Durham student’s thirty days with the Los Angeles Angels

Fri 20 Oct 2017

The concept of a gap year is a familiar one to most of us.  It’s almost a rite of passage, with the journey to university often going through Asia or South America.  Fergus Chan’s journey, though, was a little different.

That’s because the then 17-year-old Hong Kong native decided his coming of age trip would be to America with the intention of watching 23 Los Angeles Angels games in 30 days.  During his trip, Fergus caught not only a home run ball off the bat of his hero Mike Trout, but also the imagination of the Los Angeles public as he became a fixture in the Los Angeles media, dined with Angels players and called an inning on the club’s broadcast.

BSUK caught up with the first year Economics student to talk about his amazing summer trip as well as his experiences at the recent National University Baseball Championships.

BSUK:  Hi Fergus, so what made you want to trek across the US to watch Los Angeles Angels games?

CHAN:  So it all started when I was 14 years old, the summer of 2014.  I was initially in Fullerton waiting to play in a tennis tournament at Long Beach.  I was knocked out in the first round and, with nothing to do; I went out to the nearby area.  I specifically remember a whole bunch of people wearing Angels gear going to McDonalds, as well as the McDonalds staff wearing Angels caps.  Curiosity hit me and made me wonder what’s going on, so I decided to venture a little bit further down to Angels Stadium.  That day was my first-ever game and I loved the mood there: the people, the players, the staff, the food, everything.  Every day after returning back to Hong Kong I would watch the Angels play.  Eventually, I grew tired of just watching the team on TV and decided to learn to play and also to try to go to another game in the future.  I went back to Anaheim for one week a year before this massive journey and watched a few homestands, and before I knew it, I was in love with the team.

BSUK:  What were some of the highlights from your journey?

CHAN:  The highlights never end, from chatting for a whole inning and calling Mike Trout’s play during the third and fourth innings of the game against the Toronto Blue Jays, to actually meeting and hugging Mike Trout as well as receiving a game-used signed bat from him.  However, apart from the spectacular catch, I feel like the biggest highlight has got to be the two young rookies, Keynan Middleton and Parker Bridwell.  Every batting practice I would talk to them and have a quick chat, and they would respond and we had some good banter.  During my road trip, Keynan took me out for dinner, which was amazing, and when I got back to LA, my hotel randomly got cancelled and Keynan told me to come stay at his place, which was an extremely kind gesture. As for Parker, I got to meet his whole family, and he gave me a four-ticket upgrade from the nosebleed seats all the way to seats next to the Angels dugout.  It was an insane trip and I shared insane moments with these great ballplayers.  I still keep in touch with Keynan and Parker and they’re doing really good so far in the off-season.

BSUK:  Do you have other trips in mind for the future?

CHAN:  I’m currently thinking of applying for a part-time job at my university to fund a trip to the Angels’ Spring Training, which is during my Easter break.  I’m also attempting to get an internship so that I can fund another month or a two-month trip to LA; Angels Stadium feels like my second home.

Chan being interviewed by Fox during an Angels game

BSUK:  What made you want to come to Durham University?

CHAN:  Durham University has always been a top-class university with exceptional academic and sporting resources.  I feel like academics should not be the only thing that people need to focus on.  Sport is a huge thing in my life, and Durham University is ranked in the top five in the UK for academics and second for sports!  On top of that, the baseball team there is a huge success, with great supportive teammates and incredible training to help improve my game.

BSUK:  How did you find your first experience of the National University Baseball Championship?

CHAN:  I’ve always wanted to play on a real diamond and before, during my stay in LA, I vividly remember standing on a mound with tight shorts on, pretending to pitch just to waste some time before the game.  I managed to rip my pants completely during my first lunge towards the plate.  While the five-hour ride was tough, my car sickness disappeared as I saw the diamonds popping up one by one as we drove into Farnham Park.  It was like a dream come true.  I haven’t pitched in over a year, and to step on a mound after a year of being on the bench really made me emotional.  The whole NUBC experience was a huge success; I got to bond with a lot of my teammates, become great friends with them, and play my heart out alongside them.

Chan with the Angels Post-Game hosts

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