Territorial issues contributed to the cancellation of a discussed Woodland Hills ballpark for a Los Angeles Dodgers-backed High-A California League team several years ago, as the Los Angeles Angels would not sign off on the plans.
As was proposed, a new ballpark would have been built on the site of Promenade Mall in the Woodland Hills section of Los Angeles. The plan, championed by then Westfield chief executive officer Peter Lowy and Peter Guber–a film producer and member of the Dodgers ownership group–called for a 7,000-seat ballpark privately financed by Westfield for a California League franchise. Had it moved forward, the ballpark would have accommodated a relocating California League franchise purchased by Dodgers owners, either the Bakersfield Blaze or High Desert Mavericks.
Although Los Angeles officials were intrigued by the plan, it would have required the okay of the Angels, since Woodland Hills falls within the territory shared by the Dodgers and Angels. Ultimately, Angels owner Arte Moreno was not on board with the idea, prompting the Dodgers and Westfield to move on from the concept. More from the Los Angeles Times:
“He wasn’t mean or anything,” Guber said. “He was just indifferent to any of our propositions.
“He has a right to do anything he wants. We have no quarrel with that. … But it certainly didn’t leave a good taste in our mouths, in terms of our relationship in the marketplace.”
The Angels had no idea what their future might hold. They would have granted permission for the Woodland Hills team, vice president Tim Mead said, if the Dodgers would have promised to grant permission should the Angels ever wish to move a minor league team within the shared territory.
Even into Los Angeles? Maybe someday, the Angels said. No, the Dodgers said.
Such a move could not be accomplished today, as future redevelopment plans for the mall site are taking shape and both the Blaze and Mavericks ceased operations following the 2016 season as part of a realignment of the High-A level. That caused the California League to shrink to eight teams, while the Carolina League grew to 10 with the additions of the Down East Wood Ducks and the current Fayetteville Woodpeckers, who began play as the Buies Creek Astros while awaiting this spring’s completion of a new downtown Fayetteville ballpark.