In a event that has been brewing for the past couple of months, and that has recieved the blessing of Commissioner Bud Selig, Major League Baseball's Anaheim Angels will now be known as the...
LOS ANGELES ANGELS OF ANAHEIM
Well, that's just crap. But first, a quick guide to Angels history. Gene Autry is awarded a franchise and it's called the Los Angeles Angels. Autry moves team to Anaheim and is called the California Angels. Disney buys controlling interest in team and renames the team, the Anaheim Angels. Disney sells to Arizona businessman (and one-time Diamondbacks minority owner) Arte Moreno. And now he's trying to change the team.... oh wait, he did.
The primary logic behind this is that national advertisers will spend more money on the Angels because they're a "Los Angeles" team and have greater reach throughout the Los Angeles metropolitan area and the 5 counties that are part of it, as opposed to an "Anaheim" which allegedly has a narrow reach solely within Orange County.
Bullocks! When I was growing up, I was an Angels fan in Los Angeles County. And this was when the Dodgers were good and winning the occasional World Series. But I was rooting for the Angels, and they weren't called the Los Angeles Angels then.
Unfortunately, Arte Moreno is trying to make money, and trying to reach out to the national advertisers that don't know anything about the Los Angeles market. They are unaware that people in Riverside and San Bernardino Counties are going to root for the Angels regardless if they are a "Los Angeles" team or not.
Lease on Life
Arte had wanted to rename the team the "L.A. Angels" pretty much since he bought the team, but the 33 year lease Disney signed with the city, that Arte inherited states that the city name must be somewhere in the team name. However, it doesn't explicitly state that the team must be the "Anaheim Angels." It was just assumed that would be the name, because everywhere is the universe, that's the common practice. With Arte tagging "of Anaheim" after "Los Angeles Angels," he believes he isn't breaking the contract. See ya in court!
Obviously, I don't like this one bit, (neither does the city of Anaheim, the city of Los Angeles, nor the Dodgers), but let me offer up 3 problems that this name change will come across.
Ass-Backwards Thinking Problem 1)
What Arte Moreno also wants to do is to tap into the legendary Latino market. Rumor has it that there are a couple of Mexicans somewhere in Los Angeles, and Arte wants them in his back pocket because they'll probably root for a L.A. team, but not an Anaheim team. (Case in point, do people remember when Fernando Venezuela played for the Angels? No.)
That's all fine and dandy, but in the process, he's going to alienate the BMW-driving, Rolex-wearing, season ticket-buying, rich, white crackers of the OC, that have put 3 millions fans in the seats this year. These people take pride in the their Orange County team, and usually don't want to be rooting for a "L.A." squad.
He wants to create a greater advertising opportunity, by featuring a "Los Angeles" team. Ain't going to work, because around the planet, what baseball team owns L.A.? The Dodgers.
Where cities have had two teams, undoubtedly, one team has had a larger marquee over the other. That's just the way it is. Example. Who owns Chicago? The Cubbies. Who owns New York? The Yankees. Even though the White Sox and the Mets have their fans, they just can't compete with the notoriety of their cross-town rivals given to them by the world outside of the South Side and Queens, respectively.
And let's look right in our own back yards. NBA's Los Angeles Lakers and Los Angeles Clippers even share the same building. And while the Clips have their fans, what teams owns this town? The Lakers. (and it's a widely held belief that the Clippers would do substantially better as a team and as a recognizable brand if they moved to Anaheim, but that's another story)
I did like the way Moreno was trying to brand the Angels until now, but this move is contradicting his efforts. I liked it when he was trying to simply have the team be the "Angels." He was trying to build a brand akin to the Lakers, 49ers, and Yankees, who really don't need a city to help identify them. But now, he has two cities to help identify them and that'll just f*ck everybody up, because everyone will bitch and complain about the two cities in the name that the "Angels" will be overshadowed, scuttling all the previous efforts to build "Angels" and "Angels Baseball" as a brand.
Now imagine if this name change sets off a trend. You'd get such winners as:
San Francisco Warriors of Oakland: since they left San Francisco, the NBA Warriors didn't want to been known as the Oakland Warriors, so they came up with the hip moniker of Golden State.
