December 14, 2012
When the news broke about the possibility that the Angels were going to sign Josh Hamilton, I felt excited and nervous at the same time. Excited that one of the best hitters in baseball might be coming to Anaheim and concerned about the cost that might come with such a signing. I know most fans don’t consider the cost, but I’m not most fans….
It didn’t take long for us to learn that the Angels would be signing Hamilton for five years and $125 million. Two more years than any other team would reportedly go for.
It was at this point that it was time to take a deep breath.
If I’m eight years old, I’m jumping for joy and saying “We got JOSH HAMILTON!!” In fact, that’s what most Angel fans are probably doing and rightfully so. On the other hand, some of us are realizing that Arte Moreno just walked into the big stakes poker room and pushed all his chips in on the table and when that happens – there are only two possible outcomes. Either, you win big or you lose big.
This is the price of doing business as a big time franchise, with huge expectations and an owner who wants to win at all costs and a fan base that can become disengaged and uninterested if their team isn’t winning. Having great players like Mike Trout isn’t enough to fill the stands to capacity – for better or worse, it’s all about winning.
Win and the fans keep coming. Don’t win and you’ll find tickets on StubHub for a $1.
Like it or not, the Angels are playing “big boy baseball.” Players like Arte Moreno operate in a different stratosphere. Teams with revenue streams like the Angels, Yankees, Red Sox and Dodgers view the world in a different way. They’re not interested in waiting for tomorrow if the chance to win today is right in front of them. They’re willing to gamble on today and if you’re faint of heart that scares the crap out of you.
If you are focused on what might happen four, five, six-plus years from now – you’re going to hate the idea of contracts like those given to Josh Hamilton and Albert Pujols. If you’re focused on the possibility of what might transpire this coming season and the next 2-3 years, you’re smiling like a Cheshire cat.
You see for some fans – there’s no down side to a signing like Josh Hamilton or even Albert Pujols for that matter. If the Angels become champions, fans will show up to be a part of the party. If they fail – most of those fans will find other things or even other teams to occupy their time. The die-hard fans, the ones that live and die with their team will be left to suffer through seasons where aging stars play out the twilight of their careers.
Like I said earlier – it’s all about wining and I’m grateful that my favorite team has a chance to win it all right now. Winning isn’t easy and even though some teams try to take a short-cut by signing incredible players to unbelievable contracts – nothing is guaranteed. I know that, you know that and the Angels certainly know that.
So you’re probably thinking - why all the angst, right? Live for the moment; ride the wave, right?
I wish it was that easy. When the Angels signed Vlad Guerrero in 2004, I was all in; in fact that’s when Cheryl and I bought season tickets. When they signed Albert Pujols, we had visions of championships like you wouldn’t believe. In both cases, our expectations weren’t met and we were incredibly disappointed.
When baseball season rolls around – and I’m talking as early as when pitchers and catchers report – Cheryl and I will invest a lot of time and energy to being fans. We simply hope that investment pays off and that the journey to get there is a lot of fun, filled with incredible memories. That’s asking a lot, but that’s what it’s all about.
I will admit, when the Dodgers signed Zack Greinke I felt a slight twinge of jealousy. I knew that feeling of having hope and excitement the Dodgers were feeling. I had resigned myself to believing the Angels would not be making that kind of splash and that what we had was going to have to be good enough.
The Angels have missed out on some big free agents during the Arte Moreno years. Names like Paul Konerko, C.C. Sabathia, Mark Teixeira, Carl Crawford, Carlos Beltran and others slipped away because the price was too high. Despite that, the Angels managed to stay competitive. Arte Moreno even started to get the reputation of being somewhat “cheap” and even though that sounds absurd (all things considered) that was the buzz on the message boards and call-in shows.
It’s amazing how all of that has changed.
Now, if Arte wants a player – Arte is going to get that player. Funny, but as a fan – that takes some getting used to.
Well, here we go. Welcome to Anaheim Josh Hamilton. Now, get to work and bring us that championship we all want so badly. Please. Pretty, please.