Anaheim officials will make their last major decision Tuesday, Sept. 29, on the terms of the $320 million sale of the Angel Stadium property to the baseball team’s owner.
The deal would relieve the city of an asset that’s hard to put a price on, but is expensive to maintain – in exchange for what supporters say are long-term community benefits, but at what critics argue is an unreasonably low price.
Key elements being voted on Tuesday are a pledge from owner Arte Moreno that the Angels would play in town until at least 2050 and a development agreement which credits $170 million of the purchase price back to the buyer, Moreno’s business partnership, SRB Management, for building a public park and affordable housing the city is requesting. The city would receive $150 million in cash from the sale.
Mayor Harry Sidhu and other city officials have touted the deal as good for the city coffers, the local economy and residents, citing a projected $38.3 million in revenue by 2050, potentially 45,000 permanent jobs, plus the 7-acre public park and 777 units of affordable housing. It also gets the city out of the costly business of maintaining a stadium.
But critics say the price for the 150 acres was lowballed and point out that Anaheim will get no share of any profits if SRB Management later sells of pieces of the land to other developers.
The commitment agreement released Friday spells out that the team would stay local through 2050, with five optional five-year extensions that could stretch through 2075. If the team reneges on the pledge during the initial 30-year term, the city would be owed damages of up to $300 million; the potential penalty decreases each year the team stays, but would never go lower than $100 million.
Also under the agreement, City Hall would get 2,500 suite tickets per season through 2029. City officials typically use the tickets to entertain guests, to reward employees or to donate to charities and nonprofits, Lyster said. Council members must file a public report any time they use the free tickets.
A few provisions in the agreement that allow the Angels to play elsewhere might seem odd, city spokesman Mike Lyster said, but they’re mostly contingencies in case the stadium were damaged in an accident or disaster and couldn’t be used, or if the team were to make the playoffs and have to stay in a quarantine “bubble” during a contagious disease outbreak.
Moreno has not announced a decision on whether he’ll renovate the 1966 stadium or build a new one, but his development plans for homes, offices, hotels and dining and entertainment spots include space for a new facility.
“This is what all of this has been about, everything we’ve gone through in the past year and even in the past five, six, seven years,” Lyster said of the commitment agreement, “resolving the long term question about the Angels playing in Anaheim as they have done for more than five decades now.”
Out of nearly a dozen emails the council had received from residents as of Thursday, most were in support of the deal. One came from “a big Angels fan” and urged the council: “Please do not be fools” like San Diego officials who let the Chargers football team move to Los Angeles, costing their city jobs and revenue. “Anaheim is so lucky to have a MLB team located in its city walls.”
But several residents wrote to lambaste the deal. There were references made to a pending lawsuit by a residents’ group that alleges the city’s negotiation and approval of the deal violated state open government laws (the city has denied the allegation). Some have questioned why the city would make a deal that would allow the buyer to later flip the property for a potentially much higher price.
Lyster said such transactions are “a common practice,” and no matter who the buyer was, the city would likely have sold to one entity that might sell off pieces to different developers.
In response to criticisms the city moved the stadium sale forward without allowing adequate chances for the public to be involved, Lyster said people can still call their council members or email their comments to BigA@anaheim.net to be shared with the council.
“Anyone who wants to be heard on this will be heard,” he said. The city recently held three virtual town halls.
The Anaheim City Council meets at 5 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 29. The meeting can be viewed on the city website, anaheim.net.
In honor of Hispanic Heritage Month, Hyundai has teamed up with Long Beach’s Museum of Latin American Art and the Art of Elysium, a nonprofit organization that provides arts programs, for a drive-thru exhibition titled “Driven: A Latinx Artist Celebration Presented by Hyundai.”
The free event happens Oct. 1-4 at the Hollywood Palladium, where about a dozen pieces of artwork by established and emerging local artists will be displayed outdoors.
“Now more than ever, art is an important tool for inspiration,” said Gabriela Urtiaga, chief curator at the Museum of Latin American Art, in Spanish.
The pieces for the display were selected from the vast collection at the Long Beach museum from a group of artists whose work creates a dialogue, celebrates diversity, inclusion and equality, she added.
The Art of Elysium also selected several artists for the exhibition.
Cars will drive through a parking lot that will be converted into a landscape that compliments the artwork which will be displayed on objects such as temporary walls, frames and other structures.
