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The Los Angeles Angels are apparently scared of the terrifying Orange County media market.
That’s the obvious implication from a new team policy, by which reporters can have interview requests denied for asking the wrong questions.
The Athletic reported on Angels star Anthony Rendon, who’s finally back playing regularly after years of shortened seasons.
Rendon has been hitting relatively well overall, but his power output has almost entirely evaporated.
His slugging percentage, .292, is nearly 200 points below his career average of .476. He has yet to hit a home run and has just three doubles, a bizarre showing for someone who once was one of the game’s premier power hitters.
The Athletic, understandably so, wanted to ask the Angels hitting coach about it. Except their line of questioning was somehow deemed too “negative” for the hitting coach to respond to.
Here’s something Angels reporters are dealing with this season.— Sam Blum (@SamBlum3) May 3, 2023
Requests to speak with Angels coaches (aside from Nevin) are being pre-screened for potentially “negative” lines of questioning.
Requests are denied if possible questions are deemed too negative. pic.twitter.com/w6lljKcUgm
Instead, they were only allowed to speak to manager Phil Nevin.
“The Athletic requested to speak with Angels hitting coach Marcus Thames. However, under a recently revised policy, the Angels allow coaches to speak to the media on a case-by-case basis. They did not permit Thames to speak to The Athletic about Rendon because the potential line of questioning was deemed too negative. The team said it prefers manager Phil Nevin to handle such questions.”
Angels Policy Is A Remarkably Bad Idea
There’s really no excuse for limiting interviews based on a “negative” line of questioning.
These are professional coaches, paid extremely well to work with both the players and the media. It’s a totally legitimate line of questioning to ask why one of the Angels’ star players isn’t performing as he usually does.
Even Nevin’s answer shows how absurd this new restriction is.
“I do think the power’s coming,” Nevin told The Athletic. “We saw it in spring training. I’ve seen his hips and hands a little more loose and free the past five or six games. Everyone keeps saying he’s going to get one here, get one there. He just missed a couple in Milwaukee. I’m not worried about it.”
Why couldn’t the hitting coach have given an answer like that? Only the manager is able to provide such insight without getting his feelings hurt?
The motivation for such a change is unclear, although owner Arte Moreno has frequently received criticism from the media for his stewardship of the team.
When Moreno announced he was exploring a sale of the team in 2022, many former Angels personalities and media outlets, including OutKick, brought up mistakes during his tenure.
When he decided not to sell, fans were decidedly not pleased.
READ: ARTE MORENO WON’T SELL THE ANGELS AFTER ALL, AND HALOS FANS ARE NOT PLEASED
Perhaps Moreno is now so protective of the Angels brand name that he’s unwilling to allow critical stories. Or he doesn’t trust anyone but Phil Nevin to answer the way he’d like.
Either way, it’s inexcusable and ridiculous. And it’s no surprise that the Angels organization under Moreno isn’t viewed favorably.