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Stadium Search Series: Episode II

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A couple of days ago we looked at Montebello as an option for a stadium. Now, let's look at one of the more popular ideal spots amongst Angel fans.

Can you see Long Beach from where you're at, Mike?
Can you see Long Beach from where you're at, Mike?
Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

As long as we're not knowledgeable of our certain future, let's let our brains run rampant with our own ideas, right?

A couple of days ago we looked at the feasibility of a 104-acre spot in Montebello, just off of State Route 60 and bounded at its north and east sides by Whittier Narrows, and currently dotted with oil rigs. So now, in our Stadium Search Series, we look at our second option--and one that seems to be a lot more popular with Angels fans.

In fact, this is a site so popular, that 50 years ago, Gene Autry himself considered it before moving the team to Anaheim. He had three options before him: Anaheim, Baldwin Park and this last site. Baldwin Park's stadium had too many environmental question marks. The blueprints were nice, the land was definitely there...but the fact that it was built against a levee, coupled with the fact that, well...it's Baldwin Park...led to other considerations for the Singing Cowboy. This next city was his next option, and believe it or not, it almost happened. Pens were about to hit paper, principles were mostly agreed upon...except this city wanted their name in the Angels' moniker. Autry refused, negotiations ended, and Anaheim became the team's destination, as it has stayed to this day.

But now, the time is coming when Anaheim looks incredibly likely to have its end date added to the Angels' history books, and this city, 50 years later and with different ideas, people and requests behind it, might get its shot after all. That city? Well...

NEW ANGELS STADIUM SITE #2: LONG BEACH, CALIFORNIA
POTENTIAL ADDRESS: 4100 CARSON STREET
LAND SIZE: 69 ACRES
CURRENT USE: VACANT/COMMERCIAL SPACE

Long Beach, California is the 36th-largest city in the United States, the seventh-largest in California, and the second-largest in Los Angeles County. With over 460,000 people calling Long Beach home as of 2010, it is actually much larger than Anaheim in terms of population (approximately 120,000 more people), and just a smidge larger by land area (51.44 square miles, compared to the 50.83 in Anaheim).

Long Beach is a very popular option with Angels fans for a new stadium for two reasons: it juxtaposes with the Los Angeles market more directly, like Arte Moreno wants, and it is still close enough for Angels fans in Orange County to access. It's like the happy medium, the halfway point. There is, however, one problem with Long Beach, and it can be seen just by looking at the boldface lettering above: available land.

In the 1960s, when the city of Long Beach first offered itself as a new home to the Angels (seeking to get out of Chavez Ravine ever so desperately), there was a ton more land available to develop. Now, however, the city has grown immensely since that time in terms of land development (the population has been in six figures since the 1930 census, so it's always been a "larger" city), and the amount of available land to build upon has diminished.

Now, to build on open land is not impossible; in fact, the 69 acre location found at Carson Street and Lakewood Boulevard/State Route 19 is actually, for the most part, vacant. There is a lot going on with this land, however; the main intersection is indeed Carson and Lakewood, but bisecting the property are Worsham Avenue (north/south) and Cover Street (east/west), with Conant Street actually forming the southern border of the property. The land is directly northeast of Long Beach Municipal Airport, and directly west of Long Beach City College. Additionally, on part of the property at the intersection of Cover and Lakewood, some small restaurants and a hotel are built; this, however, should be a non-issue, as these can easily be built around. Also, McGowen Street and Schaufele Avenue dead end into the open land, and could serve as natural entrances to the stadium lot.

Because the property is bisected at two different points, the east-west bisection being done by one of the main roads to the airport, it divides the land almost uniformly as to which portion is to be used for what. There are three sections of land we'll go by here: the Carson-Worsham section (which is where McGowen and Schaufele dead-end into), the Carson-Lakewood-Cover section (where the hotel and restaurants sit), and the Lakewood-Conant portion (the southeastern edge of property).

The Carson-Worsham section, because of the small streets that dead-end here, is ostensibly going to serve as parking. This section accounts for approximately 28 acres (or almost exactly 40%) of the land to be used. 28 acres is not a whole ton of room for the thousands of parking spaces needed, so a parking garage seems like the best option here, right?

Well, let's be careful, now.

This land is DIRECTLY northeast of the airport. As in, you cross Conant Street, and BAM, you're walking towards the runway. Still, as the crow flies this site is between 1500-2000 feet from the actual property, let alone the additional distance to the runway. So parking is not going to be so easy to divide. A parking garage is obviously still doable, but at small heights--maybe four stories, with additional parking at the Lakewood-Conant portion of the land in a similar garage. Assuming that there would be two different four-story parking garages on BOTH of these portions of land, you're looking at approximately 8,200 parking spaces, not including the possibility of available parking at the Carson-Lakewood-Cover portion.

Next, the Carson-Lakewood-Cover portion of the land. This is where the stadium would be likeliest to go. This portion of the land is 23 acres. The average baseball stadium, in and of the structure and field itself, consumes around 10 acres, so this is definitely a decent fit. Angel Stadium as it stands now consumes about 11 of the 160 acres of land it sits on; the rest has been used for parking and commercial development. So yes, additional parking could very well go here; in fact, we're looking at about 1,000 more spaces if another four-story garage were constructed.

One important question, however, has been left unanswered: How will we even get there?

Glad you should ask.

FREEWAY EXIT/DIRECTIONS
State Route 91 Lakewood Boulevard/SR-19 south

Paramount Boulevard south, left on Carson Street
Cherry Avenue south, left on Carson Street
Interstate 405 Lakewood Boulevard/SR-19 north
Cherry Avenue north, right on Carson Street
Bellflower Boulevard north, left on Carson Street
Atlantic Avenue north, right on Carson Street
Interstate 710 Wardlow Road east, left on Cherry Avenue, right on Carson Street
Willow Street east, left on Lakewood Boulevard/SR-19
Interstate 605 Carson Street west
Spring Street west, right on Lakewood Boulevard/SR-19


So, there are a couple of ways there.

Public transit? Eight Metro bus stops are in the immediate vicinity of the area. Aside from that? The Metrolink and Amtrak trains do NOT run to Long Beach; Amtrak offers no service to this area of Long Beach at all, while the buses are the only services Metrolink offers to the area. Long Beach Transit, even, has several lines that pass through the area, but not a single terminal near the stadium location.

The ever-fun task of naming the stadium is actually quite simple here: sign a naming-rights deal with the largest private employer in Long Beach, and one of the most easily recognizable names in aviation: Boeing. This is the msot obvious choice, since not only is the corporation based in the city proper, but the stadium is right by the airport from which many Boeings fly out. If such a deal could not be struck, however, other corporations based in the city (or with subsidiaries based in the city) include Epson, Pioneer Electronics, Toyota, and Molina Healthcare.

Side note here: Long Beach also has a 3,500-capacity baseball stadium a few miles east of here, Blair Field, which is owned by the city and currently occupied by the Long Beach State Dirtbags (alma mater of our own Jered Weaver). Imagine if the Angels swapped California League affiliates to either High Desert or Bakersfield (the two Cal League teams with the shoddiest stadiums), the city upgraded Blair Field to Class-A standards, and the owners of either High Desert or Bakersfield MOVED to Long Beach. Imagine having one of your affiliates in your own city!

So how does Long Beach sound as a location now? It definitely seems viable, but how viable is it? If not so much, there's still three more sites to go!