While reviewing the recent history of the LA Angels of Anaheim under the ownership of Arte Moreno, one thing has become very clear. Arte has taken a team that was run by baseball people and turned it into an organization run by billboard marketers. He has driven all of the baseball people out of the organization and replaced them with all his billboard company cronies.
One only has to look at the upper management changes he has made since buying the team. Moreno first installed Dennis Kuhl as President and later Chairman. Dennis had no baseball experience but was an associate of Arte’s in the billboard and marketing business. He also brought in the current President John Carpino from this same company. You only need to look around at other teams and see that the Team Presidents are baseball people not some guy from a billboard company. If you look at the upper management of the Angel’s organization it is filled with people from Arte’s old company. Now Arte has that right to hire whomever he chooses but don’t expect great baseball decisions (such as promoting Reagins to GM, also a marketing guy) from these people. They have been successful in marketing the team and making money for Arte, but since all the baseball people are gone there has been a steady decline in the teams abilities and success on the field. The last baseball person in the front office was Bill Stoneman who built the Angels into a perennial winner, but he was dismissed in favor of a marketing guy. The hiring of Reagins was a colossal failure and lead to the dismantling of a once successful and proud organization. Reagins was successful in completely dismantling the minor league organization while ridding the Angels of very successful scouts and the minor league scouting director Eddie Bane. In my opinion, Reagins has set the Angel organization back several years. He has done this by his firings and trades. Some of his trades have harnessed the Angels with so much unmovable long term debt that the Angels will be hamstrung for several years to come. This too can be laid at the feet of Moreno who put non-baseball people in place who then hired Reagins and apparently gave him “carte blanche” in all these decisions. When will the Angels succeed again, in my opinion when they start to hire baseball people to run the organization. This means a new person in the President’s office and at the GM position. I still like Arte as the Angel owner as he seems to be an accountable and responsible person. However, he should have hired baseball people to run the Baseball Operations of the Angels and not tried to run it as a “billboard company”. Now that Reagins is gone it is time for Arte to step up and find a true Baseball President and GM.
Just a note about my Angel Fan Time. I have been an Angel fan since their move to Anaheim in 1967. When I was young my dad would drop me off on State College in front of the stadium and a buddy and I would walk up to buy tickets on game day. The seats were always pretty good and cheap back then. I have followed the Angels in all the good times and bad. I guess I have been spoiled by all the recent success, because the last two years have been frustrating to see the failure of the front office and the team on the field. Anyway hoping for better times and the love of the game because each spring is a time of hope.