keep the angels_logoLos Angeles Times sports columnist published a great column this Sunday, opining that helping secure an agreement to keep the Angels in Anaheim would be a fitting legacy as Bud Selig’s term as baseball commissioner comes to an end:

We are 10 days shy of the one-year anniversary of what appeared to be the resolution, a tentative agreement in which Moreno would pay for the estimated $150 million in Angel Stadium renovations and would get the right to try to make his money back from developing the surrounding parking lot, at no cost to the city of Anaheim.

Mayor Tom Tait objected, saying the parking lot was too valuable to lease to Moreno at $1 per year. A subsequent appraisal commissioned by the city valued that land at $225 million.

But the appraisal also valued the land at up to $325 million if the stadium were demolished, and Moreno was agitated that the city would assess that option if it were intent on keeping the team.

There have been no negotiations since the appraisal was released in May, and the Angels have considered sites in Tustin and Irvine, with the Tustin site currently considered the most feasible alternative.

The Angels have feared the lease talks would get held up by the November election, in which Tait and three of the other four City Council members are running. After all, who would vote for an Angels deal now, only to have Tait and his allies accuse you of a taxpayer giveaway at election time?

“I’d be willing to put my political career on the line,” City Councilwoman Kris Murray said, “to make this happen for the city. The team is more important than any one election. We can get the agreement done.”

Moreno already has four of the five City Council votes, if the council cares to vote before the election. The Angels have agreed to share profits from any development. There is a deal to be made here, if the City Council cares to stand up and make it.

Well said. You can read the entire column here.

Publicly demonizing those with whom you’re trying to make a deal is a poor negotiating strategy. The city is negotiating with a human being, not a corporation. The council majority and Anaheim’s business community have made clear their desire for a win-win agreement that keeps the team in town and have made it clear they value the Angels’ economic and charitable contributions to Anaheim. However, months of the mayor and his supporters slapping the Angels’ owner upside the head to agreeing to an MOU that originated with the city has done its damage. I think Shaikin is correct and hope a deal can be salvaged.