LA Angels News

Did the LA Angels just Trump the city of Anaheim?

By Ryan Falla
WASHINGTON, DC - SEPTEMBER 28: U.S. President Donald Trump speaks while meeting with President of the Republic of Chile, Sebastian Pinera during a meeting in the Oval Office of the White House on September 28, 2018 in Washington, D.C. Trump said he would defer to Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley on whether to open an FBI investigation into sexual assault allegations against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. (Photo by Andrew Harrer - Pool/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - SEPTEMBER 28: U.S. President Donald Trump speaks while meeting with President of the Republic of Chile, Sebastian Pinera during a meeting in the Oval Office of the White House on September 28, 2018 in Washington, D.C. Trump said he would defer to Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley on whether to open an FBI investigation into sexual assault allegations against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. (Photo by Andrew Harrer - Pool/Getty Images) /
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With news that the LA Angels have opted out of their stadium lease many are left wondering exactly what’s going on with the team? Many see the obvious signs that Angels owner Arte Moreno would like the team to stay where they are and simply wants to negotiate for renovations.

Yet Mayor Tom Tait of Anaheim was staunchly against a stadium renovation deal between the LA Angels and the city of Anaheim back in 2013 and 2016. Negotiations ended a year later with the Angels seeing no deal for renovations. However, with the city of Anaheim in an election season with a new mayor in tow, things may change quickly.

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So it seems the Angels have ended their stadium lease with the city of Anaheim. The stadium has been in operation since 1966 and has received various renovations over the years, yet it seems owner Arte Moreno still isn’t happy. That’s not a big deal, as the Angels would have been under this lease until 2029 and thus have no negotiating power for a long time. The big issue here isn’t the actual opting out of the lease, but the timing.

The city of Anaheim is in an election season as they look to elect a new mayor as well as three city council members. What exactly does this mean for the team? Well for starters, despite claims that the Angels are eyeballing Tustin, Irvine, Carson, or LA, it’s highly doubtful the team would make the move to any of those cities. Why? Simply put, those cities don’t want to pay up for anything either, and in that regard it would make no sense for Arte to opt out of a stadium lease because he wants renovations and then have to turn around and secure city funding for a new stadium entirely. It’s a completely counter-intuitive move, so what exactly is Moreno getting at?

We know that Arte Moreno once stated the Angels will be staying in Anaheim through 2029 while making yearly improvements to the tune of a total $40 million.  The thought that he’s soured on this idea and wants to play hardball for financial responsibility from the city regarding the stadium isn’t that far out there.

It seems that team owner Arte Moreno is using the upcoming election to his advantage. It’s obvious the whole “Angels leaving Anaheim” will be a major issue in the city election. Why wouldn’t it be? The Angels are a social and cultural staple of the city and there’s little doubt anyone actually wants to see them leave. From this we can surmise that whoever runs for mayor, and likewise the council-chairs, would fare well in securing a reliable voter base with the platform of “Keep the Angels in Anaheim”.

It’s not a wild thought to believe that Arte Moreno may want to play the election against the city itself. Especially when confronted with the facts that soon-to-be-ex-mayor Tom Tait let renovation negotiations break down in 2013 and 2016. Logically speaking, Arte Moreno is better off stacking the deck in his favor instead of hoping it all works out for him. It’s a distinctly Donald Trump-esque political/business tactic, and to see Arte Moreno employ it is not so much shocking, but it is eye-opening as to how badly he wants to renovate the stadium. So badly that he wants to play an election in his favor.

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I wouldn’t go as far as to call it influencing an election, but it has too many makings in that direction to try to deny it. An easy road to election would be supporting stadium renovations and keep the team in Anaheim. That’s too easy a way to secure votes. Of course there’s the idea that everyone running in the election will take a pro-Angels platform and make it seem like there was no issue to begin with, but again that just plays into the hand Arte Moreno is attempting to secure.

Is it dirty? It could be. Is it logical? Seeing as how Moreno has been shut down on two separate occasions regarding renovations it’s not out of the picture to assume he’s taking matters into his own hands and ensuring his preferred outcome. There really is little reason for the Angels to leave Anaheim to go to a city that doesn’t want to pay up to host the Angels, unless the would-be-elected of Anaheim calling his bluff and shutting him out entirely.

In terms of business finesse this is an extremely calculated move. One calculated with only the outcome of winning. If you can stack the deck in your favor, as a business-person, why wouldn’t you? We’ll have to see how this all turns out, but all-in-all it appears that this is a move Arte Moreno has been waiting to make for a few years.

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