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Angels are unraveling, but why should anyone care? It's baseball

The Angels started 2-7 and miss Torii Hunter's leadership. But so what? The real issues are escalating cost and diminishing entertainment value of attending a game.

T.J. Simers

April 13, 2013

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Whatever Mike Scioscia is being paid to manage the Angels, it isn't enough.

He has to watch them play every game.

And as bad and disappointing as they have been, going on four years now, it's baseball.

Have you tried watching it recently?

Have you tried switching back and forth from a basketball game, football game or "Spartacus: War of the Damned" to a baseball game?

I understand why Vin Scully doesn't watch the Dodgers or any other baseball game when not being paid to do so.

At the very least the folks who run the sport should make it mandatory that any hitter stepping out of the box to adjust his batting gloves should be suspended a minimum of five games.

I just saw "Olympus Has Fallen," a truly great shoot-'em-up, bombs-blasting, suspense thriller of a movie, which explains why I occasionally tune in to an Angels game.

No one crashes and burns like the Angels, a team loaded with talent and high on expectations, only to flop.

What great reality TV it would be to just train a camera on the face of Angry Arte, beginning with inning one against a low-payroll team like Oakland, and then watch him lose it.

He got so angry at the media this past off-season for documenting his mistakes that he moved the press box, which sat next to his luxury suite behind home plate, down to the right-field foul pole.

I worry now where Scioscia might soon be sitting.

Scioscia has already had a team meeting, and I wish I could have seen the grin on the face of Torii Hunter in Detroit when he heard that.

Hunter was the Angels' yin to Scioscia's going yang on everyone.

Without Hunter, I worry the Angels will have no soul or voice of reason after listening to Scioscia speak.

The loss of a team leader like Hunter for economic concerns is one more reason why Angry Arte is nothing like the man of the people as he was initially portrayed.

"I tell you what," Moreno said last September on the radio station he owns, "if we don't figure out a way to re-sign [Hunter], we're going to get hung, aren't we?"

It's what Angels fans wanted to hear at the time, Angry Arte obliging, but obvious hogwash.

Hey, I don't know why anyone goes to a baseball game anymore, what with the parking, concessions and the unwashed sitting all around. And what's the thrill in watching one of 162 baseball games?

Does it really matter who wins or loses one game?

A couple of friends went to one of the Angels-A's games and said the Angels were just going through the motions. Fewer than 10 games into the season? Or is that baseball, emotionless for the most part?

The Times' Bill Shaikin reported recently the cost to an average family to attend an Angels game jumped 34.9%, the largest increase in baseball. Is baseball really family entertainment anymore?

The Angels finished third last season; thank heavens they didn't win it all and really jack up the prices.

You'd have to be a member of the Addams Family, taking ghoulish delight in watching the A's sweep the Angels, to justify paying such an increase now.

According to the marketing report Shaikin cited, it costs $196.16 for a family of four to attend an Angels game.

I wonder if the folks who spend $196.16 to attend any of the three games against the minor league Astros this weekend will leave the stadium with their coats covering their faces to avoid the embarrassment of maybe being seen.

It costs $204.95 for a Dodgers game, but you get Nancy Bea Hefley playing the organ.

I wonder if it's going to take more than promotional giveaways to keep people interested in baseball in the future.

Friday night everyone could stay home and watch the Clippers, Lakers and Dodgers on TV.

Or, catch the series finale of "Spartacus," thereby getting a good idea of what it would be like to be Scioscia if the Angels lose to the Astros.

——

EVERYBODY AGREES with Don Mattingly that San Diego's Carlos Quentin is an "idiot."

But so are most who play baseball. An inside pitch whizzes over the head of Matt Kemp earlier, so everyone on the Padres knows how it works. One of them is probably going to get plunked or decked.

Then it happens, and maybe at the wrong time, as baseball strategy suggests, and maybe there is a history between Quentin and Zack Greinke.

But it's this whole notion of revenge in baseball or protecting your own to justify assault with a thrown baseball that is idiotic.

——

ON A bright note, kudos to the UCLA PR guy writing a statement of apology for basketball Coach Steve Alford for something Alford didn't say 11 years ago.

Tell me Alford isn't going dolt on everyone again.

If he's really apologizing — and keep in mind UCLA learned The Times was in Iowa to examine Alford's time there, including his stance on one of his players' being accused of sexual assault — why aren't his lips moving?

Isn't the essence of an apology the remorse that's attached, and isn't that best delivered unrehearsed while sitting in front of people?

This is someone who is going to lead people at UCLA?

t.j.simers@latimes.com