When debating whether a sports team, player or, in this case, owner is better than the competition, an observer employing his/her best Jim Rome impression (including Romey himself) will demand, “SCOREBOARD!” In other words, the combatant with the most runs/points/series wins is clearly the best at that moment. Well, Angels fans, Anaheim won the 2002 World Series, the team was sold to Arte Moreno the following season, and they have not been back to the Fall Classic since.
Oh, yes, World Series-winning manager Mike Scioscia was able to extend the Halos’ success to American League West Division championships in 2004 and ’05. Winning the West in ’07, ’08 and ’09 did represent the first three consecutive winning seasons in franchise history. And in 2014, the Angels led the league with 98 regular-season wins while again grabbing the division pennant. If then-owner Disney deserves credit for the ’02 Series win, we must also praise Moreno for those accomplishments.
But his team has stunk so much since then that Scioscia left after the 2018 season, and Moreno hired Brad Ausmus, only to promptly fire him after the ’19 season ended. Many fans are pleased that Moreno has now brought back as manager Joe Maddon, who led the Chicago Cubs to their first World Series title since 1908. Maddon began his professional baseball career as a catcher in the Angels organization in 1975, although he never advanced beyond the minor leagues. He went on to spend 31 years with the franchise as a scout, minor-league manager, roving hitting instructor, and major-league coach and interim manager (twice).
While fans can applaud the Maddon rehiring and Moreno locking Mike Trout into a 12-year deal last spring, the hardline GOP conservative owner’s past “fiscal responsibility” led to the departures of Mark Teixeira, John Lackey, Chone Figgins, C.C. Sabathia and the current National League Championship Series MVP (and World Series hero), Howie Kendrick of the Nationals. It was Moreno who pulled the trigger on the Josh Hamilton, Albert Pujols and Kole Calhoun (extension) deals.
Finally, don’t forget about Moreno dropping “Anaheim” from the team name—which he switched to Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim in 2005 and, since 2016, made it just the LA Angels. Don’t forget that he has been dicking the city when it comes to his desire for a new stadium, as threats emerge through the media cracks that have the team moving to Tustin, Irvine, Long Beach, an offshore barge or perhaps with the Raiders in Las Vegas. Don’t forget that he is an Arizona developer with absolutely no loyalty to OC.
And if nothing else, don’t forget that under Moreno’s ownership, those goddamn stadium beer prices keep rising. Christ, it’s like you have to take out a second mortgage before each game day. That makes Arte Moreno the obvious 2019 inductee into the Bob Dornan Scary OC Hall of Fame.
Mitigating factor: GO, JOEY MADDS!
2013 ORANGE COUNTY SCARIEST PEOPLE CITATION
21. ARTE MORENO
It was bad enough that Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim owner signed Albert Pujols in 2012 to a mega-deal that means Halos fans get to see the first-ballot Hall-of-Famer turn into Willie Mays with the Mets instead of Willie Mays with the Giants over the next decade. It was even worse when Moreno signed Josh Hamilton this year to a mega-deal that means Halos fans get to see their team’s finances shackled for the next five years on two over-the-hill hitters. But Moreno went from merely being a bad owner to becoming a possible welfare queen when details emerged of a package the Anaheim City Council crafted to keep the Angels in town. The deal seeks to give Moreno rights to develop the land around Angels Stadium (and all the subsequent tax revenue) and allow the team to drop any Anaheim references in its name. Meanwhile, Moreno won’t speak to the local press, justifying legendary sports columnist TJ Simers’ nickname for him: Angry Arte. And he makes all front-office personnel dress in those god-awful red polos that Moreno probably grabbed from a Warehouse Shoe Sale bargain bin. Mitigating factor: He’s antagonizing Mike Trout with his penny-pinching, meaning the young slugger will show Moreno the errors of his ego by bouncing.
Previous Bob Dornan Scary OC Hall of Fame inductees:
2005: Inductee lost in one of our many website revamps
2008: Disgraced, felonious, adulterous ex-Sheriff Mike Carona (awarded retroactively for the whole indictment thing)
2009: Santa Ana Mayor-for-Life Miguel Pulido (awarded retroactively for a career that saw him go from Aztlanista to the supreme vendido in Orange County—and in a county where Republican Mexicans have a group called the Hispanic 100, that’s saying something)
2016: Hugh Hewitt
2017: Sandra Hutchens
2018: Vicki Gunvalson
OC Weekly Editor-in-Chief Matt Coker has been engaging, enraging and entertaining readers of newspapers, magazines and websites for decades. He spent the first 13 years of his career in journalism at daily newspapers before “graduating” to OC Weekly in 1995 as the alternative newsweekly’s first calendar editor.