Friday, February 10, 2006

There's Still Only One Baseball Team in Los Angeles

Due to Little League duties, my husband has recently had occasion to talk with the nice folks in the Anaheim Angels ground crew department.

We were all rather amused when we received a call from their field maintenance department and the gentleman introduced himself as being from "the Anaheim mean the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim." We wondered how many times a week Angels staffers find themselves stumbling over that!

I've been following the trial coverage fairly closely and frankly am quite surprised the jury came to the decision that Angels owner Arte Moreno did not violate his contract with the City of Anaheim when he renamed the team. The jurors were instructed: "You must decide what the parties intended at the time the contract was created. You may consider the usual and ordinary meaning of the language used in the contract as well as the circumstances surrounding the making of the contract."

Based on the testimony of key players such as Disney's Tony Tavares, who no longer has "a dog in the hunt," I'm quite surprised the jury came to the conclusion it did. Jurors are bound by law to follow the judge's instructions, whether or not they agree with them, but although the instructions said the jury "must decide what the parties intended," the Register's Frank Mickadeit writes that one juror said, "Most of the other jurors just didn't want to talk much about intent."

Though I'm first and foremost a Dodgers fan, I'm also a longtime Angels fan -- the more so since a favorite former Dodger is the Angels manager. And until he gave his team the absurd new name "Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim," I was very admiring of the positive changes Arte Moreno brought to the Angels when he bought the team from Disney.

Moreno's decision to name his team after two cities, when the Angels only play in one, is now legally sanctioned by a jury. In my personal opinion, however, the jury can't change the sad fact that in this matter Moreno has been tacky, at best, and unethical, at worst.


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