Down The Line

June 21, 2009|Bill Shaikin

Orange County: Nice for Holliday?

Matt Holliday grew up in Oklahoma and has a home in Colorado. So where did he rent a home last winter?

Laguna Beach. Loved it. So did his wife.

So maybe, just maybe, the Hollidays could move to Orange County for good next year. If Jason Bay stays with the Boston Red Sox, Holliday would be the best outfielder available in free agency, the one acquisition that would allow the Angels to bid farewell to Vladimir Guerrero without too much of a fuss.

"I obviously enjoy Southern California," Holliday said. "They're a winning franchise. It's a great place to live.

"Every guy would be interested in playing for an organization like that."

Beyond that, who knows? Holliday is represented by Scott Boras, whose habit of long-playing negotiations clashes with the quick-strike style of Angels owner Arte Moreno. The Mark Teixeira sweepstakes, conducted by Boras, left Moreno with a bitter aftertaste.

Holliday, a three-time All-Star with the Colorado Rockies, also has struggled to establish that he is an elite player outside of Coors Field. Holliday, traded last winter to the Oakland Athletics, was batting .279 through Friday, with eight home runs, 38 runs batted in and an .818 OPS.

The Angels' Juan Rivera is batting .316 with 10 home runs, 36 RBIs and an .871 OPS. The Angels signed Rivera last winter for three years and $12.75 million; the A's are paying Holliday $13.5 million for this year.

The last-place A's could cut their losses and trade Holliday to a contender next month. Holliday said the A's have treated him well, but he isn't sure whether they'll play out the season with him.

"I have no idea," Holliday said. "I live in a day-to-day world."


No more spring in Tucson's step

When the Dodgers migrated to Camelback Ranch, Vero Beach, Fla., lost spring training after 61 years. Tucson is about to lose spring training after 64 years.

The Cleveland Indians trained in Tucson from 1947 to 1992 -- Moreno grew up there and rode his bike to watch the visiting big leaguers -- followed by the Rockies, Arizona Diamondbacks and Chicago White Sox. But the White Sox left to join the Dodgers, and the Rockies and Diamondbacks announced Friday they would move to the Phoenix area in 2011.

When the Indians moved to Florida in 1993 -- and the Chicago Cubs threatened to follow -- Arizona officials feared spring training might disappear from the state entirely. Legislators approved a tax on rental cars that financed a wave of new training complexes, and the measure has been such a resounding success that the Cactus League has doubled from eight to 16 teams. The Indians even moved back to Arizona.

So you might call this baseball nirvana: In 2011, more than half the major league teams will hold spring training in the Phoenix area, all within an hour's drive.


$2 Tuesday: I'm ba-a-ack!

Remember the Dodgers' $2 Tuesdays, back in 2005? The team pulled the plug after two tries, with the $2 pavilion seats overrun by unruly fans.

If Dodgers outfielder Manny Ramirez plays at Class-A Inland Empire next week, as tentatively scheduled, he will be there for $2 Tuesday -- tickets for $2, parking for $2, beer for $2. Don't drink too much, though: Game time is 11 a.m.

-- Bill Shaikin

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