Baseball Teams Are Named Inaccurately [Part one]

Baseball Teams Are Named Inaccurately

National League1

An example:

Arizona DiamondbacksFINE – This name is perfectly acceptable. First off, it is location-appropriate. Arizona is a giant desert, and deserts are full of deadly snakes– such as Diamond-Backed Rattling Snakes! Secondly, it is team-appropriate. Not necessarily in regards to the character of the specific team– Arizona’s 2009 club is more cubic zirconium than diamond-backed– but to the aims of a team name in general. You want something unique, something associated with the region and/or something intimidating that isn’t completely irrelevant. The Arizona Diamondbacks have both.
            Mascot: Whatever it is now. I think a video screen that plays that scene from Raiders of the Lost Ark in which Indiana Jones doesn’t like snakes. Or a dude in shorts and a t-shirt carrying a bucket full of snakes. Diamond-backed Rattling Snakes.


The Boring League East:

Atlanta BravesUNACCEPTABLE – The people of the Peach State are known neither for their heroism nor the size of their American Indian population. And while I enjoy a good minstrel show as much as the next person,2 there’s something distinctly unappealing about a bunch of white folks emulating our most-feared and hated foes.3 A more relevant alternative? Well I hear Martin Luther King used to hang out in Atlanta a bunch, and visibly liking him is a great way to prove you’re not racist. Better late than never, right?4 I dub thee the Atlanta Kings.

            Mascot: The obvious answer would be a dude in a plush MLK suit. But, given how much ad-time Burger King has purchased on Adult Swim, I’m pretty sure Turner owes them one. So let’s split the difference and say a guy in a “The King” outfit, except he is wearing a plasticine Martin Luther King Jr. mask. Perfection.

Florida MarlinsFINE – The 199(6) expansion goes two-for-two as this coastal ‘big game’ fish is a passable representative of our most peninsular state. Not intimidating in any conceivable way, it does, at least, have a sword for a nose, which is cool, and awesome. Also: turquoise!


New York MetsUNACCEPTABLE – So you’ve decided to name your team after the idea of an extremely large city (or collection of cities + suburbs). Convenient, seeing as you are just such a city. It’s an ok play, if not a little pork-handed5— faced with competing with a much beloved older sibling, the much bemoaned younger sibling names itself after itsparentself. Ok, so the analogy got a bit baloney-mitts’d, the point is: naming your team, directly or indirectly, after your city itself = tacky. So whither the Mets? I say the adopted birthplace of Hillary Clinton is the perfect place to take on the phallocentric and male chauvinist world of sports appellations. The New York Queens or, if I may bend my own rules a bit for all the lovely ladies of Flushing, the Queens Queens.

           Mascot: A plasticene Fran Drescher. So… Fran Drescher.

Philadelphia PhilliesWE CAN DO BETTER – Really? The Philadelphia Phillies? What is that short for– the Philadelphia Philadelphians? Didn’t I just get through explaining this to the Mets and then, subsequently, completely reneging on what I said? Don’t name yourself after yourself? At least they had the lack of creativity to abstract it a layer or two. Jeez, Philadelphia. What kind of sick combination of narcissism and low self-esteem leads you to name a team after yourself just so you can huck batteries at it? What are you– me?

           If Philadelphia is going to insist on it, a much better way to name themselves after themselves would be to (at least) tap into that etymology of theirs and jazz it up a bit. The Philadelphia Lovin’ Brothers is a ‘fun’ play on the fact that Philadelphia fans are inhuman monsters– it’s upbeat, hopeful, charming– everything the Philadelphia fan is absolutely not. Plus: it plays up the city’s recent push in marketing itself to homosexuals. A win all around.
           Mascot: A reconciled, plush suit Cain and Abel. Abel featuring an x-shaped bandage on his forehead, black eye; Cain’s mouth in a repentant demi-smile. The two, in logos, depicted shaking hands.

Washington NationalsUNACCEPTABLE – Abstraction is not acceptable; this is not soccer. Your team cannot be named ‘A Concept’. Concrete, physical, intimidating, and dick-shaped: the Washington (Washington!) Monument is everything a good team name should be. And sure, it’s probably marble, but– still!– the Washington Obelisks would be an awesome name. Also, it’s Mascot: would loom over all opponents, causing geniticular dismay in even the girthiest of opponents.






1The league names are also wrong. Not factually– the national league does have teams spanning the nation, the American League’s teams are all at least in North America, if not necessarily the United States of– but insofar as they are non-specific, fail to differentiate. Baseball enthusiasts affectionately refer to the two leagues as the Junior Circuit (AL) and Senior Circuit (NL), reflecting the fact that the American League is only 108 years old to the National League’s 133, but that is far too precious, and nerdy, and slight a distinction to rely on for an official title. Instead let’s call them the Boring League (NL) and the Not As Boring League (AL), as in regards to the fact that one league makes you deal with double-switches, and pitcher strategy, and a rally-killing 9th line-up slot, while the other does away with that nonsense and, instead, gorilla glues a bat into the hands of some borderline-obese, semi-crippled, rapidly-aging three-outcomes guy with biceps the size (in inches) of his age (ideally 35-38) and lets him swing-and-take away. Sure, there may, as a result, be way fewer guys ‘running’ the bases in windbreakers; but that’s more than made up for in 3-RBI singles.

In conclusion: this isn’t soccer; running is a punishment for leaving the ball in play.

2“Not very much”

3Circa 1818./Went the other way with it!

4I’m looking at you, Arizona (you’re lucky that the Diamondbacks is pretty much a perfect name)

5Like ham-fisted but milder, less so.


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