Hours before your Anaheim Angels of Anaheim would rally to beat the Philadelphia Phillies at the Big A Wednesday night, dozens of their fans rallied nearby to keep the Major League Baseball franchise in town.
Photographer William Vo, whose images grace this post, estimated the crowd at The Catch restaurant on Katella Avenue in Anaheim numbered about 50 people at first but grew to around 70 by the time the two-hour event ended. They ranged in age from kiddies to old farts, most wore Angels garb and some toted signs with messages like "Keep the Angels in Anaheim," "We Bleed Halo Red" and "Damn the Man."
"The Man" would be Angels owner Arte Moreno, who is said to have entertained proposals to move the team to Tustin, Irvine and the City of Industry–and who has long been rumored to desire somewhere closer to his Arizona base as a final landing spot for the Halos.
The rally was organized by a group called Keep the Angels (www.KeepTheAngels.com). "Keep the Angels is a grassroots coalition of Angels fans, Anaheim residents, taxpayers, and businesses who all share a common goal, keeping the Angels in Anaheim," explained Russell Lahodny of the Anaheim Chamber of Commerce. "We're dedicated to getting the politics out of the negotiations and making sure the voice of the fans is heard."
Lahodny notes the negotiations between the city and the team have stalled–and he made it clear the Keep the Angels troops are directing their fire at both Moreno and the Anaheim City Council. The reason for the chamber's keen involvement is clear: The Angels draw more than 3 million attendees a year that, as Lahodny will tell you, "support thousands of jobs at the stadium and thousands more in local restaurants and other businesses."
Among those who spoke to ralliers were former Angels second baseman Adam Kennedy and TalkRadio 790 KABC personality John Phillips, who graduated from Cal State Fullerton. Anaheim City Council members and other local dignitaries also attended, and some addressed the crowd, although most only mingled among themselves in a VIP area.
For their participation, fans received free t-shirts, and there was a raffle for a luxury suite at an upcoming Angels home game.
In the interest of full disclosure, there is also a grassroots group called Take Back Anaheim that is pressuring the city not to give away the store–and by "store" I mean "too much public property"–to Moreno: