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Name on Items Debated

Angel trial focuses on team merchandise that mentions two cities. Council majority signals no compromise.

January 20, 2006|Bill Shaikin | Times Staff Writer

After an expert witness testified Thursday that Anaheim's name had "virtually disappeared" in connection with the Angels, a team attorney rebutted the claim by displaying merchandise the team has vowed not to sell.

And, although the Angels and the city of Anaheim will discuss settlement of their lawsuit today, three members of the City Council -- a majority -- said they have no intention of approving an agreement in which Los Angeles remains in the team name.

John Thorn, baseball author and historian, testified that, in major league history dating to 1876, no team has used two geographic references in its name. By calling themselves the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, the city charges the team has violated its stadium lease.

After Thorn testified to the virtual elimination of Anaheim in media and merchandising, Angel attorney Todd Theodora showed him a 2006 "Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim" calendar. A small number of items with the names of both cities were available Thursday on the team website.

Owner Arte Moreno says he is marketing "Angels," the halo-topped logo and the color red. In May and again in October, when MLB vendors included "Los Angeles" on merchandise sold at airports and on the team website, spokesman Tim Mead said the club asked MLB to stop selling those items and remove them from the site.

"We do not want 'Los Angeles Angels' or 'Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim' used on merchandise," Mead said in May.

Outside court, Moreno said the promise not to use "Los Angeles" referred to items sold at the stadium store. He said he would not produce any "Los Angeles" items but would not ask MLB to stop selling that calendar and said merchandise produced through MLB could call the team by any name.

"You can call me anything you like, except late for dinner," Moreno said.

Mayor Curt Pringle and council members Richard Chavez, Lorri Galloway and Bob Hernandez attended the trial Thursday. The latter three said nothing so far in the trial has prompted them to consider accepting the Los Angeles name.

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