Tuesday, September 23, 2014

This week we celebrate our 10th anniversary with an interview with long time member, Brandon. "B" has been as active as they come in the way of forum discussions for many years, has participated in many of our events and even represented us well with a Media Credential to cover the Angels (more on that in our interview below). Gibson is a great story teller and good guy to catch a beer with at the ballpark or your favorite pub. 

Let's dig right in and get to know Brandon Gibson better, in this week's member appreciation post. 

AngelsWin.com: When and how did you first come to AngelsWin.com?

Brandon Gibson: I came over with the mass migration from ESPN. I'm a life long Angels fan and after the WS and a new owner, that was looking to spend money to keep a winner, I got real interested in following up to the minute moves and rumors and back in 2003 the community there, that ended up here, seemed to beat the major news outlets to stories. So I was able to follow closely that Carlos Beltran rumor that never happened. 

AngelsWin.com:  What keeps you coming back to the site?

Brandon Gibson: The community and access/breaking news of moves or team dealings. Between ESPN, but mostly here, it was my first message board experience so I really took to being an active member, for better or worse. Because we have a friendly community aspect that gets into our personal lives at times or outside of the team with commonalities, I have had the privilege of so many member interactions with everything from serious events likes weddings and charity events to casual get togethers like poker/Vegas trips, beer tastings, or viewing parties. I've created life long friendships because of the site and it feels like talking Halos with your buddies or family members on a daily basis. 

AngelsWin.com:  What have been some of your favorite articles and threads?

Brandon Gibson: Man, where to begin with this one. The group process of the 50 greatest moments in Angels history was beyond cool and memorable. More for the experience, but the chance to represent Angelswin during a day game and be a part of the media for a day was a blast. Doing those articles/"at the game thread" with Victor Rojas, Orlando Merced, and the board that were fun.

As for threads, there were countless. I think everyone agrees "Common Courtesy" is tops. One of my first memorable threads was Adam doing a whole story about a gift exchange with some dude at work that gave him The Manchurian Candidate. I chimed in and we became buds after that. Others include "furniture sex", Kelvim Escobar tripod thread, I started a thread messing with Google called "Black guy.....stole my bike" that lead to all of us messing with Google and letting it finish sentences. There was also a graph website that had graphs for song lyrics among other things...that was a long gem. 10 years wiser I like the Soccer Forum and movie threads the most these days. 

AngelsWin.com:  What in-person events have you attended from AngelsWin.com (Spring/Summer Fanfests, Charity Golf, Charity Softball)?

Brandon Gibson: Just about everything. I was there at the first softball event, first viewing party, first Fan Fest, first poker get together, first golf event, all the events at Throwbacks. The website has been absolutely great in people simply proposing an idea and making it happen, no matter how big or small. The only thing I haven't done is Spring Training. My favorite to this day is the playoff viewing party in 2009 where we finished off the Red Sox. We packed it to be standing room only and one of my favorite sports memories was Vlad hitting that single up the middle and there was an initial gasp by everyone then the place absolutely erupted like I've never seen or heard before. While I was cheering with Hot Damn as everyone was jumping up and down, I feel a hand on my shoulder and it's Blarg pulling himself up onto the top of the bar and jumping up and down. It was one of the most ballsy things I've seen done, but everyone was so elated no one cared to tell him to stop which makes it awesome. Then champagne went everywhere. 

AngelsWin.com:  Why is AngelsWin.com your internet home for the Angels?

Brandon Gibson: The access and professionalism on the back end of the site to have the relationships we do here is second to none. I was lucky enough to experience it first hand, but even having things like players or family members come around is just great for the fan experience here.....it's really just more than a website to discuss lineup changes and trades. Plus, aside from viewing parties or going to games with members here, on random weekday games simply hopping into the chatroom to watch games in real time with other Halo fans like we would at any other event is sweet. You really get an experience here opposed to just another message board. Oh, and after many, many years I found out Riley Breckenridge of Thrice was not only an Angels fan, but someone I would chat with a bunch here! 

AngelsWin.com:  In your opinion, what is AngelsWin.com’s best feature: the articles, charitable events, game-day chat, message boards, Fanfests, podcasts, etc?

Brandon Gibson: Tough answer because you can make a case for any and all features. I'm partial to the chartiy events we have done over the years and the impact that has had. The first inception of the game day chat was a blast that I liked to moderate back then.....it was all the people I went to games with or viewings, but we were in the comfort of our own homes. These days I really enjoy the more bountiful articles, mainly the saber stuff. Ironically, I was against playing games on paper but through the site, even being a math guy, grew to appreciate what a small collective here bring in terms of numbers and player classification. 
Ligther Side

AngelsWin.com:  Where do you live and what do you do?

