Death To Copy-Pasted Minor League Team Names

There is something that annoys me in Minor League baseball. And that thing is minor league teams that just copy what their parent club’s name is. It is, in a way, almost insulting to the city that hosts the team plays in, making it impossible for that team to truly build a unique identity. To be sure, there are exceptions- the Pawtucket Red Sox have been around since the 70s and it seems inconceivable to think of them as anything else- but in general, they are generic names that make it impossible for the team to truly represent the town it plays out of.

So, today, I declare war on most of the Copy-Pasted Minor League Team Names…. after the jump:

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(Blogathon ’16) Dan Weigel: Ranking the 15 most entertaining European baseball team names

This guest-post is part of the 2016 Baseball Continuum Blogathon For Charity, benefiting the Roswell Park Alliance Foundation. The Roswell Park Alliance Foundation is the charitable arm of Roswell Park Cancer Institute and funds raised will be “put to immediate use to increase the pace from research trials into improved clinical care, to ensure state-of-the-art facilities, and to help improve the quality of life for patients and their families.” Please donate through the Blogathon’s GoFundMe page. Also, please note that the opinions and statements of the writer are not necessarily those of the Baseball Continuum or it’s webmaster.

Minor League Baseball teams are notorious for using odd and unusual team names, logos, and mascots, much to the delight of many fans. For fans of the Montgomery Biscuits, Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs, or Fresno Tacos names, allow us to take odd names a few steps farther, across the Atlantic to European club baseball, where top minor league names find serious name competition.

Each of the 15 listed teams placed in the top 50 or received an honorable mention in Mister-Baseball’s latest rankings, meaning that they are all good baseball clubs! While they all may be good on the field, some make this list due to similar dominance of naming their team, but others make it for opposite reasons.

15. Beograd 96

Serbia’s capital city has a surprising number of athletic teams, including an American football squad. What they do not have, however, is a baseball team with an easily understandable name.

14. Astros

Despite ranking number 20 in Europe, Astros give us no clues as to where they play their home baseball games.

13. K. Borgerhout Squirrels

Borgerhout is a very good name for a suburb of Antwerp. Couple that with an ultra-threatening mascot like squirrels, and you have a winning team name.

12. Sant Boi

Technically a suburb of Barcelona, this Spanish team feels no need to include a mascot – understandable with a location that sounds as hip as Sant Boi. It remains to be seen if Big Boi is a fan.

bgi boi

11. SSHOR 42

I do not know what this means but this is a good name for a baseball team.

10. Zurich Barracudas

Switzerland loves Barracudas.

9. Montpellier Barracudas

Most French-sounding city pick least French-sounding mascot. Evidently barracudas are cool in France too.

8. Minsk

I’ll never rock a Minsk coat in the wintertime like Killa Cam

Or rock some Minsk boots in the summertime like Will.I.Am

wil i am7. Solingen Alligators

What’s cooler than a barracuda? German alligators. Europe loves cool animals.

6. Espoo Expos

Reaching into the honorable mentions here, but Finland’s top club includes both the classic Expos moniker and a location with tongue-twister alliteration. Well played.

5. Heidenheim Heidekopfe

Speaking of matching mascots and town names, the Philadelphia Phillies may have met their match.

4. SDUSOR – Diamonds

Similar to the Russian team with a similar name above, I do not wish to know the meaning behind this Ukrainian club’s rather unique name. The addition of Diamonds is a nice touch.

3. Baseball Klub Nada SSM Split

Less is definitely not more for this Croatian club. When in doubt, just make the name as long and odd as possible.

2. Reds Sleepwalkers

This club appears to have two nicknames…until you consider Hungary’s communist past. To be fair, it is unclear why “Reds” was chosen, but in any case, coupling it with sleepwalkers results in an odd mixture of politics and comatose baseball players.

1. Wiener Neustadt Diving Ducks

You get middle-school humor and a non-threatening mascot, but my favorite part of this name is the specificity that these are not just ordinary ducks – these are diving ducks! Oh the intimidation!

Dan Weigel writes about pitching at Sporting News and occasionally about pitching and sometimes other things at Beyond the Box Score. His former European club, the London Mets, slots at number 29 on Mister-Baseball’s rankings but unfortunately did not beat out Beograd 96 for the final spot on this list. Follow him on twitter at @danweigel38.

