The Angels lease in Anaheim is up in 2016. Today this from the Los Angeles Daily News:
Angels officials have had preliminary talks about moving the Major League Baseball franchise from Anaheim to Industry, according to a source with close ties to Industry City Hall … Angels owner Arte Moreno has said in the past that he would need to know this year or next whether he should stay in Anaheim or move the team.
This is not the first rumbling we’ve heard of the Angels moving. Back in April there was chatter about Moreno meeting with AEG, who has long been linked to a potential downtown football stadium and already developed the Staples Center and other downtown delights.
As we mentioned then, there were all kinds of problems with the Angels and AEG hooking up for a downtown ballpark, and I suspected at the time that part of what was going on there was Moreno trying to make it look like he has other options, thereby enhancing his negotiating position with Anaheim for a new lease in the old park.
As Rob Neyer noted today, there are also problems with moving the Angels to Industry, and he suspects just like we did back in April, that this is another instance of Moreno trying to create leverage. Or for a third party to try to create leverage regarding a possible NFL site. Because, on the merits, it makes little sense for the Angels to move anyplace.
According to STATS, INC., the average game in 2015 was 2 hours, 56 minutes. That’s six minutes faster than games in 2014.
The gains came in the first half, when games averaged 2:53. Second half games averaged three hours even. One can probably thank the expanded rosters in September for that, as games then see many more pitching changes. Of course, it’s likely that second half games were faster in 2015 than 2014 as well given the rules changes.
Those changes: agreement to enforce the rule requiring a hitter to keep at least one foot in the batter’s box and the installation of clocks timing pitching changes and between-inning breaks in ever ballpark.
It remains to be seen if MLB stays satisfied with that modest improvement or if chooses to go the way Triple-A and Double-A leagues did. They installed 20-second pitch clocks and started penalizing violators with balls and strikes. Triple-A’s two leagues, the International and Pacific Leagues, saw game-time decreases by 13 and 16 minutes, respectively.
I’m so old I remember when general managers used to run baseball operations departments. Now they’re basically assistants.
The latest example: the Oakland Athletics have promoted Billy Beane to vice president of baseball operations and have named David Forst general manager. Forst has been with the A’s for 16 years and has been Beane’s assistant for 12 years, so it’s not exactly a situation in which Forst will be making the final calls. The official move came today, though the move has been in the works for some time, it seems.
Someone with a lot of good front office access is going to write a good story this winter about the title inflation going on in Major League Baseball over the past year. And it’s gonna be great when one of his or her sources breaks the pattern of saying “well, baseball transactions are so much more complex these days . . . ” and admits “hey, if Theo gets a fancy title and La Russa gets a fancy title I WANT A FANCY TITLE TOO.”
Not that it’s much of a secret as it is.