Brandon Gibson: I live in Southern California. I guess I fall under the category of entrepreneur/self employed. I have my hands and cut my teeth in Real Estate and have created, owned, or managed projects from data storage, alternative medicine, investing/venture capitalist, and healthcare is my main focus these days. Funny thing is because of this site I have  been fortunate to help others here and even reconnected with an old business associate through the site events that I started working with on a project of theirs. 

AngelsWin.com: Why are you an Angels fan?

Brandon Gibson: Local/hometown team and just grew up rooting for them. It's been a very rewarding experience going from the early 90's to a World Series to consistent success and expectations to succeed. Going through the 90's as an Angels fan you wouldn't ever think we would be competing yearly like we do now. 

AngelsWin.com:  What was your first Angels game that you remember? Who’d you go with?

Brandon Gibson: I had gone to a few random games as part of playing Little League, but my first memory was I had a neighbor across the street when I was young that kind of acted like an older brother. My parents left for vacation and asked him if he would watch me for the weekend, he did and that first night he took me to the batting cages, then to get and Angels hat, and to the game that night against the Rangers where my most vivid memories were a fan climbing the left field foul pole and some random dude in front of me heckling Otis Nixon as he kept yelling that the base path lines would disappear if he ran the bases.....I think some of the older dudes will get the heckle. 

AngelsWin.com:  Who have been your favorite players? Why? Any great stories or interactions with them?

Brandon Gibson: Tough question. I remember players in my early days like Wally Joyner or Jim Abbott, but my first favorite player was Jim Edmonds. I'm partial to five tool type guys like he used to be, Garret Anderson used to kind of be one, and now we have the luxury of Trout. My first interaction I remember was getting a California Angels ball signed by Troy Percival and Mike James at a game while trying to get Edmonds around '94 or '95. I'm fortunate to have a business relationship with Jason Brennan of Angels Talk from years past, so I've been in situations of meeting front office people or running into players. A pretty unique one is we used to have season seats in front of Vlad's family suite and through that I had a family member that dated Vlad's cousin. This meant after games we would go with the family down through the tunnels and visit the players leaving the clubhouse and hangout in the parking lot after. I also got to hangout with Vlad a few times, dude likes his rum.

The funniest one and a good board joke is Chuck allowed me to represent the website with a press pass years ago, but it was complete last minute because it was a day game that the regular reporter couldn't make. I've never been remotely close to this position and am a mere fan, but take the job seriously of getting the site content....but have no clue what I'm doing. Luckily, when I get there I run into Jason Brennan and Eric Denton who give me a mild run down of how things work, but I don't have clubhouse access so I am not with them to follow around. I'm actually kind of lost in the tunnels but see Mickey Hatcher throwing BP to Kendry Morales, I figure this is a good time to take a pic for the site. Like a dumb rookie I take the pic, but the flash is on and goes off during the pic. I do the apologetic face/ hands in the air thing of apology while Hatcher looks at me like he wants to kill me, but Kendry actually starts posing, totally hamming it up for the camera and motions for me to take another. Hatcher jokingly tells him to stop messing around and I head off. During the day time BP I'm on the field, but the players avoid the media like the plague and we are only allowed to talk to them or go to certain areas based on what they do to let us know they are open for questions. Victor Rojas sees a rookie struggling and calls me over to chat, we both have ties to Kansas City so we chat it up and I tell him why I'm there, but have no clue what to do. He let's me interview him but is super cool in working with me (I wasn't sure what to expect and prepped to ask players questions, so I flew by the seat of my pants with him) and letting me work through the jitters and questions. Later was the second BP when the fans are in the stadium, so access is a little more limited, but I still get to hangout in the dugout. The bullpen coach comes out and I interview Orlando Merced. We go through some questions for the site but then get to talking casually as I remember him on the Pirates in the 90's. He appreciates that I remember and we talk about his playing days. Then the players start coming out and I think this is my last chance to get a player for the site. Kevin Frandsen sits next to me and I ask him but he shakes me off. The other bench guys come out and then out walks Jered Weaver. Me having no shame and willing to talk to anyone walk up to him and ask if I can ask some questions for the site, he replies with, "I'm pitching today, bud" and the bench guys kind of chuckle at my expense and I kind of just walk out of the dugout with my tail between my legs  and up to the press area above the Diamond Club. 

AngelsWin.com:  How do you survive the offseason?

Brandon Gibson: The offseason is actually my favorite time of the year. I feel like we all watch the same games, same slumps, errors, or game winning homeruns so I don't comment too much during the season because there isn't much to add that hasn't already been said about a poor pitching performance or specific play that we all don't see. But during the offseason we seem to get pretty creative and it gets exciting with trade rumors or free agent signings. I get into the comings and goings of the club. Off the site, I'm really into all sports and grew up a lot of them at high levels, so I follow other sports or participate myself. Outside of that I'm big into my friends and family time. 

