Tuesday, September 3, 2013

By Jessica Melendez, AngelsWin.com Feature Writer - 

What's in a name? That which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet;
So Romeo would, were he not Romeo call'd,
Retain that dear perfection which he owes
Without that title

- Juliet, Romeo & Juliet

Naming things is hard; whether it’s babies, or pets, or baseball teams.  This is because names, no matter what Juliet says, mean something.  Yes, I’m saying Shakespeare was wrong.  Would Romeo have been quite as attractive if his name was Barry Dungworth?  I think not.

This week the big Angels news hitting the internet was about the upcoming Anaheim City Council vote on the Angels stadium lease.  Bill Shaikin reported on Twitter that: Under new #Angels stadium lease, team could call itself whatever it wants. No more "of Anaheim" in "Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim."

It was as if millions of Angels fans suddenly cried out in terror and were suddenly silenced.*

There are a lot of strong feelings about the place name attached to the Angels.  I think most people agree that the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim is pretty much a dumb name...cause you know, geography, and facts, and stuff.  It looks silly, it sounds silly, and it opens up us to ridicule.  My own mother, for example, delights in referring to the team as the Los Angeles California Anaheim Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.  It’s long, but at least it’s historically accurate.

Here’s the thing: No matter what place name the team attaches to itself not everyone is going to be happy.  However, we can look at the pros and cons of each, argue amongst ourselves all while resting in the supremely comforting knowledge that what we think doesn’t matter a damn bit and Arte will do whatever the hell he wants.  

First, the good news!  Place name aside, we have one of the best team names in baseball! Everyone just take a pause—inhale, exhale—revel in the awesomeness that is our team name! The Angels! How fabulous is that?  How awesome is our A?  We could be the Athletics for goodness sake...or the Dodgers! WHAT ARE THEY DODGING?**  Does anyone else feel like speaking in a Dickensian accent and picking pockets?

Which brings me to the perfect solution for this whole debacle.  Perfect, that is, in a perfect world in which MLB didn’t routinely make sucky rules.


Drop the place name. Be the Angels. If Madonna can get away with only one name, so can we.  The place name has already been dropped from jerseys and quite a bit of merchandise.  This would be the perfect solution...except for MLB not letting it happen.  (I am told this is a rule. I cannot actually find anywhere that actually cites this rule.  Please let me know if it isn't actually a rule because...problem solved!)

By the way, in case you missed it, our own founder of AngelsWin.com, Chuck Richter, had his take heard live on the radio on the popular LA news station AM KNX 1070 and then later on by an AP reporter back in 2005-2006, that ultimately made its way to ESPN. You can read that here:

The Los Angeles Angels

I hate to break it to you guys, but this is probably going to happen.***  I know a lot of people hate this idea with the fiery passion of a thousand burning suns.  I’m not here to defend it, just to point out that while it is geographically a little sketchy, historically the team has been called this before. 

In fact, as the original sports team in Los Angeles (suck it, snarky Dodger fans) beginning in 1892, and then again as part of the Pacific Coast League starting in 1903, and then Mr. Autry bought the rights to the franchise name in 1961 when he established the Angels as a new MLB franchise.  That’s right, he paid $350,000 for the name, guys. It’s ours. We bought it.  

I’m not saying we have to use it, just that all this nonsense about the name being misleading is...Okay, fine it’s misleading.  I’m making a distinction between geography and history here.  And one could always argue the “greater Los Angeles basin region” as opposed to the “City of Los Angeles.”  Am I saying I want this to be the team name?  No.  Am I saying this probably is going to be the team name? Yes. Especially with the most recent news of the City of Anaheim extending the lease and dropping the "of Anaheim" off the name as part of the deal. 

California Angels

In my opinion, this name has the strongest case for being the name of the team based purely on the amount of time the Angels spent in MLB as the California Angels.  32 years.  From 1965 when the team changed from the Los Angeles Angels in anticipation of their move to Anaheim, through 1997 when Anaheim contractually required that the Angels change their name in return for stadium renovations.  

Speaking from a purely graphic design based perspective, I think more awesome logos can be created from the CA mix than the AA mix...it’s really hard to make two As next to each other look sexy.  These are the facts.  I don’t make ‘em, I just report ‘em.

Anaheim Angels

As discussed above, the team changed their name yet again in 1997 to the Anaheim Angels because Anaheim basically paid them to do it.  I know this is a fan favorite.  If you had a gun to my head and made me pick one name, I’d probably pick this (with CA Angels a close second).  

What does it have going for it?  Alliteration.  Never underestimate the power of alliteration. And the stadium is called Angel Stadium...and there’s, you know, a BIG A outside with a halo on it.  It’s all the As...all the time!  Also? The stadium is in Anaheim so geographically it makes sense.  Do I think the logos with two As are fab? No, I do not (see above).  Arte has already snuck his way around this with the new logo (which I love), so in theory you could go back to being the Anaheim Angels and stick with the same logo and everyone is happy.  

Everyone, that is, except Arte.  What does he have against Anaheim? People say it’s marketing...possibly, but it can’t be easy to market a team that’s always changing its name, why not stick with one?  

Why are fans so into it?  Hometown pride, LA/OC rivalry, winning the series with this name...probably all of the above.  It does behoove us to remember that the most universally hated team logo was an Anaheim Angels logo.  But I know we are all trying to forget about it. (I do, however have several yards of fabric with that logo on it, so if for some reason you’re one of the two people who are huge fans, hit me up, I’ve got you covered.)

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim

Then there’s this.  Um, the positives of our current name are...well, the Anaheim is still in it.  That’s something even if it results in an odd name.  I’m pretty certain this name is universally disliked.  Could it be worse? Yes.  I’m sure somehow it could be.  I made the historical argument for the Los Angeles name above, so you could say this name is like the historical/geographical name.  Yes, we are the Los Angeles Angels...originally...and we are now from Anaheim!  It’s kind of like hyphenating your maiden and married names.  Or something.

The good news is we are likely not keeping this name now that there will be a new stadium contract.  The bad news is we are probably going to be the Los Angeles Angels once again and there ain't much we can do about it!

Something Completely Different

If we can’t just be the Angels, and we can’t agree on one of the previously used place names, why not come up with something completely new?  We could be the Southern California Angels, or the Orange County Angels, or That Team Located Where a Lot of Freeways All Come Together Angels.  The possibilities are endless.  Okay, I’m lying, they’re actually quite finite, but there must be more than what we’re currently working with.

And maybe Shakespeare was right after all.  The Angels will be the Angels no matter which city or state name is in front of (or behind) their name.

But it is fun to argue amongst ourselves, so if you had to pick one, which would it be and why? 

* Thank you, Obi-wan Kenobi, you are indeed our only hope
** Trolleys. I do actually get it. Made more sense in NY, guys, not as much in LA.
*** And the award for most obvious statement goes to me!
Love to hear what you think!

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