Angels owner Arte Moreno is committed to Anaheim but says 45-year-old stadium needs work
The Angels can opt out of their stadium lease in 2016, and there has been concern in Anaheim that team owner Arte Moreno, who beat the city in a yearlong legal battle over the team's name change in 2005-06, will opt out then and build a stadium elsewhere.
Moreno said Sunday that he has not begun to explore the possibility of building a stadium, and that such a process would have to start at least four years before a planned opening date.
But the owner did say the Angels must address a number of issues with the 45-year-old stadium, the fourth-oldest in the major leagues behind Chicago's Wrigley Field, Boston's Fenway Park and Dodger Stadium, to keep the facility up to date and safe.
"Cosmetically, the stadium looks great, but in the long term there are some structural issues that, over a period of time, we need to look at," Moreno said. "You build something 40 years ago, you put 40,000 fans in it every night, you wash it down every day, what's the building going to look like? It's like keeping up your home. Sometimes you have to put a new roof on it."
The stadium underwent a $118-million renovation in 1996, after the Rams left for St. Louis and the Walt Disney Co. bought the team from the Autry family.
Moreno declined to go into detail about what kind of renovations or repairs are required, but he did say some are "moisture" related. In April 2009, 20 fans were forced to change seats during the home opener when a five-inch piece of concrete fell from above the club level in Section 342.
"All the issues are very fixable," Moreno said.
Moreno's relationship with the city has been strained since 2005-06, when he changed the name of the team from the Anaheim Angels to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.
Among Anaheim's responses to the name change was a court filing by city attorneys that claimed the city will not refurbish or replace Angel Stadium if the team continues to affiliate itself with Los Angeles.
-- Mike DiGiovanna
Photo: Angels owner Arte Moreno visits with outfielder Torii Hunter. Credit: Eric Risberg / Associated Press