout, these were moments that being a fan and a member of HH are all about.

Ohtani in particular was a dream come true for me because of the obsession I’d acquired for Japanese and Korean baseball thanks to the World Baseball Classic. Finally, all that writing about Darvish, Tanaka, Ryu, and others I annoyed you all with had paid off. One of the best days in my fandom ever.

1 - PhiSlamma vs Halowood

This was relatively early in my tenure here, but if you were around for this battle, there’s no way you can forget it. Its songs echoed across fanshot and fanpost alike for years. Tales of the deeds done on the field in those days were never more than a comment away every time the FO was about to do something foolish, or a new troll came along. A new troll, who, no matter how shitty their posts, how faulty their logic, or how prolonged in their preaching, could never fully equal the one true Dark Lord.

After much searching, I finally found the moment the forces of light won their final victory over the darkness at the tip of PhiSlamma’s spear. The heroic words in the post are etched in time for all eternity as you can see, but unfortunately the original pics are lost to us. Thankfully, I have a copy of the first pic in the attack that we’ve all come to know and love so much. Those of you who were around no doubt remember how hard you laughed at your desk on this day, and I hope revisiting the incident nearly a decade later still brings a grin to your face.

The counter-trolling counterstrike meme we all know and love.

Our resident panda, Phi, seems to have disappeared, but that was just one of many of his platinum-level contributions to this community that helped draw me and many others in. I don’t know what happened to him; maybe he finally found the bottom of that Bacardi bottle in his profile pic, and I hope wherever he’s posting now it’s as a happy bear.

I’d also be remiss for not mentioning several others of the old guard who really made this place what it was when I first came on board: Quad Fin Rider, Suboptimal, cath619, Wi, Stirrups, Turks Teeth, 2pints, 5thStarter, red_floyd, Rev, Josh, and so many more up to Jessica and the current crew that will be closing this place down. Thanks for a decade-plus of good times and making the work day suck a lot less. And thanks for teaching me so much more about the Angels and baseball than I ever knew in a fun environment. I’m seriously a better fan and probably a funnier person for it, and also a better writer on account of having to keep up with you all.

Here’s looking forward to the future of this community in a new home, which there may be more details to follow shortly. Halos Heaven is dead, long live Halos Heaven!

Commander_Nate, signing off.