Is Angels owner Arte Moreno doing right by fans in making a fiscal stand? [Dec. 18]
If there is one thing that can never be taken away from Los Angeles Angels owner Arte Moreno, it’s his absolute and total support of his team fan base. Ever since he bought the team from the Walt Disney Company in 2003 for $183 million to become the first Hispanic to ever own a major professional sports franchise, he has ardently stood by his fans and has done his level best to keep baseball game attendance affordable. Now, with current free agents looking for nine figure money, Arte Moreno is digging his feet into the sand.
It had been long thought that the Los Angeles Angels would be major players in the bidding war that would come to pass for highly-prized free agent outfielder Carl Crawford. The Boston Red Sox eventually ponied up the deal that was ultimately to Crawford’s liking, signing a seven-year, $142 million contract.
In an interview with the Los Angeles Times, Angels owner Moreno said that the Halos never submitted an offer to Crawford, despite the fact that they were targeted as one of the primary teams in the Carl Crawford sweepstakes.
According to the Times:
The Angels closed 2010 with a payroll of $121 million, seventh-highest among baseball’s 30 teams, “and now I’m cheap because I won’t spend $200 million on Mark Teixeira and $150 million on Carl Crawford?” Moreno said Friday, his voice rising with indignation.
“When do we get to the point where we’re doing a disservice to the organization [by spending so much on one player]? I’m not the Boston Red Sox. I’m not the New York Yankees.”
Moreno and the Angels also made a play for the services of free agent third baseman Adrian Beltre, offering a contract for five years and $70 million. Moreno also indicated that the offer would not be increased, essentially meaning take it or leave it.
Moreno clearly changed his stance from the days just after the season ended, when his Angels finished at 80-82, missing the playoffs for only the second time in seven years. At the time, Moreno vowed to make changes, saying that he was “angry, disappointed, and would spend whatever it takes to return to the playoffs.”
Moreno is clearly in tough position. He has steadfastly refused to raise ticket and concession prizes at Angels Stadium to the level of many other teams, however Angels fans have become increasingly frustrated with the team’s failure to sign other prized free agents in recent years, including Mark Teixeira, John Lackey, Chone Figgins, CC Sabathia and now Carl Crawford.
It’s certainly a Catch-22 for Arte Moreno, and while he will do whatever it takes to make attending an Angels game as affordable as possible, he must also win back the loyalty of Angels fans who demand a better product on the field.
For continuing updates on Los Angeles Angels news, follow Doug on Twitter @Sports_A_Holic.
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