What was the moment that you gave up on Arte Moreno? I remember the exact moment that I gave up on him. It was personal.
In 2011, I was in the Angel Stadium press box. It was morning, the Angels were on the road, there was no game going on but after years of asking, whining and cajoling, Jim Gardner and I were allowed to broadcast an episode of our then-popular weekly Angels podcast “Lunchtime Halo Talk” from the press box. Press relations man and loser junkie Eric Kay acted like he was god the father in throwing us this bone instead of granting us a press pass despite us having a massively successful and influential-if-rowdy blog Halos Heaven.
So on the day we were there I walked around the empty press box and saw chairs reserved for the Associated Press and Reuters, ESPN and the local news stations. And then I saw a reserved seat for Veinte De Mayo. I gave up on Arte Moreno at that moment. Veinte De Mayo was a newspaper, no online presence, by and for survivors of the Bay of Pigs. Its circulation was at best a few thousand elderly Cuban men reading about what each other were doing now, decades after their effort to overthrow Fidel Castro. It was a social calendar and a right wing anticommunist ink on newsprint partisan publication, like eighteen pages, maybe thirty in a big edition. So they had a reserved seat in the press box and a junkie employed by Arte was gatekeeping out a blog dedicated to coverage of the Angels with thousands of registered commenters and tens of thousands of unique user site visits on good days. Forget the politics, my reaction would have been the same if the Irvine Greenpeace chapter had a reserved seat in the press box. This moment transcended politics. It was the curtain being drawn to reveal the real character of the man who owned my favorite team.
This moment, this encounter with who got past the velvet rope and who did not, told me that Arte was in it for Arte and his lifestyle and his buddies and his family but he was only interested in the boring establishment media having access to his $184 million investment.
So we were made to feel like third-class citizens when we had more readers than the Orange County Register’s paywalled Angels coverage, let alone the Dodger-deepthroaters at the LA Times. But we didn’t carry Arte’s water like Jeff Fletcher and Mike DiGiovanna and the word of Arte Moreno’s drug dealing PR flak Erick Kay was final. It could be argued, and it was back then, that blogs were unpredictable and unprofessional and I would wear both of these as badges of honor but I could also respect that if the organization had a policy of only having the most establishment organizations in the press box that made sense, boring unadventurous sense.
In 2015, a day before I parted ways with SBNATION, I wrote that Arte should sell the team. Here is the link: https://www.halosheaven.com/platform/amp/2015/4/26/8501785/is-it-time-for-arte-moreno-to-sell-the-angels – the article stands the test of time especially this quote:
Autry founded the team, Jackie preserved it, Disney won a ring and Arte made it a winner. Maybe he should just leave us all wanting more. He has been the greatest owner in team history, but the honeymoon is long over and he might want to hit the showers. He aspired to make the team a west coast Yankees but recent events make him seem to be just a Saint Bernard short of being a mustachioed Marge Schott.
But I didn’t mention this press box moment in that piece, seeing that reserved press credential for something so far away from the mission of covering the team while I am covering the team on my home computer three hours a day for (at the then-time) six years (I lasted ten), the very sight of it was still so absurd. But in hindsight it makes all the sense in the world. It was never about us. It never is, I’m not naive, but what a way to rub our noses in it.
So yeah, it was personal. What was the exact moment that you gave up on Arte?
At least he talks to media, and doesn’t run and hide..
When he let Zack Greinke leave. To the Dodgers no less!!!
BTW that was over a decade ago, but the real seal the deal was the 2019 Winter Meetings when we signed Anthony Rendon and no pitchers whatsoever
No Roger Lodge here.
I think I slowly let go each year when I saw the Angels lack of investment in a minor league system. It was like divorcing my selfish cheating ex- wife. There were moments of clarity when I realized the kids and I were happier when she wasn’t around, or that I was happier at the Angel game (I call it my happy place) without her histrionics. It took me a long time to realize I needed to earn my divorce with the Arte but here we are. Now that he’s leaving, maybe I won’t need to go onto a new relationship with another team other than whoever is playing the MFY.
July 2015 when Dipoto quit in the middle of the season. No one just quits in the middle of the season, there are only 30 GM jobs in the world. That is when I realized the environment must be really toxic. It was very clear that the team would never attract a good GM, experienced manager or true quality FA. Word within the baseball industry was already out their to avoid Anaheim at all costs. I just did not realize it until that day.
