My cancer won’t stop Angels Nation reaching out to you!
And this is Angels Nation. It’s for your enjoyment.
The idea was much, much more than a private fan’s blog — it’s proper journalism here, news, notes, and a healthy dash of opinion.
I’ve been a credentialed Angels journalist for more than 25 years, with hundreds of bylines. I started at the Los Angeles Times and Ventura County Star, was editor of the Angels’ official site before MLB took over the team’s internet rights from Disney.
I’ve been nearly bushwhacked by more Garret Anderson foul line drives into the old pressbox at the Big A (now Don Julio’s) than a lot of rookie bloggers have written posts.
So, the concept of Angels Nation has been something between lofty standard of The Athletic and much, much richer than the many blogs out there run by fans and college kids.
So angelsnation.com was launched last spring as a “beta” site — we launched without fanfare in the middle of a pandemic, an economic downturn, and of course a much-shortened MLB season.
We covered the Angels daily through the team’s elimination from the 2020 playoffs and bred a following.
But then fate struck twice. All during Covid-19.
In late June, my mother passed away at age 81. And in the midst and aftermath of all the details that such a death involves, there was a double-whammy.
In October of 2020 — after many months of doctor’s appointments — it was finally discovered that your trusty editor and columnist had the C-word. Yes, I have cancer.
What was just an annoying sore in the back of the lower left side of my cheek was discovered to be Stage IV malignant squamous cell carcinoma — a bad oral cancer, which could eat into my jawbone and possibly become metastatic. Not good.
So forgive me — despite my mantra that “content is king” — my love for Angels Nation has suffered. Because cancer treatment for me must be the Number One concern. The emphasis right now on both is quality over quantity. I live and thrive or I die.
But to keep a long story short and happy, my prognosis is very good. The cancer is deep but localized — and I’ve moved from Newport Beach to Virginia to stay with family during the necessary surgery and treatments.
My highly skilled ENT surgeons at Virginia Commonwealth University have given me a time frame of summertime to be “cancer-free,” which are wonderful words to hear. After a year, I’ll be “on my way to a full recovery,” and the Good Doctor Kandl tells me that after 5 years I’ll be pronounced cured.
I believe in Dr. Kandl and his excellent staff at VCU. This is quality care.
Sure, it’s scary as hell. But at least there is clarity.
I await a particularly nasty and long hospital surgery at the start of March,
After that brutal surgery, there will be a period of recovery, then perhaps a month of radiotherapy to wipe out the cancer.
I’m looking forward to all of this like a 100mph Shohei Ohtani fastball to the skull.
Until the surgery, and after, I can provide you Angels fans with some fresh and enlightening Angels content right here.
I may have some interludes where I way not write very much. But I’m hoping that by the start of Opening Season 2021, I’ll be back close to full-time on the Angels’ beat here, every day, every story as needed. And although I’m in Virginia for treatment, I’ve covered the Angels before from cobbled streets of England and the beaches of France as I have from the Angels pressbox.
I’m an Angels writer. This is what I do. Cancer ain’t going to stop me yet. And here’s more good news.
I’ve needed a quality wingman since last summer at Angels Nation. Now I’ve been blessed to have finally found an excellent one — BJ Martin, a lifelong Angels fan like myself, but also a man who is a catalog of Halos information and trivia. So if I’m not able to be around, BJ says he will be here for you.
BJ Martin is a gifted writer, reporter and storyteller. You may see his byline more often than mine around these pages in the next few weeks — but I can guarantee you, there won’t be a drop in quality.
BJ also has his own podcast — he’s the host of the delightful new Halo Life pod — and I’ve been lucky to work with BJ as a special guest/co-host on his special “60-for-60” podcast series. It’s teamwork, honoring 60 Angels legends from the team’s history. And we’ll link it all up in the coming weeks in our social media feeds. Talking all things Angels — current and past.
But what what I really hope you’ll enjoy is the upcoming special multi-part series right here that will re-launch Angels Nation for 2021 — “Springtimes in the Springs.”
This special series will take us as far back-back-back as 60 years ago, when your Halos and their first superstar Jim Fregosi made their spring training home in the desert resort mecca of Palm Springs.
In the next weeks, look for lots of great stories of those glory days in Palm Springs — the stars, the sun, the glamor, the Cowboy Gene Autry — and that chain-link fence.
We’ll be featuring special personalized content — personal memories from not just ourselves, but nationally known media figures like Hall of Fame reporter Ross Newhan, radio staple Ted Sobel, Angels lifer Tim Mead, MLB official scorer Ed Munson and many more.
And players? Oh yeah! Beloved Angels players who trained and played in Palm Springs — Clyde Wright, Bobby Knoop, Buck Rodgers, Bobby Grich, Garret Anderson … and perhaps even more will be sharing their Palm Springs tales with us here on Angels Nation.
So the “rebirth” of Angels Nation is something I’m sure you’ll all enjoy — not only reading it here, and but listening to BJ (and myself, sometimes) spin it off in the comfort of your cars or living rooms through the Halo Life podcasts.
Oh yeah … plus we’ll link it all up for you!
I’ll be on what they used to call the Disabled List for at least a week — or two. It’s more than a hangnail, and I didn’t cut my hand playing with a drone.
But I’m a fighter. 2021 will be a special season, so none of us will miss a thing here.
Soon enough, I’ll be back interviewing Mike Trout, Joe Maddon and Anthony Rendon before they knew they even missed me. So enough about cancer.
“Yes We Can!”
I’m going to make it — and as my new pal BJ Martin says every time he signs off his podcasts — “take it nine innings at a time.”
- Follow us on Twitter:
- Stu Matthews: @StuMatthews4
- Angels Nation: @AngelsNation5
- Brent “BJ” Martin: @_HaloLife
- Ian Chin: @mediumlargela