“We transformed this parking lot into a sort of visual destination that kind of matches the art, if you will,” said Erik Thomas, senior group manager for experiential, sponsorship and multicultural marketing for Hyundai.
As they slowly drive through the route, people will be able to tune into their car radios to hear music that acts as a soundtrack for the exhibit as well as hear information about the artwork, which will include various media such as paintings, sculptures, photography, digital and mixed media.
For Thomas, besides celebrating art, the event can also serve as much needed therapy during these times.
“Those things that allow us to feel like we’re doing the things we would normally do, like appreciating art, just kind of helps,” Thomas said.
If you go
Where: Hollywood Palladium, 6215 Sunset Blvd., Los Angeles.
A 4-acre plot of land that one day will hold 60 townhomes, including nine affordable units, has sold for nearly $10 million in Mission Viejo.
Avison Young completed the $9.936 million deal on behalf of the seller. The broker declined to identify the buyer, other than to say it was “a prominent national builder with a presence in the market.”
That builder plans to develop City Lane Townhomes at 28719 Los Alisos Blvd, which includes 2.75 buildable acres.
City Lane Townhomes is slated to include two- and three-bedroom condominiums. Amenities will include a dining court with barbeque area, table and bar seating, plus a play area.
Avison Young’s Peter Hauser, Alan Pekarcik, Matt Hauser and Chris Smith in the company’s Irvine office represented the seller, MF Mission Viejo LLC, a family partnership on behalf of Ray and Nic DeAngelo.
The Sneaky Feet store in the 3200 block of Eastern Avenue is pictured on Tuesday in Baltimore. The store was looted during Monday’s riots.
The gallery will resume inseconds
Elio Canestri, an up-and-coming French surfer, was attacked and killed by a shark Saturday off the coast of Africa.
Stephanie Garcia, a student at Adult Transition program of the Anaheim Union High School District, smiles as everyone cheers as she hits her last pitch at the 30th annual California State University, Fullerton – Kathleen E. Faley Memorial Special Games in Fullerton on Friday morning.
A small piece of land being used as a temporary homeless shelter in Huntington Beach has been sold to the city to make way for low-income housing.
The 0.78-acre undeveloped site at 17631 Cameron Lane, zoned as a multifamily property, was sold to the city for $2.97 million, according to CBRE.
The property is near the 405 freeway and Huntington Beach Hospital and fronts Beach Boulevard.
CBRE’s Dan Blackwell and George Felix represented the seller, a private investor, and the city.
Irvine project complete
Newport Beach-based H. Hendy Associates, an interior architecture and planning firm, has finished work on a 4,654-square-foot therapy/counseling center in Irvine.
The collaborative care concept by Ethera wants to “transform the experience of mental healthcare through the power of meaningful connection,” according to Hendy.
The new center has 15 counseling and therapy rooms, a lobby and a 918-square-foot coworking hub. Additional spaces include art and family therapy rooms as well as a children’s counseling space and a playroom.
Hendy’s work included designing features that include comfortable furniture, live plants and workspaces oriented along large windows.
The firm also worked with an acoustic specialist to create a sound-masking system that provides the privacy needed for client-patient confidentiality.
Hendy said it worked with Indi Savitala of CSDA Design Group and the interior workspace design was completed by Louise Wade in Laguna Beach.
La Mirada lease
A U.S. branch of a foreign shipping company has leased a 17,888-square-foot industrial building at 16855 Knott Ave. in La Mirada, according to Lee & Associates in Orange.
The firm brokered the lease, which has a total value of $1,067,978.98.
John Son with Lee & Associates represented the lessee, which the brokerage declined to name.
Rexford Industrial Realty has signed a lease with Elbi of America for the entire 64,570-square-foot industrial building at 1210 North Red Gum St. in Anaheim, according to JLL.
Terms of the lease were not disclosed.
Elbi will use the space for manufacturing and distribution of its water storage and treatment systems.
JLL’s Garrett McClelland represented the landlord, Rexford Industrial, in the lease. Elbi was represented by Karl Heim of First Team Commercial.
On the move
Kate Lyle has been promoted to studio manager of industrial cold and food at Ware Malcomb, a design firm based in Irvine. She joined Ware Malcomb in 2019 as a senior project architect, specializing in complex project types including food processing, manufacturing and cold storage.
Michael Hull, vice president and general counsel of Realogy Brokerage Group in Orange County, has been honored with the Chandler Barton Spirit Award, one of Coldwell Banker Real Estate’s 2020 leadership awards.
