Saturday, June 05, 2004

If Only... 

I'm writing while listening to the game, and a tight 2-0 Dodgers lead has
just expanded to a 5-0 lead thanks to a Dave Roberts home run. If only he'd
gotten Perez out... If only Tim Olson hadn't swung at the first pitch last
night while facing an incredibly erratic Ishii (shouldn't there be some
blanket "don't swing at the first pitch" rule for Ishii?)... If only Arte
Moreno had bought the Diamondbacks instead of the Angels.

I sort of feel like 6-4-2, the Dodgers/Angels blog (link to the right;
haven't figure out how to set up links in e-mail posts), talking about the
Dodgers and the Angels in the same blog. But there was an article in this
morning's Republic (again, can't set up the link) by Mark Gonzales, the
basic implication of which was "If Moreno had bought the D-Backs, they'd be
in first place by now." While I normally enjoy Gonzales' writing, the
article is one of the silliest pieces of journalism I've read in a long
time. Gonzales' major points are:
1. Moreno has made seeing an Angels game more fan friendly. No argument
there -- cheaper seats and cheaper beer are good things. Presumably he
would have done the same thing here, though Gonzales seems to stop just shy
of saying Moreno would have made each fan's beer vendor an attractive female
or male, depending on your preference.
2. Moreno has spent more money on players. No argument there, either.
Vlad Guerrero appears to be worth every penny of his $70-million contract.
But to argue he would (or might) have done the same thing here is
ridiculous, or at least without any substantiation is ridiculous. For one
thing, the D-Backs probably would have cost considerably more than the
bargain-basement $183 million Moreno paid for the Angels. If the Suns just
sold for $400 million, I'm guessing the D-Backs would have gone for at least
that much. So it's unclear Moreno would have had as much money to spend on
3. By spending more money, the Angels are winners. Well, the Angels are
doing well. The D-Backs are not. But the dominoes Gonzales sets up --
Moreno would've kept Schilling, which would have taken pressure off Webb,
which would have taken pressure off the bullpen (Gonzales obviously didn't
read my take on the relief staff) -- are a bit far-fetched. Would Moreno's
presence have kept Sexson from being injured?

The entire article is far-fetched and unfair. Look, there's a reason the
Diamondbacks are in debt -- they spent a lot of money on veterans in the
past so they could win a World Series... WHICH THEY DID. They're now paying
for that high-risk/high-reward approach, and it'll be a year or two before
they're serious contenders again. But I would note that at this point
Moreno's total of World Series championships equals the amount of money he
will ever spend on the Diamondbacks -- zero.

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