The request we're sending to bloggers of all 30 teams this spring is a simple one: What are the 10 best things about being a fan of your favorite team? What features of the franchise have you excited for opening day and what keeps you coming back year after year?
Over the next few weeks, we'll give each of the 30 teams a day in the spotlight, showcasing the icons and traditions that make each big-league hamlet special. Starting our second week is Ricardo Marquez, a big Angels fan who's campaigning for a spot in the MLB Fan Cave. Please cast your vote for him here and follow him on Twitter (@iblogbetter)
1. We were here first: Contrary to popular belief in Los Angeles, the Dodgers were not the first professional baseball team here. The Los Angeles Angels have actually been playing ball here since 1892, or 1903 if you want to get specific when they first joined the Pacific Coast League.
2. The coolest owners ever: If you looked up cool in the dictionary, you would probably see a picture of two people: Gene Autry and Arte Moreno. Gene Autry, of course, is a legend. The Singing Cowboy performed on radio, television and in movies for over three decades and was the minority owner of a minor-league team in the 1960s. When MLB announced it would expand, Autry jumped right on board to do whatever he could in order to bring Angels Baseball to California.
Arte Moreno, the team's current owner, continues to transcend cool to this day. I met Arte during the Vernon Wells presser and he walked around shaking everyone's hands and informed all fans to call him Arte and hey, even share a beer with him in the future. One fan even took him up on the offer last season. How rad is that?
3. World records + best giveaways! Call it cheesy, call it extremely gimmicky, but the Angels organization has not once, but twice set world records under the categories of "most fans to wear a Snuggie" and "most fans to wear a wrestling mask" at one time. On top of that, the front office gives away quite possibly some of the best promotions they have to offer. Some past giveaways aside from the Snuggies and wrestling masks were a gnome bobblehead and a not-really-for-beer-but-come-on† beverage mug. This season includes a Rally Monkey beanie, a cowboy hat for those missing Jeff Mathis, Angels pitcher and cups (COLLEGE NIGHT!!!), and much much more. ( I'm assuming with the pitcher and cups giveaway that we're going for the world record of "most beer pong games at one time." Drink responsibly, kids!)
4. Fan strong: For the past few years, the Angels have won and provided the absolute best baseball experience for all fans that pass through the turnstiles. Unlike some stadiums — *cough* US Cellular *cough* — fans are allowed to roam free and visit the different amenities of the ballpark. Heck, during slower games you can even go seat hopping! I'm sure that's frowned upon but doesn't hurt to try. On top of that, Angels faithful are hands down the most down to earth fans in the big leagues. Sure it might be because those with dugout seats are conducting business on their iPhones, but at least you don't have to deal with that guy always yelling in your ear and spilling beer down your back. With an average attendance of 39,000 a game and over 3 million fans throughout the season, it's the best place to watch a game.
5. Greatest rotation on Earth: Call it team bias, but the 2012 Angels have the best rotation in baseball right now. One day your favorite team has to go against the dominance of Jered Weaver. The next day it has to match up wits with Dan Haren. The following game is against young gun lefty C.J. Wilson. Oh, the fourth day is fine right? NOPE! Now you have to face Ervin "No-No" Santana. "Oh but we'll be all right on the fifth day." If by all right you mean the amazing comeback of Jerome Williams or hot-pitching prospect Garrett Richards than yeah, you'll be all right. Since you're tired of watching your team strike out or pop up, do you think you can go get me a beer or some of that delectable Clyde Wright BBQ in center field? Thanks, buddy!
6. Mike Trout: Mike Trout has been named baseball's No. 1 prospect by both MLB.com and ESPN. His ability to run base paths is insane and his ability to adapt to the majors, with the help of Torii Hunter showing him the way, gives all us fans hope. The speed of a cheetah, the power of a grizzly bear, and the agility of a trout swimming upstream gives the Angels a bright future. (Was the trout swimming upstream thing too bad of a pun?)
7. A revolving door of greatness: A few teams have had the luxury of hosting Hall of Fame players for their entire careers. The Angels, however, are not one of those franchises. (To illustrate this point, Tim Salmon is known as Mr. Angel.)
A lot of MLB legends have come to play for the club, though. Hitters like Rod Carew, Reggie Jackson, Garret Anderson, Vladimir Guerrero, and none other than my favorite Chili Davis have knocked some snot out of some balls while wearing our halo. Other players like Bobby Grich, Nolan Ryan, Frank Tanana and Jim Fregosi were All-Stars with the Angels . On top of that, we now have the modern day Babe Ruth on our team.
Which brings me to my next item ...
8. Albert Pujols: You mean to tell me for the next 10 years I have the opportunity to see The Machine demolish baseballs at the Big A?
"Uh, Ricardo. He's getting a little up there in age and he actually may be older than he says and he's going to be making ..."
I DON'T CARE! Albert could be 108 wearing a Life Alert necklace for all I care. As long has he keeps his production up and I see some dingers over those walls while getting my beloved Angels some wins then that's all I want to see.
9. Rory Markas' "Erstad makes the catch!" call: Every baseball fan has that one call that just sends chills up their spine and goosebumps down their arm. The late Rory Markas, who is deeply missed, will always be in my mind and quite possibly in my heart for his call on the final out of the 2002 World Series.
"Here's the ball to Lofton. Fly ball to center field! Erstad says he got it! ERSTAD MAKES THE CATCH! THE ANAHEIM ANGELS ARE CHAMPIONS OF BASEBALL!"
Goosebumps. Every time.
10. Our winning percentage in the World Series: Like the Arizona Diamondbacks, we're batting 1.000 on the big stage. That's all you really need to know. A lot of teams make it to the big show and completely choke. Some teams will make it to the World Series two years in a row, almost win the whole thing with two outs twice, and blow the championship when their right fielder misjudges a fly ball by David Freese. (Too soon?)
Only the Blue Jays and Marlins can boast of winning two and losing none, but let's hope the Angels can join that club this October — and start a new 3-0 club the October after that.
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Big League Stew encourages you to join in the fun! Please share these lists with your fellow fans on Facebook, tweet us your suggestions with the #BLS10best hashtag or just use the comment section below to tell us your favorite things about being a fan of the Los Angeles Angels.
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