(Blogathon ’16!) Renaming Moved Teams

This post is part of the 2016 Baseball Continuum Blogathon For Charity, benefiting the Roswell Park Alliance Foundation. The Roswell Park Alliance Foundation is the charitable arm of Roswell Park Cancer Institute and funds raised will be “put to immediate use to increase the pace from research trials into improved clinical care, to ensure state-of-the-art facilities, and to help improve the quality of life for patients and their families.” Please donate through the Blogathon’s GoFundMe page.

There are four teams in MLB who have kept their names despite moving to different cities (or at least parts of a town where it’s enough where they change the first words of the team): The Angels, the Dodgers, the Athletics, and the Giants. What, however, if they had had to change their names? And, no, I’m not letting them just take their old Pacific Coast League team-names.

Let’s go place by place:

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, Orange County, California, USA, North America, Northwestern Quadrant, Planet Earth, Sol System, Milky Way, Local Group, The Universe

There was a very good reason why the Angels were originally called the Angels when they started playing: they were actually in Los Angeles, playing at Chavez Ravine. In addition, the LA Angels had been one of the flagship franchises of the Pacific Coast League, so the name had history. But as they moved to Anaheim and went by “California Angels” and then “Anaheim Angels” and now “Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim”, they have become more and more detached from the name. So what if they had abandoned the “Angels” moniker as soon as they left Chavez Ravine? Assuming that they had adopted California as their “first name” after leaving the ravine, perhaps they would be California related, perhaps the “California Bears” or the “California Trout” (ha). Or maybe they’d be more Anaheim-focused, with a name like “Oranges”. Personally, I think they would have to go with “Anaheim Mice”. In addition to the obvious Disneyland connection, there is the fact that mice are said to scare elephants, which would be a nice little poke at the Athletics. Well… it would be if…

The Oakland Athletics

Kept their Elephant logo despite changing to a new name. I think it’d be cool if they still had an old-timey sort of name. How about the “Oakland Eurekas”, after the California State Motto? (For the curious, the Pacific Coast League Oakland team was called the Oaks.)

Los Angeles Dodgers

If the Dodger brand hadn’t been so firmly established in Brooklyn, it feels likely they would have been renamed when they headed west. After all, “Dodgers” has basically nothing to do with Los Angeles. But what would they have been called? I personally think that they would take advantage of Hollywood and go with the name “Los Angeles Stars”. Oh, yeah, that was the name of Hollywood’s PCL team, but, guess what, it wasn’t LA’s, so it counts. So, “Los Angeles Stars” it is.

San Francisco Giants

The San Francisco Prospectors, or “Pros”. That was easy.

At 3 PM: MR. GO!

This post has been part of the 2016 Baseball Continuum Blogathon For Charity, benefiting the Roswell Park Alliance Foundation. The Roswell Park Alliance Foundation is the charitable arm of Roswell Park Cancer Institute and funds raised will be “put to immediate use to increase the pace from research trials into improved clinical care, to ensure state-of-the-art facilities, and to help improve the quality of life for patients and their families.” Please donate through the Blogathon’s GoFundMe page.

 

 

Ham Fighters, Grandserows, Sleepwalkers and Robots of Doom: Great Names of International Baseball

As the World Baseball Classic starts, people are writing articles about it, usually falling into two camps: telling people they don’t know what they are missing, or telling everybody they think the tournament is stupid. You know what camp I am in, and another person who is in that camp is Emma Span, who recently wrote an article over at Sports on Earth about it.

And she finished her article by mentioning this:

Did you know there’s a team in the Netherlands’ Honkbal Hoofdklasse called the Hoofddorp Pioniers?

Yes, I did. And as awesome of a name that is, it but scratches the surface of great names in overseas baseball. Oh, sure, we have fun names here in America (such as the Albuquerque “Named for the plot of an episode of The Simpsons” Isotopes), but for some reason, none are quite as charming as those we find overseas.

They don't fight ham, but it'd be funny if they did.

Take, for example, the Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters of the NPB (the logo is to the right). They are perhaps the most well-known of great international baseball team names, and the fact that they have have their names not because they fight a porcine menace but rather because they are sponsored by the “Nippon Ham” corporation does not lower the greatness of that name.

