Angels Plan to Change Their Springtime Home
The Angels plan to vacate their spring-training home in Tempe, Ariz., by 2007 and could move to new training facility within a suburban Phoenix development now controlled by team owner Arte Moreno.
On Wednesday, the day a hand-delivered letter notified Tempe officials that the Angels would not renew their lease there, Moreno agreed to become one of two partners in a residential and commercial development in Goodyear, 18 miles west of Phoenix.
Ted Ferris, president of Arizona’s Tourism and Sports Authority, said Friday that Moreno believes he can spur growth at the site by building the Angels’ new training complex there.
“He’s made it clear he intends to put a facility there to be a centerpiece of development,” Ferris said.
Moreno will keep the Angels’ spring home in Arizona but has reached no decision on the Goodyear site, team spokesman Tim Mead said.
“He’s looking at a variety of options,” Mead said. “There is no plan in place.”
After lengthy negotiations between Tempe officials and Kevin Uhlich, the Angels’ senior vice president of business operations, the city commissioned an architectural firm, HOK, to assess renovation options, according to City Manager Will Manley.
Moreno fired Uhlich late last month.
The Angels’ chief financial officer, Bill Beverage, wrote in Wednesday’s letter to city officials that the team would not renew its lease beyond its 2007 expiration, would be amenable to ending the lease sooner and would move to “a new location with state-of-the-art facilities.”
“We’ve never talked with Mr. Moreno,” Manley said. “We were shocked when Kevin was let go, and we were even more shocked when we got the letter.”
The Angels initially asked the city to expand the Tempe site by adding a minor league training facility.
After Moreno assumed control of the team in May, Manley said, the Angels also wanted a new stadium and new major league training areas, with the estimated cost ballooning from $10 million to $40 million. The city could not afford that and lacks the vacant land necessary for a new stadium, Manley said.
“There’s a new owner and a different philosophy now,” Mead said. “That’s still an existing facility in Arte’s mind. He’d like to build something on a pretty big scale.”
The Angels could pay a minority share, if any, of the cost for a new training complex. The tourism and sports authority oversees $205 million generated from hotel and rental-car taxes and allocated toward the construction or renovation of Cactus League facilities within Maricopa County. The authority pays up to two-thirds of the cost of a project.
The Kansas City Royals and Texas Rangers moved into a shared spring home this year in Surprise, another Phoenix suburb. The authority paid $32 million and the city the remaining $16 million.
Ferris said several teams training in Florida had expressed interest in moving to Arizona, providing the Angels with possible partners should Moreno wish to build a two-team facility.
Mead called it “speculative” to discuss whether Moreno might fund part of a training complex on his own property.
The Goodyear development, called Estrella Mountain Ranch, is a 20,000-acre site that includes two lakes, an 18-hole golf course and an amphitheater. According to the Arizona Republic, the property has 2,000 homes on a site planned for 65,000.
Angel General Manager Bill Stoneman said Friday the Boston Red Sox asked for -- and received -- permission to interview Angel pitching coach Bud Black for their managerial vacancy.
The Dodgers also granted third-base coach Glenn Hoffman permission to interview for the job. He made his major-league debut with Boston in 1980 and played seven-plus seasons with the club.