Judge refuses, for now, to block Anaheim Angels' name change

Friday, January 7th 2005, 3:04 pm
By: News On 6

SANTA ANA, Calif. (AP) _ The city of Anaheim lost the first round Friday in its bid to stop baseball's Anaheim Angels from adding ``Los Angeles'' to their name.

Superior Court Judge Peter Polos refused to issue a temporary restraining order against the team, which announced earlier this week that it would change its name to the ``Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.''

A hearing on a request for an injunction against the team is scheduled for Jan. 21.

``This is the first inning of a very long game,'' city spokesman John Nicoletti said. ``We're encouraged by the fact that the judge does want to hear the case and scheduled a hearing so quickly.''

The city, situated 36 miles southeast of Los Angeles, sued the Angels on Wednesday, claiming the new name violates a stadium lease agreement that has given the team nearly $30 million in public money to renovate its ballpark.

The city _ home to Disneyland _ contends the name change hurts Anaheim's ability to market itself as a tourist destination.

The Angels said the name change is intended to attract more fans and advertisers, and eventually more lucrative broadcast contracts, by emphasizing the team's connection to the nation's second-largest media market.

Club officials have said they believe the name change is legal and is necessary to generate more revenue for a team with the third-highest payroll in baseball.