The day the team acquired Vernon Wells.
^This^ Truly the single dumbest deal evah in baseball.
Napoli coming into town on BOS, TOR or TEX was always rough
now it’s kole calhoun.
Terrific write up, Rev!
Some thoughts. I was at the stadium the day after Artie took over. Immediate impression was he was such an improvement over Disney. Beer prices crossed off and much lower. I thought we were in good hands. The comments above are common points where things got sideways. Promoting Del Taco Tony, signing players we knew were not sensible (GMJ, Hamilton, etc), take it or leave it offers, keeping Sosh too long, hiring GM’s that had no experience or pushing them out after they were handcuffed from doing their job. The list is full of moments where we knew this was not healthy. I’m glad that this is almost over. I grew up a Dodger fan and lived in LA. I moved to OC and raised my sons as Angels fans. We did so enjoy the Series and those great years before and after. Success isn’t always winning, but giving effort and maybe playing hard when you just aren’t that good. It’s what I told my kids when they were in LL. They needed to care and to give their all and players like Eckstein and Figgins were who they wanted jerseys of.
My sons grew up with Salmon, GA, Weaver and Vlad. I’m very happy they learned to love baseball during those years. My wife and I still go to games with the boys (and their wives) and have a good family experience. We have timed it so well that we’ve seen them lose 8 straight games in person over the last few years. I like the venue and the team but time for change is here. We go now expecting the loss, which is sad.
My moments for knowing this was wrong was the Vernon Wells trade, the Hamilton signing and the GMJ signing. So much spent on so little.
Side note. The Rev rants about cokeheads, drugs and addictions show a venom I don’t understand. It’s tedious but I assumed he has/had personal experience with this and that’s why you lash out. I get it, you don’t respect people who use. But Kay being an addict and the repeated abuse of these players is right out of the Reefer Addict mantra. I’ve always had compassion for HH editor who succeed Rev. He had an addiction that ended his life too early, and I live in a family with similar issues. But the grenade throwing is juvenile and pisses me off. We all have the right to speak our minds. But I can’t say I respect the Steven A Smith level of soap box outrage that Rev vents. I respect the baseball discussion and the related opinion, but since no one else has said it I will- Lose the hate. This site discourages the F bomb and doesn’t tolerate the usual hate other sites have. Just one guy brings this anger and the irony is it’s one of the main staffers.
Refreshing read and perspective. I’m also ok with Hamilton et al getting a talking to. My experience, having pushed narcan hundreds of times, was to wait until the patient was unconscious and loaded up in the ambulance before administering it because doing so on site just made for AMA sign outs, withdrawal symptoms like vomiting we had to deal with, and the impromptu come to Jesus meetings that inevitably went by the waist side. If the intent is to stop said behavior, sometimes the hand works, sometimes the fist 🤷🏼♂️
Stirrups, is that you?
Rev was good friends with Josh IRL. I was too for a much shorter time. I met and liked his wife too. I know a number of other people on this site also knew him. It hurts to see somebody go out like that. I get it. Facebook just suggested Josh to me as a friend about two days ago. I was like “Yeah Meta. I wish, but I don’t think we can bring him back.”
This is a tough issue.
I believe the point I made was the specific venom about drugs or users. Very out of character for the site. It’s divisive and doesn’t fit the tone we’ve enjoyed for years.
I thought the Cokehead article from years ago brought enough heat that it was a learning moment. At the time I thought it was terribly written because it made a jerk like Hamilton a sympathetic figure. I’ve written that kind of thing myself. Just not where the national news picked it up. It was embarrassing to watch the fallout.
Josh posted a great write up on HH about his heart and his state of affairs. I respected the honesty. I remember most of us were supportive. Kind of why I brought this up.
When we moved over to this site years ago I noticed who did and didn’t move. Was sorry to hear of his passing.
Cool. When my father died I had a great deal of poorly focused anger but these days I get sorrow instead. I’m the eldest survivor of my family now, so I reckon I will cause sorrows for others sooner than I would like. Unless another friend dies, at least I won’t have to feel that any more.
