Can I call you Arte?
I just finished reading this long screed by Gustavo Arellano on the pages of OC Weekly suggesting you pack up and move the Angels away. Let me be the first to suggest, when it comes to baseball, Gustavo doesn’t have a clue. The guy needs Google to explain the infield fly rule and probably is too busy dropping some Spanglish insults to see the big picture. As a guy who grew up on the Yankees and adopted the Red Sox, I’ve come to love the Angels. The Angels are my team so don’t even think about leaving.
Angels fans love that you open your checkbook for the big superstar free agents in ways that Disney never did. Angels fans love seeing you at the games as you are always so nice and so happy to see us there (and yes, we met at the Tigers game in mid April). Now I’m disappointed with the team’s record this year but it seems to me that key injuries to key players have more to do with the won/loss record rather than key free agents being past their prime. Angels fan also love how you used your influence to bring the All-Star game here in 2010.
We’ve got some genuine stars on the team with Albert Pujols, Mike Trout and Jared Weaver. I love watching C.J. Wilson pitch and I think Josh Hamilton is just having an off-year. As far as calling them the ”Los Angeles Angels” instead of the “Anaheim Angels,” I suspect some of the critics have forgotten the team used to be the “California Angels” for most of its existence and that no one seemed to mind that the Los Angeles Rams used to share the same stadium with your team (before you bought it of course). Spoiler alert, the Los Angeles Galaxy play soccer in Carson, not Los Angeles and UCLA plays football games in Pasadena. The Dallas Cowboys play in Arlington, Texas. The New York Jets and New York Giants play in New Jersey and the Washington Redskins play in Maryland. They might as well complain about the Los Angeles Lakers being called the Lakers in spite of a lack of actual lakes around Los Angeles and why the Dodgers shouldn’t be called the Dodgers because there are no street cars to Dodge in Los Angeles like there were in Brooklyn. And Utah is a Mecca for Jazz is it not?
People seem to have forgotten the attempts to keep the Rams here that failed. And when they left, the Rams took a lot of jobs with them (that from a union rep I talked with at the DPOC Open House last Saturday); losing the Angels, he says, is 10 times worse.
Now the Stadium is a great place to watch a game but it’s like going to Grandma’s house. The place needs more than paint job and new drapes. We need a new house and one that you should own (let’s get the city of Anaheim out of the stadium business shall we?). I happen to like the fact the Anaheim City Council is making it easy for you to find a place to build a new stadium — right next to the current one. Considering the Cowboys Stadium cost over a billion, the idea of you spending up to half that for a new ballpark makes me giddy to think what the place will look like for the fans.
What’s missing in Anaheim is your team plays in a stadium surrounded by a parking lot instead of fans walking up to a ballpark in a neighborhood like Boston, Baltimore, and the Bronx. With your business background of success and your bank account, you have all the resources to transform the baseball game experience in Orange County to what baseball fans see back East. But developing the land near the ballpark needs to include eateries, shopping, and other types of commerce like the Giants and Padres have now. I’m sure you’ll work with those elected and appointed officials in Anaheim to demonstrate a partnership and a plan that benefits everyone over the long term. You can’t really do it alone. The deal is just entering the negotiation phase and no one has really heard the Angel’s side of the story yet. But even as favorable deals go, what you’re being offered is not in the same generous ballpark as what Baltimore gave Art Modell to move the Browns 12 years after denying the Colts considerably less to stay. I hope Anaheim doesn’t have to be taught Baltimore’s lesson.
So talk to us and tell us what your plans are because right now the “its” and “buts” crowd has taken over. No one expects you to show your hand but it’d be nice to know you’re in the game for the long haul.
As far as Gustavo goes, his paper gets thinner every year. Sort of like Mike Scioscia in reverse. Three-quarters of the good comics that they used to run are gone. There’s no Dan Savage column any longer. Tom Tomorrow was great in OC Weekly’s yesteryears, but that’s gone too. And before the paper was bought out by the current management team of Village Voice Media a year ago, they had a long association with Backpage.com which resulted in a big advertiser boycott for the whole group. Starbucks, AT&T, LiveNation, Relativity Media and U.S. Bank all dropped advertising with the alt-weeklies due to that site’s association with child prostitution and human trafficking that attracted the attention of Change.org and the New York Times. That said, it’s the advertising venue of choice for the county’ strip clubs, sex shops, medical marijuana dispensaries, tattoo parlors, bars and restaurants. Circulation is free and hovers around 70,000 copies a week. It’s still a good paper, and Gustabo still writes a great column with “As a Mexican!” but it isn’t the paper it used to be and some of the features that made the paper a must reads every week must be too expensive to continue publishing (Dan Savage’s column for example). And the Angels game program probably reaches more readers overall. Can you add a column for “Commie Girl” please? That’s bound to help sales.
I kind of laughed when Gustavo suggested you look across the 57 to the Honda Center. The Ducks had a great year last year and an early exit from the playoffs. But the year before, they were awful. The Will-He-Won’t-He tango Gustavo writes about is only in the comments of those critical of any deal the Anaheim City Council seeks to make with you.
Don’t listen to fair weather fans who really don’t appreciate the great game of baseball. Angels fans want you here and critics need to hear what your plans are for developing the new stadium and the area around it. Now I like games at Dodger Stadium too but I like having the Angels a short ride away. Stay Arte. Stay.
Attendence at the games continues to be strong and yes, fans want to see a winner, but hell the Yankee’s haven’t won a series in awhile and its the nature of baseball to go from the top to the bottom in a single season sometimes — just look at the San Francisco Giants for example. But the Angels belong in Anaheim. Please keep them there.