Chandler Barton Spirit Award honors a professional who exemplifies a “can do” attitude, inspires others to achieve and leaves a lasting impression on the Coldwell Banker brand.
Hull has led the Southern California and Arizona real estate brokerage legal teams for most of his 31‐year career.
Real estate transactions, leases and new projects, industry hires, new ventures and upcoming events are compiled from press releases by contributing writer Karen Levin. Submit items and high-resolution photos via email to Business Editor Samantha Gowen at email@example.com. Please allow at least a week for publication. All items are subject to editing for clarity and length.
Q. We have a 2000 Pontiac Grand Am that my wife uses, but not too often so it sits unused a lot. As the registration was expiring, I took it to a local smog-testing facility. I paid for the renewal and was notified that the engine test had failed. In checking the paperwork from the test station, it said the on-board computer had not completed all of the tests. I was told that vehicles that mostly sit with little driving do not have enough miles to keep the computer completing the tests. The worker informed me that it would need to be driven 50 miles, non-stop with freeway miles, so that the computer could have enough information to allow the tests. Is this normal? Should I just try another test station?
– John Alter, Torrance
A. It is normal – the ol’ Honkster has suffered this fate, too, and you don’t need to go to another test station.
Dave Skaien, the auto repair manager at the Automobile Club of Southern California, said the Grand Am’s “readiness monitors” failed.
Those monitors, he said, help “stop a repair facility from trying to clear the memory, and clear the check-engine light, and get the vehicle to pass a smog test that shouldn’t pass. …
“A lack of use, in and of itself, does not cause the computer to stop completing tests,” Skaien said in an e-mail to Honk. Most likely, the battery lost too much voltage, clearing the on-board computer’s memory.
To re-set the vehicle for the test:
“Over several days, and as partially described by the Grand Am letter writer, the vehicle will need to be driven at approximately 50 mph, steady throttle, not going up or down (a) hill, with the gas tank no more than three-fourth’s full and no less (than) one-fourth full,” Skaien told Honk.
Q. Years ago I contacted the governor’s office (Arnold was governor) to plead with officials to stop producing and requiring front license plates. Many states do not require front plates. Let’s face it, California is a car- and eco-minded culture. The front plates are unsightly and many cars would require new holes in the front bumper. With the cost of producing a front plate being so high, plus the waste of materials – why have one? I don’t have a front plate on any of our three cars and, if cited, I could cable-tie one on, have it written off, and then remove it. How can we get this law changed?
– Dave Wilkinson, Laguna Niguel
A. Hit up a state lawmaker and get him or her to carry a successful bill to change that law.
The California State Legislature is the boss of the Vehicle Code, so if a driving law irks anyone, don’t blame the local cops, the California Highway Patrol or the Department of Motor Vehicles.
“Yes, a member of the legislature would need to introduce a bill containing that statutory change,” said Nicholas Filipas, a spokesman for the DMV up in Sacramento. “It would have to pass both houses and (if required) be signed by the governor.”
To ask Honk questions, reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org. He only answers those that are published. To see Honk online: ocregister.com/tag/honk. Twitter: @OCRegisterHonk
This 218-bed, 1,279-employee non-profit hospital regularly shows up on regional and national rankings for specialty programs that stretch the boundaries of medicine. But under the auspices of CEO Marcia Manker, who oversees both Orange Coast and its sister hospital — MemorialCare Saddleback in Laguna Hills — MemorialCare Orange Coast brings medicine back to its roots.
It regularly invests in community programs that bring transportation to seniors, after-school programs for underserved youth and health screenings for underserved families.
On the medical front, MemorialCare Orange Coast provides innovative specialty programs in such fields as heart and vascular care, cancer, joint replacements, Parkinson’s and movement disorders, spine health, digestive health and surgical weight loss. The facility just expanded and renovated an already-decorated emergency department.
Two areas of prominence include the MemorialCare Breast Center, which opened two new locations in Newport Beach and Huntington Beach. The center’s quality breast care earned accreditation by the National Accreditation Programs for Breast Centers. And MemorialCare’s lung program was designated as a Lung Cancer Screening Center by the American College of Radiology, the Lung Cancer Alliance and a Community Hospital of Excellence by the GO2 Foundation.
Along with that, MemorialCare Orange Coast staked its claim to being one of the region’s innovators in minimally invasive surgical treatments. It is home to Orange County’s only CyberKnife radio surgery system, a process that literally delivers a surgical strike of radiation to tumors anywhere on the body.
