Tuesday, March 01, 2005

The Devil in Anaheim

I need to go on record on the “Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim” debacle. I lived in the OC for three years of my life (before it was called the OC) and would not have survived without the companionship the Angels provided me. So I have a strong opinion on this one.

I don’t care what reasons this creep has for changing the name. I don’t care what it means for owners of the Dodgers or the Angels (it will NOT help TV ratings). All that matters is what he’s doing to the Angels fans, and he’s slapping them right across the face. Hard. I can tell you from personal experience that these are excellent fans, very loyal, and they stuck with the team through a lot of heartbreak before they won the big one. They’ve reached the magic 3 million in attendance. They’ve supported one of the 5 or 6 best franchises in the bigs since 2000. What more can you ask of fans... then this is how you reward them?

Marketing 101

1. If it ain’t broke don’t fix it.
2. Make your customers proud to be customers.
3. Don’t poop on them.

Let me be very clear: THE ANGELS ALREADY HAVE AN EQUAL SHARE OF THE MLB MINDSHARE IN SO CAL. The Dodgers came to Southern California in 1958, and the Angels were right behind, in 1961. The Dodgers were someone else’s team with Hall of Famers everywhere; the Angels were a home-grown expansion team starting at rock bottom. The Dodgers were better until about 1985; since then the Angels have been better overall. Both teams have pennants and titles; both teams have Hall of Famers; both teams have a rich history of marquee players.

The fans in the OC love the Angels because they are their home team. And they love their home. Most of them can’t imagine living anywhere else (ESPECIALLY Los Angeles). For better or for worse, Anaheim is the biggest town and the industrial center of the OC. So the new owner just has to deal with it. This isn’t like throwing a New York team across the river because it’s cheaper (i.e. The New York Giants of New Jersey). Not even close. In fact, this is a great hand to be dealt: the OC is a growing, prosperous, exciting region with it’s own identity, distinct from LA and San Diego. Now more than ever. Have you heard of the Mighty Ducks? They LOVE them here.

I was glad when they changed the team from California to Anaheim – that’s what it should be. On that subject: I don’t mind pro teams that are named after states or regions, as long as there are NO OTHER TEAMS in that state or region. Therefore, Minnesota, Arizona, Colorado, Tennessee, New England, Carolina are OK in my book. California, Florida and Texas are not OK – not when there are other teams in the state. (Golden State: hands down the dumbest name ever.)

My plea to Angels fans: BOYCOTT. Don’t buy the new t-shirts and caps. Start chanting “An-a-heim” at the games. Boo every time the PA guy introduces “Your Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.”

I see the Dodgers have countered with caps that say “The Los Angeles Dodgers of Los Angeles.” I gotta get me one of them.

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