This Day in Baseball: They Play Where?

On this day in 2005, California Democrat Tom Umberg introduces legislation that would force sports teams to add a disclaimer if they do not play their home games in the location used in the team name. The “Truth in Sports Advertising Act” is a direct swipe at Arte Moreno and the Angels who were in the process of changing their name from the Anaheim Angels to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. Baseball fans obviously know that Umberg’s attempt failed, and poor Anaheim continues to serve as an afterthought to shiny Los Angeles.

I can’t help but think that Umberg was onto something with this act. In my lifetime, the Angels have played under three names. They have been the California Angels (of Angels in the Outfield fame), the Anaheim Angels (loved the hats), and now the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim (quite a mouthful). The franchise originated as the Los Angeles Angels. For those keeping score, that is four name changes in just over 50 years, despite the fact that the team has called the same stadium home since 1966. We should be due for another name change very soon. Perhaps the I-5 Corridor Angels?

I have always found team names to be quite silly when it comes to geography. The Washington Redskins (maybe it’s time for a double name change) play in Maryland. In the end, it all comes down to marketing.  Would you really buy a New York football Giants jersey if it had New Jersey plastered across the front? In the end, these small regional battles are just that, regional. I am sure there are Anaheim residents who feel slighted by the fact that their city was not deemed good enough to stand alone on the team’s marquee. The attempt at legislation was a good one, but ultimately, there are more pressing issues for the government to concern itself with.

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