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On the day the Anaheim City Council is expected to approve a deal that would keep the Los Angeles Angels in Anaheim for decades to come, the Dodgers would like to remind you that they are the Los Angeles Dodgers of Los Angeles.
On the Dodgers’ website, the schedule pages feature the words “Los Angeles Dodgers of Los Angeles” at the bottom of each page. In the official online shop of Major League Baseball, you can buy a blue T-shirt that reads the “The Los Angeles Dodgers of Los Angeles.”
As it turns out, this is not about the Dodgers tweaking the Angels.
It was in 2005 when Angels owner Arte Moreno changed his team’s name from the Anaheim Angels to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, the last two words to comply with a stadium lease that required the team name to “include the name Anaheim therein.” Frank McCourt, then the Dodgers’ owner, complained to Bud Selig, then the commissioner, who told McCourt he was not sure the name change would help the Angels but did not see how it could hurt the Dodgers.
In a lighter form of protest, McCourt then started selling “Los Angeles Dodgers of Los Angeles” merchandise. The Dodgers also secured the trademark to the phrase “Los Angeles Dodgers of Los Angeles.”
Federal law includes a “use it or lose it” provision for trademarks. So, rather than the Dodgers intending to stir up a rivalry by using the phrase anew, the league’s trademark lawyers directed a limited use of the phrase now, so the Dodgers would not risk losing their trademark.
The Angels since have dropped the “of Anaheim” suffix. As the team and city negotiated the deal up for approval on Friday, the team made clear that returning to the Anaheim Angels name was a non-starter, and the city decided to prioritize the benefits of securing the team in town and making millions from selling the land to Moreno’s company and additional millions in taxes from eventual development around the ballpark.
The team played under the Anaheim name for eight seasons, including 2002, when the Angels won their only World Series championship. The team also has played in Anaheim under the California name for 31 seasons and under the Los Angeles name for 15 seasons.
If you’re interested in one of those “Los Angeles Dodgers of Los Angeles” T-shirts, hurry: the listed price is $29.99, but the discounted holiday price Friday morning was $17.99. And, because this sale is a modest one to comply with trademark law, quantities are limited.