Angels owner Artie Moreno, “was one of the game’s most accessible owners when he purchased the club in 2003 and immediately lowered some beer prices,” gushes USA Today’s Bob Nightengale.  However, in the wake of lavish spending to acquire semi-bust Albert Pujols and all-out disaster Josh Hamilton, “he’s become almost a recluse with the local media.”  Of his critics, Moreno says, “some of these people are just flat-ass cynical.”   Yes, why can’t they be more optimistic about your being on the hook with Pujols for another 8 years?

“When we looked at (Hamilton),” Moreno says, “we’re thinking, left-handed power. Good defense. Can run. You put (Mike) Trout, Hamilton, Pujols and (Mark) Trumbo together, that looks great on paper.

“But I’ve never seen anything like this. I’ve talked to Hamilton a few times, and told him, ‘You’re going to be here for awhile. You can’t do it all in one day, one night, one week.’

“It’s been rough. If he’s hitting .270, .280 with 15 homers, it might be a different game for us. I’m not going to judge it now. Five years from now, we can sit down, and then ask me about the investment in the man.”

As for Pujols – hitting .262 with 13 homers and 47 RBI – this likely will be the third consecutive year he’s left off the All-Star team, and he may never again match the MVP-caliber numbers he produced in St. Louis. Moreno has no buyer’s remorse.

“You look at Albert’s numbers,” Moreno says, “and for the chance to bring that quality of player to Southern California, for our fans to get to see one of the greatest players today, to play in our ballpark every day. You kidding me? That’s a treat.

“And he’s the gentleman of gentlemen.”

Moreno can’t understand how he can be ripped one year for not signing free-agent outfielder Carl Crawford, or for being outbid by $20 million on first baseman Mark Teixeira. Then, after he makes the two biggest expenditures for position players the past two winters, he’s getting blistered worse than if he’d never made an offer.

“I owe it to the fans to give them hope. I’m not trying to tell you we’re doing everything right all of the time, but it’s not because we’re not trying.”