While the rest of professional sports wrestles with steroids and Human Growth Hormones, the Southern California sports scene has been stricken with an even larger issue. Three convergent trends merged in recent weeks to create utter chaos in the future of our sports teams’ nomenclature. The battles are heated and promise to grow even hotter as we approach the “dog days of August.”
First, the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim have tanked on the field, are in the cellar and worse, they look simply terrible. Reliable account has it that some Anaheim citizens are preparing a defamation lawsuit seeking to remove Anaheim’s name from such a putrid sports performance as it slurs the city and will cause future economic loss. If they prevail, the team would become simply the “Los Angeles Angels.”
Naming conflicts continue with a second huge linguistic development. Recently, President Bush has called for English to become our nation’s official language and with pro-administration majorities in both houses of Congress, we can reasonably expect to become coercively “Anglicized” in the near future. Henceforth, by federal law the city “Los Angeles” may have to shed its foreign name and be translated to into English, “The Angels.” With the translation of “Los Angeles,” the boys of summer in OC will then become “The Angels Angels of Anaheim.” (This is also bad news for UCLA which becomes UCTA – University of California The Angels.)
Realizing the threat, the Angels baseball team is reportedly reconsidering going back to their previous name, “Anaheim Angels,” even if the city may no longer want them. However, a consultant for the Angels owner has determined that the adjacent exclusive community of Anaheim Hills has median home value 40 percent above that of Anaheim, and that the city was negligent in not adding “Hills” to its name at the time of its founding. “It is no different from ‘Beverly,’” notes the consultant. Accordingly, the team is considering suing the city to force it to annex its neighbor and acquire by merger the “Anaheim Hills” name, or pay the Angels $10 million over the next ten years as compensation for lost cachet due to the city’s founding flubbing of its moniker.
The third major trend is the stunning announcement that Major League Baseball is licensing the names and logos of its teams for use by a casket manufacturer. This is true. Not only does it mean more revenue, but team names and logos will become the gist of six feet under anthropological discoveries a thousand years hence and since sports is all about ego anyway, it is driving current and former professional team city politicians nuts. Seeking “brand immortality,” the Borough of Brooklyn reportedly is reviewing the original incorporation papers of the Dodgers and may file a lawsuit to rename the team the “The Angels Dodgers of Brooklyn.” Likewise, Lake Wobegon’s neighboring city is angling for “The Angels Lakers of Minneapolis,” and you guessed it, San Diego is fishing for revenue stream to help fund all its corruption trials with partial ownership of “The Angels Clippers of San Diego” for the casket “mini-billboards.”
“We are knee deep in name litigation and who knows where it will all end up,” noted a local sports attorney as he was buying a new BMW.