This week we celebrate our 10th anniversary with an interview with long time member, AngelsJunky. The New Hampshire resident is a passionate Angels fan who brings intelligent topics for discussion to our forum and has posted some of the most in-depth blog articles over the years at AngelsWin.com.
Let's dig right in and get to know AJ better in this week's member appreciation post.
AngelsWin.com: When and how did you first come to AngelsWin.com?
Angelsjunky: I was a fellow participant with Chuck Richter on an old site called "BigDel's LATimes Angeltalk Refugees Board," which was just that - a place for folks that got displaced when the old LA Times board went down – about 15 years ago, I think. I can't remember for sure, but I think I had just started up at the LA Times board so I followed the migration led by BigDel.
Anyhow, I hung out there for a few years--including enjoying 2002 with that community--and then eventually moved over to Angelswin; I think it must have been in 2005 or 2006, a year or two after Chuck opened his doors.
AngelsWin.com: What keeps you coming back to the site?
Angelsjunky: First and foremost the community, in particular on the forums. It is a fun place to hang out, to laugh and cry, and follow the Angels together through all the ups and downs. Furthermore, I enjoy the diversity of perspectives found there. While there are certainly different "fan temperaments," and you get to know the cast of characters of the forums over time, there are a wide enough range of participants that it doesn't get boring. Also, while people squabble there's an underlying sense that, in the end, we're all Angels fans.
AngelsWin.com: What have been some of your favorite articles and threads?
Angelsjunky: It is probably too difficult to pick out just a few, and as soon as you do that you start unintentionally forgetting people. Let's just say that while I'm often considered a stat guy, I appreciate the fact that there are some writers and participants who focus on the more human aspects of the game, and I enjoy reading that stuff as it is all too easy to forget about the real human beings wearing the uniforms.
AngelsWin.com: What in-person events have you attended from AngelsWin.com (Spring/Summer Fanfests, Charity Golf, Charity Softball)?
Angelsjunky: Seeing as I live on the east coast, behind enemy lines in "Red Sox Nation," I don't get a chance to be at any of these events. Still, I hope to someday be able share a beer or two with everyone.
AngelsWin.com: Why is AngelsWin.com your internet home for the Angels?
Angelsjunky: I covered some of this above, but it is THE community to talk about Angels baseball. I also like the fact that while there are sometimes disagreements on the boards, Chuck and the moderators are always willing to listen. They really do care about the community.
AngelsWin.com: In your opinion, what is AngelsWin.com’s best feature: the articles, charitable events, game-day chat, message boards, Fanfests, podcasts, etc?
Angelsjunky: There are lots of good features but as I said above, it has to be the message boards. By way of example, it is an amusing experience to get in on the Gameday thread to complain about, say, Pujols grounding into a double play with one out and the bases loaded, and then seeing that in the time between when you pressed "reply" and "post," there were a dozen other posts made - all some kind of anguished rant. There is shared comaraderie in suffering.
AngelsWin.com: Where do you live and what do you do?
Angelsjunky: New Hampshire* currently, although I lived out west in Colorado and Oregon for about fifteen years so feel equally at home on both coasts. I am a teacher and counselor at a small private high school.
(*That's right, tdawg87, you're not the only Angelswin.com NHite)
AngelsWin.com: Why are you an Angels fan?
Angelsjunky: I'm one of the rare Angels fans that didn't grow up in Southern California. But my story, in brief, is that I went to visit my grandparents in Palm Springs back in 1980 when I was a little kid. It was spring training and the Angels were there for part of it and when I saw all of the paraphernalia, I was mesmerized. I had grown up listening to my father and older brother talk baseball (mainly Red Sox, as we lived in Vermont at the time), and so was just getting into it; the Angels just imprinted on me and it has been love ever since. Yes, I am a native New Englander who is a fan of the Angels. We must be few and far between.
Anyhow, it wasn't until 1987 when I was 13 years old, though, that I got really serious about following baseball. As long-time fans know, from 1987-2001 was a bit of a dark age for the Angels, and I remember once or twice trying to switch allegiances to a more successful franchise. But I couldn't do it and quickly gave up and accepted my fate as a life-long Angels fan, and was eventually rewarded for it in 2002.
AngelsWin.com: What was your first Angels game that you remember? Who’d you go with?
Angelsjunky: I've actually never been to Anaheim, so have never seen them on their home turf. But the first time I saw them was during Spring Training in 1989. I was visiting my grandfather in Palm Springs for a week and he got me tickets for the whole week. It was a lot of fun; I remember being impressed by Devon White, and also seeing a 19-year old Ken Griffey Jr.
But I don't think I went to see the Angels in a regular season game until 1995 (yes, I mentioned The Year That Should Never Be Spoken Of Again). It was September 3rd and the Angels were amidst their historic collapse. I went with my girlfriend and we sat in the Fenway bleachers. I was probably the only Angels fan there and when I cheered after the Angels scored their only run in an 8-1 loss—their 15th of the last 18 games--a snotty-nosed punk of a Red Sox fan (that is, a 13-year old kid) in front of us complained "the only Angels fan in the park and he has to sit behind me." My girlfriend, irritable in the sun and not at all a baseball fan, told him "If you don't like it, you can leave." He didn't, but didn't peep another word for the rest of the game. Sort of a fond, funny memory amidst an otherwise horrible couple months of baseball.
AngelsWin.com: Who have been your favorite players? Why? Any great stories or interactions with them?
Angelsjunky: Growing up I liked Rod Carew and Bobby Grich, then Wally Joyner and Devon White. But then in the 90s it was Tim Salmon, Jim Edmonds, and Darin Erstad, and of course Chuck Finley was the old standby and I loved watching Chili Davis hit, as well as Tony Phillips' Rickey Henderson-esque performance in 1995. A bit later, Troy Percival was so much fun to watch. Of the current team, aside from the obvious Mike Trout, I really enjoy Kole Calhoun, who I've had my eye on since he was drafted and always had a hunch would be good. For pitchers I just love watching Garret Richards, and Matt Shoemaker has really grown on me.
AngelsWin.com: How do you survive the offseason?
Angelsjunky: The offseason in NH largely means "winter," so I've got bigger problems to deal with than the lack of baseball. But aside from other non-sports related interests, in the sports world I also enjoy football and tennis, and of course there's always Hot Stove season!
AngelsWin.com: What’s one thing you’d like everyone in AngelsWin.com to know about you?
Angelsjunky: Ha ha, I'll have to sleep on that. But probably the less the better.