The Angels' identity crisis

Their stirring triumph over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers of St. Petersburg and Halfway To Disneyworld notwithstanding, it was still another tough season for the Arizona Cardinals of Hell.

On the other hand, despite losing to the St. Louis Rams of Eastern Missouri, the New York Jets of New Jersey are back in the playoffs under the capable leadership of Chad Pennington of the Marshall School of Journalism.

All this, thanks to the latest development in hyperkinetic naming rights, the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. It is an absurd combination of two cities that don't much like each other, in the name of advertising dollars that probably won't even reveal themselves, but it's not like this is an original idea.

Just a stupid one.

Take the Tri-Cities Hawks of old NBA fame. Or the Virginia Squires, who played in four cities and died every time. Or the Carolina Cougars, who tried three and did the same. Or, for you soccer fans, Wimbledon of Milton Keynes, two parts of England joined by a motorway.

Just like Los Angeles and New Orleans are joined by a motorway.

Oh, we could rail against this latest bastardization of the geography department at Fullerton State, but let's be honest. The Angels could have tried to verbally annex Ventura County while they were at it. At least they stopped short of San Clemente.

This is the wave of the future, because it has been the wave of the past.

The Golden State Warriors of Oakland, for example. The Warriors once played in San Francisco, left for more lucrative climes across the Bay Bridge, but haven't been able to get comfortable with a name change in the 30-some-odd years since they moved.

Or the Detroit Pistons of Auburn Hills. Enough said there, we think.

So let's face it. This is where we are -- with teams playing in cities they're almost ashamed of, but not so ashamed that they wouldn't mind mining the vein while there's still ore.

In other words, we give up. Let a thousand locations bloom.

The San Diego Padres of Anaheim, Los Angeles, Tijuana and All The Way To The Arizona Line.

The Chicago White Sox of the South Side, You Wanna Make Something Of It?

The Pittsburgh Penguins of Bankruptcy Court.

The Minnesota Twins of Minneapolis.

The Minnesota Wild of St. Paul.

The Minnesota Vikings of Keeping Their Options Open.

The Los Angeles Lakers of Kobe Bryant.

The Miami Heat of Shaquille O'Neal.

The Charlotte Bobcats of Hoping George Shinn Is Eating His Liver Out in New Orleans.

The Oakland Raiders Always Dreaming of Los Angeles.

The Los Angeles Clippers Who Really Would Be Better Off In Anaheim.

The Baltimore Orioles Resenting The Hell Out Of The Washington Nationals.

The Washington Nationals of Las Vegas, As Fast As We Can Get Them There.

The Montreal Canadiens, Toronto Maple Leafs, Ottawa Senators, Edmonton Oilers, Calgary Flames and Vancouver Canucks of Gary Bettman's Basement Closet.

And finally, the New York Yankees of Everything That Isn't Nailed Down.

T-shirts, caps, stadium blankets and bottled water are all available in the lobby, starting at $49.95. Extra, if you want that water cold.

Ray Ratto is a columnist with the San Francisco Chronicle and a regular contributor to ESPN.com