By now you’ve heard that the Angels have officially opted out of their lease with the city of Anaheim for Angels Stadium. Before you panic, the Angels will indeed play at the Big A in 2019. This decision was made not because the Angels organization has plans to move, or to build a new stadium in the next year or two, but because if it wasn’t done now, the Angels would have to wait another ten years to have the opportunity to opt out again. Angels President John Carpino said Tuesday that the original lease did not allow for the “high-quality fan experience” the organization hopes to deliver in the future.
This dispute has just begun, but how will it all end? I’ll break down some potential resolutions from most likely to least likely.
Most Likely: The Newly-Elected Anaheim Officials Bend to the Organization’s Request for Renovations
The city of Anaheim, in one month’s time, will elect a new mayor and three new city council members. What better way to earn the love of your constituents than by negotiating a deal that ensures the presence a community mainstay for years to come? In addition, I don’t see any city government in California putting up the money and resources for a brand-new ballpark anytime soon. The Angels had previously looked at Tustin as a serious relocation option, but talks stalled when the city refused to allocate any taxpayer funds to a $700 million new stadium. There have also been a number of deals for renovations the Angels organization has proposed to the city of Anaheim that are more than reasonable, so all it may take is some fresh faces to get it done.
Somewhat Likely: The Angels Relocate to Another City
Tustin and Irvine have both been places the Angels have looked for relocation in the past, with little interest from either city to put forth the resources to make it happen. Though, it’s no secret that Angels Stadium is one of the least impressive, aesthetically speaking, stadiums in the MLB. It is also the fourth-oldest (only Fenway, Dodgers Stadium, and Wrigley are older) and by far least iconic of those four stadiums. Renovations are nice, but what’s that phrase…something about polishing a turd? A brand-new stadium, should the Angels find a taker, would be exciting and galvanizing for a mostly apathetic fanbase.
Not Likely At All But Still Fun: The Angels Just Full-On Embrace Los Angeles and Strike a Deal to Share Inglewood Stadium
There is precedent for Major League Baseball and NFL Football co-existing in the same stadium, both past (Candlestick Park) and present (The Oakland Coliseum), so why not again? The Angels would have some serious maneuvering to do with the LA Rams and LA Chargers to offset what the two NFL franchises have already paid into the Los Angeles sports Taj Mahal, but hey, anything is possible when you believe in yourself. Plus, the team could finally stop pretending to be from LA and actually make the move. The team would certainly alienate its entire fanbase and have to start building a new brand from the ground-up, but hey, Inglewood Stadium just might be worth it.
In all likelihood, the Angels will stay in Anaheim, or at least Orange County, for a long time to come. So take a breath, watch some October baseball, and stop worrying so much. After all, doesn’t this fanbase have enough to be concerned about?