Congratulations fellow Angels fan, you've done it. You've managed to survive yet another painfully long offseason and live to see a new day of Angels baseball, which thankfully begins today. In just a few hours the first pitch of the Angels season will kick off, and in grand style. For some teams this is just another season, but for us Angel fans this is going to be the most exciting season of Angels baseball. It's almost as if the gods above sent an angel down to deliver unto the Angels a magical season that we will be retelling to our children and grandchildren over and over again, and they won't get sick of it. Oh wait, the gods did happen to send an angel to us to show this organization the way, an angel by the name of Jerry Dipoto.
Just try to think where the Angels would be were it not for the suave, collected styling's he featured as the Angels GM during the Winter Meetings. I'm sure that by now you've read on of the many articles that gave a direct insider view on the Jerry Dipoto Winter Meeting adventures, which made it clear that Dipoto carried a satchel full of tricks in his backpocket that Tony Reagins never possessed. Speaking of Tony Reagins.....
Would he have been able to pull of the spectacular feats Dipoto showed off during the Winter Meetings?
Let me answer that question before your brain gets a chance to answer it for you.
No. No one time, no two times, and no a million times more. Where Dipoto has cool collected confidence and some swagger Reagins has an overabundance of incompetence and the inability to carry himself through a negotiation. When Dipoto was working tirelessly to improve his team Reagins was showing up late to the Winter Meetings and far behind on his schedule. While Dipoto was baiting C.J Wilson into a contract with mysterious promises of a groundbreaking signing Reagins was pushing ridiculous "self-destructible" contract offers that put far too much pressure and a bad taste in mouth of the prospective Angels. Yes I know Dipoto wasn't the complete mastermind, Arte gave him complete power, a blank check, and the go ahead to do what he needed to do to push the Angels back to the top, all because he trusted him. Maybe Arte fumbled around with previous negotiations because he did not trust Reagins, whatever the case Arte gave Dipoto the power to build and break this team down, like a real GM, and he responded by doing not only what the team needed for itself, but what the fans needed to see in their team; like a real GM.
Could you have asked for any more from a GM whose previous experience included sometime in a failing Diamondbacks organization (which since then has built itself back up) which included a trade of team ace Dan Haren to the Angels, a trade that many Angel fans felt was laughable on the end of the Diamondbacks. In less than a month on the job Dipoto took a franchise that built a reputation as annual disappointments and laughing stocks during the Rangers two year domination of the AL West and created a team that left legendary franchises such as the Yankees and Red Sox sitting down on earth looking up at us in the stars.
Dipoto was never as good of a pitcher as he is a GM. In 8 seasons in the majors Dipoto never led his team to the playoffs, he never received any major or minor accolades, he never did anything to set himself apart from the pack. As a player Dipoto blended in with the ocean of pitchers aching to make themselves known, yet major prestige as a player was not in his cards, it's clear now that Dipoto's brains are far more valuable than his arm.
Maybe it's his unique perspective on the role of a GM that made him capable of achieving the successes him and the Angels pulled off this offseason, maybe it was Arte's willingness to give him full control of the wheel, maybe he was born a natural GM, or maybe it's Maybelline! (that should fill my mandatory bad pun quota). It's probably his unique perspective on the game, though he does have a KILLER facial foundation. Lame puns aside, read this interview excerpt to get a solid idea of just what kind of thinker Dipoto is.
"The first time Arte sat down with me, he said, 'What's your plan?' In this game, I know you've got a variety of different angles . . . every highway has multiple exits and a variety of options to get you where you want to be. That's how I look at it. We want to be in the left lane of the superhighway." (courtesy of LA Times)
He wanted the left lane of the superhighway, and he got it, and we get to carpool along for what is bound to be one of the greatest rides of our lives as Angel fans. Today is the day we finally get back to baseball and witness firsthand the fruits of hard and arduous labor. Now it's time for us to sit back, relax, and enjoy the ride. Let us be thankful for what Arte, Dipoto, and the rest of this organization has done to give us what is bound to be the greatest decade in Angels baseball. Dipoto has pumped the life and excitement back into this team, something that was drained by the likes of Reagins and his hunger for franchise debilitating contracts.
Now to state the seemingly eternal words of Los Angeles come every April:
IT'S TIME FOR ANGELS BASEBALL!!!!
I messed that up, didn't I?
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FALLA!? Reading this on my phone I WAS getting all warm n fuzzy. All this JeDi talk (you could have used that ya know) and Reagins bashing added to "greatest decade of Angels baseball" & I almost had tears of joy. Such promise & optimism. Such a great article. ...then you had to throw a 2:30 am, going home solo, tequila & Jack in the Box flavored puke ALL over everything. ..Vin Scully!? NO he ISNT the greatest! He bled dodger blue when Lasorda was still a player! Ummm yeah, you "messed" that one up....still think you're great but don't ever do that again. :)