We have all been inspired by the play of the Los Angeles Angels this year as they responded to the untimely death of Nick Adenhart. I feel that along with the New England Patriots, they have the finest organization in sports. In the first of a two part series discussing their approach to winning, I will first profile Owner Arte Moreno and the organizational approach. The second blog will focus on Manager Mike Scioscia.
- Moreno cares about the fans. Upon purchasing the team, he created “fun, safe, affordable entertainment.” One example is that he lowered concession prices. The lowering of prices cost the club $5o0K in beer sales in the first year. However, he sold $600K more netting a $100K increase in revenue. The customer matters.
- He also branded stability by retaining the services of Manager Mike Scioscia and GM Bill Stoneman.
- They pay their people well. Their generosity and ability to evaluate talent at all levels throughout the organization allows them to get good people, and keep them.
- From 2003 to 2007, Stoneman steadfastly refused to move his top minor league prospects for established stars. This was considered a strength at the time and allowed the Angels’ minor league system to be ranked in the Top 5 the last seven years. This practice is still in largely in place today.
- Moreno’s chief concern is balancing competiveness with affordability. Several years ago he released Kevin Appier because of poor play despite eating a $16M contract. Also, Stoneman was eventually released in October 2007, primarily for refusing to part with young talent in an attempt to win a championshp. This year they signed Bobby Abreau to a 1-year, $5M deal, the best bargain in baseball.
- Baseball people make baseball decisions. Scioscia signed a 10-year extension this past January.
- New GM Tony Reagins signed Torii Hunter to a free agent contract and then in the summer of 2008 traded for Mark Teixeira. This year, the obtained Scott Kazmir.
- Because of their approach to player development, the Angels have a deep team with many interchangeable parts and a manager who knows how to utilize all 25 players.
- The MVP of this team is not Vlad Guerrerro, Abreau, or Hunter. Because of their depth, it would be organizationally developed players Kendry Morales (26 years old, 43 doubles, 34 home runs, 108 RBIs) or the lead-off man who previously plugged holes by playing four different positions, Chone Figgins (114 runs, 42 steals).
- Finally, was there a better picture in all of sports this year than the spontaneous dousing of Adenhart’s jersey when they won their divison title. In case you missed it, check out the link.
With their deep pockets, robust farm system, and an organizational wide culture of unselfishness, the Angels will continue to compete for years to come. Next will be a profile of the best manager in baseball, Mike Scioscia.