My Baseball Origin Story: Phineas Campbell

All cultures have their origin myth; think Adam and Eve. In the same way, all British baseball fans have their origin story of how they came to support the team they support.

This is my long and convoluted journey to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.

The first baseball game I attended was on 19 May 1993, it was a game between the Giants and the Pirates at Candlestick Park. 1993 was a Barry Bonds MVP season (the third of seven MVP awards he would win), but this was an important season as it was the first since Bonds’ free-agent move from the Pirates to the Giants.

However, neither of the teams nor the city made a strong enough impression upon my consciousness for me to adopt them. I can be exactly sure of the date because the following night in the hotel I watched the final episode of Cheers.

Final episode of Cheers saw the team back together. Sam (Ted Danson) was a former pitcher for the Red Sox. Given Boston’s current injury woes, perhaps they could use Sam “MayDay” Malone’s arm in the bullpen

Move on a couple of years, and something that is important to many British Baseball Fans – MLB on Five – started, so I needed a team.

I have an aunt in Tulsa, and she is a Cardinals fan, so I could have adopted them, but at the time, I was doing a PhD and most of the research I was reading was coming from University of California, San Diego. I had spent some time in San Diego and had found it as nice a place as I have ever been, so I became a Padres fan.

Whenever I was in the US, I would take in a game either at Jack Murphy Stadium or Petco Park.

Through time, I found myself spending more time in the US, and largely because of Curb Your Enthusiasm finding a base in Santa Monica, I needed a new team.

The obvious choice would be the Dodgers, a storied franchise and the 4 bus will take you almost directly to the stadium; I don’t drive, which is always going to make Southern California a challenge.

I had been to games at Dodgers Stadium and just not enjoyed the experience, it had not been as friendly as other ballparks, whereas 35 miles to south, were the Angels, a team I felt wanted me as a fan, and a ballpark experience I had enjoyed. Also, Metro E Line from Santa Monica, change to the D Line to Union Station, then the Metrolink to Anaheim.

Being an Angels fan has been a rocky ride. A particular low for me was the name change. Perhaps the team will be remembered as having two world class players but not winning a World Series.

Also, I have to thank a guy I know as Nick, better known by his twitter handle @LAAngelsUK, for all his work. I will always be known as the other UK-based Angels fan.

For all this I have never regretted choosing the Angels.

Last season, I saw them in Oakland, then travelled down to see them play the Blue Jays, and the whole day was a great experience.

I wrote this as I was heading off to Phoenix for Spring Training, and I have another trip to San Francisco and Los Angeles later in the year.

Do I think they are going to win the World Series this year? No, but that is not enough to make me switch. I think I have built up enough fan equity in the team that when they next win one, the experience will be that much sweeter.

Article by Phineas Campbell. You can follow him on Twitter @phineascampbell. Want to share your baseball origin story with the Bat Flips & Nerds audience of 10,000+? Follow the link

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