Although none of the other NPB teams have a great name on par with the Nippon-Ham Fighters, other parts of Japan’s baseball structure have tried to do so. An independent league in Japan called the Baseball Challenge League, for example, has such great names as the Shinano Grandserows*, the Gunma Diamond Pegasus (shouldn’t it be the Diamond Pegasi?), the Fukui Miracle Elephants (they aren’t just elephants, they’re MIRACLE elephants) and the Ishikawa Million Stars. Another independent league in Japan, based out of the Shikoku Islands, also has excellent names, like the Tokushima Indigo Socks (INDIGO! And they spell it with a “-cks” instead of an “x”!), Ehime Mandarin Pirates (“Mandarin” as in “Mandarin Oranges”- check out their logo) and the Kagawa Oive Guyners**, which make the other team in that league, the Kochi Fighting Dogs, look downright normal.

Let it not be said that Japan holds a monopoly on great names in Asia, or even the Pacific Ocean. Korea has the KBO’s NC Dinos and the Futures League Goyang Wonders***. Taiwan has the Lamigo Monkeys, Brother Elephants and the Uni-President 7-Eleven Lions. And, well, those are just teams that are currently around. Earlier in history,

Down in Australia, the Perth Heat are sponsored by the “Alcohol. Think Again” program. So, guess what you see when you go to their website? Well, you see “Purchase your Alcohol. Think Again Perth Heat tickets today!” and similar sentences. In other words, the Alcohol. Think Again Perth Heat, in addition to being one of the most confusing grammatical team names in the world, are also presumably what the bizarro version of the Milwaukee Brewers would be named.

But it is in Europe, where those Pioniers are, that some of the best baseball names are. There, so far away from American eyes, there are some great names, either intentionally or unintentionally. From the Hoofdklasse‘s Mr. Cocker HCAW**** and the lower-division honkbal club called the Tex Town Tigers, to the Regensburg Buchbinder Legionaere in Germany*****, Europe is the center of awesome baseball names, with some of them especially being fun when said aloud.

Names like:

Paderborn Untouchables (Germany)

Barracudas de Montpellier (France)

Dohren Wild Farmers (Germany)

Jimmer’s de Saint-Lo (France)

Brasschaat Braves (Belgium)

Rättvik Butchers (Sweden, now defunct)

Therwil Flyers (Switzerland)

Tempo Titans (Czech Republic)

Espoo Expos (Finland)

Oslo Pretenders (Norway)

DOOR Neptunus (Netherlands- yes, DOOR is a sponsor, but the idea of Neptune playing for a door is too good to pass up)

Szentendre Sleepwalkers (Hungary)

Pops CB (Spain, long defunct)

Nottingham Thieves (UK, possibly defunct)

But all of these are nothing compared to perhaps the greatest, best-of-the-best name for a baseball Behold it!team anywhere in the world: The UK’s Bolton Robots of Doom. Look upon it’s logo and despair at the sight of a Killer Robot that has taken up hardball to bring doom to the enemies of the Bolton 9! Look upon it and know that no team anywhere in the world will ever be able to top this. None.

What is truly impressive about the Bolton Robots of Doom is not that they have such a name, but because they went so all-out on it. They could have just stuck with “Robots”, or kept their old name, the “Blaze”. But, no, they had to have the robot be OF DOOM. And that, my friends, is devotion to coming up with an awesome nickname.

Although the team may not have done well last season, finishing 0-16 in the AAA North Division of British Baseball. They’ve been relegated to a lower league. But none of this matters.They could have gone 0-17 or 0-1000, but with a name like that, they will forever have a place in my heart, and the Robots of Doom will forever strike fear into the hearts of their opponents.

So, enjoy the WBC, or you could go to sleep instead. But remember: The Bolton Robots of Doom never rest.

* A Serow is a goat or antelope-like mammal. The Japanese variety looks like this. Presumably, Shinano is meant to be one of those, only more… grander.

** As far as I could tell from research “Guyner” is a slang word in the local dialect for a strong person.

*** Do you think they were originally called the “Oneders”?

**** The “Mr. Cocker” is from a sponsor, before you ask.

***** That’s “Bookbinder Legionnaires” in English.

Other Sports Team Names derived from Baseball

Given that baseball is the oldest professional team sport in America, it is hardly surprising that other sports teams often derive their names from baseball teams, usually those that they once shared a city with. In general, they fall into a few different categories:

  • Those that just plain copied or used the name of the baseball team.
  • Those who made a name that played off of the baseball team’s name.
  • Those that have a history with a baseball team but have since sort of morphed into something else, while keeping a vague link.
  • Names that actually aren’t connected, but everyone thinks they are.

Take a look after the jump:

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