After trying to interpret baseball economics for the past several years, and reading about the feelings of betrayal some Angel fans feel after Mark Teixeira and John Lackey left the Angels, I've decided that the Red Sox and Yankees are at Stage 4 in a process I outlined below. The Angels are at Stage 3.
- The owners have to guarantee money to the players whether they perform or not.
- The players have to guarantee service to the owners whether they like the team or not.
- The team has to win before the fans buy tickets and create a stadium environment that attracts players and gives the owner more resources to invest.
- After all of this comes together on a consistent basis, investors will give the team the means to start their network and be able to spend what the Red Sox and Yankees spend. The amount of money required to do this exceeds Arte Moreno's personal fortune.
I think the Angels would like to reach Stage 4 and eventually will. In the meantime, Arte Moreno has seriously upgraded the performance and annual expectations of the team even if he hasn't won a World Series. The nucleus of that 2002 World Series team had a lot of up and down years (41 games out of first in 2001 for example) that we as a fan base are not willing to go through any more. Moreno's not waiting for everything to become ideal to seek the ultimate prize, but there are limits to even what he can do.
The Angels have never given me the impression that they are acting in self-interest, and they have shown me the past six years that this organization is light years ahead of anything we had before. Let's stick with them even if we don't entirely understand everything is going on and hasten the arrival of the Halos into Stage 4. This media market is second only to New York in size and bigger than Boston's.
What the Angels can become will far outstrip the loss of one popular yet overpriced pitcher who averages 13 wins a season.