Friday, May 18, 2012
Picture of Fowler Jr. taken on the night of Jered Weaver's No-No on May 2nd, 2012

By Scott Fowler - Columnist

Greetings all. I wanted to take a moment just to introduce myself to the community a little bit before completely getting carried away in a rant, or some ill-advised, heat of the moment impassioned plea to Angels Leadership for change.

My name is Scott Fowler, and I've been an Angels fan for going on about 25 years now. Those of you who might read obscure and totally ill-designed blogs might know me as The OC Sports Geek. Hello all two of you out there who read that blog, and yes mom, I mean you.

I've been lucky enough to get a chance to contribute to, and for that I want to say thanks, hello, and OMG WT#)($*% were you thinking?

Instead of talking about why our favorite Halos are mired in the muck, or my take on Hatcher's sacrificial lambasting, I just wanted to let you all in on why I'm an Angels fan. I think in times like these, it's important to remember why we all love this game, this team, the whole nine.
I moved to the States from a small town in rural Northern Ontario. Yep, Canadian. If I make weird references to defence, or spell things really strangely and tie baseball into hockey metaphors, well, that explains that. I was 10 at the time, and it was the summer of 1988. My dad got a great job in California, and here we were, my dad, my brother and I and our first ever Major League Baseball game.

The enormity of Anaheim Stadium to a kid from a town of 1200 people is difficult to explain. I know people talk about Yankee Stadium being the most grass they'd ever seen in one place, or how religious an experience it was going to Fenway for the first time, but for me, it was that ballgame in the summer of '88.

We did it perfectly: Arrived in time for BP, dad got us boys brand new Angels caps, programs, hot dogs and peanuts. The beer was his, but like I said, totally perfect.

Thumbing through the program, I noticed that the day's starting pitcher was some guy named Kirk McCaskill, and laughingly showed my little brother that he apparently played hockey as kid, as the program featured a hockey card of a young Kirk playing bantam hockey for his local team. I watched Kirk take some warm-up laps around the field, and then figured that he was my new favorite player, skills unseen, because he played hockey.

Think about that.

My Favorite Angel is Kirk McCaskill  because he played hockey.

I never said I was normal.

Anyway, so Kirk continues his warm-up, and I feverishly read his bio, and instantly realize it was fate. Kirk McCaskill is from a town in the middle of nowhere, Northern Ontario, Canada, called Kapuskasing. Say it with me: Kaa...puss...casing. It's about 160 miles from where I grew up, and sadly, with a population of about 30,000 people, it was the big city to our little town. Literally the NEAREST DRIVE THROUGH RESTAURANT (a McDonalds) to me, growing up, was in Kap.

What are the odds that he's pitching the first game I ever attend?

What are the odds that someone ELSE in this entire state knew how to say Kapuskasing, let alone know where it was?

And then it happened.

He started running real laps around the entire stadium.

Oh man, he's coming this way.

I'm literally front row, on the first base side, and here comes my FAVORITE player of all (23 seconds?) time, Kirk McCaskill! A local boy, done good.

What do I do? What do I say?

Kirk was getting hammered for autographs and just trying to finish his run, but for some reason I blurted out "Kirk, we're from Kap!" and he stopped, mid-run, and singled me out of the dozen or so kids and asked "what did you just say?"

At that point, I think I mumbled something about ok, so we're not really from Kap, but we're from Hornepayne and I was just IN Kap last week on my way to California, to move there forever, and that It was my first game, ever, and...and...and...I think I said it in about three seconds, and he laughed, and just stopped everything to talk to us. He asked what we thought of California, he signed it all: Hat, Program, hockey card. Only for us, and maybe a handful of other kids in the area. Then he wished us well, finished his warm up, and started the game.

I don't remember the score or the outcome of that game, but Kirk McCaskill made me an Angels fan for life. I still have that hockey card in one of those plastic card cases. You know the ones with the crappy plastic two piece screws that look really cool and cost like $3.50 when you were 11, and were the ones you only used on your BEST card?

That's my best card.

Since 1988, its been a lot of down, but then for a while, we had a lot more up. Now, its 2012. It's early, and after an off-season of change, things are starting to come together.

Just a few days ago, I took my 11 year-old son to a game on the day his great-grandfather George, a huge Angels fan, passed away. My son struggled with the first real loss of his young life, and baseball seemed a perfect distraction for him for the evening.

Weaver, my sons favorite Angel, threw a no-hitter that night.

On our way out of the stadium, tears of joy still fresh on my face, my son turned to me and said "I think Grandpa George helped Weaver tonight, for sure."

Thanks Kirk.
Love to hear what you think!

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