Former Angels GM Jerry Dipoto was officially announced at the position on October 29th, 2011. He was coming from a gig as senior vice president of scouting and player development for the Arizona Diamondbacks, with a good eye for talent and an appreciation of analytics. His arrival was heralded and lauded by fans, both hardcore and casual alike, as he was replacing the much maligned Tony Reagins. The Angels were in the first stages of what would become a long term association with overpaid talent or total trade misfires. In Reagins, the Angels had a GM who brought in Vernon Wells for Mike Napoli, a trade that would forever cement him in with the biggest boneheads in front office history. So, Jerry Dipoto comes in...they sign C.J. Wilson and Albert Pujols shortly after. Jeff Mathis is sent packing. Life could not be better and things were turning around. At least, that's what we all thought.
Cut to the present, July 2015, and we're in a situation of high unrest, front office upheaval and ultimatums gone awry. Jerry Dipoto and Mike Scioscia had been fighting once again, and it was the same fundamental differences that have plagued their working relationship since 2012, as far what's been reported. There were ups and downs; the ups culminating in a 98 win, division winning 2014 season. But the lows would come one after another for not only Jerry Dipoto, but the Angels as a whole, in 2015. The Josh Hamilton relapse debacle had Jerry taking the brunt of the blow not only from the moralizers, as he was the main face of the team, but also because it was often him who was blamed for the signing to begin with. WRONG. Josh Hamilton(along with Vernon Wells and Albert Pujols) were all concocted by Arte Moreno, insisting that his GMs do his bidding or they be canned. Sending Hamilton back to Texas had to feel like a public embarrassment for Jerry, but one which he was not privy to tell the details to us, resulting in his own sad bit of dramatic irony.
The further front office gaffes, like the overly-candid comments from Robert Alvarado, or the leaks to the press about the ill will between the manager and GM to begin with, only served to further push Dipoto to his breaking point. Here he was, being lambasted and set aside; marginalized, along with the work he and his employees put into scouting and numbers, by Mike Scioscia, who is then backed up by the players, who have become either accustomed to wallowing in this corporate muck, or they just keep their hands clean of it altogether. Once the leaks kept on coming about the fact that there was a rift in the team, he apparently went to Arte with an ultimatum: him, or Scioscia. To put it lightly, it did not go as he hoped. Arte Moreno chose his allegiance: it lies with Mike Scioscia, our de facto GM.
Arte Moreno, the overlord and supreme commander from the desert; he who tells us what we shall pay to watch his team, and we will thank him for it...he chose Mike Scioscia and his cronies over a guy that traded one year of an OK Howie Kendrick for a handful of years with hot, young lefty Andrew Heaney. He chose Scioscia over the guy that got Tyler Skaggs and Hector Santiago for Mark Trumbo. Arte Moreno is siding with the guy who refused to disseminate the information from the front office, which is the job Dipoto was hired to do to begin with. Arte Moreno paid Jerry Dipoto for nothing, as he obviously never wanted a general manager. Dipoto wasn't a perfect GM, but he stocked up a farm system full of some decent arms, got us the aforementioned players, as well as new upstarts like Trevor Gott and Johnny Giavotella, and worked out a pretty friendly extension for Mike Trout.
These acts are strong moves from a relatively young baseball mind, lots of positive players brought in and moves made. This is also the same man that was forced to resign from the team, and good for him! The Angels organization is a disgusting cavalcade of disingenuous baseball vampires and a brainless billboard salesman in charge who thinks he can latch on to a legacy that was created long before he swooped in and got the team for a song compared to what it's currently worth. Moreno, the man who not only demanded we be saddled with exorbitant and stupid contracts of guys like Wells and Hamilton, but remember he is also an enemy of the city of Anaheim. He was quick to take away any local identity and created a world of boring and played out Los Angeles Orange County Angels of California-type jokes, all so Thurston Howell III types can revel in the cheap beer of their suburban baseball terror-dome. This isn't the first open-faced slap to our sunburned faces, and it wont be the last, and they'll keep coming from our mustachioed, bag-of-laundry-with-eyes owner/captor until we decide to finally hit back.
That is the man we're left with. An insane person holding the reigns, and letting Sosh steer every now and then. Make no mistake: there will be little to no chance that this team gets a reputable general manager in Jerry's vacant chair, not when they see this virulent fecal storm that is perpetually raining down from up above. Again, I feel for Dipoto because he did a good job with what he had, but he learned the hard way that you don't come into a setting like that with a manager who is locked in to a 10 year deal; when push comes to shove, it's clear as day who is going to be tossed off the ledge. It sure isn't the guy with the decade long contract.
So, Jerry Dipoto is out as GM, and has apparently all but made it official.The halcyon days of late 2011 are but a distant memory, and the July 2015 sun has emerged to disinfect all of the lies this team tried to use to prop up this contentious, fabricated relationship ruse between two men who thought they were head honcho, and the one man who was pulling their strings. The team has yet to announce anything, but he has apparently notified colleagues that he has stepped down and the players already assumed, before last night's game, that he was gone. We're just waiting for the formal axe to fall, but Dipoto's already out the door and has those two gigantic, New Era Angels hats and the faux-wood bat facade in his rear view mirror.
Where do we, as Angels fans, go from here? We're being held hostage by a rampantly obtuse owner, who knows we love Angels baseball enough to always sulk back to his loving embrace, no matter how angry he makes us. Is this the final straw, though? How much more can we take being made to look like a joke of a baseball club, before we use direct action to make our voices heard? Jerry Dipoto is gone, Arte Moreno is still the owner and Mike Scioscia is the de facto GM of this team, no matter who gets hired in the position. Shudder. Quake in your boots. Let that sink in, and once you're done gnashing your teeth and throwing around churlish barbs(like you should be doing), then what?
Perhaps the team can take something from all this adversity...stranger things have happened, and they are currently at a season best 4 games over .500 (soooo studly, I know. A whole 4 games!), but even if they manage to eke out a playoff spot, the team is tarnished and is getting harder and harder to comprehend and rationalize on a daily basis. It's rare in this day and age that a baseball team would publicly announce, over and over again, that they have no idea what they're doing, and double down on that ignorant stance as many times as we'll allow them. The Dunning-Kruger Effect is in full swing in Angels Land, and we're all in for a bumpy, infuriating ride.
Thanks for the time, Jerry. I think, like so many other people who have left the Angels in recent years, that once you get away from this hive of imbecilic and benighted baseball tomfoolery, you'll finally be allowed to thrive. Happy trails, JeDi.