bLAAh…

Well, it looks like we are going to have to get used to the name “the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.” The state appeals court in 2-1 decision ruled that the team may play under the Los Angeles name thus continuing the confusing regional name of a team which is forty miles south of LA. So, if the Angels win the World Series, the headline will read “The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim win the World Series.” The trial will move forward and will be held in November (Damn, right after the World Series).

In the dissenting opinion, Justice Sills stated that the use of a city name prior to the city of Anaheim is clearly an abuse of discretion [In my personal opinion an affront to a city which provides police, tax breaks, and facility maintenance to the team]. Additionally, Justice Sills mentioned that the city of Anaheim was reduced to “a common hiccup,” no longer mentioned by announcers (such as ESPN and FOX) as it takes too long to say the full team name. He continues by showing that unlike the Twins, who play in the Minneapolis – St. Paul region, Anaheim is no longer a simple ‘berg of Los Angeles. We are two different cities in two different counties with a clear difference in style and culture (If you ever go to a Dodger game and then go to an Angels game it’s like being in two different countries, and I’m sure our fellow bloggers on the LA metroblog would support me on this fact).

When we dive deeper into the appellate courts decision we can find a background history of the name of the Angels on page 2. In the beginning the Angels were called the Los Angeles Angels as they played at Chavez Ravine (and they played along with the O’Malley owned Brooklyn Dodgers of Los Angeles). Geographically the name of the team at the time was wholly appropriate as they played in Los Angeles County and the city limits of Los Angeles.

In 1966, Gene Autry moved the team to Anaheim and changed the name to the California Angels. Not specific to Anaheim, but an agreeable name. Thirty years later Disney purchased majority control of the team and signed an agreement with the City of Anaheim naming them the “Anaheim Angels” (This was also around the time that the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim began playing at the Arrowhead Pond of Anaheim, but that’s a different story for another posts and we have yet to see what the Samulis will do to the current name, but as they have stated “Anaheim will be the only city in the team name”).

So coming off of the facts of the case, let’s dive back into the dispute that has lead us loyal ANAHEIM Angels fans to root for our team at arms length. Section 11(f) of the Disney signed agreement states: “Tenant will change the name of the team to include the name ‘Anaheim’ therein, such change to be effective no later the then start of the 1997 Major League Baseball season.”

Doh! I think I just heard the “thud” of law books dropping out of the City Hall window onto Katella. Would it have hurt the city to include the following: “To include only the city name of ‘Anaheim’ therein…” (Once again, another long legal story between Disney and Anaheim. Page 9, 2 paragraph of the appeals court’s decision)

This is the sticking point, this is the sound of a thousand keyboards typing up a decision which has to determine what acronym is entered in the MLB record books, and additionally, has lead to my confusion when looking at the box scores and having to remember we are the one with the ‘a’ not the one with the ‘d.’

Reading the dissenting opinion, Sills even raises the possibility that the Angels could be called the “Budweiser Angels of Anaheim.” Seeing that Arte Moreno made his money in the billboard business, I’m sure he might be chomping at the bit for this one.

To wrap up my argument, and my rare agreement with Justice Sills, I quote page 4: “Identification with a Major League Baseball Team is most certainly a valuable right…some readers might remember the Jack Binny routine of the 1940’s and 1950’s in which he spoofed the outlying boonie towns of Los Angeles ‘Anaheim, Azusa, and Cuc…a…monga.’ Years later the city of Anaheim paid big bucks to elevate its stature higher then Azusa and Cucamonga elevating the image of the city to something more important then an outlying suburb of Los Angeles.”

Way to go Justice Sills for using the power of Google in a court of law (when he searched for the “Anaheim Mighty Ducks” instead of “The Mighty Ducks of Anaheim”) to prove your ‘Team Name Formula’ theory.

In the words of Justice Sills: “The contract does not permit the oxymoronic inclusion of the name of another city in the team name.”

Put that in your pipe and smoke it, Arte! (Speaking of that, where’s your blockbuster TV deal now that your part of a major market?)

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