The scouts send their regrets. The Angel players received their World Series championship rings in a pregame ceremony Tuesday, and most employees will get theirs in a private ceremony today. Alas, the scouts responsible for identifying and signing talent are on the road in search of the next generation of Angels.
The scouts have not been forgotten. Not every championship team provided their scouts with rings, but the Angels did, even for the part-timers. And, rather than mail the rings, the Angels will pay for scouting director Donny Rowland to deliver them individually, another gesture in recognition of scouts who might travel nine months each year, eat too much fast food and earn $50,000 a year, all in search of a star who might someday make $5 million.
"It's the classiest thing I've ever been around," said Rowland, who skipped this week's Anaheim ceremonies to scout players in Texas.
Disney approved spending $500,000 so that some 300 Angel employees, from publicists to clubhouse attendants, could get rings. Not all will get the players' ring, with an estimated retail value of $15,000, but all will get plenty of diamonds.
In what could be a bittersweet year, those employees can bask in pride and joy, and a keepsake that will be forever theirs. Disney is believed to be close to selling the team, and a new owner might well decide to bring in his own executives and staff.
Commissioner Bud Selig likes to cite the Angels' success as proof baseball's revenue-sharing system works. The Angels received roughly $7 million in revenue sharing last year, which helped persuade Disney to approve the acquisitions of designated hitter Brad Fullmer and pitcher Aaron Sele before the season started.
With revenues up dramatically in the wake of the championship, the Angels are expected to pay into the revenue-sharing pool this season instead of drain from it. Without revenue sharing, the Angels would have projected close to a break-even year, which would have been the first under Disney management. Instead, the Angels project a loss of about $10 million, including a revenue-sharing contribution of $7 million to $8 million.
Selig attended Tuesday's game and handed out the rings. The Angels used the occasion to lobby him to award an All-Star game to Edison Field. In coming weeks, Selig is expected to select host cities for 2005 and several years beyond.... There will be no Spanish broadcast of today's game, but the Angels are close to an agreement with another radio station to carry Spanish broadcasts on the 48 other dates that XKAM (950) cannot.