In stunning news, the Angels announced that they have ended negotiations with the City of Anaheim on lease negotiations. Owner Arte Moreno has a lease with the City of Anaheim for Angel Stadium (of Anaheim) that runs through 2029. Does he plan to leave in 25 years? Well, the Angels have an "OUT" clause in that lease. They can leave anytime they would like between October 1, 2016 and October 31, 2019.
What is really going on here?
It isn't that the Angels WANT to leave Anaheim. It is simply that Arte wants a deal that will allow him to make the most money possible and to have as little meddling in the process as possible. That is basically almost every businessperson in the world today. But understanding that psychology opens us up to what is trying to do here. He has certainly chosen the moment when the Angels goodwill is at a recent high - qualifies for the playoffs, best record in baseball secured, now comes a shot across the bow from a re-strengthened franchise.
If we were just finishing up another year of Joe Blanton this announcement would not have gotten made. The negotiations were ended today not to leave Anaheim but to negotiate more firmly with the city. They are public, they have options, and hey... you never know what might come along.
At the end of the day, the day being sometime between now and five years form this Halloween, Arte Moreno probably wants the rights to the land around Angel Stadium to make something really cool - and profitable. He will have to build massive parking structures like Disneyland has - and I look forward to asking if we parked the Car on the Bobby Grich floor or the Erick Aybar floor - and will inevitably build a new stadium in the existing parking lot.
All of that takes money. It will require the City of Anaheim to not ask him for any money and to stay out of his way as he makes the improvements he wants. In the end, the dollars spent at the stadium and whatever Arte's commercial ventures around the stadium - plenty of them will trickle back to the City of Anaheim.
The announcement today was simply the intensifying of the discussion over just how drippy that trickle will be. Count me in the camp who is betting Arte Moreno never leaves the parcel of land bordered between Orangewood and Katella. And remind everyone you know never to do business with Arte form a position of weakness.