New York Giants of New Jersey: yes they play in a different state, but they are New York's team. Despite the fact the play across the street from the New Jersey Devils and the New Jersey Nets, they still call themselves the NEW YORK Giants.
New York Jets of New Jersey: see above.
Milwaukee Packers of Green Bay: even though Milwaukee is WAAAAY hipper than Green Bay, and easier to find on a map, tradition and pride scuttle potential golden marketing opportunities.
Dallas Rangers of Arlington: when I was young, I didn't know what city Texas played in. And then when I found out, I didn't know where the hell Arlington was. But Texas Rangers does sound way cool.
All in all, this almost make ranks as the dumbest thing ever! Not only in sports, but in all of history.
Well, probably #2. Hitler trying to invade Russia in the winter was REAL dumb.
2 Days Later: It's a Ducks Thing
See, I got it. After mulling about it a couple of days after I wrote the above on a fantasy basketball board, I understand what's going on now. Taking a cue from his neighbors (or neighbours if you're British) across the street, Arte didn't change the name, he simply spiced it up.
His neighbors being of course, the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim. And Arte saw how the marketing worked wonders for the Ducks with the revolutionary idea of (saucy adjective) + (team name) of (city you play in).
So Arte sat and he thought and thought. Hmmm... Mighty Angels of Anaheim? Been done. Hmmm... La Raza Angels of Anaheim? Too ethnic.
Then it hit 'em. In the same vein as Chicago pizza, Coney Island hot dogs, D.C. Cab, San Francisco sourdough, and Vienna sauages, Arte would use a city as his saucy adjective. But what city?
After he rejected Yuma, Needles, and Laughlin, Arte finally settled on Los Angeles. And it makes sense. When one thinks of L.A., what comes to mind?
Chicks with fake tits
Chicks that are really guys, but look prettier than some of the real chicks.
English? Spanish? What is the #1 language here?
So when we say they are the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, they are talking about Angels who are sunny, beachgoing, possibly augmented, blinged out, bilingual moviestars. Who play in, ahem.... Anaheim.
Stay tuned for the Next VII of 2005 to be announce around the New Year.
November 29, 2004
A BLIP ON THE RADAR
An Interlude, If You Will
So, I've done a pretty good job of staying out of sight. Some of it by design, some of it by happenstance. But during the my "stealthy" existence these past couple of weeks, I've discovered that I've been missed. Sorely missed. Refreshing, yet eye-opening. I was unaware I had achieved quasi-cult hero status.
If you'll allow me, I'm going to take a brief interlude from the rundown of the Big July (which in all honesty, should have been fully posted by now) and rattle off a few things that you may, or may not have known about.
NFL Germany, One Step Closer
You'll remember that right here in the April 24, 2004, edition of What's Up!, I talked about NFL Europe and how it was becoming NFL Germany, when it got it 4th German-based team. Well, make that 5. The Scottish Claymores are gone. And say hello to the new Hamburg Sea Devils. (again, the Claymores didn't move. They folded, and Hamburg got an 'expansion' team. Details.)
I just found it humorous because I just talked about it not more than a few months ago. Nonetheless, I did actually a lose money with this bit o' news. After publishing that issue, a friend offered a wager on what the next German city would be to get a team. I bet on Munich. That's actually a safe bet. Home to the '72 Olympics and a couple of Bundesliga teams, but what do I know, they gave a team to Cologne. (btw, the wager was a $1. Big spender.)
Hopefully, my Amsterdam Admirals stick around.
Oh, and don't confuse the Hamburg Sea Devils with the Hamburg Blue Devils, a team that plays in the separate German Football League.
random radio show: The Big Finish
For those that do not know, last Friday, November 26th, was the last broadcast of the random radio show. After almost 3 years of doing radio, I thought I would try my hand at a few other things.
When I announced on the air a month before that I was stepping down and closing up the show (for now), many were disappointed and surprised, especially the crew at KTST, where this announcement came out of the blue.
