The Angels come crawling back to Anaheim after new stadium talks go nowhere

Getty Images
15 Comments

A couple of years ago the Anaheim Angels started talking to Tustin, California about a new stadium. The idea would’ve been for Tustin to build them something on an ex-Marine base. Tustin told them “nah.” Then months and months of silence.

Now comes news that the Angels have re-engaged with Anaheim in an effort to get the city or someone to give Anaheim Stadium $130-150 million in upgrades and renovations. This is all playing out against a backdrop in which the Angels can opt-out of their stadium lease between now and 2019 but, if they don’t opt-out, they’re locked in until 2029.

The story here is the same as it ever is: the ballclub wants someone else to pay for their ballpark and/or ballpark upgrades. The difference is that, unlike most other places, most California municipalities have increasingly told sports teams to pay for it themselves. Arte Moreno and the Angels don’t have a ton of options here. In the meantime they’re just giving passive-aggressive digs at the city they’ve called home for 50 years:

“Moving to Tustin requires a new stadium, and none of the parties could overcome the financial hurdle,” said Marie Garvey, Angels spokeswoman. “In our discussions with the city of Anaheim, we are focused on trying to find a way to deliver a high-quality fan experience in a city-owned, aging stadium.”

My guess is that, eventually, the city will throw the Angels some renovation money and give them incentives to stay in the form of development rights on stadium property, as the article suggests. All of which makes me wonder: if stadiums are such economic boons and baseball owners are such masters of development, why wouldn’t Arte Moreno just build his own ballpark?

It’s almost as if someone isn’t being honest about how ballpark economics work.