The Quitter that Angry Arte has become

By T.J. Simers

What if no one cares the Angels are for sale?

Do they just sit there until the stadium is condemned? Nice knowing Ohtani and Trout, but did anyone really care how they did in Anaheim beyond a glance at the box score? Can you name the manager of the Angels presently without looking it up?

They have been to the playoffs once in the last forever, are looking at a seventh-consecutive losing season and have the feel of a minor league franchise located out in the sticks somewhere.

If Angry Arte Moreno had the business contacts one might expect a baseball owner to have, there would be no press release but rather secret negotiations to sell the Angels. They are now solicitating offers.

The Angels have always been lost souls as far as the LA Times is concerned. All of its internal readership numbers suggest no one reads the Times’ stories when they are Angels’ stories. Journalism be damned. The Times doesn’t send a reporter on the road with the team.

There wasn’t a word in the LA Times newspaper Tuesday morning about the possible sale of the Angels, breaking stories a thing of the past. Now they get a press release, wake up their reporter who rewrites it and then gets it to its readers.

Why are the Angels for sale? Obviously Angry Arte is a quitter, never figuring out how to match the expertise of Mickey Mouse who led the Angels to a World Series win the year before Angry Arte bought the team.

Arte Moreno came to the Angels full of marketing ideas, high hopes and the advantage of playing in a four-team division. But in the end, he leaves a wimp, beaten down by the inability to get a new stadium and his own volatile temperament.

I used to meet with Moreno with regularity. I walked the stadium with him as he greeted fans and helped promote his image of the caring owner. Drank beer with him behind the centerfield wall after a game. He put his daughter on our Sunday morning radio show. He came to our Nokia Theatre show with Sandy Koufax and Joe Torre.

I wrote a column under the headline: “Arte Moreno is one of those nice guys.”

I was in Arizona, and when I mentioned that to the Angels, Arte got into his car to drive through rush hour traffic to my hotel for breakfast. At the time I wrote that I thought he misunderstood and heard someone wanted to buy Angels tickets, adding, “By now everyone knows this guy will do almost anything to take care of a customer.”

What a turnaround, losing gobbling him up and making him sullen and eventually unapproachable.

When I made mention of the Angels’ losing owner in a column: “It must be asked, is Arte Moreno the Angels’ problem?” he became so upset he began to cuss like Lasorda, who really did know something about baseball. Then he stopped talking. And Lasorda would have never done that.

The last time I bumped into Angry Arte was outside his owner’s box where he was calling me a “@#$%^&,” and while technically not accurate, some would have agreed with the sentiment. He became so irritated; he moved the press box far away from his owner’s box and the action on the field to become even more reclusive.

Keep in mind he didn’t always go to Angels’ games, because would you?

As much as I liked his approach early on, he didn’t have the guts to stay in the public eye when shamed by poor results.

It’s a very long list of people that Moreno stopped talking with, and then came along the death of Tyler Skaggs, and no comment on the culture of drugs inside the Angels. They weren’t all Angels, one of the PR guys found guilty of drug distribution and awaiting sentencing in October.

Angry Arte flipped out when Gary Matthews Jr. joined the team and then later was linked to steroids and the Mitchell Report. He made Matthews speak publicly on it, Matthews denying he used HGH while never saying why it was shipped to him. I wondered where Matthews stored those boxes, afraid his dogs might get into the drugs and who knows the problem.

It was always about image with Arte, who sold advertising billboards before buying the Angels. He went to court to change the team’s name to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. He wanted attention, placing a huge Times’ advertisement atop the scoreboard and red-inked ads atop the Times’ sports section on the Internet.

He wanted to be a part of Los Angeles, but he lacked the standing to make an impact in the big city when his team failed to win. Pretty much everything Angry Arte touched turned to crap and now Arte wants out.

I’m not surprised. It’s pretty much a dead end ahead for the Angels, a new stadium not coming any time soon, a new manager to hire, Trout deep into his career and Ohtani a year away from becoming a free agent.

It’s much easier for Angry Arte to just quit, stomp his feet and go home with his money.

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