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SBD/December 17, 2012/Franchises
Hamilton Officially Signs With Angels; Team Payroll Now Around $165M
Published December 17, 2012
BRINGING THE BUZZ: In L.A., Bill Plaschke writes the Angels "delightfully did what they always seem to do this time of year." They gave their fans the "gift of hope, they gave Dodgers fans the lumpy coals of annoyance, and they filled the Southern California sports landscape with the blessing of buzz." Moreno said, "Think about how much fun it's going to be. 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?" He added, "We have every statistical analysis but the reality is, at the end of the day, people want hope. I look at this positively and I said, 'I hope'" (L.A. TIMES, 12/17). The Dodgers' new ownership group is pushing the team's payroll over $215M, and Moreno said, "I think it's just great. I'll tell you why I think it's great: Because those fans have been invested in that team since they moved here in '58, and they've had great success." MLB.com's Alden Gonzalez noted Moreno "intended to go into the offseason with a payroll between $140 and $145 million." He said, "We just made a decision in saying we have to get a couple relievers and a couple pitchers and try to take care of business then. Then if I want to bust the budget like I did last year, I just say, 'If there's a crack in the door, and we have a shot at getting one of the best players ...'" Hamilton's contract "puts the Angels' 2013 payroll at roughly $165 million, which would be a franchise record and $5 million more than they finished at last year" (MLB.com, 12/15).
THE ARTE OF WAR: ESPN.com's Howard Bryant said without the "bluster and vitriol of George Steinbrenner," Moreno has become the "owner in baseball to watch." Bryant: "He likes big stars, big names and isn’t afraid of a big payroll. Sound familiar? He also likes to win, not just on the field, but to be the signature team in Los Angeles" ("The Sports Reporters," ESPN2, 12/16). In L.A., Steve Dilbeck wrote under the header, "Is Angels Owner Arte Moreno Obsessed With The Dodgers?" Dilbeck: "It's kind of strange, Moreno's fixation with the team from Chavez Ravine." It is almost "as if he goes to bed every night wresting with thoughts of how he can usurp the Dodgers' spell over Los Angeles" (LATIMES.com, 12/16). But Moreno insisted that he "wasn't trying to keep up" with the Dodgers. The AP's Beth Harris reported dozens of Angels fans "lined up outside a restaurant where Hamilton was introduced." The team had a table "set up for ticket sales, and he signed autographs on his way inside" (AP, 12/16).
HIGH-STAKES GAMBLING: In L.A., Vincent Bonsignore writes, "I can't help feel a sense of trepidation as our baseball teams enter their new eras of free-spending, win-at-all-costs operations when recent history suggests moderately priced payrolls are just as likely to win it all as high-priced ones." Bonsignore: "I'm just wondering if fans will get stuck with a hefty bill at some point." That is "not even pondering the worst-case scenario for Angels fans -- their team fleeing Anaheim for Los Angeles in search of a stadium and location that creates better revenue streams" (L.A. DAILY NEWS, 12/17).
STUCK IN THEIR WAYS: In Ft. Worth, Randy Galloway wrote it has been a "brutal winter" for the Rangers. They appear "foolish, but worse yet, they also have come across as absolutely clueless, with some arrogance thrown in." The Rangers have been "everybody's darlings, not only locally, but also nationally." But it appears "some front-office egos got in the way" (FT. WORTH STAR-TELEGRAM, 12/16).