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Angels Thrown for a Los

Times Staff Writer

Telling the world you have a new name does not compel the world to listen, at least not for the Angels.

The Anaheim Angels announced 10 days ago they would henceforth be known as the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim -- Los Angeles for short, L.A. in abbreviations. Yet news organizations have so far shunned the new name, and even the in-house website of Major League Baseball appears to be hedging its bets.

In the mlb.com menu of teams, “Anaheim” has been replaced by “Angels,” not “Los Angeles.” And, despite the Angels’ e-mail request that “when scheduling, please use LA in place of any ANA,” mlb.com continues to use “ANA” on the schedules of all Angel opponents.

The city of Anaheim has sued the Angels, charging that the name change violates the stadium lease. In a court hearing Jan. 21, the city will seek a preliminary injunction, which would prevent the Angels from using the new name pending a trial.

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The court case has not stopped mlb.com from using “Los Angeles” or “LA,” Angel spokesman Tim Mead said.

“We will work with Major League Baseball on changes across the board,” he said.

But the lawsuit is a factor in the Angels’ remaining “Anaheim” in the ESPN sports empire that includes television, radio and the Internet. With the matter in litigation, ESPN continues to call the team the Anaheim Angels.

Associated Press, which delivers daily standings and box scores to newspapers around the world, has made no decision, sports editor Terry Taylor said.

“I’m going to sit this one out until the start of spring training and hope it resolves itself,” she said. “If not, we’ll have to do something.”

As a general rule, AP calls teams by whatever name they prefer, even if the Dallas Cowboys play in Irving, Texas, and the Detroit Pistons in Auburn Hills, Mich. The Angel problem, she said, was whether to use Los Angeles to identify a team that generates game stories with the dateline “ANAHEIM, Calif."--and still includes Anaheim in its name.

News outlets do not always use the name preferred by a team, as USC officials have learned. For more than a decade, USC has tried to wipe out national references to “Southern Cal,” with notices in media guides blessing the use of USC, Southern California, Troy or Trojans, but saying Southern Cal “is like calling San Francisco ‘Frisco’ or North Carolina ‘North Car.’ ”

“It’s a challenge to educate people as to what we would prefer,” said Tim Tessalone, USC sports information director. “We ask people politely. Some do. Some don’t. It doesn’t happen overnight.”

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Fans, of course, are not subject to the wishes of the team, and old habits die hard.

There could be no better example than during the proudest moment in Angel history. The Angels changed their name from Los Angeles to California in 1966, then from California to Anaheim in 1997.

But on the victory stand after the Angels had won their first and only World Series title in 2002, before a sellout crowd and a national television audience, former co-owner Jackie Autry accepted congratulations on behalf of “the California Angels.”


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