Along with 30 more beds (248), the sister hospital to the Fountain Valley MemorialCare offers access to many of the same features: that includes the Heart & Vascular Institute, the Cancer Institute, the Joint Replacement Center and the MemorialCare Breast Center.
MemorialCare Saddleback stands out for its excellence in women’s health issues. Its Women’s Hospital at MemorialCare Saddleback Medical Center introduced the first Labor-Delivery-Recovery-Postpartum suites in California. The center also includes an advanced neo-natal intensive care unit (NICU) with an onsite neonatologist available 24/7 to handle problematic deliveries. Fertility and surrogacy services are also available.
The hospital is also home to the Neuroscience Institute, which treats strokes and other neurological conditions, spine health, neurological rehabilitation and fall prevention and balance.
One of the largest acute care hospitals in Orange County, Hoag is one of the county’s top employers, boasting 5,500 employees. The three-facility hospital network provides 597 beds, spread across its main center in Newport Beach (443), its Irvine satellite (84) and the Hoag Orthopedic Institute (70).
Its employees include a network of more than 1,500 physicians covering 52 different specialties. Hoag specializes in five areas: cancer treatment, heart & vascular, neuroscience, women’s health and orthopedics.
Through a partnership with USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center, Hoag Family Cancer Center brings new treatments and research to treating the disease. Its Jeffrey M. Carlton Heart & Vascular Institute is nationally and internationally accredited, with its thoracic surgeons recognized by the Society of Thoracic Surgeons as being among the top 10% in terms of quality cardiac surgery.
Festival Pass is a newsletter that lands in your inbox weekly. But during prime festival season you get bonus editions, too! Subscribe now.
I’m worried about Simon Le Bon. Not the Duran Duran frontman, but my houseplant (a stunning calathea ornata beauty star I named after the singer) that has spider mites. I’ve mentioned it before, but I’ve gotten REALLY into houseplants during the pandemic. I also name them after rock stars so they have a built-in soundtrack. (Didn’t we all do that elementary school science fair experiment where you played music to plants to help them grow?)
Anyway, Simon has spider mites and they’ve also spread to some of my other calatheas, including Mick (Jagger, a peacock calathea) and Elton (John, a rattlesnake calathea), and I wish I could find some music to keep pests away in addition to the neem oil and misting I’m doing.
I’m planning for the plants to get some more musical diversity when I tune in to some “live” shows this weekend. Both the Ohana Festival and Bonnaroo are streaming some archived sets. I have a feeling that Mick will particularly enjoy the James Brown set.
We’ve got lots of news about streaming shows from a former “American Idol” contestant and a current leader of a popular metal band among other interesting stories to share. Read on.
In our alternate non-COVID universe, this weekend would have been the 2020 Ohana Festival in Dana Point. Since we’re in a much darker timeline where festivals can’t happen, Ohana is going virtual this weekend with archival sets from Eddie Vedder, Incubus and Social Distortion as well as new performances starting Sept. 26. Get the details.
Art in motion
Poetic Kinetics, the art group behind some of Coachella’s most memorable installations (the roving astronaut, caterpillar, butterfly and snail to name a few,) is working on its next project, “Change in the Air” and you can be a part of it. Reporter Richard Guzman explains how.
Sign up for our Festival Pass newsletter. Whether you are a Coachella lifer or prefer to watch from afar, get weekly dispatches during the Southern California music festival season. Subscribe here.
At-home scaresSince Universal Studios Hollywood’s Halloween Horror Nights has been canceled, reporter Kelli Skye Fadroski got the event’s creative director, John Murdy, to share advice on how to scare in quarantine.
Bonnaroo, the big music festival in Tennessee that usually happens in June, is doing its own online fest, dubbed Virtual Roo-Ality, starting Thursday, Sept. 24. Some of the highlights include sets by Beastie Boys from 2009, Metallica from 2008, the White Stripes from 2007 and James Brown from 2003. See the lineup.
Giant on the airwaves
Sameer Gadhia, singer of Irvine-rooted and LA-based alternative rock band Young the Giant, turned to radio to create a place for diverse music. You can hear him on his “Point of Origin” spotlight feature on SiriusXM’s Alt Nation and Pandora. Kelli Skye Fadroski talked to him about that and what Young the Giant is up to during the pandemic.
