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Thor’sLinks: Home Sweet Home

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Arte Moreno puts his OWN money where his heart is.

October 12, 2002. Anaheim, CA. ALCS game #4, Twins vs. Anaheim. Anaheim starter John Lackey.

THE HOT CORNER

Merry Christmas, Anaheim! Los Angeles Angels owner Arte Moreno did an unthinkable thing, one that certainly will raise a few eyebrows of consternation among his peers and with Rob Manfred. Moreno did not hold the citizens of Anaheim hostage. He did not manipulate the city leadership into handing over public money for his own benefit. He did not put future generations of taxpayers on the hook for massive debt so that he could make a bunch of bucks for his own family. And he did not lift his team and dash off to some other venue in some other city and leave Anaheim with some big square destined to become 10,000 more condos that nobody else in the county will care to even know about, much less visit and drop their coin.

I am still fuzzy about some things, but what we hear is that the stadium and what is left of the surrounding lot + The Grove space, all become the property of SRB Management LLC, of which Arte is a partner. For $325 million, 133 acres and everything that is on it is now Arte’s to do with what he wishes to pay to do. The part that I am not yet solid about (only because I have yet to read anything explicitly focused on this part) is where Arte agrees to stay through 2050, and then has three consecutive opt-out options. I think that this merely means that the Angels have to stay and play home games on the property through that time, and Arte cannot simply tear down the stadium, build 10,000 more condos that nobody else in the county will care to even know about, much less visit and drop their coin, and then lift his team and dash off to some other venue in some other city. I suppose it’s possible, and nobody knows the future, so without such contingencies that might have even become probable. But at my age (and Arte’s) that is not something I really need to worry about.

In the meantime, things will get interesting. First the silly stuff. Over the coming years we will see major construction projects of all sorts. We will see shiny architectural renderings of Utopian people enjoying Utopian sports-centric lifestyles, the kind of place where people walk their dogs and the dogs never poop, where the sun is always almost setting and fireworks are always going off and people are all walking hand-in-hand with bright smiles and completely oblivious to there being a home game in progress in the bottom of the 7th. And a place where we have all evolved beyond any need for massive security checkpoints choking up the walkways. Next, we will marvel at cranes and trucks and torn up roads and plywood barricades and orange netted plastic fencing and game-day parking nightmares. Over time, we will see venues opening up around some pretty groovy new stadium experience but wonder how to get reservations far enough in advance to even get inside those new venues. Later, we will lose site of the stadium itself because the giant parking garage obscures it, and then the office building, and then the condos, and the food and merchandise pads that surround the mini-parks. It won’t really matter what the stadium looks like on the outside. Finally, when all is said and done 6 years from now, we will have Irvine Spectrum North...but with baseball somewhere inside the maze!

Clearly, I am not going to focus on those things. No, instead I am going to focus on something I have written here a couple of times quite recently. The way that MLB revenue sharing works every MLB team gathers up 48% of their local revenues and puts it all into one bug bucket, from which each team gets paid out 3.3% (3.3% x 30 = almost 100% exactly)....BUT...guess what? All the money that Arte puts into capital improvements such as buying land and buying a stadium and rebuilding or re-building a stadium...all those moneys get deducted from that 48% initial total. Arte still gets his 3.3% revenue sharing cut from the pot, and the pot is a little smaller, but Arte wins big time. We win, too, if Arte puts that savings back into the ballclub....BUT...guess what else?? If Arte builds a nightclub as part of his redevelopment plans, or those 10,000 condos, and he leases that out to other people, all the money that comes back to him is NOT considered “local revenue”. He doesn’t have to share any of it. This is Atlanta Braves magic. It’s also what the Rangers, local competitors, are teed up to enjoy....What do these things mean? They mean that this ~$170 million per year player payroll that feels like the budget limit for Arte’s roster, won’t need to be that in the future. And it all has now started happening soon enough to help fund oh, I don’t know, Gerrit Cole? (Don’t worry. They are already talking.)

We could all be here to witness the rise of the House That Trout-Ohtani-Cole built. What I need now is for it to start snowing outside. It’s like living inside the Hallmark Channel.


ANGELS

Albert Pujols only spent one season this decade with St. Louis. All the others he has played in Anaheim. You and I and everyone else reading this knows how that worked out. But, still, not as bad as you think. Money aside, still the 6th-best 1B in all of MLB............

But centerfielders of the decade. Why even ask?............

And best shortstops of the decade? Maybe not ultimate, but looking good, Simba............

