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Halos on the water? City of Long Beach in early stages of pitching Angels on waterfront ballpark




Angel stadium in Anaheim.
Angel stadium in Anaheim.
Photo by Sara Grajeda via Flickr Creative Commons

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As the Los Angeles Angels continue to work on figuring out where they’ll play baseball in 2021 after opting out of their lease at Angel stadium earlier this year, a new potential contender has emerged: Long Beach.

The Long Beach Post was first to report that the city of Long Beach had approached the Angels about potentially moving to the city into a new ballpark that would be built on a 13-acre waterfront lot in Downtown that is currently undeveloped but is locally referred to as the “elephant lot” from its days playing host to the Ringling Bros. Circus.

Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia confirmed in a statement that the city had approached the team and is exploring options, and officials with both the city and team say that the discussions are still in their very early stages. It’s also not clear that the Angels will even leave Anaheim, as they are currently working with the city to figure out options for a new or possibly renovated ballpark.

Long Beach State athletics have been pretty much the be-all, end-all of sports for Long Beach. The city has been home to the Long Beach Armada of the now-defunct Golden Baseball League and, for about 13 years between 1993 and 2007, the Long Beach Ice Dogs of the semi-pro East Coast Hockey League.

Shortly after their founding in 1961, the Angels looked into the possibility of going to Long Beach, but ultimately decided against it after team owner Gene Autry didn’t want to comply with the city’s request that the team be called the Long Beach Angels.

What do you think about the idea of the Angels moving to Long Beach? If you’re a Long Beach resident, would you support your tax dollars going to a project like this?

We reached out to the Angels for comment, and they sent us this statement from team president John Carpino:

“As we have stated from the beginning, we must explore all our options to secure a long-term future for the Angels and provide fans with a high-quality experience in a renovated or new ballpark.”

We also contacted the city of Long Beach and Mayor Robert Garcia, who sent us this statement:

“As part of our efforts to create a downtown waterfront development plan, we are exploring the feasibility of a downtown sports venue on the Convention Center parking lot. We are in the early stages of our due diligence and are exploring a variety of options for this property. We have approached the Angels to express our interest and discuss the possibilities of this opportunity. This is very preliminary and discussions are ongoing.”

Guests:

Jason Ruiz, reporter for the Long Beach Post who broke the story; he tweets @JasonRuiz_LB

Bill Shaikin, Los Angeles Times reporter covering baseball and sports business who has been following the story; he tweets @billshaikin



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