Slipknot frontman Corey Taylor is going back to the Forum in Inglewood on Oct. 2. The gig with his new solo band is the venue’s first full-production pay-per-view live streaming concert, dubbed Forum or Against ‘Em. Kelli Skye Fadroski talked to Taylor’s team about how this is going to come together.
Jump in the pool
Scarypoolparty, who you might remember as Pomona’s Alejandro Aranda who was the runner-up on the 2019 season of “American Idol,” is doing three livestreamed sets from the Wiltern, beginning Sept. 27. Peter Larsen has the details.
One for the kiddos
Ziggy Marley announced that he’s doing two drive-in shows in Anaheim next month. One will be a kid-friendly matinee and the other will be a more traditional reggae set in the parking lot of City National Grove of Anaheim on Oct. 24. Get the details.
Exhibits at the future National museum of the Surface Navy in San Pedro would include the Navy’s role around the world in humanitarian aid and in protecting international waters for trade. (Courtesy Photo, Pacific Battleship Center)
A rendering of the theater space in the planned National Museum of the Surface Navy on the Battleship USS Iowa in San Pedro. (Courtesy Photo, Pacific Battleship Center)
The gallery will resume inseconds
Humanitarian service provided by the nation’s Surface Navy is among exhibits to be included in a future national museum on the Battleship USS Iowa in San Pedro. (Courtesy Photo, Pacific Battleship Center)
Rendering of what would be the first National Museum of the Surface Navy to be located on the Battleship USS Iowa in San Pedro. (Courtesy Photo, Pacific Battleship Center)
A rendering shows what the planned Museum of the Surface Navy will look like on the second deck of the Battleship USS Iowa Museum. (Courtesy photo)
A rendering shows where the Battleship Iowa will be located at to the SP Slip near San Pedro’s new waterfront redevelopment area. For the ship to move there, it will require dredging. The fishing fleet that now uses the slip would remain and co-exist with the World War II battleship. (Courtesy image, Pacific Battleship Center)
A proposed congressional resolution would, if it becomes law, designate the Battleship USS Iowa Museum, docked in San Pedro, as the national museum of the Surface Navy.
The resolution — which U.S. Rep. Nanette Diaz Barragan, D-San Pedro, and Sen. Diane Feinstein introduced Thursday, Sept. 25 — would make the Iowa the first Surface Navy museum in the nation, a move that has been in planning stages for about two years.
The Surface Navy, said Jonathan Williams, CEO and president of the Pacific Battleship Center, “is basically anything that is gray that floats on the top of the ocean.”
In other words, all the men and women who have served on Navy ships throughout the nation’s history.
“It’s the largest and oldest community of the Navy,” Williams said.
No museum exists that’s dedicated solely to the Surface Navy, he said, adding that much of the aim will be to showcase how the Surface Navy makes it possible to conduct international trade and provides humanitarian relief.
Designating the Iowa as the national museum for the Surface Navy is appropriate, Williams said, as so many ships were built in the Port of Los Angeles, where the Iowa is located, and so many families in San Pedro have Navy ties.
The museum, to be located on a deck of the historic World War II battleship, will cost some $60 million.
The designation through the bill, Williams said, further formalizes what was already an agreement made more than a year ago with the U.S. Navy to support the creation of the museum on the Iowa, which has been a tourist attraction at the Port of Los Angeles since 2012.
“The USS Iowa played a critical role during World War II,” Feinstein said in a written statement, “including carrying President (Franklin) Roosevelt to his meeting with (WInston) Churchill and (Joseph) Stalin and serving as a home away from home for sailors from all 50 states.”
Barragan, in her statement, looked to the past and the future.
“In decades past, the Iowa defended our nation,” Barragan said. “Today, it serves our community here in San Pedro by educating the next generation.”
Plans originally called for the first phase of the new museum to be unveiled in 2023, with a completion date of 2030. Fundraising is ongoing for the museum, Williams said, adding that there’s been strong interest in the project.
“For 244 years, our country’s Surface Navy has protected free trade on the seas, provided humanitarian assistance and promoted international relations,” said Rear Adm. Mike Shatynski, chairman of the board for the Iowa museum.
The new museum, he added, will be the first to exclusively pay tribute to that work.
Sign up for The Localist, our daily email newsletter with handpicked stories relevant to where you live. Subscribe here.
WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump was booed Thursday as he paid respects to late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. He plans to nominate a replacement this weekend for the liberal justice, best known for her advancement of women’s rights.
