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Dennis Kuhl Kicked Upstairs as Angels Media Sleeps

None of the shufflings in the Angels front office that took place this week have anything to do with the on-field product. Tony Reagins is the sole shot caller answering to Arte Moreno and that is not at all in question.

But as fans of a team, we experience much more than the team. We take in the stadium experience, the television and radio broadcasts, the marketing and the merchandise, the commitment. When there is a change in duties at the top level of the club, the local media may brush it off, but we the fans stand to be affected.

The Angels' promotion of Dennis Kuhl to "Chairman" (as in Mao?) has all the hallmarks of a corporate kick upstairs, getting a beloved executive who is in over his head out of the way so the job can be done while everyone's good buddy can still draw a salary and show up at events that others cannot make.

The new Angels President is John Carpino. Like his old buddy Kuhl, Carpino is a longtime confidante of Arte. Our new team president is a guy who gets things done. If Arte is Don Corleone, Carpino is Robert Duvall. If Arte is Mister Burns, Carpino is Smithers. Who is Kuhl here? Lovable Fredo, innocuous Homer? It sure is hard to say when the local mainstream media cannot put the simplest facts together. Observe...

From Ben Bolch at the LA Times:

The Angels announced today that they have promoted two of their top front-office figures in a realignment of the organization, with President Dennis Kuhl taking over as chairman and John Carpino, senior vice president of sales and marketing, assuming Kuhl's spot as president.

Kuhl will oversee team administration and day-to-day operations as well as what the Angels termed "a renewed effort" in the areas of civic affairs and community outreach. Carpino will focus on business, sales, marketing and communications.

The OC Register had a similar - in fact an almost identical cut-and-paste rewrite of the Angels press release on this news item with a Bill Plunkett byline. His single unique observation was to play the meaning of this all down even more:

...moves that will probably mean very little to the day-to-day operation of the team...

But ... check out two other similar Angels items, both oddly buried at the end of college football coverage from newspaper writers who do not cover the Angels beat exclusively:

From TJ Simers at the LA Times:

... the Angels have now ...(let) public relations specialist Nancy Mazmanian go. They don't come more cooperative, professional, or stand as a better representative of what the Angels claim to be in the local community. It just doesn't make (cents) that Arte Moreno is that hard up for cash to dispatch someone who essentially lived doing everything she could to shine the brightest light on the Angels.

From Randy Youngman at the OC Register:

At least two employees in the communications department — Nancy Mazmanian, director of communications, and Matt Bennett, manager of community relations — received word this week that their jobs have been eliminated.

So is it f'n rocket science on my part to put two and two together here? Kuhl's "promotion" is actually a demotion in everything but title as he is given Matt Bennett's job of shaking hands behind the orange curtain and Nancy Mazmanian's job of pushing the Angels-brand beyond it.

Meanwhile Carpino has more to do than just introduce a red alternate jersey over the next six seasons. He will be revamping everything from KLAA's colon cleansing commercials to finding something besides the same two-dozen 5th inning baseball race cartoons for the jumbotron.

My prediction is that we should expect more partnerships between the Angels and A-List brands - that is Carpino's specialty. The radio station will get some nationally syndicated shows, the television broadcasts will get the occasional guest who has a national profile and, meanwhile, the pancake breakfasts around the OC will get the team Chairman, a good buddy of Arte's with all the time in the world to talk Angels baseball.

Is the local "big" media too stupid - or too timid and afraid for their precious access to their precious pressbox and jocksniffing locker room visits - to call afternoon foreclosure scam commercials what they really are ... lost opportunities when branding goes bad.