I don’t mind your criticism. There is a reason I come with a hammer. In recovery there is a saying that the disease of addiction is CUNNING. The culture around recovery (as opposed to in it) does not comprehend the level of CUNNING that drugs and alcohol maintain (or is in complete denial about it).
So I choose, on a case by case basis, to withhold fawning sympathy for the “Struggling Hero” who is just “Battling Their Demons”. No. Not here.
The baseline for me is that they are pursuing recovery. I never mocked Josh H as a relapser when he was on the rival Rangers. There were enough other things to mock like any rival. Eric Kay got out of recovery and was flipping pills a few days later. That to me is a person who has succumbed to the cunning nature of the disease and needs to be put on the harshest of notices that he is seen.
I loved MayhemInTheHood, would have done anything for Josh, and he knew that, and that is why he stopped returning my calls and why I will be eternally angry at him for embracing a cunning disease as his master when he had enjoyed and prospered from the alternatives.
I would say late 2009/early 2010. Stoneman who had handled all for the free agent negotiations up to that point had retired and Arte started exerting his dominance with his iron fisted take it or leave it strategy during the Carl Crawford Contract negotiations.That strategy had worked so incredibly well it ultimately forced his team to bend over and get butt raped by Alex Anthopoulos and the Toronto Blue Jays in the Vernon Wells 2011 trade debacle.
Through the 2009 you never heard a peep out of Arte even during the contentious negotiations with Scott Borass over the draft and signing of Jered Weaver. But all that changed and fittingly so did our playoff hopes.
When I first read this article i thought “you know there wasn’t one distinctive moment where I felt I lost confidence in our owner.” However, after thinking about it some more the whole Josh Hamilton/Torii Hunter situation was probably the one that led to my lost confidence.
I loved Torii Hunter on this team. His attitude was infectious and he was such a solid player for us out there next to Trout. Somehow we decided not to re-sign him because we didn’t have the money to do so, but then a short time later we threw 25 million a season at Hamilton to replace him. Hunter ended up signing for I believe 16 million a season for Detroit and went on to make the all star team the following year and what did Hamilton do for us? Nothing. Not a damn thing.
Now I don’t have very good inclinations on players and what they will do for us, but I knew Hamilton for Hunter was bad. I think everyone in Anaheim knew it. Yet we still did it. Yes, I know it wasn’t done directly like a trade would have been. But that transaction was awful and told me that our owner did not understand the importance of a players connection with the team.
This sounds like a personal problem.
The signing of Albert. Albert was a PED user who like so many others is adored by so many who will never believe that those inflated numbers are just smoke achieved by cheating. It was Trout that keep me a staunch supporter along with hoping against hope that the glory days would return. From 2016 to the present, it has been Arte’s shit show circus. His dream of immortality ended when he chose to not fight city hall for reneging on his deal or trying to recoup his money spent from the city. This year’s losing record was on him, and he faced the fact that he could not spend enough for anything to really matter anymore.
He walks away with all the cable TV money he kept, close to 1.5 billion after taxes and Lawyer Fees, and adios amigos.
For us fans we will segway into the next chapter and like always roll with whatever comes. It really can get worse, but hey we know trAdition and expect nothing else. We all wish that this sale will be quick, but it won’t be. Partially because like the Dodgers sale to McCourt, the Commissioner doesn’t care for the Angels because he doesn’t like Atre for voting against him sense he started as Commish on about half of what Manfraud wanted.
Funny, but both of them are in over their heads.
I think it was that period where Josh Hamilton was a clear bust and then Arte refused to throw water on the Scioscia/Dipoto fight that had gone public in national media.
His reputation was starting to become hardened as an impulsive meddler and backing Dipoto could have gone a long way in improving the quality of future GM candidates. Instead he made it worse and Scioscia was gone anyway a few years later so it was all for literally no benefit or gain.
Maybe reading the blogs would have opened his eyes to the reality of the team and its perception amongst normal people not on his payroll.
Been waiting to hear from you Rev! Pujols signing for me. Was splitting season tickets with coworkers/friends and didn’t like the long term ramifications of the signing. Didn’t know it was going to pan out as bad. Stopped splitting season tickets that year.
the funny thing about the Pujols signing is that he had a pretty decent few years for us, just nothing like his St. Louis prime. And the fact that his first April was so terrible turned a lot of us off. Oh…and that he was perceived to want to be the man and not let Trout get his due. Still, he did give us a lot of offense for 2-3 years.