The president and first lady Melania Trump — both wearing masks — stood silently at the top of the steps of the court and looked down at Ginsburg’s flag-draped coffin, which was surrounded by white flowers. Ginsburg’s death has sparked a controversy over the political balance of the court just weeks before the November presidential election.
Moments after Trump arrived, booing could be heard from spectators about a block away from the court building. They chanted “vote him out” as the president stood near the coffin. Trump walked back into the court as the chants grew louder.
As his motorcade returned to the White House, there were also chants of “Breonna Taylor” from some spectators standing on the sidewalk. Their calls came one day after it was announced that a Kentucky grand jury had brought no charges against Louisville police for her killing during a drug raid connected to a suspect who did not live at Taylor’s home.
White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said people have First Amendment rights, but she found the jeers “an appalling and disrespectful thing to do as the president honored Justice Ginsburg.”
“The chants were appalling but certainly to be expected when you’re in the heart of the swamp,” McEnany said.
Trump acknowledged hearing the chant, but dismissed it as not very strong. “We could hardly hear it from where we were,” he told reporters on the South Lawn later Thursday.
Trump has called Ginsburg an “amazing woman.” Her body will lie in state at the Capitol on Friday, the first time a woman receives that distinction, and only the second time it will be bestowed on a Supreme Court justice. William Howard Taft, who had also served as president, was also recognized in such a manner. The body of Rosa Parks, a private citizen and not a government official, previously has lain in honor at the Capitol.
Ginsburg will be buried alongside her husband, Martin, in a private ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery next week. Martin Ginsburg died in 2010.
Meanwhile, the president is expected to announce his nominee to replace Ginsburg on Saturday. He has said he will select from a list of five women. Republicans are working to move quickly to a confirmation vote, possibly even before the Nov. 3 election.
A steady stream of mourners stood outside the high court Thursday. They packed the streets and hundreds waited in line to pay their respects to Ginsburg. The crowd was hushed and respectful, except for when the president arrived.
Attorney Laura French traveled to Washington from Athens, Georgia, to pay her respects. She said she owes her success to trailblazers like Ginsburg. She also said that GOP senators set precedence four years ago when they refused to meet with potential nominee Merrick Garland, and she questioned whether they now had the right to rush through a nominee. She said it was right for Trump to come pay respects, though she doesn’t agree with him politically.
“He should, he’s the president and she gave her life and service to this country and to these beliefs that are in our Constitution,” French said.
Rocky Twyman, who lives in nearby Rockville, Maryland, said Ginsburg’s death was a great loss for the country.
“She believed in equality for all people,” he said.
He said it was right for Trump to come, but questioned his motives.
“I thought it was good, but a lot of people said it was insincere because he’s going to go around and nominate someone for her seat,” he said.
Ginsburg’s granddaughter has said it was Ginsburg’s wish that a replacement justice be chosen by the winner of the November presidential election.
Associated Press videographer Dan Huff contributed to this report.
First, there was the boredom. It led Derek Castillo to nights putting on his apartment rug, the ubiquitous Netflix keeping him company in the background.
The golf ball would roll back and forth across his rug. Back and forth, forth and back, until even that attempt to sate his golfing jones bored him.
Then, the withdrawals kicked in. The COVID-19 pandemic deprived Castillo not only of his senior season at Cal State Fullerton — where he was en route to putting up one of the program’s greatest seasons — but of his reason for being. For as long as he remembered, Castillo and golf were joined at the psychological hip, conjoined twins that gave him purpose and meaning.
Now, nothing but hours away from his passion stretched indefinitely. Castillo spent the first month-plus of the pandemic adrift — when he wasn’t raging against the gods for taking away his reason for being. When Castillo found out the Titans’ 2020 season was canceled, he first talked to men’s golf coach Jason Drotter, who told him to turn pro. Then, before calling WME Sports agent Davis Holman, he wanted to “punch everything in my hotel room.”
That was, until matters surgically and figuratively removed his conjoined twin.
The surgeons were Castillo and his girlfriend, Victoria Trujillo. The operation wasn’t an easy one, but it helped Castillo.
“I got lazy at the beginning. I was depressed, sad and down. All of it,” Castillo said. “I think this was necessary. I’m a believer in everything happening for a reason. A lot of things came up and I was able to work through them with my girlfriend. It really helped me grow my relationship with her. We spent a lot of time together and growing with her and getting to know her better, getting on each other’s nerves 24/7, I felt like we took a lot of steps in our relationship.
