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THE INSIDE TRACK | T.J. SIMERS

Hunting for Angel Game Could Lead to Fast Feud

April 11, 2001|T.J. SIMERS

I like the Angels.

I think somebody should.

Now some people have suggested that I like no one, but that's not true. I have two mutts at home, and before the e-mails start pouring in, let me say I'm not talking about my daughters in this particular situation.

I know their mother carries a grudge, insisting to this day I should have put out the big bucks for braces, but I swear they don't look that bad.

Anyway, I have two dogs at home no one else wanted and a future son-in-law who drops in on occasion, so I don't mind spending time with the less fortunate. Let me just say I've never thought about kicking the dogs.

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NOW TAKE THE Angels. Here it is opening night in Edison Field and the game is on TV--in Texas. You can't find it anywhere on TV in California, however, because KCAL has elected to go with "Family Feud." I'm sure it was a tough decision for KCAL executives.

I will say this, I think Feud host Louie Anderson bears a striking resemblance to Mike Scioscia--something to keep in mind if they ever do the "Mike Scioscia Story."

Fox Sports Net also had the option to show the Angels, but elected to go with the Lakers, which I'm sure will have a rerun feel to it after Kobe Bryant ignores Shaquille O'Neal.

"They've got like 860 channels and they don't have one to show us?" Scioscia said.

Even the Angels' regular radio station, KLAC (570), dumped the team on opening night, pushing it to some FM station so the Lakers could be heard on KLAC.

Now as hard as it was to find out what the Angels were doing on opening night, you would think they would be turning fans away at the turnstiles. Now I know they sold more than 40,000 tickets, but looking at the number of empty seats when the Halos were introduced, the place had the feel of another Disney attraction, the California Adventure.

As for opening ceremonies, the Angels apparently couldn't afford balloons, doves or anything of interest. The Dodgers had two jets fly over the stadium to punctuate the national anthem. Three helicopters trudged across the sky long after the Angels concluded ceremonies--I believe they were from three TV stations making the wrong turn while following a police chase.

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IT'S UNDERSTOOD THE Angels have already been eliminated from winning the pennant. They've already fallen below .500. It's a baseball given that the size of a baseball team's payroll matters, and the Angels' is puny.

Fox and the Movie Guy are spending more than $100 million on the Dodgers to account for Dodger Boy's mistakes, while poor Disney is spending something in the mid-40s on the Angels.

"I guess their shows or movies are doing better," Scioscia said.

I'd ask the grocery store bagger or my younger daughter, but they go to the drive-in, so how would they know?

Disney, which has fired 4,000 employees--4,001 if you count the latest Mighty Duck coach, contends it is not cheap, but instead has a roster of youngsters who don't demand as much money as a veteran team. Disney, of course, specializes in the youth movement, a.k.a. minimum wage.

Most of the Angel pitchers still require written permission from their parents to stay out late and pitch. I overheard one of them, Scott Schoeneweis, talking about his trip to Universal Studios on Monday--wouldn't that be a great story if he bumped into Michael Eisner?--and how much fun he had.

As nice a young man as he is, however, I can't picture anyone rushing to the park just to see Schoeneweis pitch. The only reason anyone came to the park a year ago was to see the Rally Monkey. He's the most popular Angel.

The Angels rented the use of the little critter for less than $10,000, which beat spending millions on another veteran pitcher. The monkey sells more tickets too. I'm surprised, however, that Disney hasn't put some high school kid in a Rally Monkey costume--figuring that's another $10,000 they could save.

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HERE'S HOW BAD it is for the Angels. Family Fitness paid $149,000 to paint their logo on the back wall of the visitor's dugout, so when the TV cameras peek inside, the folks at home will be reminded where they should work out. I would have thought it'd be more effective in the Angel dugout, the cameras panning Scioscia as a reminder of what happens if you don't work out.

But the back wall of the Angel dugout has no advertising--because the team has been unable to get anyone to buy it.

You think Angels, you think cheap. The "99 Cents Store" is missing a great opportunity here.

As you would imagine, I want to help the Angels because I like them so much. They're the anti-Dodgers. Tim Salmon, Wally Joyner, Darin Erstad--they're great guys. Why, I'm talking to Garret Anderson and we aren't two minutes into the conversation and he just blurts out, "I don't like hockey."

Man, I just love these guys.

So to help, I told team officials I'd do what I could to help sell that wall space in the Angel dugout. It might mean another pitcher in August to help the guys finish above .500.

The team says it's willing to throw in tickets, radio and TV advertising opportunities, ads in the team program and hospitality opportunities. I hope that doesn't mean you have to go to the California Adventure.

Now because it's prime real estate, team officials tell me the dugout wall probably will fetch close to $250,000--how about a Universal Studios mural with a testimonial from Schoeneweis? Those interested are urged to call the Angel offices and ask for Scooby, who is in costume from 9 to 5 every day.

"If I get a call in the next few days and we sell that space, you'll get a commission," Scooby said.

I like these guys, I really do. Please call.

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TODAY'S LAST WORD comes in an e-mail from Michael:

"I live in Oklahoma and . . . "

I'm not interested in your problems.

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T.J. Simers can be reached at his e-mail address: t.j.simers@latimes.com

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