The Pujols problem was his pride resulted in really offputting quotes when he was struggling.
“Look at my career numbers mang” shit over and over.
“I just need to get my legs beneath me” “look at my numbers at the end of the year”
Excuse after excuse. Hindsight’s 20/20 so maybe it was the Hamilton and Wilson signings that further cemented my displeasure with Arte. No accountability should be expected out of someone who was 21 y/o playing HS ball against 16/17 y/o. Pujols has been living a lie for decades. “The machine” nickname fits because he overcompensates by acting “professional” and sticking with same bland answers year after year.
I was just telling someone the same. I never bought into all of his awe shucks quotes as he would back them with something like that.
Anyone in the 4 hole during those years would put up decent numbers. Look at his limited success the last few years… batting down in the order, LHP, or PH
.285/30/105, .859 OPS, 138 OPS+ in his 1st year here. That’s very similar to Walsh’s All-Star year of 2021, actually just a tad better. We loved it from Walsh, not so much from Albert.
Walsh was making a million… different getting value vs expecting results. And like I said, baseball and statistics have an interesting relationship. Every team has an All Star every year. Most teams have at least one good hitter on their squad and opposing pitchers don’t have to “pitch around” and they are likely to challenge the others teams best with their best. When you have a batting lineup that’s complete top to bottom, you don’t get to play those games as much imo. Pujols got off to a slow start when he was first here and I still remember him not coming through (games I attended) leaving RISP or GIDP more often than coming up clutch. Cool numbers… going 3-5 with 2 HR and 4 RBIs in an 11-5 loss isn’t that awesome… especially when said HR/RBIs are when you’re already down 8-0!
Exactly. We were paying for “ALBERT F***ING PUJOLS!!!” and got “Albert Pujols” instead. And towards the end, we weren’t even getting that… We were getting “albert pujols”.
That is all about $$$$
Albert made 25x Walsh
The only saving grace with Walsh (who I really like) is that the team isn’t married to him. He looks completely lost at the plate and may need to get fixed elsewhere.
Well with his arbitration years starting this off season, I can assure you the parties are heading for a divorce
A Couple? You mean one season? his first year 2012 was the only time here he had an OPS over .800 Prior to that he had AVERAGED an OPS of 1.037 for his entire career.
Super encouraged as I’ve been referring to this group as Arte and his frat bros for some time. I’ve been called jaded by more than a few but I stick to my basic premise. In seeking what is true, what people say is unimportant. Instead you look at what their motivations are and what they do. This team needs a restart as the current methodology hasn’t worked and that wasn’t likely to change with this group in charge.
I’m not sure I would call it “giving up” since I continued to support the team, and by extension Arte, with $$$$ for season tickets all the way til now. So I don’t think it was true giving up.
However my disconnect and discontent with Arte began probably 5-6 years ago when I started hearing about the cuts in foundational things like scouting, player development and minor league conditions. It began to appear that he was overly-generous with certain things (shiny objects quoting Maddon) and terribly cheap with other things – including issues I considered foundational to any quality baseball organization. As I continued to dig, the fact that he would place two non-baseball people such as Kuhl and Carpino so high in the Org (higher than the GM) as well as non-baseball people such as Dana Wells, Molly Jolly and Brian Sanders said to me that marketing was the major if not sole focus. This also contributed to the unraveling.
Finally, as part of this process of paying attention to the Organization, I became more familiar with teams such as the Dodgers, Cardinals and Giants and their Baseball Organizations.
All of this led me to the conclusion that Arte is very egocentric and a megalomaniac – believing he can run a baseball organization with marketing people and without baseball people. I think he believes he knows more than anyone because he has made some good business investments in his life and has a bunch of money. His Org is in shambles and he is the cause.
I am very much looking forward to a much needed change.
great great post.
Why thank you good sir!
I hate to say it, but I want to be the Cardinals so so bad.
Me too for sure!
If a guy like LeBraun buys the Angels, or becomes “the face” then I’ll have to see how gross it is having to experience his sound bites all the time. If it sucks too much, rather than becoming what I hate here on CtPG, I might just take my talents to a team like the Cardinals.
