The L.A. Angels? Good Heavens, No!
No, Arte Moreno. For the first time since you came on board with the Anaheim Angels, I have to say no.
Up until this week, I’ve admired every decision you’ve made for our boys. Yes to Vladimir Guerrero (that was an excellent MVP move) and Carlos Beltran (go ahead and spend for another strong player), yes to everything you’ve done to upgrade and beautify Angel Stadium (it’s a pleasure to watch replays on giant, clear video screens and have menu selections other than hot dogs, and there simply is no better fireworks show every Friday night).
But please, don’t change the Anaheim Angels’ name to the Los Angeles Angels.
Not having come from Orange County, perhaps you cannot understand. I was born and raised in Pasadena and grew up pledging allegiance to the Los Angeles Dodgers. It was not until I moved to Orange County years ago that I became aware of the views of our neighbors to the north. To many citizens of Los Angeles, we are the people “behind the orange curtain” -- devoid of culture or history beyond last month. We are nothing but a sea of identical red-tile roofs with postage-stamp backyards and no trees (excess foliage would block an inch or two of ocean view). We are sun-worshipping surf dudes and cosmetic-surgery queens who work out rather than work, and Angelenos scoff at the real estate ads that identify our geographic location as “God’s County.”
Can we blame them? Los Angeles still has interesting, quaint architecture, fine arts and performance art that surpasses our usual fare at the Sawdust Festival or the Performing Arts Center.
We’re not trying to compete. We recognize that we aren’t there by a long shot, nor will we ever be. And we certainly don’t want to take away from Angelenos’ own successful baseball heritage. Los Angeles is the Dodgers. We may steal bases, but we don’t steal names.
And then we won the World Series. In the golden year of 2002, eyes turned to the city whose only claim to fame had been the Magic Kingdom -- “another typical example of the fantasy that pervades life in Orange County,” a friend from Hollywood once scoffed. Suddenly there was cultural achievement, albeit sports culture. But when we pay athletes the same as we would for a Da Vinci, we must acknowledge that sports now falls under our national definition of culture.
What matters is that we finally had something other than fluff and sunscreen to talk about. The world got out the maps and looked us up. Orange County has the Angels.
The point is, Mr. Moreno, Los Angeles already has its team, one that belongs to its own history, an organization of which its fans are proud, as they should be. Los Angeles Angels? That was fine when they were still in Los Angeles. But now it just doesn’t work.
Furthermore, any writer will tell you, the alliterative Anaheim Angels not only makes for a better cheering section, it is also more creative and accurate in telling us who we are.
Please don’t take our team away from us. We would be left with nothing but smogless sunsets, the Matterhorn and a once-successful hockey team. Last, but not least, just suppose for an instant that Anaheim was, in fact, “God’s County.” What could be a better place for a team named the Angels?