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OC Register: Alexander: Angels fans let Arte Moreno have it


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Remember when Arte Moreno purchased the Angels in April of 2003?

It is easy to forget now, but when he arrived he was described as a man of the people, and in fact, did spend time wandering the concourses of the ballpark to get fans’ input. One of his first acts after taking over was lowering beer prices, and his first big move was signing free agent Vladimir Guerrero for five years and $70 million before the 2004 season, a big ticket signing that worked magnificently.

His entrance was two decades ago but it seems more like two forevers ago, so complete has the disconnect become between owner and fans. The Angels when Moreno took over were defending World Series champions. The team he currently oversees has one postseason appearance in the last 13 seasons and none with two of the best players in the game in the same lineup. And in our unscientific survey to determine how Angels fans would improve their team and their organization, Moreno’s ownership is generally perceived as stumbling block No. 1.

Angels fans expressed happiness when he announced last August he intended to sell the team. They were much less happy a few months later when he had a change of heart. And at least one of the 45 fans who responded to our call for comment over the past few days wondered if there wasn’t a sneaky strategy here.

“Unless he is a masochist, and knowing that he is already public enemy number one to Angel fans, why would Moreno put the team up for sale and then take it off the market? So he could officially be the owner of record to lose (Shohei) Ohtani?” wrote Scott Emmons, who signed his missive, “Scott in Barcelona.”

“Methinks he has some kind of unwritten (of course) deal in place to sign Ohtani,” Emmons added. “Sign Ohtani for whatever, the next owner is responsible for paying it, having Ohtani locked up will make the franchise more valuable, at which point Moreno will then sell and reclaim somewhat his reputation simply for selling. He’ll still take hits for what could have been but easier to take the hits sitting on an extra billion or so.”

That would be a gutsy chess move. It would also be one way to get out of town a hero. But for most of those who pay attention to the Angels, that seems a very distant possibility.

“As in the case of past business titans such as Sears Roebuck and Kodak, Angels ownership under Arte Moreno has embraced ineptness,” wrote Ken Fazekas of Banning. “Their farm system is in disarray, repeated failed free agent signings persist, and while Moreno guides his club in place of a president of baseball operations, he leaves his team in a ongoing quagmire.”

As noted here last year around this time when the fans had their say, it’s not that Moreno doesn’t want to win, or that he always takes the cheap route, though the decline of the Angels’ farm system (and the way some of those minor leaguers were treated before there were mandatory minimum standards in player housing) certainly suggests that alternative.

But the majority of his stabs at impact players didn’t have the desired effect, and many were just bad decisions. Maybe a POBO who had Moreno’s trust could have talked him down off of those ledges.

“Arte Moreno bought a team that had just won the World Series and had a strong organization,” wrote Bruce Harris, who still follows the team even after moving to Idaho. “The remains of that organization made the playoffs in six of the first seven years that Moreno owned the team. He set about destroying that organization soon after.

“His prioritization of the major league team at the expense of the minor league system devastated the pipeline that had been feeding the big club. His obsession with “shiny objects” (Vernon Wells, Gary Mathews Jr., Josh Hamilton, Albert Pujols, Anthony Rendon et al.) designed primarily to put fannies in seats cost hundreds of millions of dollars that should have been invested in the farm, scouting, player development, and international (especially Latin American) scouting and development.

“… In all that time, through a string of field managers, general managers, and other front office staff changes the one constant is Arte Moreno.”

Officially, Moreno and his wife Carole are listed as “ownership” in the Angels’ staff directory. Dennis Kuhl, hired as team president in November of 2003, currently is the chairman. John Carpino was originally hired as a senior vice president and promoted to president in November of 2009 and, according to the team media guide, oversees “all areas of business, sales, marketing, finance and communications.”

The Angels don’t do all of those particularly well, either. For example, their English language radio crew doesn’t travel as a money-saving measure, while Spanish language outlet KWKW only broadcasts a partial schedule and its broadcaster calls home games remotely off a TV feed.

