Editor’s note: This is the Thursday Aug. 25 edition of the “Game Day with Kevin Modesti” newsletter. To receive the newsletter in your inbox, sign up here.
Good morning. For the Angels, it’s the second day of the rest of their lives. We’ll get to more Arte Moreno analysis in a moment.
Here’s the other pro sports news:
- A jury awards $16 million to the widow of Lakers legend Kobe Bryant.
- The Lakers are trading for ex-Clippers guard Patrick Beverley.
- LeBron James and Kevin Durant see the limits of “player empowerment,” writes Kyle Goon.
- The Dodgers bruise the Brewers again.
- Rams tight end Brycen Hopkins wins a job.
In college sports
- Eric Gentry catches the eye at USC practice.
- Carl Jones Jr. tries to do the same at UCLA camp.
- And columnist Jim Alexander wonders when college sports will turn into pro sports.
And here’s a high school sports item: The CIF Southern Section sent a note to schools about NIL rules. Look to our papers’ websites for football score updates tonight and tomorrow.
Meanwhile, the Angels remain the talk of Southern California sports after Moreno’s announcement Tuesday that he is looking to sell the team.
On the field, the Angels were owned by the Rays again, blowing three leads and losing in extra innings.
As for their future: Baseball columnist J.P. Hoornstra has a smart analysis of what a new owner will have to do with the Angels, namely allowing the team’s baseball people to create an identity, a plan, an approach, a philosophy, a style of play, something they certainly had when they won the 2002 World Series with Mike Scioscia as manager and Bill Stoneman as GM. Read J.P.’s prescription here.
Plus, Angels beat writer Jeff Fletcher took to Twitter Spaces yesterday and answered questions from SCNG assistant sports editor James Williams and listeners. You can listen to it here.
Among Fletcher’s points:
• One surprise about Moreno’s announcement is that it was a surprise to Mike Trout, who said he learned about it like everyone else when the news release came out.
“You would think that somebody of that stature, that they would give him a little heads-up, to say, ‘Hey, look, I’m thinking of selling the team. Just wanted to let you know before you find out about it like everybody else,’ “ Fletcher said of the center fielder whose 12-year, $426.5 million contract runs to 2030. “I was a little surprised that he didn’t know about it. It was interesting.”
A listener comes away thinking this, along with Moreno’s poor relations with the press and Angels “alumni,” is evidence of a communication problem at the top.
• Decisions about Shohei Ohtani’s future likely will be left to the new owner, Ohtani’s 2023 salary could be subject to arbitration, and then he’s eligible for free agency. Arguably, Moreno could raise the price tag for the franchise by hurrying to either sign the two-way star to a long-term deal or trade him for prospects.
“The conversations could have started right when the (2022) season ended about that, but now I think that’s all going to be on hold because that decision is best left to the next owner,” Fletcher said. “I think most likely what’s going to happen is nothing is going to happen with Ohtani until there’s a new owner to decide what he or she wants to do.”
• Supply and demand could drive the sale price higher – much higher – than the Angels’ $2.2 billion valuation by Forbes.
“If you get a couple of people that are interested in getting into a bidding war, then it could get up to $3 billion or something like that,” Jeff said, adding with what sounded like a straight face: “I was thinking of buying the team for $2 billion, but I can’t handle $3 billion, so I’m probably going to have to step away.”
• A timetable for the ownership change is unclear.
“It can go anywhere from four months to two years,” Fletcher said. “I think the Angels would love to get it all buttoned up in four to six months. I think the reason they’re announcing this now is to give themselves a head start and hopefully get a new owner in place by the start of next season.
“I guess the best-case scenario is that this is all over in December-January, and the worst case is that we’re still talking about this a year from now.”
• Angels fans are excited about a change. But you knew that.
“I think they might be a little too excited, just because you don’t know what you’re going to get (next),” Fletcher said. “But I think people have just been so disappointed by the way the Angels have gone over the last seven or eight years. Rightly or wrongly, a lot of the blame goes to Arte Moreno. I don’t think he deserves all of it, but certainly he deserves some of it. I think people just want something different.”
Fletcher, author of the new book “Sho-Time: The Inside Story of Shohei Ohtani and the Greatest Baseball Season Ever Played,” has covered the Angels for The Orange County Register and SCNG papers for a decade. Follow his writing in the paper here and in the free Angels In The Inbox newsletter by signing up here.
• Angels try to get one win from their four-game series with the Rays in St. Petersburg (10:10 a.m, BSW). Starters Patrick Sandoval and Drew Rasmussen have August ERAs of 0.93 and 1.57.
• In college soccer, the 23rd-ranked UCLA men host UC Irvine (7 p.m., Pac12N) and the sixth-ranked Bruin women host Cal State Northridge (4 p.m., Pac12N).
• Del Mar’s eight-race card (2 p.m.) starts a racing week that features Saturday’s Pat O’Brien Stakes. Sign up for our free Ponies Express newsletter here to get the consensus box emailed to you, with picks by Bob Mieszerski, Art Wilson, Eddie Wilson and Terry Turrell.
QUESTION OF THE DAY
What qualities must the next Angels owner have? Let’s tell the baseball world what Angels fans want. Email thoughts to me at KModesti@scng.com, and I’ll publish the best of them.
Practically every NBA insider and ranking publication has the Lakers fighting to make the play in or missing the playoffs. But Vegas gives them the sixth best chance to win a title. https://t.co/GkFwsncjrF
— Fred J. Robledo 👨🏻💻 (@SGVNSports) August 23, 2022
TALK TO ME
Welcome to new subscribers. I look forward to your questions, comments and suggestions about this newsletter and any sports topic. Reach me by email at KModesti@scng.com.
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