I’ve seen my share of typos regarding the Los Angeles “Angles” of Anaheim online and on Facebook that my choice of words in the headline is deliberate. As a baseball fan, I think we all need to take a breath here for a minute on the negotiations between the city of Anaheim and the Angels. Now exhale.
First off, the only reason that particular part of Anaheim (where the stadium is off the 57 freeway) is valuable (among the most valuable land in the County if not the nation…please) is because of a certain tenant, namely the Angels. Should they move, the value of that land simply drops. And with it, that valuable real estate becomes a big empty parking lot for most of the year. The Forum in Inglewood was valuable real estate too until the Lakers and Kings left. When was the last time you were there? And Staples is such a nice facility.
By giving Angels owner Arte Moreno the rights to the land surrounding Anaheim Stadium, the city council has effectively given him his new stadium location from which a new stadium can replace the aging Angels Stadium, relieve Anaheim of $130 to $150 million in renovation costs while creating a lot of union and non-union construction jobs. The city can then get out of the business of managing a stadium and start paying more attention to parks, business development and public safety. Consider how Yankee Stadium and Tropicana Field were constructed in the Bronx and in Houston alongside the Yankees and Astros previous baseball homes and you have an idea how a new Angels Stadium can rise quickly in the shadow of their aging park.
Arte’s big ticket free agents show he’s willing to spend money to create a winner. And while the result on the field isn’t what Angels fans want, you can’t fault the owner for going after the elite free agents (my opinion: time for a new manager).
I’ve read the out of breath posts in the Orange Juice Blog and in Save Anaheim; Leave it to Irvine’s Bill Shankin at the LA Times to summarize what the negotiations mean from the perspective of the Angels. From the story:
The council vote authorizes negotiations based on deal points that include the team calling itself the Los Angeles Angels and dropping the “of Anaheim” suffix.
The Angels also would extend their lease through 2036 — and possibly as long as 2057 — in exchange for development rights to the parking lots around the stadium.
The stadium needs $130 million to $150 million in capital improvements over the next 20 years, according to a city report. That estimate accounts solely for infrastructure — electrical maintenance and upgrades, concrete repairs, waterproofing and such—– at the stadium.
The Angels would pay all of that cost and would pay above and beyond for any improvements that would generate additional revenue for the team, for example, more luxury seating.
The total costs might be so substantial, Black said, Moreno might well consider razing Angel Stadium and building a new one on the adjacent parking lot.
With no cost for land acquisition, Black said Moreno could build a new ballpark for $450 million to $500 million. Carpino said that could be an option.
You have to love a sportswriters take on it without all the politics involved.
The consultants for the city maintain Moreno has the means to build a stadium somewhere else. But if he doesn’t need to buy the land somewhere else, he can build right next to Angels Stadium for a lot less money and keep the team here. For a kid who grew up in New York, I always knew the California Angels played in Anaheim. It doesn’t matter if they have Los Angeles or Anaheim or California associated with their name. What does matter is the Angels play here and not someone else in So Cal.
I like having the Angels a short drive away. If they move to Irvine, even better. They can move to other cities in Southern California. It doesn’t take a lot of imagination to see them in Irvine, Near Yorba Linda/Brea, Long Beach or Mission Viejo. And putting up a stadium once a site is selected can go pretty quickly (see how fast the Patriot’s build Gillette Stadium to replace aging Foxboro Stadium).
So for the hand ringing of Jason Young, Greg Diamond, and Vern Nelson, a simple question: when was the last time any one of you went to an Angels game? From the old photos of the Stadium you’re using in your posts, I’ll guess it’s been years if ever. Call me fellas; you have my cell. I have a list of about 5 questions. Basic stuff. I bet you won’t have a clue on the answer, nor can you answer them in seconds without having to use Google.
Did the City Council go too far? Probably. But a deal to keep the team here for up to 43 years seems to be a good one and a new stadium will create lots of labor union construction jobs and lots of new tax dollars pumping into the Anaheim coffers. There are hundreds of businesses around the stadium that would flat out die should the Angels leave. Perhaps before we all lose our minds, we should wait to hear more from the team about what their specific plans are and might be and how they intend to work with the city that’s been so generous to them for so long.
If “ifs and buts were candy and nuts, it’d be Christmas everyday.” All the analysis to date reflects short term thinking by people who have no idea about the business of baseball let alone how fans will react. Let’s look at the whole story from both sides before we start jumping to conclusions.