I did enjoy doing the show and it was loads of fun, but lately, it almost became chore-like, so I figured I'd take a break. Since my production company, World of Demosthenes Productions (why do I have to put my name on everything?) was running the show and I was on great terms with KTST and the American Radio Network, it was easy to pull the plug when the time was right.
I may return to the air one day. And I am helping develop some other programs, and some satellite ideas have been floated my way, so who knows.
But a big, heartfelt thanks goes out to my staff, the KTST crew, and all the listeners who tuned in to hear us ramble. Thank you.
End Breast Cancer
Towards the end of our run on the random radio show, we ran pieces all October about National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. But even though that month is over, the fight against breast cancer continues. (Personally, if there is a cause I'm going to get on the soapbox for, this is it. Demosthenes loves the boobs)
If you're looking for information about breast cancer (the disease, gifts, supporting the hunt for a cure, fundraising), then click to these fine websites. Because the boob you save, may be your own. This goes for the guys too. For every 100 women that contract breast cancer, one man will get the disease.
And the very fledgling Demosthenes Clothing Co. will putting out End Breast Cancer shirts soon. Hey, if P.Diddy can do it...
As you may have noticed, Demosthenes OnLine and the Weekly Goods have been experiencing some neglect. I will hope to remedy that by week's end. Stop with the e-mails already :-) Sometimes I forget I actually have fans. I'm sorry that I've been such a bad, bad webmaster.
That's the update for now. The whirlwind conclusion of the Big July is coming up next time. Thanks for listening.
October 19, 2004
EL JULIO GRANDE: Part 2: Second Wife Jokes Aside...
The Big July rolls on.
July 14: We Going to Utah!!!
We leave for our honeymoon to the veritable wonderland of Utah. Yes, many a weird looks came when I told friends and family that we were going to Utah for our honeymoon, because people usually head to exotic locales such as Hawaii, Tahiti, the Caribbean, Las Vegas, et al. But those places don't have the wonderful National Parks that were the reason for our honeymoon adventure destination. (on this day, we cross through 4 western states. That's a new record for me.)
Leading up to this day, when people would ask, "Where are you going for your honeymoon?" This is the dialogue that usually followed. "Oh, we're going to Zion." "Where's Zion?" With a smirk on my face, "Israel." "You're going to Israel?" It wouldn't be funny if it weren't for the fact that I pulled that joke off 8 times! Go me!
July 15: Zion National Park
We wake up in beautiful Hurricane, UT, about a 1/2 drive from the south entrance to Zion National Park. When we had arrived in Utah the night before, it was dark and we couldn't see anything except the road in front of us. But in the morning, we were delighted to the beautiful landscapes of southwest Utah. The drive to Zion features large mesas, the Virgin River valley, and sharp desert colors.
Springdale, UT, is the town right at the gate of Zion. Pretty, kinda touristy, but since all their hotel rooms were full, we had to stay in Hurricane. I don't mind though, that opening drive was worth it.
As we enter the park, it is reminiscent of Yosemite. Well, Zion Canyon (where all the action is) is reminiscent of Yosemite Valley (again, where all the action is), except Zion featured a more brown, red, and green hue as opposed to Yosemite's gray and green colors.
Zion was one of the first Parks in the country to restrict automobile traffic through it's most visited areas (namely, Zion Canyon) and run a shuttle to the major stops along the Canyon Drive. That made life easier because it didn't require us to hunt for parking at every stop, which we would have had to do, because the Park was busy while we were there. The only downside, you had to pack all your supplies with you instead of operating out of your car. Edge: shuttle
How majestic! Oh, and the park looks good, too.
The first place we visit was the Zion Lodge stop. From there we try one of the Emerald Pool trails, but as we climb father up the Canyon, and farther from the Virgin River, it got hotter exponentially. Temps during our visit hovered around 100 degrees F. We didn't reach our destination, because it was too hot for our liking, and returned to the Lodge. Had lunch and they spent like an hour and half just chilling on lawn in front of the Lodge, along with some other weary travelers. Man, that was uber-relaxing and peaceful. Good times.
