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December 31, 2004
Halos, by any other name
The Anaheim Angels name controversy looks to be headed for court. As you'll recall, new owner Arte Moreno wants to attract a broader fan base by renaming the team the Los Angeles Angels, the moniker the team was known by in the early 1960s, when it actually played in Los Angeles. The city of Anaheim says that this would violate the terms of the deal signed back in 1996, when the city chipped in $40 million for stadium renovations, and in exchange the team's then-owners, Disney, agreed to rename the then-California Angels as the Anaheim Angels.
Confused yet? Then hang onto your caps, because the cavalcade of names isn't over yet. Noticing that the team's lease doesn't actually require the name Anaheim Angels, but only says that the team name must "include the name Anaheim therein," Moreno proposed redubbing the team the "Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim." Now you're just being ridiculous, replied city officials - who then charged the team with already being in violation of its lease by removing the name "Anaheim" from the team's uniforms and promotional materials.
"There's been a systematic stripping of the name Anaheim," city attorney Jack White (different Jack White) told the L.A. Times. "We didn't get the benefit of what we paid for." Legal experts don't seem to think the city has much of a case; as one told the Times: "If the city drafted it and didn't put in exactly what they wanted, it's the old slap against the forehead ó oops! Courts usually don't give the benefit of the doubt to whoever drafted it in an ambiguous way."