Top 10 Individual seasons of the Decade? Mike Trout had (at least) 3 of them. This is the one that is most arguable. His best is no better than 3rd best overall, but at last the author makes this confession: “And while we are at it, let’s just rank Trout’s seasons...(ranks all of ‘em)...All but the last one -- his abbreviated debut -- could have very easily made this list.”..........

David Fletcher needs to remember to have a Designated Waver.............


HOT STOVE ACTION AND OTHER RUMORS

The Atlanta Braves got Cole Hamels............

The Philadelphia Phillies got Zack Wheeler.....and go backward?...........(By the way, word is that the White Sox actually outbid the Phillies, but Wheeler has a wife.)............

And Billy Eppler got Dylan Bundy. And Bundy only cost Eppler 4 MiLB guys that were never considered to be the next Dylan Bundy. The good news is that Bundy takes the mound and stays healthy and eats innings. The gooder news is that last season he was about as effective as Griffin Canning. The goodest news is that there is a greater than zero chance that getting out of Baltimore will cause something positive to happen with his potential..........

If nothing else, we can expect Bundy to improve simply by not having to face off against Mike Trout anymore.............

And, yeah, we should expect Joe Maddon to correct THIS...............

California-born and raised Gerrit Cole, maried to California-born and raised Amy Crawford, told the New York Yankees that California holds no special place in his heart. That’s a sign of Scott Boras in action. Tell that to the Yankees so that they don’t take their big wallets and walk away from a chance to engage in a bidding war with the Angels...........


ASSTROS NUTZ

J.D. Davis says that he had no clue about the Asstros sign stealing in 2017. It doesn’t sound credible, except that 2017 was Davis’ debut, and rookies are to be seen, and not heard............


BASEBALL THINGS IN GENERAL

Mets fans just can’t catch a break. Not only did they lose Zack Wheeler, not only did they lose Wheeler to a rival, but they can’t even rid themselves of their nightmare ownership family of the Wilpons even when the Wilpons are set to sell the team. That’s because the sale of 80% of the team comes with the hook that the Wilpons stay right where they are for the first 5 years. And then, once those 5 yeas are over, they get none other than Steve Cohen as their new owner. That would be Steve Cohen of SAC Capital hedge fund cancer upon American capitalism Steve Cohen. And guilty of SAC Capital insider trading Steve Cohen. And the dump the dirty reputation and venomous business practices by folding SAC Capital and re-branding into Point72 as if everything was run through a car wash Steve Cohen............

Carlos Carrasco of the Indians, and Josh Donaldson of the Braves have won the 2019 MLB Comeback Player of the Year Awards............

The Miami Marlins are making a bold move to increase the home run production of the team. They are bringing in the fences. (Shhhh! Nobody tell Derek Jeter that this means his pitchers will be giving up more home runs, too.)............They are also flipping away from grass, to turf............

The Skaggs Compromise. MLB and MLBPA have agreed to add opioids testing to the MLB drug testing plan, and then if a player has been determined to have been using opioids, the reaction is NOT suspension, but treatment. I don’t know if treatment involves being admitted to a facility and then not being available to perform, effectively a suspension, and I don’t know about fines, but this is the most sane thing I have heard out of Major League Baseball in a long time...........

Like, duh...........That idiotic trial balloon of the Tampa Bay Rays splitting their home games with the city of Montreal has been shot out of the sky. Let’s hope permanently..............

(h/t UniWatch) You go, Youngstown............

Give up. Just surrender. Because math says that there is no help for the Halos...............

Ahhhh. Finally. After 2 straight years if incessant carping, we are finally getting inklings from the media that western civilization is doomed because MLB Free Agency is irreparably broken. In fact, the Players seem to be doing quite well..............Maybe even so well that we don’t have a strike, but a lockout?.............

More arrests in the shooting that took down David Ortiz.............

Winter Meetings start this upcoming Sunday. Things might get interesting...........

A worthy cause for you to keep in mind this holiday season. Odds are you have read something by Jen Mac Ramos and didn’t even realize it. Baseball Prospectus writers are a very important part of our fan POV of the baseball world. The site, the influence of the site, and the writers that create that influence are an important part of our lives.............


STUFF

Oh boy. More powder blue. The Rangers just can’t stop stealing uniforms from other franchises............Love the Yankee pitch. Because “Yankees”..................Jobs! Software Developers are all the rage this holiday season.....Cleveland Indians.....and Chicago Cubs...........In case you ever wonder about the curiously different dimensions of the new ballpark in Arlington, there is a reason for them.............