The deal was gargantuan enough to reshape the futures of two franchises, Albert Pujols bringing strength to the Angels’ lineup while weakening the Dodgers’ everything else.
One Southern California columnist wrote the free-agent signing “could change the local sports landscape forever.”
A commentator at ESPN said the addition of Pujols gave the Angels “the opportunity to take over Los Angeles.”
A Boston writer, labeling the deal a “complete knockout,” went on a national television show originating in L.A. to proclaim the Angels “own this town now.”
In the interest of full disclosure, I addressed Angels fans that day by writing “your halo should be spinning with delight.” I did not, however, completely barf up all my brains. At least not that time.
It was early December of 2011, and Angels owner Arte Moreno had just bought Pujols with a 10-year contract worth a quarter of a billion dollars.
On the other end of the financial equation, the Dodgers weren’t buying anything. They were bankrupt and still three months away from being pried out of the ruthless – and somewhat penniless – grip of Frank McCourt.
So, indeed, the circumstances seemed to indicate that something earth shaking was happening. Looking back today, maybe someone from Boston shouldn’t try to tell us about seismic events.
The Angels and Dodgers will meet for four consecutive games starting Monday – the first two in L.A., the next two in Anaheim – each franchise arriving here in the same position it has maintained for 57 shared seasons.
The Dodgers, to be clear, own this town, just like they’ve always done. At best, the Angels, particularly during their 2002 World Series run, have sublet only the quaintest of neighborhoods.
As we all now know, the appearance of Pujols didn’t change the local sports landscape for longer than the duration of one introductory news conference.
These arguments always are a little absurd, a bit off-center. Angels over Dodgers. Clippers…