Anaheim mayor testifies about Angels' name change

Updated: February 2, 2006, 3:51 PM ET
Associated Press

SANTA ANA, Calif. -- The mayor of the city of Anaheim said when he returned from a long New Year's Day weekend last year he was shocked to learn that Angels owner Arte Moreno had changed the team's name.

Mayor Curt Pringle said he had a friendly discussion with Moreno five days before, at which both men agreed they would continue to discuss a possible name change. Nothing was finalized at that meeting, Pringle testified Wednesday.

"It was a punch in the stomach," he said.

The city filed suit against the Angels in January 2005, shortly after Moreno changed the team's name from the Anaheim Angels to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. The city alleges that the team breached its stadium lease contract by changing the name -- an act that cost Anaheim at least $100 million in lost publicity and tourism.

The city also argues that Moreno ordered his staff to begin removing the word "Anaheim" from all team merchandise and advertising as early as 2003.

Pringle was the last witness for the city in the trial that started nearly a month ago.

Attorneys for the team began their defense with testimony from Tim Mead, the team's vice president of communications.

Mead had about 12 binders containing roughly 2,000 articles with references to "Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim." Google and Yahoo searches over two days came up with about 1.5 million references, he said.

"Anaheim is mentioned consistently throughout a lot of different topics, different Internet sites," Mead testified.

The trial could go to the jury by late next week, attorneys have said.

Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press