When head coach Art Malby took over the Los Amigos baseball program last spring, it was in almost total disarray. And while he's done everything he can to change the mindsets of his players, there was only so much he could do about the facilities. And that's where the Angels decided to live up to their franchise's name.
Things are now very much on the mend now at Los Amigos, thanks largely in part to a $5,000 grant the program received from the Angels Foundation at the suggestion of veteran broadcaster and longtime Fountain Valley resident Ed Arnold, who sits on the foundation's board of directors.
Arnold, whose grandson was coached in Little League by Maltby, saw Maltby's frustration and suggested he take his case to the foundation, which receives grant requests from organizations of every shape and size. But, Arnold said, when Angels owner Arte Moreno heard about Maltby's plight, he quickly approved Los Amigos' request straight from the top.
"In the case of Los Amigos, there are some kids in the program who weren't in a position to pay for uniforms and equipment," Arnold said. "So it was a no-brainer for Arte to grant that request."
Arnold said that requests to the foundation have increased substantially since the passage of a law that prohibits school sports programs from soliciting money from parents. As a result, schools that were relatively well-off in the past are now finding themselves in need.
"What our politicans are forgetting is that sports is imporatng to kids," Arnold said. lt keeps them off the street and it keeps them active...We really want to serve the areas where there's more disadvantaged youth. For us it's about the kids, and we want to see them helped. That's what it's all about. We don't want to see a kid miss out on an experience that could change his or her life because the money's not there."