clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Game 151: Angels at Twins

Assuming it’s not rained out, that is.

Minnesota Twins v Los Angeles Angels
“So, what’s your plan for 2024? Dodgers, right? Yeah, makes sense to me, too.”
Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Start time: 7:10 Central

Weather: High chance of showers decreasing after 9PM, scheduled first pitch 53°

Opponent’s dead SB site: Halos Heaven

TV: BSN. Radio: I’m guessing on Spanish-language baseball radio, yawns are the same as in English

In a fun development for fans at Target Field (weather permitting), tonight’s scheduled Angels starter is the one and only Shohei Ohtani. He of the 34 dongs, 25 pitching starts, and a tie for the MLB lead in wild pitches. (Tied with Detroit’s Alex Lange, who isn’t even a starter.)

His Twins counterpart will be North St. Paul's own Louie Varland, who pitched very confidently in his Yankees Stadium debut and very rookie-like against Cleveland last weekend. 2022 digits:

Sir Shohei hits about 95 on the gun, throws several different types of fastballs, several different breaking pitches, and they are all good.

(The Angels also have a journeyman 1B/DH guy named Michael Harrison Ford. He is not related to Lewwwww. Is his middle name inspired by the actor? I couldn’t find out. I would guess so.)

When last we saw the Angels, they were dealing with a recent stadium-funding scandal that ended in the resignation and FBI investigation of former Anaheim mayor Harry Sidhu. The stadium deal was nixed, and since then Angels owner Arte Moreno has indicated he’d be open to selling the team.

Many Angels fans would be happy to see Moreno go. The Angels are in the upper echelon of revenue for MLB teams, yet have only reached the playoffs once since 2009. They’ve wasted 11 seasons of Mike Trout in his prime, and appear to be doing the same with Ohtani. The team was 24-13 and tied for first in the AL West on May 15, before a 3-18 collapse that led to esteemed manager Joe Maddon taking the fall.

Here’s a good LA Times editorial by Gustavo Arellano about how Moreno’s tenure has been particularly disappointing to many of the team’s Latino fans (he was the first Mexican-American to own a major sports team).

And former Twin/former Angel Rod Carew had his own take on a change in ownership. Carew said that former manager Mike Scioscia never made him feel welcome, Moreno was the same after a while, and that the team overall didn’t seem to care after Carew’s heart attack and transplant in 2015 (although Twins president Dave St. Peter did).

In any case, fans still seem to love their Angels. Pre-COVID, the team usually ranked quite high in fan attendance, and has reached out to fans in turn with things like holding an annual reunion for families of victims of the 2017 concert massacre in Las Vegas.

Moreno’s legacy with the team, however, is likely to be defined by the recent years of frustration and his increasingly bizarre demands for a new building to play with. When a mayor supportive of your stadium deal ends up run out of office because of corruption surrounding the deal, it just doesn’t look good.

After all, in every corruption case there’s a briber for the bribee.

Finally, I just wanted to make a quick note about something I saw recently. It seems that Sinclair Broadcast Group, the schemingly evil media conglomerate that owns the Bally Sports regional sports networks, has been desperately trying to unload the things. For much less than they paid for them. They don’t have any takers just yet.

Why’s that? The reasons are complicated (warning; link has “s-word” in title, as in “Sinclair in deep s**t”; the rest is safe for work). What they boil down to appears to be too much betting on future revenue by Sinclair, and taking on too many loans that the future revenue is unlikely to be able to pay off.

Sinclair knew that cord-cutting was on the rise when they bought the Fox Sports regional networks. However, they assumed that cable providers would always put a premium on live sports, because audiences watching live sports can’t fast-forward through commercials and so are theoretically more attractive to advertisers.

Well, pay-TV providers have been dropping regional sports networks anyways. They’re gone from satellite dishes and most legal pay-TV streaming services. Even from some actual cable companies.

Sinclair also was betting that they could start a legal streaming service of their own, showing only the programming on Bally Sports networks for a price lower than a full cable subscription. And recently they announced the launch of this.

Trouble is, that launch only allows streaming, and only to in-market customers, of the Royals, Tigers, Brewers, Rays, and Marlins. The other MLB teams would just as soon stick with the much bigger rights deals they got from regional networks in bigger markets.

Essentially, regional sports networks for all but the largest cities may be in big trouble, and as such those rights deals might start disappearing for all but those biggest teams.

Is that one of the reasons MLB is heavily into promoting gambling now? Certainly.

Is it one of the reasons Arte Moreno made such a butthead of himself demanding a new stadium? Who knows... but it’s certainly a possibility.

Today's Lineups

Luis Rengifo - 2B Luis Arraez - DH
Mike Trout - CF Jose Miranda - 1B
Shohei Ohtani - DH Nick Gordon - 2B
Taylor Ward - RF Gio Urshela - 3B
Mike Ford - 1B Jake Cave - LF
Matt Duffy - 3B Gary Sanchez - C
Mickey Moniak - LF Matt Wallner - RF
Max Stassi - C Mark Contreras - CF
Livan Soto - SS Jermaine Palacios - SS
Shohei Ohtani - RHP Louie Varland - RHP