I don't know if the best GoT parallel here is Red Wedding or Red Viper, but my own poison has welled so long, this latest serial shoe drop just has me zombified like Qyburn's Mountain. Hard to move the pen much further – the last vestiges of this organization that aligned with my sensibilities are gone.
Much of my venom still lives in these two pieces I wrote in fall of 2013: here and here. It was clear then that Moreno didn't truly buy into the modernization of his franchise, and that he poopooed Dipoto's analytic turn as so much PR fluff, rather than the stuff that organizational reboots are made of. Way too much stock in "great men" theory, which explains his fidelity to Hamilton, Pujols and Scioscia in particular.
Because I don't buy into "great men" theories of history or organizational development, I'm deeply reevaluating my attachments to this club. Deeply reevaluating, as I was in 2010, until Jerry Dipoto was brought on and it finally seemed like the Angels were ready to modernize and fiercely compete in a new era of baseball. Unfortunately, core members of the franchise have resisted that, and the Angels have only been a division-leader once in the past six years, reinforcing the has-been/also-ran status of a team out of its depths in a changing game.
The GMJ acquisition, the misuse of Napoli, the subsequent Wells trade, the firing of Eddie Bane one year after the Trout/Grichuk/Richards/Skaggs/Corbin draft, the undervaluing of OF defense, the underinvestment in Latin America, the understaffing of the front-office and player development division, the overlong Pujols contract, the monstrous Hamilton contract and its subsequent disasters, the bargain-hunting the FO was forced into in the wake of expensive big splashes (think: Blanton, Hanson, Madson, etc), the disparagement of middle-income ticket-buyers, the inconsistent and often anti-analytical early drafting of Ric Wilson, the stupid Baldoquin acquisition that took the team out of the game as Cuba opens up, and now the resignation of Jerry Dipoto.
I just don’t find much to like here. As my sigline has always declared, good fans fight for good results. I’m a consequentialist when it comes to my fan philosophy. Outcomes do matter to me. When I can look past the results, I look to the pipeline for what might improve them in the future, or to alternative organizational resources and strategies that might point to eventual improved conditions. The pipeline at present is middling, and Jerry’s exit is inauspicious. And the organizational star chamber I cannot abide at all.
While I'd like to raise my sword and keep fighting, I'm struggling to care. I have no idea why I'm not a Dodgers fan at this point, as I've lived 5 min from the stadium for fifteen years and LAD has only grown more calibrated in recent seasons to my own notions of how one builds a team. When they inevitably draft Vlad's son in the international draft, that may do it once and for all. Tears on the page, mom. Tears on the page.
As you all know, I began watching the Angels on July 24, 2009. And what a game. Mathis went off! And what a year to get back into baseball and to pick up the Angels: the famous "all batting .300" scoreboard; the tragedy of Nick Adenhart's passing and the subsequent rally around his memory; the sweep of the Red Sox in the ALDS. The list goes on. Throughout the past five years of watching the Angels, I've fallen in love with some players, dismissed other players completely, and gone from loving Mike Scioscia as "just a downright good guy of the sport" to completely despising the way he manages the Angels. Yesterday's news of Jerry Dipoto stepping down, largely in response to Mike Scioscia's insubordination and inability to adapt, has left me in a state. Sure, I'm new to Angels fandom, so I'm going to be more fickle with my allegiance. I've grown fully comfortable in rationalizing the terms "fairweather fan" and "bandwagon fan" as they apply to me. There are parts of me that want to forget this organization and go back fully to my White Sox ways, because lately, the Angels' modus operandi does not align with how I see and enjoy the game of baseball, both on the field and off. I enjoy the player development part of the game almost as much as the actual game, so essentially forcing Jerry Dipoto's hand is tough for me to swallow. I worry about the future of this team.
However. Mike Trout. Garrett Richards. Jered Weaver. Matt Shoemaker. Kole Calhoun. Erick Aybar. Johnny Giavotella. Carlos Perez. Hector Santiago. Sean Newcomb. Heck, ALL the kids busting their butts to make it to the show. So, best of luck, Jerry. You helped steer the organization in a positive direction, and perhaps some good will come of your resignation. Perhaps this will be a wake-up call for Arturo Moreno. In the meantime, what's Trouter going to do tonight?
I liked Dipoto as our GM. I didn't agree with every decision he made, but I agreed with most, and I think he had the team headed in the right direction. He certainly favored a more analytical approach than our leadership has used in the past. Due to Scioscia's power, I'm worried that we're not going to get many analytically-inclined candidates to throw their hat in the ring. In short, this team could be headed for some lean years. All that said, we still have Mike Trout, and he's really fun to watch. So life isn't that bad as an Angels fan.