“That was a huge attribution to helping me grow as a person. I realized during this time that golf isn’t everything. It’s not your life. It’s going to be your life, but it’s not your life, if that makes sense. This was a really good time for me to lose my attachment to the game. I needed to understand golf is what I do. It’s not who I am. That’s given me a new appreciation for the game.”
That new appreciation and — better yet — new understanding helped get Castillo through his personal edition of the psychological morass the pandemic inflicted on everyone. The fact his game was in a good place when the world shut down played a part in getting him mentally back on track. The Big West reflected this, naming Castillo its Men’s Golfer of the Month for March, making him the conference’s de facto best golfer for the 2020 season.
This wasn’t a stretch. Castillo won the OC Collegiate Classic at Coto de Caza and the Sacramento State Invitational. He finished top-10 in three other tournaments and finished what season there was with a strong 70.48 scoring average that was trending downward. It’s safe to say Castillo was en route toward becoming one of the program’s best players.
Now, Castillo was professionally adrift. Even when golf courses reopened and he was able to practice, professional tournaments were at a premium. Originally, Castillo planned to go through the Mackenzie Tour’s Qualifying School, the Canadian PGA Tour, and start his professional tour there. But officials canceled Q School and Castillo found himself in professional limbo. There were too many would-be, newly minted professional golfers with no place to ply their trade. No way to make a living.
Once Castillo accepted this instead of blocking it out, he got down to the business of golf business. In June, he found the Golden State Tour’s Sierra Nevada Open in Reno, one of the first mini-tour events returning.
Mini-tour events are tough on fledgling pros, since after ponying up your entry fee, you’re literally playing for your livelihood. But the 15th club in Castillo’s bag has always been the one between his ears. Between his talks with PGA Tour player Ryan Moore when Castillo was at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas and his work with Drotter — a golfing Yoda when it comes to the mental game — Castillo is mentally stronger than most of his contemporaries.
In Reno, he chipped off the rust caked on his game, overcame a three-putt bogey on his first hole in his first tournament in four months and made the cut in his first professional event. He learned this sitting in a Reno hotel with Trujillo, who refused to let Castillo look at his phone. Instead, she told Castillo she’d check for him.
“My first check was for $855. I’ll always remember that number,” he said.
From there, Castillo was off and running — to Texas. He spent two weeks playing various events, two Monday qualifiers for the Korn-Ferry Tour (the PGA Tour’s Triple-A developmental circuit) in San Antonio and another mini-tour event in Victoria, Texas, where he missed the cut by a single shot. A five-hole stretch Castillo played in 4-over sealed his fate there.
Next came a LocaliQ Tour event in Alpharetta, Ga. Castillo’s agent secured him a spot in the event, which doubled as Castillo’s first PGA Tour-sanctioned event. The Tour set up the eight-event Local iQ Tour as an impromptu way to give its adrift pros on the Latinoamerica Tour and Mackenzie Tour places to play. Castillo tied for 57th and earned the princely sum of $613.
He didn’t mind a bit.
“I made the cut in my first PGA Tour-sanctioned event, and that was really cool to me,” he said. “At this point, my game was pretty close to where I wanted it to be. When the college season ended, I was firing on all cylinders. My mental game was sharp and I was in tournament mode. Then, having four months off created the longest I’ve ever gone not being on a golf course.”
Tournament mode continued at the Southern California Open earlier this month. For Castillo, it kicked into another gear where everything came together. The previous months of mental and physical grinding cranked out an opening-round 64, a three-round score of 14-under-par and a tie for third. It also cranked out his largest check to date: $5,350.
“I’m grateful to be playing tournaments, and I’m grateful there are tournaments to play again,” he said. “I’m golfing. That’s my job right now. How bad can it really be?”
Did you know…? That Castillo birdied the final hole of the Southern California Open to beat his former Cal State Fullerton teammate, Garrett Boe, by one shot. “I had to birdie the last hole to beat him and I birdied the last hole to beat him. But it was cool to see how much he had grown as a player and a person.”
He said it: Castillo, telling the story of exactly how he turned pro, during the aftermath of the tournament cancellation in Arizona, “We were at dinner that Saturday night and all we could think is ‘How are they going to cancel golf?’ The next day, our coaches are telling us the tournament might not happen. Then, they had a meeting of all the Big West coaches and our coach told us the season was canceled. I called my agent, he emailed me the contract and I turned pro that afternoon.”