AngelsWin.com: What’s one thing you’d like everyone in AngelsWin.com to know about you?

Brandon Gibson: Ironically, I think too much has come out during the years, whether my fault or others haha. I'd like to think I come off more casual and joking, I hope that comes off and that I don't take much too seriously. I'm always there for charity events, putting together events, helping people personally, or supporting or promoting other peoples ventures from the site. I hope that part of my character is seen opposed to what I think of people that overly complain :)

Sunday, September 21, 2014

By David Saltzer, AngelsWin.com Senior Writer

For so many years, Angels fans could only dream of saying that. Every spring, we’d go to Angels Stadium filled with hope. Every September, on a Sunday, the reality sank in: Baseball was done for the year. The last home game of the year had been played, the last out had been recorded.

Then 2002 happened. And, for nearly a decade, it seemed that every year, Angels fans could say it. It almost became rote.

Like the rain in California, the inevitable drought came. If absence makes the heart grow fonder, then prolonged absence nearly breaks it. It has been too long since we’ve been able to say those six magical words.

For many, the post season is validation for all their time spent in the summer. It’s their “reward” for passionately following a team through the ups and downs of 162 games.

For others, it’s a chance at glory—to see something special happen for their town, their team, their community. It’s a chance to say “I was there, and I was a part of it.”

For me, though, it’s something else: it’s a chance to extend that hope from spring for a few more weeks into the fall. Although fall is my favorite season of the year, it is a bit bittersweet because it always means the end of the baseball season. And, it means that it will be another 4 months until I can hear that sweet sound of a ball hitting a bat, the pure joy of baseball chatter, and the thrill of listening to an inning of baseball.

Like many, I go into a bit of a depression brought on by baseball withdrawal. Sure, I enjoy good football games, and have fun at hockey games, but neither is the same as baseball. I’m always happier at Angels stadium than at any other sports venue.

Today was the Angels’ last regular season home game. I took my sons to the game because seeing the last out of the season is a tradition. But, unlike so many years in the past, the game wasn’t a melancholy occasion; instead there was joy amongst the fans.

Thanks to events earlier in the week, there was a buzz in the crowd—a feeling of hope. Even though the Angels lost the game to the Rangers, the fans were upbeat and buoyant.

Angels fans are a family. We know each other. We take care of each other. We get to know the people who sit around us and work at the stadium. We take pleasure in seeing the kids in the row ahead of us grow up. We feel old when they are so old that they are bringing their kids to the stadium. During the season, we may go to eat lunch or dinner before a game with our Angels family or celebrate with drinks after an especially good game. We share the ups and downs of the season over countless conversations during the games.

On so many occasions, the last game of the season meant saying goodbye to all those friends. It was like the end of a good long visit with family—you wanted it to last a bit longer, but knew you had to go. There would be the hugs goodbye and the ever present “see you next year.”

But today, that wasn’t the case. Today, hope remains strong. The regular season may be over, but the post season is yet to come.

As my sons and I walked out of the stadium, we heard it over and over again. From one fan to another, and from fans to stadium employees, it almost sang out: “See you in the post season” meaning there’s still more Angels baseball to come this year. We still have more time to enjoy our baseball family. The last out of the season has yet to be recorded.

So as the final week winds down, and the Angels play for home field advantage, I will be happy because I know one thing—I will see you all in the post season.

Friday, September 19, 2014

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Watch this amazing video put together by our friends at the MLB Network, on the Angels Path to the Postseason.

Congratulations to the Angels and all of their fans worldwide!

Thursday, September 18, 2014

By Glen McKee, AngelsWin.com resident grudge-holder - 

Karma is an interesting concept.  If you go by the Buddhist definition, what we do in this life is repaid to us in the next.  If you extrapolate that to baseball, it means that what a team does in the current season will be repaid to them in the next.  Not this one, but the next.  That seems pretty simple but it is apparently hard for fans and/or writers of/for some teams - let’s just call them Shoakland – to grasp.  That’s why I’m here, folks.  I have some ‘splainin’ to do.

There were two distinct instances recently where some people questioned if the Angels were messing with their karma.  The first was on July 21, when Mike Trout and Albert Pujols mocked the Mariners’ closer and annoying-hat-wearer Fernando Rodney, by firing imaginary arrows at him after he’d fired one into the dugout the inning before (Or in the stands, if you believe Rodney.  It’s possible, given that he can’t even get his hat on straight, but I still don’t believe him.).  Some people (as in at least one) on this very message board were certain that this taunting would doom the Angels.  Nope.  Enough said about that, other than watching the gif again because it’s right up there with the Aybar dance:

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The second incident was on August 29.  It was actually two incidents.  The first was the Angels, playing Shoakland in a tense game, encouraging the fans to do the light wave.  This was something that had been done before and nobody had complained about it, but suddenly Shoakland fans were as up in arms as if one of their many cats had knocked over their bowl of Coco Krispies.  It was a geographically-concentrated outrage!  Shortly after that there was a controversial play where Aybar was running to first and his path was blocked by two Shoakland players.  Rather than exit the basepath and be out, he decided to barrel through them, and was correctly awarded 1B.  More outrage!  It took about 10 minutes before Scarecrow Melvin left the field, and he filed a protest which he later withdrew.   It was a bold move, Cotton, but it didn’t pay off.

