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Rod Carew lashes out at Arte Moreno and Angels leadership


One of the most celebrated players in Angels history is so estranged from the club that he believes there is only one possible path toward reconciliation:

“If they sold the team,” Rod Carew said on Wednesday.

The Hall-of-Fame first baseman, now 78, is so fed up with the Angels — namely owner Arte Moreno and team president John Carpino — that he considered asking Major League Baseball if he could order the removal of all references to him in the stadium, including his retired No. 29, any murals and video clips, and the statue of his daughter, Michelle, who was 18 when she died of leukemia in 1996.

“I was going to put it in my backyard,” Carew said of the bronze bust of his daughter and her pet dog, which was dedicated as part of the Michelle Carew community courtyard in 1999. “But it’s about the fans seeing those things and saying, ‘Oh, he was here once,’ so I decided against it.”

Hall of Famer Rod Carew is introduced during the Baseball Hall of Fame induction ceremony in 2021 in Cooperstown, New York.

Hall of Famer Rod Carew is introduced during the Baseball Hall of Fame induction ceremony in 2021 in Cooperstown, New York.

(Jim McIsaac / Getty Images)

Those fans, Carew said, are why the 18-time All-Star and seven-time American League batting champion chose to open up about his strained relationship with the organization for whom he played the final seven years of his 19-year career, leading the Angels to division titles in 1979 and 1982, and spent eight years (1992-99) as the hitting coach.

“I encounter Angels fans everywhere, and they say, ‘Hey, we don’t see you around the stadium anymore,’ ” said Carew, who lives in South Orange County with his wife, Rhonda. “Well, that’s not because of me. It’s because of the people upstairs.”

Neither Carew nor his wife, who was a 53-year season-ticket holder before opting not to renew her two seats behind home plate this year, have set foot in Angel Stadium since 2022.

The couple had lunch with Carpino and team chairman Dennis Kuhl in December 2022, a meeting in which Carew asked if he could attend Angels spring training as a guest instructor and work with hitters occasionally throughout the season. Carew has been a special assistant to Minnesota Twins president Dave St. Peter since 2013,

“The Twins told me if you want to go to spring training with the Angels, that’s fine, if you want to work with a hitter or two, that’s fine,” Carew said. “They didn’t have a problem with it.”

The Angels did. Carpino denied the request, telling Carew it would be a conflict of interest for him to work for two franchises and that some Angels coaches and scouts might not feel comfortable speaking honestly about players with an employee from another organization in the room.

Carew faced a similar roadblock in 2000, when Mike Scioscia took over as Angels manager. Carew had arranged to spend part of spring training that season in Florida with the Twins, whom he played his first 12 seasons for, and part of it in Tempe, Ariz., with the Angels.

But when Scioscia found out Carew had been in Twins camp, Carew was no longer welcome in Angels camp.

Carew felt as slighted in 2022 as he did in 2000.

“What am I going to do, tell the Twins what goes on in the Angels front office or on the field?” Carew said. “Why would I do that?”

Carew was invited to watch the Angels’ 2023 home opener from the owner’s suite, as he was for the previous two decades, but he declined to attend. Carew was not invited to last Friday night’s 2024 home opener against the Boston Red Sox.

“Not being invited to opening night was a trigger for him — like, OK, it’s time to tell my story,” Rhonda Carew said. “It’s like he’s been blacklisted.”

Not so, Carpino insisted.

“Rod Carew played an important role with the Angels, and he is always welcome at Angel Stadium,” Carpino said. “And Arte has nothing but respect and love for Rod Carew — that, I can tell you.”

Carew’s animus toward Moreno first bubbled to the surface in August 2022, after the owner announced that he was exploring a possible sale of the franchise.

“Happy news,” Carew wrote on social media, adding that the development gave him “renewed hope that my relationship with the Angels can be fully restored.” Moreno reversed course in January 2023, pulling the team off the market.

Carew spent several years in the early 2000s as a special assistant to Kuhl and began a long run as an Angels alumni ambassador in 2006, but he grew frustrated with Moreno’s refusal to address his rift with Scioscia.

His relationship with the Angels took a decided turn for the worse after Carew suffered a massive heart attack in September 2015 and underwent a life-saving heart and kidney transplant in Los Angeles three months later.

The only Angels executive to visit him in the hospital, Carew said, was Tim Mead, the former Angels vice president of communications.

“Can you imagine one of your top players is in the hospital — I was on my deathbed, I didn’t have much time to live — and no one [from the Angels] calls or comes to see him?” Carew said. “The president of the Twins came out to visit three times.”

Carew was invited by then-manager Joe Maddon to spring training in 2020, but those plans were scrapped when the pandemic shut down camps in early March.

Angels hitting coach Rod Carew is surrounded by bats and poses for photographs before a game in May 1995.

Angels hitting coach Rod Carew is surrounded by bats and poses for photographs before a game in May 1995.

(John Cordes / Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Carew, along with several other Angels alumni ambassadors, was furloughed at the beginning of the pandemic, but Carew was never retained, even though he had several years left on a contract that paid him $1,000 a month.

Carpino declined to go into detail about his correspondence with the Carews, both Rod and Rhonda, but insisted that Rod has “never fallen out of favor with the team.” Rhonda Carew said the chances of a reconciliation are slim but not impossible.

“If Arte wanted to reach out to Rod and wanted to mend what has happened, I know Rod would accommodate him,” Rhonda Carew said. “The ball is in Arte’s court.”

Would Carew, one of only six men to have his number retired by the Angels — the others are Gene Autry, Jim Fregosi, Nolan Ryan, Jimmie Reese and Jackie Robinson — be receptive to Moreno reaching out?

“Maybe,” he said.


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