We figure we'll try our hand at the legendary Narrows. For those that don't know, the Narrows is where the trail ends at the northern part of the Canyon, and to continue, you have to hike in the river (more on this later). Unfortunately, when we got there, it looked like it was going to rain. The shuttle driver piped up saying that rain passes quickly, usually lasting 10 minutes. With that, we proceed up the trail to the entrance to the Narrows. Why is it called the Narrows, because at parts, the canyon walls are only 8 feet across. With the approaching rain, came thunder and lightning. Nothing reminds you of the divine quite like hearing thunder echoing through sheer rock canyon walls that climb another 1000 feet above you. It could have been miles away, but when it starts bouncing around in their, the thunder almost knocks you down. We get about 300 yards from the shuttle stop, and it starts to rain. We find a tree and chill. 10 minutes pass, it's still raining. People are running past us trying to get back to the shuttle. Thunder strikes again. We, too, decide to head back. We received the flash flooding warning before coming, and figure this could get ugly. We wait at the shuttle stop, and shuttles are coming every 5 minutes. But where were we going to go. The shuttle stop provided adequate shelter. We had lunch. We watched people running to get the on the shuttle. We waited at the stop with about 25 other people. They, too, knew that wherever they were going, it was raining. 1 hour passes.
It was a good stiff rain. Coming down hard and whipped around by the wind created by the canyon. Lightning flashes, thunder strikes. I lean over to Valerie and say, "It's all good until I hear the T-Rex roar." Valerie laughed. So did I, nervously.
Since, the canyon is rock, all this rain doesn't soak into it, it runs off it, creating many waterfalls throughout the canyon. Word comes down that some hikers have been trapped by the flash flood, but rangers are on it. The rain starts to subside, and we decide to finally board the shuttle. As we approach the first stop, Weeping Rock, the shuttle driver points out a beautiful waterfall and says that the largest he's seen all season. Of course, we get off.
Weeping Rock is called that because the water that does enter the cracks in the rocks trickles down and comes out here because it reaches a layer of denser rock. Now that it had freshly rained, it was no longer weeping, it was full-fledged sobbing. This is probably the easiest hike in the entire park. The trail is paved the 1/4 mile from the shuttle stop to the Rock. Also from the balcony that have built into Weeping Rock, you get one of the best views of the Canyon.
After some photo ops, we head down to the shuttle stop. The storm that dampened us earlier was now long gone, but isolated thunderstorms were in the forecast during our entire Utah trip. We return to our car and cruise back to Hurricane. It was an action-packed, fun-filled day in nature.
And this was only day one. We still have two days left.
September 13, 2004
EL JULIO GRANDE: Part 1: Lows & Highs
So what the hell have I been yapping about for the last couple of the months about the Big July? Finally, I'm going to tell you. Pull up a chair, this multi-part series may take a while.
July 1: Dinner at the Sky Room
A wonderful way to kick off the festivities, Valerie & myself enjoyed dinner at a swanky restaurant in Long Beach called the Sky Room. It is atop the Breakers Hotel in downtown Long Beach, and offers a gorgeous 360 view of the city of Long Beach, and the harbor, and the Queen Mary. We dined on Kobe beef and Pepper Crusted Ahi Tuna, and topped it off with a Chocolate Souffle. De-lish. This place is uber-pricey, but you know that Concierge gig I use as a front... it has its perks. Kudos to Marty our waiter, by the way for taking care of us. Visit them at www.theskyroom.com
July 3: My Bachelor Par.... uh, Val's Accident
On the way to my Bachelor Party with my cousins, I get a phone call from Valerie, and it goes a little something like this. "Uh, I don't mean to ruin your evening, but can you come home?" "Why, what's up?" "Nothing." Well, now I know something's wrong.
Valerie, and her best friend Michelle (who's also the Maid of Honor), were going to a movie while I was on my way to commit some debauchery. On the way there, a drunk, uninsured, asshole in an El Camino driving in the other direction, swerved into Valerie's lane and hit her head-on.
Val's Saturn: totaled.
Just one week before the wedding and it could have very well turned into the worst day ever.
