Angels owner Arte Moreno speaks to reporters after he introduced new Angels… (Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles…)
Hey, Dodgers, Arte Moreno is calling you out!
A little mano a mano action. I’m not sure if his Angels are playing in the American League West or in some imaginary division where his Angels line up across the Dodgers every night.
He rolled some serious dice Saturday and signed slugging outfielder Josh Hamilton to a five-year contract for $125 million, and what did he say to The Times’ Bill Plaschke?
“The Dodgers, Merry Christmas, I personally can hardly wait to play them,” he said.
Really? Moreno has a bug about the Dodgers. I guess it’s an inferiority complex. Which is not really so much about their play on the field as their standing in the Los Angeles area, where Moreno apparently wants to badly to be considered an equal with the Dodgers.
And that will never happen. As in, never. I don’t care if he calls his team the Los Angeles Angels of Los Angeles, the City of Angels belongs to the Dodgers. Always has, always will.
The Angels are the bigger team in Orange County, I guess, but that’s not enough for Moreno. He can’t just ask his marketing people to try and own the Inland Empire and expand north, he looks lustfully to Los Angeles and points west.
All those people, all those marketing possibilities, all that big-name prestige. If only they could just play on the field and winner take all.
“Think about how much fun it's going to be,” Moreno said. “Dodger fans and Angel fans get to argue about whose team is better, who's stronger, who's weaker … do you know how much fun it's going to be?”
You’d think he would be more excited about chasing down the Oakland Athletics and Texas Rangers, teams that finished ahead of the Angels in the AL West last season, than worrying about the Dodgers. Be more concerned about reversing declining attendance than trying to plant a flag across the county line.
Nope, he wants to arm wrestle Mark Walter. He wants headlines in the Los Angeles Times. He desperately wants to be the top baseball dog in Southern California. Wants the rest of the nation to view his Angels as the superior Los Angeles team.
Some people just never know when to be happy. Maybe it all comes down to money in the end or maybe Moreno is just a highly competitive sort who should be admired. The Angels have won four of six games against the Dodgers the last two seasons, but Moreno wants more.
Think he goes after Hamilton if the Dodgers don’t sign right-hander Zack Greinke away from the Angels? Maybe, but the Angels need high-end starters more than they do star everyday players.
It’s kind of strange, Moreno’s fixation with the team from Chavez Ravine. It’s almost as if he goes to bed every night wresting with thoughts of how he can usurp the Dodgers’ spell over Los Angeles.
I guess this Dodgers envy thing has worked how pretty well for the San Francisco Giants recently, so all the best of luck Moreno. Hope Hamilton delivers. Hope your offense rocks. Just hope if you ever personally win a World Series, you’re not seen on the podium, holding the trophy aloft and saying, “Take that, Dodgers!”