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Anaheim to Enforce Name Issue

City manager says in memo that team's lease with Angel Stadium requires that it be identified as the 'Anaheim Angels.'

July 08, 2004|Bill Shaikin and Kimi Yoshino | Times Staff Writers

With Angel owner Arte Moreno exploring the possibility of renaming his team the Los Angeles Angels, a majority of the Anaheim City Council indicated Wednesday it would exercise its power to reject any such proposal.

In a memo sent to council members on Tuesday, City Manager Dave Morgan said the city would enforce the Angel Stadium lease, which requires the team to be called the Anaheim Angels. The lease expires in 2029, with a one-time escape clause in 2016.

Mayor Curt Pringle and council members Richard Chavez and Shirley McCracken all expressed opposition to the potential name change. Council members Bob Hernandez and Tom Tait did not return calls.

"I think a lot of this is stirred up because Arte Moreno is aggressive," Pringle said. "He's doing what anybody should do with their business in promoting it aggressively. We as a city applaud the success of the Angels this year, not solely on the field, but also in attendance and advertising and support for the team and outreach. Those are all good things."

The Angels have sold out 27 of 41 home games and are on pace to sell a club-record 3.4 million tickets.

"The community is very supportive, and the last thing they want to do is see the name changed," Chavez said.

Moreno, in his first full year of ownership, sells the Angels as a Southern California team, not an Anaheim team. He says the possible name change might broaden the Angels' reach among fans, advertisers and broadcasters, generating revenue that could help sustain a championship-caliber club. He has discussed that possibility with Commissioner Bud Selig, a high-ranking baseball official said.

"We've had a good relationship with Mr. Moreno," McCracken said. "He's reaching out to the broader community, and we appreciate that. He's aware that this is their home, and I think he's got real support from Anaheim."

It is believed the Angels might take months to decide whether to pursue the name change. Angel President Dennis Kuhl said team officials would not comment.

"I'm more worried about winning baseball games," he said.

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