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'Angels' Is Key for Salmon

January 05, 2005|Mike DiGiovanna | Times Staff Writer

The Angels say they plan to sell themselves as the Angels, without reference to Anaheim or Los Angeles, which makes perfect sense to the team's elder statesman.

"Kids don't come up to me and say, 'Do you play for Anaheim?' They say, 'Do you play for the Angels?' " designated hitter Tim Salmon said Tuesday from his Arizona home.

Salmon, the all-time franchise leader in home runs, made his major league debut in 1992, wearing the yellow halo of the California Angels. He has worn the periwinkle blue -- and the World Series champion red -- of the Anaheim Angels, and he has no problem with owner Arte Moreno's decision to rename the team the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.

Although the change is largely unpopular in Orange County, Moreno believes the Los Angeles moniker will broaden the Angels' appeal and help the team attract national revenue.

"From Arte's standpoint, if he feels he can get a better TV contract and put a better product on the field ... as a fan, that's what you'd want, isn't it?" Salmon said. "I've been a California Angel, an Anaheim Angel and now an L.A. Angel, and we're still the Angels. We're still going to the same place to play. It's not like the team has moved to three different places.

"If our fan base was strictly from Anaheim, it would be different, but we're drawing from so many different communities. ... Not to put off Anaheim, but we draw from an area as big as the Dodgers, and Arte wants to market the team to all of those areas.

"We're still the Angels and we play in Anaheim. You're talking about a name, not what you're going to see on the field."

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