Legends On Deck

For the Love of the Game Through Angel Eyes

Baseball teaches us about what is possible. Feats from those of us who are the best at what we do, who’ve earned the right to show it on a stage like no other, under the brightest lights, on a timeless field of dreams.

On the simplest human level, in the broadest of terms, baseball lives within all of us as a desire to put in the work to be great and see what those accolades not only look, but feel like. If baseball could speak, it would say “never give up, it’s worth it.”

It’s not about feeling complete. That’s a different part of you, and while it can help that, its goal is to improve the ability to be more than that. Yes, I’m talking about the game of baseball. A sport that transcends how we play, and shows us more about the principles by which we chose to live. I love loving baseball. Whether because of the balls and strikes, day and night double headers, or just the ambiance at my favorite ballpark; it is an undeniable escape for die-hard and common fans a-like to enjoy. A tradition beckoning back like that ole family recipe that is past down through generations, made of secret ingredients, yet decades later ending up in the same delicious place. Family fabric intertwined with a game that has lasted through a depression, multiple wars, and even a steroid era. America’s Pastime… right?

Ironic to say coming from a guy who played basketball as a kid. When I was growing up in Riverside and Orange County we moved several times. Whittier, Perris, Fullerton, Brea, and along the way I played in the Perris(CA) Police League in elementary school, the NJB All-Net team during my Brea(CA) junior high days, and on the Brea-Olinda(CA) basketball team in high school. After that mostly just Community Center or Outdoor Leagues that were very competitive, but not on the same level. Why did I tell you that? Because I’ve always loved sports. I had a Madden hand held game, collected sports trading cards, and begged my dad to bring me more home from his paper route at night. He would trade papers for stacks of expiring cards the vendors were marking out at gas stations or convenient stores. I loved the passion and competition. Guys like Kobe Bryant captivated me through their endless will. As I aged I also began to understand more about what I was watching. As a teenager baseball finally opened up to me. It clicked… and once it did, I fell in love with the nuance of the vast array of aspects that knit that same fabric together.

I found that, like in basketball, where shear will can be used in a 5 on 5 sport to overcome incredible odds, baseball has a different recipe to get to the same delicious place. There are still intense breath stealing moments, unbelievable feats, and once in a lifetime accomplishments, but through an entirely different fan experience. Fresh grass, dirt, the sun, foot long hot dogs, peanuts and crackerjacks, even the rain can make a play(sort of). Baseball embraces what we all love about America, through a game that continually defines it.

This page means I get that info quickly in my news feed from fans. I love the Angels and whenever I make it back to the states I get to as many games as I can. But, love that I’m not left out of the loop thanks to this page and other passionate fans. – Michelle Symes (ABA Member from Perth, Western Australia)

These days, my favorite ballpark ambiance is not much of a mystery, I’m an Angels fan. Okay, maybe more than just a fan. Los Angeles, Anaheim, and California, from Dean Chance to Alex Johnson, then Nolan Ryan to Don Baylor, Bobby Grich, Bo Jackson, Chuck Finley, Tim Salmon, and everything ever since. When I watch any baseball game my interest peaks to see who is doing what right now, and how a game so storied still has “firsts” that happen annually.

Like most fans of a particular team in any sport, when I watch an Angels game, that competitive fire rages. I see red like a bull and begin to charge the scenarios in my head of how we can win this pitch, this at-bat, this inning, and ultimately this game. It transcends my love for the game itself. I care what happens like a proud parent who only wants the best for their child. Not out of wisdom, but admiration for all they represent and have become, even when they aren’t successful.

In 2014, we tried to contribute to the game when it comes to coverage of Angels Baseball. Many fan groups existed, but overall it still seemed like outside of arguments there wasn’t much of a place of wholesome meaningful fact based discussion. My friend(Biggs) and I would go to games and always say “wow, I wish we could talk about the game in these groups or on social media without getting attacked or looped into some nonsense every time.” After all, Mike Trout had emerged as the best player in the game, and we had the best record in baseball at the time. It was worth discussing, but hardly mentioned on the National sports stage. It seemed to take a superhuman once in a lifetime type feat to get the team coverage, and as Angel fans for life we had grown tired of waiting. Angels Baseball Addicts was born. Why not us? We understood the inherit issues, was it just time and energy we needed? Well, not exactly. It was a slow burn. What started as a group, morphed into a page, then we added a WordPress, Twitter, Patreon, and bridged out to a Halo Heat blog talk radio show among other things(writing partnerships like halohangout.com, legendsondeck.com). We quickly became a place where pro players could come on voicing opinions in a safe unbiased space. They could talk about the game, or about life, or just about Halos baseball.

