By Eric Notti - Angelswin.com Contributor
A few years ago this kind of thing just did not happen, fans having a conduit to the baseball executives. Occasionally you may be able to corner someone from the Angels management and ask a question and usually get a guarded and safe pre-packaged response. But you would be the only one that asked and got an answer that was unverifiable and so the information pretty much goes nowhere.
The creation of fan forums has started to change all of that. Rather than relying on the information you can glean from the local newspapers that only want to interview the GM, Owner and Manager, fans now have other avenues to get more information about their team by the hard work of people that decided to dig deeper and make contacts with the whole of the organization to get the whole story, not the flashy one.
It's not easy to do. Chuck and his band of merry men have had to spend a lot of time gaining the trust of the Angels organization by establishing a message board that maintains a fair and unbiased view of the organization. At least as unbiased as a fan forum can be, we all are here because we love the Angels. But being fans of the team is not enough to open the doors to either Eddie Bane's office or that of the General Manager Tony Reagins. You have to be diplomatic, earnest and sometimes just dogged determined to get these guys to let you in.
This is what makes this forum more of an insider’s club than the ESPN pay per view INSIDERS articles. We don't pay for the access to Bane or Reagins taking our questions and giving us insights into what the organizations focus is. And that is one of the big differences between the interviews that Angelswin obtains, it is questions we the fans pose. We want to know who is the low minors are fast tracked. We want to know who is poised to jump into the majors at a moments notice. We want to know where the organization is heading in the next draft and we get those questions answered, right here.
It never used to be this way for fans. You basically went "dark" as they say in the studios, when the season wrapped. The lights go out at the ballparks and so did the coverage. Once in a while the newspapers would give you a blurb of some off season news but until pitchers and catchers reported all you ever knew is so and so was traded or signed. Now the season really never ends and for the hardcore baseball enthusiast that is a godsend. But there is only one reason and that is fan forums like this keep it alive.
For those that grew up on the internet you don't get how lucky you are. This forum, this informational conduit to the team, is more baseball knowledge than any fan ever got just a mere 5 years ago. I can see this forum and its scope growing but it will require people to volunteer to utilize some of their time to be part of the process.
I know it seems like Chuck doesn't have a job, spending so much time managing the server, responding to members and organizing events but he really does have a family and full time job. He's not alone in this but the core of the contributors is very small and it does not have to be.
You can be a contributor, write a story and have it blogged. That is the simple way to be part of the process and there is no timetable or deadline. Pick a subject, a player profile, a moment spent at the stadium, your experience watching minor league play or maybe you just know an ex-player. Get the story together and share it and make the knowledge base here grow.
There is no pay but then again there is no fee so it truly is a co-operative that benefits all without burdening any. It sure would help take some of the pressure off of Chuck to constantly try and find a way to keep the content fresh and then maybe he could get some sleep and lose those bedroom eyes. Yeah, we’ve all seen his profile pick and he really could use some rest.
Help out, be more involved and share some of your time and creativity. After all this is the website for Angels fans by Angel’s fans and that would be us.
If you would like to help out in any capacity contact Chuck Richter at email@example.com
Here's a little of what Angelswin.com offers to Halos fans spread across the world.
Angelswin.com is an Angels Web site of the fans, by the fans, for the fans and has been tabbed as the #1 hangout for Angels fans on the net.
We offer a great deal of valuable content to Angels fans — and fans of baseball in general — from staff columns and insider news to a robust message board community that never lacks strong opinions and healthy discussion.
Angelswin.com dubbed the “Voice of the Fans” by KNX 1070 AM radio during the station’s reporting of the year-long name change battle between the City of Anaheim and the team. I was interviewed live on the air to represent the fans.
We've also been called the "AP of Angels Baseball for Angels fans" by Vice President of Media Relations of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, Tim Mead.
Owner of the team, Arte Moreno was quoted as saying "He visits Angelswin.com frequently". That we've done "a fantastic job with our web site"! The Angels recognize what service and respect we give to the club. A relationship that is felt and appreciated mutually.
Eddie Bane the Director of Scouting, said of our Top-50 Prospects List, "I will take this and present it in front of our scouts and be able to use it as a reference point for meetings. Quite a compliment to you guys that we would be able to use this as a starting point for our scouts at the meetings".
Angelswin.com has also appeared in the Los Angeles Times, Washington Post and the Associated Press, which earned us publicity on ESPN.com.
Other features of the site include:
• Stable of talented columnists that feature columns regularly on our Blog.
• Top-50 Greatest Moments in Angels Baseball. We're counting down to #1, which will be posted one day before opening day of 2008.
• Angelswin.com Weekly Prospect Hotlist. This is posted every Wednesday during the season, ranking the organization’s top 10 minor leaguers each week.
• “The Bane Connection,” a monthly Q&A with the Angels Director of Scouting Eddie Bane.
• Annual Top-50 Prospects Report with detailed scouting reports on future Angels. Angels scouting director said they're going to use our Prospect list as a "point of reference" to pass out for their scout meetings.
• Message Board with a community of more than 600 registered members that discuss Angels baseball 24/7/365 in a troll-free environment.
• Speaking of community, we are just that. We have annual softball games, poker tournaments, spring training fanfests & in-season tailgaters at the ballpark.
• Game Day Chat Room enabling real-time chat among Angels fans across the nation while the games are being played.
• Angelswin.com Team Store with site- and team-specific merchandise for sale
• Player, coach and management interviews (See our interview with new General Manager Tony Reagins published less than a month after his promotion.)
* LA Times - Mike DiGiovanna Interview (2008)
* GM Tony Reagins Interview (2007)
* Angels Scouting Director - Eddie Bane Interview (2007)
* Vice Pres. of Media Relations - Tim Mead Interview (2006)
* Peter Bourjos Interview - 2008
* Darren O'Day Interview - 2008
* Hank Conger Interview - 2008
* Jeremy Haynes Interview - 2008
* Chris Pettit Interview - 2008
* Brok Butcher Interview - 2008
* Matt Sweeney Interview - 2008
* Brandon Wood, Sean Rodriguez and Kevin Jepsen interviews from Mesa, AZ - 2005
• Fan Gallery, where folks can share their baseball-related snapshots.
• Rosters, statistics, standings and schedule updated daily. Also pitching matchups, a real-time scoreboard, game notes and headline news ticker.
• Ask Angelswin.com allows fans to ask any question and, leaning on our knowledge and connections, will attempt to answer it.
We also have an RSS reader that many Angels fans abroad use to get our Angels content on their site or sent to your email.
We also have an RSS feed for the latest topics that Angels fans are currently talking about.
We at Angelswin.com are proud of our credentials and believe strongly in the service we provide to Angels fans. To that end, we want to try and reach as many of them as possible in hopes that you too can experience Angels Baseball in a place and time when away from the ballpark.
So, consider this an open invitation to our community. Be sure to register on our message board and become a member of one of the fastest growing resourceful fan sites' on the net.