“Why can’t they post the type of content the Dodgers post on social media?” asked email correspondent stvmr82@yahoo.com. “Where’s ‘Backstage: Halos?’ Are there some legal market conflicts between the Dodgers and Angels that the rest of us are unaware of? Oh, that’s right! Moreno doesn’t like spending on coaches. Why would he spend on people in marketing?”

As we noted in Sunday’s Part I of “Angels Fans Vent,” Moreno’s decision to rename the team the Los Angeles Angels – first adding “of Anaheim” in 2005 when the name change was implemented, and then quietly dropping it altogether in 2016 – was done for regional and national marketing purposes but fell utterly flat among those who actually make up the fan base. All these years later, it’s still a sore spot with many fans.

“As it stands with ‘Los Angeles,’ it doesn’t feel like it’s ‘our team’,” Victor Nguyen wrote.

For better or worse, it’s Arte’s team.

He said this on the day he was introduced as the Angels owner in April of 2003: “I’m a caretaker for the fans. The team belongs to the fans.”

It is, as we all realize, far more complicated than that. But maybe, after all these years, he should listen to them for a change.

“Sports management programs will be teaching the Angels in the 2010s as a case study of management/ownership incompetence for years to come,” Tim Hacsi wrote. “It would be nice if that didn’t continue for another decade.”

jalexander@scng.com

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2 hours ago, AngelsWin.com said:

“Methinks he has some kind of unwritten (of course) deal in place to sign Ohtani,” Emmons added. “Sign Ohtani for whatever, the next owner is responsible for paying it, having Ohtani locked up will make the franchise more valuable, at which point Moreno will then sell and reclaim somewhat his reputation simply for selling. He’ll still take hits for what could have been but easier to take the hits sitting on an extra billion or so.”

Turns out Angels fans who send in emails to the OC Register are even more delusional than Angels fans on Twitter.

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1 hour ago, Trendon said:

Turns out Angels fans who send in emails to the OC Register are even more delusional than Angels fans on Twitter.

All things considered that was a pretty decent collection of takes, comparable to what we get here on this board.

I won’t speak for what was left on the cutting room floor.

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So many ranting and complaining about the owner every day.

People are almost frantic to get Moreno out.  I don’t know how long Moreno will own the team, but it’s going to be a little funny for some of these people to find out that, with their brand new shiny owner, it’s pretty freaking hard to win a World Series.

Then it’s going to be “Moreno has permanently cursed this team.”

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21 minutes ago, Dtwncbad said:

So many ranting and complaining about the owner every day.

People are almost frantic to get Moreno out.  I don’t know how long Moreno will own the team, but it’s going to be a little funny for some of these people to find out that, with their brand new shiny owner, it’s pretty freaking hard to win a World Series.

Then it’s going to be “Moreno has permanently cursed this team.”

Just a hunch the new owner will run the team completely different based solely on one owner having no debt while the other will likely take on debt to fund his $2-4 billion purchase price. 

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11 hours ago, AngelsLakersFan said:

All things considered that was a pretty decent collection of takes, comparable to what we get here on this board.

I won’t speak for what was left on the cutting room floor.

I was hoping the article would just be Jeff sharing some of AW's greatest hits.

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On 7/25/2023 at 6:48 AM, Stradling said:

I’m sure Ilten is still out there protesting the name change. 

He isn't. Wasn't even remotely mentioned at our hang out on friday. his hate for arte is still significant, however.

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On 7/25/2023 at 6:56 AM, Dtwncbad said:

So many ranting and complaining about the owner every day.

People are almost frantic to get Moreno out.  I don’t know how long Moreno will own the team, but it’s going to be a little funny for some of these people to find out that, with their brand new shiny owner, it’s pretty freaking hard to win a World Series.

Then it’s going to be “Moreno has permanently cursed this team.”

I was hopeful that Roger Lodge would go away and they'd get new uniforms.  I had very low expectations of a new owner.

 

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