Angels Baseball Addicts is the best place to vent, praise, question, agree and disagree on all that is Angels baseball. I love that sometimes we don’t always agree, but it’s a place where we can voice our opinions in a respectful manner. The one common thing here is our love for the Angels. – Catherine Allen (ABA Member since April 16, 2019)

Stories like former Nationals, Rockies, and Oakland A’s Pitcher Micah Bowie’s fight for life through the APBPA and GioStar by way of cutting edge stem cell research, made us realize that this is more than baseball, but that baseball is the conduit to doing more to expose under covered stories like this. Ryan Paepke and Jennifer Madison became visible through the Bobby Grich led APBPA(Association of Professional Ball Players of America) for their tireless efforts to get help to former players who need it, but maybe aren’t in a position to provide it for themselves. Exposure of lack of insurance or the games played within sports, a hard but necessary to hear detail about a profession not taking care of it’s employees on a basic employment level. Life through baseball, and the unfortunate toll left in the aftermath from forcing your body to comply for years past what it can take.

This page is the best because I get to comment on posts about the Angels. – Russell Greenstone (ABA Member since 2019)

Long before that revelation we already had some of the parts in place for stories of similar magnitudes. Professionals like Jim Campanis Jr., a baseball lifer, added credibility through incredible depth of knowledge. An Author who’s entire family is ingrained in that baseball fabric, especially in Los Angeles. Throwzone Academy’s Jim Wagner added insight on developing Ace quality pitchers, and gave advice on-air to kids who may not have the resources for that type of pro guidance on topics like routine, conditioning, and more. Guests like Jose Mota, Victor Rojas, Trent Rush, and the aforementioned Halo icon, Grich, also lent kindness and experience from the real daily eyes on the team to our audience in a refreshingly candid way. Instead of trying to twist what people say, we just let them say it, and listen- really listen.

Finally an Angels Facebook page with a decent enough amount of members that share posts throughout the day. Been a fan of the Angels since I became aware of sports around the age of 6 in 1972. My dad was blind and used to listen to the Angels, Rams, Lakers, Bruins and Dodgers game on the radio. It all stuck (except for the Dodgers, fortunately) and I am still a huge fan of those teams to this day. – Ignacio Del Villar (ABA Member since July 7, 2019)

I know, crazy right? A place where we don’t manipulate what people say, but just have real conversations and let people listen? You don’t say? Well, actually, we do. It seems unusual in today’s sports landscape, doesn’t it? Which takes us right back to why the Angels are so worth the time investment and energy to cover in the first place. A real team with a real heartbeat. An Orange County treasure in the shadow of Los Angeles, just close enough to embrace, but just far enough away to enjoy baseball in a different way, with a little red Halo baseball display.

I LOVE THIS! – Meredith Cummings (ABA Member since July 24, 2019)

SO DO WE, MEREDITH! We also try to bring in history by doing flashbacks, throwbacks, and reminders of moments through team history. Original graphics, pictures, and takes that are completely new help tell the stories but stay true to our core cause of providing genuine Angels content. We don’t claim to be the perfect representation of the team, but we do try to discuss it in a respectful fashion where all voices are welcome… every time. Perspectives from all sides, opinions coming through a kaleidoscope of viewpoints; shouldn’t this be how sports are lived and relived daily in modern culture? In a world of social conundrums, why not demand a higher level of conduct through passionate examination of our Angels Baseball addiction?

Some of what I love about this group IS the history shared to the page. I have been a fan since 78′ and seeing old pics of the Stadium, Wrigley, old players, ect. Love it! – Jason McKelvey (ABA Member since February 18, 2019)

Five years later we have a modest 4000 die hard fans and even former players in our group, a great producer named Mark Mancini, yet strive to go even further to provide real takes for a team that Nationally often is looked at as a bridesmaid, even if it was the last Los Angeles area team to be the bride(02′). Isn’t our turn to pass down the Angels baseball recipe to the next generation? Just maybe, in telling the stories on air, or in print, or just general discussion we can help others reconnect with their passion for the game. Maybe we can do more through learning information, providing dialogue between parties, and becoming a bigger piece of life… through baseball; or maybe not…

But we sure are going to try. We never give up, it’s worth it.

(Thanks to the fans who gave feedback, all quotes from Angels Baseball Addicts)

 

Sport&Style

Benny Bam

Writer | Producer | Host at BAM Studio
Benny Bam is a Writer + Producer of many mediums in addition to being the founder of Angels Baseball Addicts. Known best as host of sports talk show Halo💥Heat.

His Authorship portfolio includes HighonPoems.com, HaloHangout.com, Secret Life of Poets, and Unscripted Script. "BAM" is a content creator and analyst moonlighting as a virtual jack of all trades in the sports & creative writing landscapes.
Benny Bam
Sport&Style
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