T.J. Simers

Failures of Angels and Chargers have similar roots

Arte Moreno in Anaheim and the Spanos in San Diego are to blame for a dysfunctional approach to team ownership.

It starts at the top.

I look at the Angels, all that talent, a $159-million payroll, and they can't finish ahead of the $55-million Athletics from Oakland?

And that's with baseball offering an extra wild card this season to make up for a slow start.

What's worse: choking like the Dodgers after running out to the best record in baseball or underachieving like the Angels?

How did the Angels not make the playoffs, and dumbfounding as it is, how did the Angels not make the playoffs for a third straight year?

I know this, I watch Angry Arte routinely negotiate himself out of a better team, letting free agents sign elsewhere because his emotions get the better of him.

He lets Adrian Beltre go to Texas because Beltre wants an extra year added to his contract and dismisses Mike Napoli to make room for Vernon Wells.

Blame it on former general manager Tony Reagins if you like, because Arte Moreno would if cornered.

Moreno won't sign Beltre to an extra year, but he gives 10 years to Albert Pujols, who might be as old as Angry Arte for all we know.

I hear Moreno going ballistic, screaming into a telephone to say how nasty agent Scott Boras is because he won't deliver Mark Teixeira for $160 million. Boras prefers his client take the $180 million the New York Yankees are offering.

And Angry Arte is still upset with Boras for doing his job.

When everything is added up, is it as simple as concluding Oakland's brain trust is just that much smarter than the Angels'?

The Times' Mike DiGiovanna has been covering the Angels since he was a young man and now writes a story about what needs to be done with these losers. And he has seen "Moneyball."

I have to figure he's way ahead of the current Angels general manager who has to deal with Moreno's whims.

As dysfunctional as the Angels have been — Arte in charge, the GM in charge, Mike Scioscia in charge, friction between the manager and GM — the Goofs in San Diego come to mind.

They sure look like football's version of the Angels, high on expectations and disappointing upon execution.

Alex Spanos bought the Chargers in 1984. The Chargers are still looking to win their first Super Bowl, known mostly now for underachieving.

Feel familiar?

Spanos was self-made rich and wanted everyone to know it. He was impatient, overbearing and an emotional team meddler from Stockton who considered himself the people's owner, calling those who loved the Chargers, "My fans."

He liked to fire employees and more often than not was mad because his team was lousy.