What’s next for baseball in Anaheim after Angel Stadium sale canceled? – Press Enterprise

The biggest question after Anaheim officials’ decision Tuesday night to void the Angel Stadium sale: Now what?

Will the Angels move away? Will the city look for other ways to develop the stadium property? Will the two sides start talking again, at least after they sort out whether they’re going to sue each other?

It’s too early to know what the long-term outcome will be, but Long Beach already appears to be positioning itself to catch a team that may be on the rebound.

“The Long Beach waterfront downtown has always been the perfect location for a major league sports stadium,” Mayor Robert Garcia said in an email Wednesday. “If any sports team is interested in engaging the city, we would welcome those discussions.”

Some Angels fans on social media liked the sound of Long Beach, others suggested owner Arte Moreno could move the team to Las Vegas or San Antonio, and some might not miss Anaheim if a move did pan out.

“Most stadiums are in a downtown area… like an overwhelming majority. The location is bad, there’s nothing exciting or unique about it. It’s not even iconic. No upgrade could help. Just start over, ”Adam Aranda, who lives in Placentia, said on Twitter.

But a move in the near future appears unlikely.

“I think the biggest concern among the public is what’s the future of baseball in Anaheim, and I’ve assured them that we are still in a lease,” that lasts through 2029, Anaheim Mayor Pro Tem Trevor O’Neil said Wednesday.

O’Neil is now standing in as mayor, after a wild week in which an FBI investigation of Mayor Harry Sidhu – and some of his alleged actions regarding the stadium deal – came to light and Sidhu subsequently resigned from office. (Sidhu has not been charged with anything and his attorney has said a fair investigation would disprove allegations.)

There may still be a legal mess to untangle. Last Friday, Angels officials told Anaheim they’d dealt with the city in good faith and demanded that the sale be completed by June 14; the city responded Wednesday with a letter disputing that an “arms-length negotiation” had taken place and saying the Angels should acknowledge the deal is void.

The city’s move to cancel the deal was not surprising to some observers.

“I think the handwriting was on the wall when they (the council) asked the mayor to resign,” Ballpark Digest publisher Kevin Reichard said. “Overcoming the taint of corruption is just going to be too hard even if the Angels are perfectly innocent.”

However enticing the idea of ​​a shiny new ballpark might be, Reichard thinks the Angels probably would not move – and if they did, it would not be far.

“Any broadcast deal would get them a tenth of what they have in Los Angeles,” he said. “The most money they can make is staying in the existing market.”

Marie Garvey, a spokeswoman for Angels Baseball and stadium buyer SRB Management, the company Moreno put together for the deal, said in a statement Wednesday that they’re “currently exploring all of our options.”

Maury Brown, a sports business reporter for Forbes, agreed with Reichard that the odds of the team leaving Anaheim appear minimal, although “I’m sure the Angels will saber-rattle and talk about relocation.”

One advantage Anaheim boasts is the 150-acre stadium site that’s mostly parking lots. The now-nixed deal would have allowed SRB to develop thousands of apartments and condos, plus hotels, offices and retail space.

That ancillary development is “what this deal is about,” Brown said. “Arte Moreno can make a large sum of money with development around a ballpark on days when there are Angels games and outside of that.”

Reichard once said Anaheim and Angels Baseball can put some distance between themselves and the allegations in the investigation, “of course they’re going to come back together” and restart talks.

If that happens, state Sen. Tom Umberg, D-Santa Ana – whose 34th District includes Anaheim – said he believes an independent negotiator with expertise in the issues involved should represent the city, because the federal investigation has put a cloud over current city officials.

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