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Holy crap...Arte tells Times he'll spend what it takes

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The tone was strange. The words were foreign. The call to action was almost unrecognizable. Did I really just hear what I thought I heard? Did the owner of an underachieving Los Angeles major league baseball team just tell me that he was angry, disappointed, and would spend whatever it took to return his team to the playoffs? "Yes," Arte Moreno said Tuesday. "That's how I feel. That's what I'll do." At that point in the phone conversation, I was so disoriented, I fanned myself with a large wad of Dodger divorce papers, wiped my brow with Dodger Stadium rent checks, and briefly rested my head upon a padded Dodger Dream Foundation salary. Then I got back on the line with the owner of the Angels. "If you want to continue to perform at the highest level, you have to keep building the business," Moreno said. "And that's what I intend to do." So that's competitive integrity sounds like. So that's how the steward of a public trust behaves. "We know where our weaknesses are, we know where we are thin, we know where we have to go to market," Moreno said. "It's going to cost money, but our fans need to know what we're committed to winning." So at the end of this lost season, apparently all is not lost. Into the wake of Dodgers owner Frank McCourt's spectacular summer embarrassment has stepped Moreno, whose team finished the year with an identical record but a far different mission statement. While McCourt fights to legally keep the Dodgers while refusing comment on their play, Moreno steps forward to be accountable. While McCourt's lieutenant Ned Colletti faces the media with no answers about how much money he can spend, Moreno steps forward to promise to spend whatever is necessary. Oh, yeah, and he is now also on record saying that absurdly cheap promotion of four tickets, four hot dogs and four sodas for $44 is coming back. "I love that thing," he said. "Because our fans love that thing." That last quote, of course, authenticates the call. Also... The Angels need an outfielder who can create runs. Moreno said he hopes to buy one. The Angels need another offensive threat, perhaps at third base or catcher. Moreno said he's on it. The Angels probably need another bullpen arm. Moreno is there. "Championship teams develop their players like we have, we know that," he said. "But sometimes when the prospects aren't there, you have to bridge that area, and I'm willing to do that." He said that after revenue sharing the Angels will lose money this year. Yet he said that's not going to stop him from spending it. "The fans need to see that we are doing something," he said. "And it's not just on the field. Are the bathrooms clean? Does the women's bathroom have enough paper? Do we have enough ice?" Do the women's bathrooms have enough paper? Did an owner of a major league team just openly wonder that? There is more in the story. It appears that, in one form or another, the Marines will arrive before Opening Day.

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