Like most Angel fans, I was excited to hear the team might be sold. We hope a new owner can restore our beloved Halos to their winning ways and stop wasting generational talents like Mike Trout and Shohei Ohtani.
There is no way I could ever buy a baseball team. That’s a hobby for billionaires. But let’s say I won a few hundred lotteries and came up with enough cash to buy the Angels. Here’s what I would do with them.
Keep them in Anaheim.
We know the basic rule of real estate: location, location, location. Same is true with a sports team, especially because real estate is part of the deal. Angel Stadium is at a prime location. It is at the intersection of several major freeways, next to a major transit hub, across the street from the Honda Center, and just a short ride from one of the world’s biggest tourist attractions, Disneyland. And Angel Stadium has a large parking lot that is primed for development. With Southern California real estate at a premium, the Angels’ location alone is a big enough reason to keep them there.
There’s also the fan base. People talk about the “LA metro area,” but Orange County by itself has an active, affluent fan base. We’ve been supporting the Angels for decades before Arte Moreno slapped “Los Angeles” on the name. If we can support the Ducks, we can certainly back the Angels. Speaking of which…
Change the name back to Anaheim Angels.
Nobody cares what they were called in the Pacific Coast League or when they played at “Chavez Ravine.” They have not been the “Los Angeles Angels” since 1966. They are an Orange County team. Sure, the name “California Angels” has a nostalgia factor. But California is a big state. It can just as easily refer to a part of the state that names its basketball team “Golden State.” But everyone knows where Anaheim is. And remember, they were the Anaheim Angels when they won the World Series.
Renovate Angel Stadium for comfort, not glamour.
Angel Stadium needs renovations, but it’s hardly the badly aged dump people make it out to be. (If you want to see a dump, go to Washington’s FedExField, the worst stadium in the NFL. Water leaks, collapsing railings, horrible traffic—and it’s only 25 years old.) The problem is everyone wants a SoFi. Sculptured glass exteriors, massive video screens, and lots of luxury boxes. Meanwhile, you pay $25 for parking, $30 for an upper deck seat, and $15 for a small beer. You can construct a $3 billion luxury palace, but fans can’t go.
Instead, Angel Stadium renovations should focus on improving the fan experience. Wider concourses, more restrooms with family and gender-neutral rooms, additional restaurants that include healthy options, and more souvenir shops with exclusive merchandise. The Angels can follow the trend of extending retail and restaurants outside the stadium. Give us a place to eat before the game and hang out with friends afterwards.
When I go to a ballpark, I like to feel like I’m home. That’s the way I feel like I’m at Dodger Stadium because it is such a friendly, familiar, and welcoming environment. I’d like the same experience at Angel Stadium.
I haven’t even gotten to the team, but I have a controversial take on this…
Don’t worry about Trout and Ohtani. Build a strong organization.
I like Mike Trout. I have a Shohei Ohtani jersey. Sure, superstars sell merch and bring in fans for bobblehead nights. But they’re not enough to build a winning team.
The most important people on a team are the ones you don’t hear about at the trade deadline. It’s the coaching staff. You talk about the success the Dodgers have, and it starts with coaches like Mark Prior. Looking at football, the Rams didn’t become a winning team until Sean McVay arrived. Coaches who are great teachers, motivators, and developers of talent are the ones who make teams successful. As for the players, you start with the minor leagues. You draft players with potential, and you build them into stars. Then, you only need to trade or pick up a few key free agents to make your team a contender.
And as the Angels’ owner, I would hire the best people on the field and front office and trust them to do their jobs.
I’d be willing to let go of Mike Trout and Shohei Ohtani so I’d have the money to build a strong organization. But if I built a winning team, folks like Trout and Ohtani would want to play for me.
Stay involved with the community.
Something the Angels have always done well is community involvement. They’ve done fundraisers, had blood drives, did reading programs at local libraries, ran youth baseball clinics, and much more. Community involvement builds goodwill with fans. It shows they value the communities where they play, and they can keep engaged with fans during the off-season. If I owned the Angels, I’d look for even more ways the team can help with the community.
Consider this a wish list…
I’m as likely to buy the Angels as the Angels are to make the playoffs this year. The only parts of the Angels I’ll ever buy are tickets and the occasional merch.
So consider this my wish list for whoever buys the Angels. Keep the team in Anaheim, make Angel Stadium a comfortable and welcoming place, focus on building a winning organization, and stay involved with the community. Do this, and I will be buying many more tickets and merch in the future.