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Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Ross Newhan Revisionism: O'Malley And The Angels

Times sportswriter emeritus Ross Newhan's recent account of the Angels' relations with Walter O'Malley is fine as far as it goes — nothing new here if you've read his now rather dated history — but then there's this, something that inevitably seems to crop up every time I read about this subject:
Now, Moreno has helped establish the stability that was always missing, and now the Angels and Dodgers may be headed for a real Freeway Series.
Really? 'Cause when I remember my history, Arte bought the team in 2003, and it was owned by Disney when they won their one and only title. Sure, the Mouse also delivered those godawful periwinkle pinstripes, but once they realized the cheerleaders were a stupendously bad idea, they brought in Bill Stoneman to run the club (and then Mike Scioscia to run it on the ground), and things have been looking up, rather a lot.

Don't get me wrong, I think the world of Arte — he's the best owner in pro sports that I know of — but give Michael Eisner his due here.

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I think the key word is stability, not success. Many "small market" teams have held fire sales after their world series winning seasons. Fortunately the Angels won with a small market payroll. Disney certainly deserves their due but Moreno established the Angels as a large market team that is capable of putting together a quality lineup year after year.
Sure, and the Angels back then were in fact more or less a small market team still in terms of attendance and payroll. Disney does deserve a lot of credit for their stewardship that eventually helped lead to the wild success of 2002.

But yes, I also agree Moreno deserves an insane amount of credit for bringing them up to their rightful big market status. Now, they are a regular top 5 team in terms of payroll, attendance and even team value. This team is worth a *lot* (and, I mean a LOT) more now than it was when Moreno bought the team, according to Forbes.

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