The Orange County Register's Jonathan Lansner wrote perhaps the best article I have read to date regarding the Angels' battle with the city of Anaheim over the team's name change.
The jury ruled that the contract language clearly spelled out what was acceptable and what was not, and that Arte Moreno's name change, while irksome and silly to some, did not violate the agreement.
So, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim it is. Some will just call them the Los Angeles Angels, some still the Anaheim Angels. And still others will refer to them as the California Angels -- because old habits die hard. But whatever the city name, they're the Angels. They’ll still play their games in Anaheim. And the city had better realize that it's not the team's geographic name that's allegedly hampering the city's tourism marketing efforts, it's the ineptitude on the part of city marketing officials on Anaheim Blvd. And now with the name change legally defined, the city's continued use of "Anaheim Angels" just makes them look petulant.
I'm not saying that the city has to change everything to "Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim" on every press release or poster advertising the wonderful aspects of the city -- a city that has admirably transformed itself into one of the best in the country. The city could instead just change where it talks about the Angels to just say "Angels Baseball" or something like that.
Yes, I am a fan of the Angels. However, I am also a journalist and I work in the communications field. I understand perception, and I understand marketing from the professional side. I also lived in Anaheim for more than 20 years, so I witnessed first-hand the immense changes the city went through.
As I have said before in this space, Anaheim has world-class facilities within its borders, amenities that cities several times larger would kill for. It has incredible weather, two major theme parks that draw tens of millions from all over the world (with a third park on the way), a championship-caliber professional baseball club, a professional hockey team, a world-class sports arena and convention center (that also underwent a major facelift), major facilities by the world's largest aerospace contractor, a business community that is skyrocketing and raising land costs to levels that engorge the city's coffers, and a crime rate that continues to drop.
I was proud to live in Anaheim for all those years. I loved what the city and its business partners had done to continue to foster incredible and successful growth. Those of you reading this who had not witnessed this transformation can't fully appreciate what it was like, but believe me, Anaheim really distinguished itself.
That's why I was so upset at the city's reasoning behind the lawsuit. Anaheim has done so much to make itself attractive to business -- as evidenced by huge (and profitable) new business areas within the city like The Canyon and The Platinum Triangle. So why would it go after a business that in three years' time paid the city $5.4 million in ticket-sale bonuses when the previous owner only mustered up $400,000 in twice the time?
Yes, Anaheim said that they felt the name change violated the lease the team held on the city-owned stadium. But the point the city really hammered home was the fact that they are losing "impressions" by not having Anaheim associated with the team.
Mr. Lansner's column picks that argument apart far better than I can.
The other point -- the newly-found difficulty of the city to market itself with the Angels' "Los Angeles" tag fouling things up -- just doesn't make sense to me. Look at what I said a couple of paragraphs higher. Aren't those very good marketing messages for a city?
As I've said before, Anaheim was missing the forest for the trees on this point. They are a world-class city, one that I was honored to live in. It has so much going for it that even a freshman-level marketing student could create an effective advertising plan.
Move on Anaheim. And, like Lansner said, if Arte ends up moving the team out, think of how much money the city would make by bulldozing the stadium and selling it to developers. I bet no one on the council would weep then.
More Rex and Steve! With the Angels and Fox Sports about to sign a 10-year, $500 million deal to broadcast about 150 games each season, it looks like the Dynamic Duo of Rex Hudler and Steve Physioc will once again grace our airwaves.
What I like about this is that Angel fans will not only get to see the team live every game -- since tickets will again be tough to get -- but the team will also solidify its coverage all over the Southland.
Plus, with Moreno purchasing the large and powerful (in broadcast strength) KMXE 830 AM Spanish radio, and the continued contract with KSPN/ESPN Radio 710 AM, the overall reach of Angels broadcasts will be the widest reaching in the team's history. Not only will it reach households previously untapped, but the advertising revenue will help the team's bottom line even more. Does that mean a Yankee-fied team with loads of pricey free agents? Unlikely, since Moreno and Bill Stoneman know better than that, but it at least means that Stoneman could possibly have some deeper pockets than in years past.
Or maybe it just means even lower beer prices.
Dreaming of Weaver: Apparently, Wednesday is the day of decision for the Angels and Jeff Weaver. Stoneman is hoping for an answer by the day pitchers and catchers report to camp, but we all know how Scott Boras responds to deadlines. However, for every day Weaver remains unemployed that's another day Boras can't cash his commission check. Plus, as Spring Training moves along, it will be harder for a team to incorporate a new pitcher into the routine, so the pressure is squarely on Boras.