Could Warriors owner Joe Lacob finally get his baseball team?

Could Joe Lacob buy Shohei Ohtani's Angels?

Could Joe Lacob buy Shohei Ohtani's Angels?

Mike Carlson/AP

Joe Lacob has been lusting after a baseball team for years. Now, with at least one and maybe three on the market, could the Warriors owner finally get one?

Dogged by corruption scandals, Angels owner Arte Moreno announced recently that he was considering selling the team, which has struggled largely due to his meddling in recent decades. Asked if he would consider bidding for the Angels, Lacob wouldn’t rule it out. “Can’t answer this question that fast,” Lacob told the Los Angeles Times. “We look at good opportunities.”

The Washington Nationals are also for sale, and the Baltimore Orioles could be as well, depending on the outcome of a lawsuit between squabbling members of the family that owns the Orioles. But the Angels make the most sense, given Lacob’s California ties and longtime interest in buying a baseball team in the state. 

Lacob moved from Massachusetts to Anaheim as a child, selling snacks at Angels games as a teenager. And the billionaire venture capitalist has tried to buy the Angels, Dodgers and A’s before. He was involved in the bidding when Moreno ultimately bought the Angels, and pulled out of an investment group that ultimately bought the Dodgers.

But maybe the biggest roadblock to Lacob becoming Shohei Ohtani’s boss is in Oakland. He nearly bought the A’s in 2005 and has had a “standing offer” to buy the team from John Fisher pretty much ever since, he recounted to the San Francisco Chronicle last month. (SFGATE and the San Francisco Chronicle are both owned by Hearst but operate independently of one another.) And it’s clear that Lacob is still deeply interested in owning a second Bay Area team. In the Chronicle interview, he passive-aggressively ripped the state of the A’s, saying he would have privately financed a new stadium for the team by now if he owned the team. 

It’s hard to imagine a baseball team more shambolic than the A’s, but the Angels are their own kind of embarrassing. Moreno has invested far more than A’s cheapskate Fisher, but he has messed with the front office too much, pressuring it into big-name signings that ended up flopping. Now the Angels torture not just their own fans, but anyone who likes baseball, with Ohtani and Mike Trout stuck on a completely irrelevant franchise. (There is also the matter of the massive corruption nexus between the Angels and local government in Anaheim.) 

Lacob has a track record of both heavily investing in a winner and letting a competent front office do its job. But he can only bail out one AL West failure.