Team wants to change name to L.A. Angels

Updated: November 12, 2004, 9:20 PM ET
Associated Press

ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Angels president Dennis Kuhl met with Anaheim officials Friday -- three days after they threatened to sue the team over a possible name change.

Although the Angels haven't directly commented on a change, it's been rumored for several months the team wants to change its name from the Anaheim Angels to the Los Angeles Angels.

The team issued a statement from Kuhl following Friday's meeting, which didn't directly address the issue of a name change.

But the city issued a statement of its own saying the possibility of the team changing its name was included in the discussions.

And that, the city said, "would constitute a direct violation of the Angels' lease agreement with the city."

"Anaheim Angels management remains unwilling to publicly clarify their position regarding their interest in changing the name of the team and has not committed to honoring the terms of their lease with the city," the statement added.

The City Council voted unanimously earlier this week to sue the Angels immediately if the team changed its name and to consider suing them even if it doesn't.

The council will meet again Tuesday "to explore all of the options available to them," according to Friday's statement.

Kuhl said the parties met "to discuss a variety of issues."

"I told them that we are exploring concepts of economic growth opportunities, which do not force our fans to bear the burden of our payroll," Kuhl said. "Large-market franchises have a corporate appeal that can create advertising revenues, which allow an organization to field a high payroll."

Kuhl said the Angels ranked third in payroll while maintaining the 23rd-lowest average ticket price out of baseball's 30 teams this season.

The Angels had an Opening Day payroll of $101,084,667 -- higher than every team but the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox. Their Opening Day payroll in 2003 was $79,031,667.

"The Angels televised (159) of our games in 2004, yet we still finished in the bottom half of broadcast revenues," Kuhl said. "We are all interested in the long-term economic health of this club in our efforts to field a perennial contender and maintain ticket affordability for our loyal fans."

The Angels drew 3,375,677 last season -- the third-highest total in baseball behind the Yankees and Dodgers.

The franchise began play as the Los Angeles Angels in 1961. It became the California Angels upon moving to Anaheim in 1966 and has been the Anaheim Angels since 1997, after negotiating a 30-year lease with that city.

The possibility of a name change was first reported in July. Last weekend, the Los Angeles Times quoted an unidentified high-ranking baseball official as saying commissioner Bud Selig had given permission to Angels owner Arte Moreno to rename the team.

Meanwhile, Los Angeles City Council president Alex Padilla and councilman Ed Reyes introduced a resolution Friday expressing opposition to a name change.

"This idea is a wild pitch," Padilla said in a press release. "There is only one major-league baseball team in the city of Los Angeles, and that is the Los Angeles Dodgers. It is wrong for the Angels to seek to capitalize on Los Angeles' prestige and status by exploiting our good name. Last time I checked, the Angels do not contribute in any way to our city's coffers."

The motion expressing opposition to a possible name change will be voted on by the full 15-member council next Wednesday.


Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press

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