The NL having the DH now opens up a whole new world of teams that are less boring than they were. Or, if I ever escape California, I hope to live in a town with an MiLB team. If that happens I can just root for those guys in the MLB.
We’ll have to see. I assume who ever buys us will be at least a bit of an asshole so I’ll probably just have to suck it up.
I am very happy Arte is selling the team. What great timing, just about 10 years too late.
Also, I appreciate the insight here Rev, you got cancelled for telling the truth and giving your opinion before cancelling was a thing. And yet here you still are writing about the Angels and we are all benefiting from it.
Look at it this way though, if the Angels had a decent PR presence, independent and awesome sites like the previous HH, and now even better CTPG may never have gotten off the ground. So win.
Finally,I want to tell the quick story of a man Arte Moreno who for some of us “older” fans might have been a welcome sight, who legitimately improved our fandom and dare I say, our franchise, for several years in the early 2000’s. Arte made the Angels a legitimate contender on a national scale, building on the success of the team winning in 2002. Believe it or not, he was willing to spend money in ways we hadn’t seen before, or at least in some time. Some buddies and I ran into Arte in the concession stands of Anaheim stadium in 2003 and this was when Vladimir Guerrero was still with the Expos, but was the next big FA. Expecting Arte to just treat us like the young punks we were when we jokingly hollered “Hey Arte!! We want Vladdy! Bring Vladdy to Anaheim!”. To my surprise, Arte cocked his head slightly and then gave us a big grin and a thumbs up. In my probably faulty memory he also gave a wink and a nod. Next year we had Vladdy in an Angels uniform. Life was good. There we had Arte Moreno, man of the people, next great Angels owner…!
Anyways, I consider Arte just a man caught between generations. He was the perfect owner for 2003, but his inability to adjust to change in the baseball world cost the franchise a lot of baseball years on the backend. A man who did amazing things with a $183 million dollar investment to run it into something worth possibly 20x times this amount can not be called a failure. I believe he tried but this thing just got too big for him. Good luck on the rest of life Arte. You may have redeemed yourself by selling your baby.
I’ve never given up on Arte because I believe he wants to win, he just doesn’t know how to get the organization set up properly. I’m not saying he’s incompetent, just maybe unaware of what has been needed.
And I look at all the owners and see that there are some who don’t care at all about winning. I had the hope that someday Arte would step away from his meddling, would allow his GM to do his job, would not be cheaping out on the minors, on scouts.
If I make a list of all the things I don’t like about his ownership style it’ll look worse than how I actually feel. There are lots of items I’d want changed and they could all be fixed by letting baseball people run the baseball side which includes SLC, Rocket City, Inland Empire, etc.
That’s my point. It could all be fixed and even if it’s been driving me nuts that it *hasn’t* been fixed, I know it *could* be. I’ve never given up that hope that Arte would one day say “I’m stepping back”. Instead his solution is to sell the team.
Both Duderino and Eric have really hit the nail on the head. He just did not know how to, and always wanted to win. Very Good.
Yah. He was willing to invest money, and that’s usually what will or won’t completely scuttle an org. But he made really bad choices when it came to laying that cash down, he didn’t do a lot of the things I personally think would work AND he had really bad luck to go with it all.
Other than a couple of seasons at the end of last decade you could always see how his plan could/should work…. but it didn’t. You can also see that plenty of other guys can own a baseball team and do better, so it’s not like Arte moving on is a huge loss. You don’t have to BELIEVE in Arte in order to not give up hope.
The Angels going out of their way to cut access to blogs is just proof of the lack of foresight of Arte and his cronies. Even by 2011 print subscriptions were crumbling and online coverage was dominant. Yet Arte and his crew were focused on keeping the old guard happy.
I’m fine with Arte throwing his old pals a bone. Any anyone who risked their lives to free others has my respect. But the overall list of seats shows that the team was still not looking at the digital age for what it is.
The irony there is that is a marketing failure.
So, the TLDR version of what everyone will write about this topic is “I gave up on Arte when he didn’t give me what I think he should give me.”…. including this actual post.
PS – I know that the only time anyone says “it’s not about politics” it’s because it’s about politics…. but this time it’s not about politics.
The Stoneman to Reagins to DiPoto whiplash was the point the plot was lost on what the strategy was for baseball operations. The wheels really started coming off during this timeframe.