L.A. Angels of Anaheim (ESPN - AP)
Baseball's Angels have a new name, and it's a mouthful: The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. The switch, which will be challenged in court by the city of Anaheim, is intended to help the team market itself to more of Southern California, attract more advertising sponsors and broadcast revenue, the team said Monday. "We believe that the appeal in the marketplace will be broader," Angels spokesman Tim Mead said.
The city of Anaheim will file a lawsuit to block the name change and hopes to obtain a temporary restraining order in place this week, city spokesman John Nicoletti said. Anaheim officials believe the change violates the terms of the team's 33-year lease with the city. "It's geographically confusing and absurd," Nicoletti said. "No other professional sports franchise that I know of has two different cities in its names."
When the franchise began in 1961, owned by singing cowboy Gene Autry, it was the Los Angeles Angels. The team became the California Angels when it moved to Anaheim in 1966. In 1997, when the team was controlled by The Walt Disney Co., the franchise was renamed the Anaheim Angels. Arte Moreno bought the team in 2003, one year after it won the World Series, and he wanted to change the name.
I must concur with Nicoletti. Not only is the name simply absurd, it rather clearly violates at least the spirit of the lease agreement. Presumably, "of Anaheim" isn't going to be in large letters on the front of the road jerseys.
Ray Ratto has an amusing perspective on this move: The Angels' Identity Crisis
Their stirring triumph over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers of St. Petersburg and Halfway To Disneyworld notwithstanding, it was still another tough season for the Arizona Cardinals of Hell. On the other hand, despite losing to the St. Louis Rams of Eastern Missouri, the New York Jets of New Jersey are back in the playoffs under the capable leadership of Chad Pennington of the Marshall School of Journalism. All this, thanks to the latest development in hyperkinetic naming rights, the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. It is an absurd combination of two cities that don't much like each other, in the name of advertising dollars that probably won't even reveal themselves, but it's not like this is an original idea. Just a stupid one.
Take the Tri-Cities Hawks of old NBA fame. Or the Virginia Squires, who played in four cities and died every time. Or the Carolina Cougars, who tried three and did the same. Or, for you soccer fans, Wimbledon of Milton Keynes, two parts of England joined by a motorway. Just like Los Angeles and New Orleans are joined by a motorway.
Oh, we could rail against this latest bastardization of the geography department at Fullerton State, but let's be honest. The Angels could have tried to verbally annex Ventura County while they were at it. At least they stopped short of San Clemente. This is the wave of the future, because it has been the wave of the past. The Golden State Warriors of Oakland, for example. The Warriors once played in San Francisco, left for more lucrative climes across the Bay Bridge, but haven't been able to get comfortable with a name change in the 30-some-odd years since they moved. Or the Detroit Pistons of Auburn Hills. Enough said there, we think.
So let's face it. This is where we are -- with teams playing in cities they're almost ashamed of, but not so ashamed that they wouldn't mind mining the vein while there's still ore. In other words, we give up. Let a thousand locations bloom.
The Dallas Cowboys don't play in Dallas and the Washington Redskins don't play in D.C., either, for that matter.