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?