Now is when it gets personal, and where the instruction comes in.  If you followed me on Facebook you probably still wouldn’t know that at the time I was friends with somebody who does some writing for the A’s.  I’m not gonna name names, so let’s call her Judy Stormliquid, or Judy for short.  Judy had seen a piece I wrote for aw.com and liked it, and I thought it couldn’t hurt to have some writing contacts outside of the Angels baseball bubble.  We exchanged some posts a few times, nothing serious or even noteworthy.  However, after that game Judy went on a rant about how the Angels were cheaters and karma would bite them and their fans square in the keister.  This was in a facebook post, so I politely responded that there was no rule against the light wave and that it had been done before without complaint, and I mentioned why I thought the Aybar call was acceptable.  A friend of hers jumped all over me.  It was semi-polite at first but then she devolved into name-calling.  The whole time I was polite and respectful, while disagreeing.  That is possible, you know.  It was a back-and-forth between me and her friend that eventually stopped when both of us found something better to do.

Well, the next morning there was a message in the thread from Judy to me.  How DARE I talk to her friends and DISRESPECT THEM LIKE THAT!  I WAS A TOTAL A-HOLE!  Even though I was never disrespectful and I never stooped to name-calling.  It was a short but furious rant, with bouts of all-caps and promises that…wait for it…karma would bite me and the rest of the Angels fans in our hindquarters.  I wanted to get a screen capture but she unfriended me (insert sad trombone here).  Her ignorance of karma was matched only by her self-righteousness.

And here we are not even a month later.  The Angels, supposed future victims of karma, have just wrapped up the division and have their eyes on home-field advantage throughout the playoffs.  The team looks good, and Shoakland is fighting for their playoff life.  Since the karma game the Angels have averaged about 20 runs per game, and Oakland about -0.8.  The Angels look to be in a good position for an extended postseason run.  Hey, I get that this is baseball and anything can happen – I’m sure Baltimore fans and Washington fans feel pretty damn good about their teams and rightfully so, they are very good.  It’s not tempting karma to recognize how your team is doing and have high hopes for the rest of the season.  And even if that was tempting karma, it wouldn’t haunt us until the 2015 season, and that’s not even on my radar at the moment.  The point is: don’t invoke karma if you don’t know what you’re talking about.  It just might be bad karma to do that.  If you don’t believe me, let’s see what Erick Aybar has to say about it:

Yes, I know that’s from another celebration but Aybar don’t care.  He’s celebrating again, and so am I. Karma be damned.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

By Jonathan Northrop, AngelsWin.com Staff Reporter - 

Mike Trout is going to finish the year first in fWAR again - he's at 7.8 right now, with #2 being far behind at 6.2 (Jonathan Lucroy). For those who prefer rWAR, he's also at 7.8 but Donaldson is much closer at 7.3, so it isn't quite a lock but it is close.

Anyhow, this will be the third year in a row that Trout has been #1 in fWAR. Aside from the amazing fact that he's done it not just any three years, but his first three years (and will presumably have more years of being #1 ahead), the list of players who have led the majors in fWAR three or more times is relatively small. Here it is, from 1900 to the present (I was going to pick 1901 because that's the year we had two leagues, but I added 1900 to give Honus Wagner his full array):

10 Ruth
8 Wagner, Mays
7 Bonds
5 Cobb, Williams
4 Mantle
3 Hornsby, Musial, Yasztremski, Schmidt, Boggs, Henderson, Ripken, Rodriguez, Pujols, Trout

In other words, Trout is the 17th player to do it. That's pretty good company. Of note are some pretty amazing players that did not make the cut of 3, including Tris Speaker, Eddie Collins, Mel Ott, Lou Gehrig, Jimmie Foxx, Joe DiMaggio, Jackie Robinson, Hank Aaron, Frank Robinson, Joe Morgan, and a bunch of other greats and Hall of Famers.

Now again, Mike is just getting started. While we can't expect him to lead the majors in WAR every year, at least not forever, it would seem that he is like to at least surpass Cobb and Williams, and maybe vie with Bonds, Wagner, and Mays. Ruth? Let's see how things look in a few years. Consider it like a no-hitter alert - you can't really start taking it seriously until the 6th or 7th inning. I think in order for him to have a legit shot at Ruth, he's going to have to enter his 30s with at least 7 - that would mean winning it 4 out of the next 7 years. Possible!

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