Thankfully, and yes, very thankfully, Valerie and Michelle escaped with only some minor injuries, bumps and bruises. I am familiar with Chevy El Caminos. I am familiar with Saturns. In a fight between the two, there is no doubt who the winner and loser will be. That is why afterwards, I called Val and Michelle "lucky." And I proclaimed that compared to what could have been, this was merely an inconvenience. Yes. Merely an inconvenience.
God totally rules!
And as for the drunk guy who hit my wife... well, let's just say that part is "to be continued."
July 10: The Wedding of the Year!
Let's start with the only negative of the day: the florist. The florist showed up at 4:00 pm. Wedding was at 4:30pm. Nice timing guys. As I'm arriving in the limo with my groomsmen, I get a call. It's the church's wedding coordinator. "Hey, the florist isn't here yet." "What do you mean the florist isn't here yet?" "Yup, florist isn't here. Do you have there number?" "Why would I carry the florist's number in my tuxedo?" "Oh." "Let me call 411." So, I climb out of the limo, take a quick scan of the surroundings, and notice a few people have already arrived. Fabulous.
I call to the florist: "Hey, I'm getting married in 30 minutes and you guys aren't here yet." "What? Hold on..... They say that they are there." Curious, I look around again, and the truck rolls in. Double fabulous. So now guests are entering the church while the florists are arranging the flowers. Dumbasses. And then they half-assed our centerpieces at the reception. Again, this was the only negative of the day.
Everything else was perfect. Simply perfect. The start of the ceremony found the church about half-full. By the end of the ceremony, the church was packed.
And Valerie. Absolutely beautiful. The image of her walking down the aisle to me will be forever burned into my memory.
Since this was a traditional Greek wedding, it was a new experience for about half the crowd, because they had never been to one before. Thankfully, Father John, who I affectionately call "the Padre," kept the majority of the service in English, so everyone could follow along.
Reached the reception, and we entered "for the first time in a social setting" to the music Ole by the Bouncing Souls (click to enjoy), much to everyone's delight. My Star Trek uniform got mentioned way too many times during some of the speeches (which is good to know that that's the only dirt they got on me), and then I get handed the mic. I had wanted to make a speech and had tossed around a few things I wanted to say. When I got up, I owned the room. I dropped an oratorical gem that left them wanting more. I made many a new fans that night. After that, throughout the evening, people were asking if I ever thought of doing stand-up and/or acting.
The reception went pretty much as planned. Lots of eating. Lots of drinking. Lots of dancing. Lots of all around merryment. I say again. Except for the one hic-cup, a perfect day from top to bottom.
But, it gets better.
The reception had three hi-larious highlights. Truly unforgettable images that we'll look back at and laugh. Oh, yes, we will laugh.
1) While we were dancing, which Val was hesitant to do, she led and whirled and twirled and impressed many with her Greek dancing. Then she shuffled into the middle of the line... and fell. As we were dancing, she was to my left. I felt a tug on my hand, and as I turned to look, she was on the floor with her legs in the air. Some wedding dresses, not designed for Greek dance. Sadly, no photographic evidence of this.
2) During the cake-cutting, we didn't have any forks handy, so the photographer suggested that we just use the spatula. Ok. As I go to feed Val, I do the whole "here comes the airplane" bit. Then right before the airplane reached the hanger, the cake fell off the spatula and straight down Val's dress. I mean right between the dirty pillows. We all were howling.
3) The bouquet toss. Of course, we can't do anything normal. So all the single eligible ladies gather in the dance floor awaiting Val's bouquet. Valerie preps herself and then chucks the bouquet clear over everyone heads, and the bouquet lands in my Aunt Sophia's lap who was sitting at one of the tables at the farthest edge of the dance floor (and who of course, is already married.) She yells, "I don't want this," and couldn't get rid of the bouquet fast enough.
Before Valerie "tossed" the bouquet
After Valerie launched it across the room
Everyone had a great time, as everybody repeated to us over and over. Good. I'm glad everyone enjoyed the day as much as me and Valerie did. I think the last line of my speech wrapped it up nicely...
"...they say that the best days in life are those spent with friends, family, and loved ones. And today? Today is a great day. Mazoltof!"