The first game I attended… What a feeling, it was incredible! Everyone came together… It felt like one big family in Angel Stadium. There’s no place like it.
Angels Over the Pond features writer, John Hawkins, writes a View Over the Pond.
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I grew up in a sport oriented family. My grandfather was a footballer (soccer for our American friends) and my father is an all round sportsman who happens to be a massive New York Yankees fan. Growing up in a sports mad house was always bound to affect me in some way, I was either going to grow up loving or hating sport and it occupied most of our television viewing time. Luckily for me I grew up loving sports. Funnily enough most people would think I would support the Boston Red Sox, just to have some friendly inter-house rivalry with my dad. But no, not me, I chose the Angels!
For British and Irish readers who are relatively new to baseball; the Red Sox and Yankees rivalry is one of the oldest and fiercest in all of American sports, dating back to a first encounter 1901. It became a National sensation, in 1919, when Red Sox owner Harry Frazee sold the contract of pitcher Carl Mays to the Yankees, to much surprise. What really made matters the talk of newspapers around the world though, and a genuine worldwide story, was that Frazee then followed up by selling the contract of Babe Ruth to the Yankees, also in 1919. The exact details of why Frazee sold arguably the greatest asset in baseball to the Yankees is still a mystery, though speculation has always existed that he did so to fund his stage productions.
Anyway, our little detour into that famous rivalry aside, we travel to the United States of America every other year or so, mostly to the west coast, meaning we can take in Angels games quite regularly (for UK based fans we don’t do bad anyway). The very first baseball game I attended, in person, was the Red Sox at the Angels and what an evening that was! Yes, we lost, but I did witness Torii Hunter hit a dime up centre field and over for a home run. Again, for the benefit of our newer fans, Torii Hunter was on the Angels roster from 2008 to 2012, the 2009 season we witnessed him for the first time he finished up batting .299 with 22 homers and 90 RBIs, winning a Gold Glove award and a Silver Slugger Award. That first game, wow. What a feeling, it was incredible! Everyone came together, cheering, laughing, it felt like one big family in Angel Stadium. There’s no place like it.
My father happens to be a massive New York Yankees fan… Most people would think I would support the Boston Red Sox, just to have some friendly inter-house rivalry with my dad. But no, not me, I chose the Angels!
For the upcoming 2021 season I believe the only thing the Angels are missing is that starting pitcher, but not any old SP, we need Trevor Bauer. He’s motivational, which in my opinion is what the likes of Dylan Bundy and Co. need. Bundy is solid, but I think having Bauer on the team will push the players around him towards the play offs and perhaps even the World Series. We have the talent, though the roster is clearly littered with gaps currently, we have the capability of being incredible with the right additions. I genuinely believe we have a World Series winning team if we add Bauer and build around him, finances permitting. Recent converts to baseball reading this who are more aquatinted with Bauer’s baggage, may think “motivational” is the wrong word, and they can be forgiven for questioning my logic, but undoubtedly Bauer is a free agent who brings quality production, regardless who how many times his rivals call his Cy Young Award a Mickey Mouse Award, he puts up numbers the Angels need.
On a personal note; I hope everyone has a better year than 2020, and more fellow baseball fans from the UK and Ireland are allowed to make trips over to watch games live, there really is nothing better. But please allow me to be a little bit selfish here and say that I hope my fellow Angels fans have the best 2021. Let’s keep pushing our love of our Angels over our side of the pond, keep spreading the word and growing our identity over here. I may be being optimistic that we can make the World Series this year and you will think I am just dreaming now but I think the Angels will bring home the World Series this year. Ok, that last bit may be a bit too optimistic…
If you would like to share your own memories of how you became an Angels fan, about Britain’s own baseball heritage or your view on anything Angels related for Views Over the Pond please get in touch.