Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Rating Team Names

A while back, the Fan did an analysis on how teams market themselves and who was good at it and who isn't. That was a thoughtful and well researched piece. This is the opposite. This is simply a Fan reacting to the various team names. Some are terrific and bold. Others are fitting for their area. And yet others just don't seem to give the team any sort of identity at all. And finally, there are some that are weak and border on pathetic. But when was the last time anybody changed a team name without a move to a new city? Forever, that's when. Some teams should think about changing their identity. Think of all the new revenue from the new caps! So here is the Fan's take on team names in no particular order.

The Cincinnati Reds - How did this name survive the Senator McCarthy era? Reds is the shortening of Red Stockings and Redlegs of the past. The Fan understands that this is an ancient name and would be hard to displace. But it really doesn't do anything for the team except the Big Red Machine was pretty cool. Three stars only because of history.

Boston Red Sox: Another name steeped in history. But seriously! A name based on a uniform feature? At least Curt Schilling took the red sock to a new level. The team should change its name to the Green Monsters. That would be more fitting. But history will give us the Red Sox forever. Three stars because of history.

St. Louis Cardinals: If you are going to name a team after a bird, why use such a wimpy one like a Cardinal. Sure, the birds are beautiful, one of the prettiest birds you'll ever see. But nobody is afraid of them, right? But this is another name steeped in history. The Fan likes the St. Louis Arch Rivals better. Three stars for history and for the cool logo.

Atlanta Braves: The name gives the team a fighting feel, but it's a political nightmare. It limits the marketing pizazz you can pull off because the team always has to be careful about offending people. Two stars for fierceness.

New York Mets: Probably one of the weakest names in baseball. Come on! The Mets? Short for Metropolitans? It is a meaningless and insipid name which happens to describe the team right now. Zero stars. The Mets should change their name to the New York Towers to honor NY's recent history.

Chicago White Sox: Another uniform feature name. At least red socks are more powerful than white sox. But seriously, what a stupid name for a team. Yeah, there is a long history here. But does that make it acceptable? Nope. Chicago has a serious dearth of good baseball team names. Two stars for history.

Chicago Cubs: Aww...aren't they cute? Cute little Cubs. Is that the image you want to portray? Now, the Chicago Bears. Grrrrowl. Now that's a team name. The Bulls? That's a team name. But the Cubs? Isn't that sweet. Two stars for history's sake.

Cleveland Indians: Even the word, Indians, isn't politically correct. It's like naming a team the Cleveland Honkies. Yeah, there is history there. But history doesn't sway the day here. History is only an impediment toward doing the right thing. One star.

Minnesota Twins: This name makes sense for the Twin Cities the team represents. But it's a pretty weak image. Wrigley had twins. But at least it rolls off the tongue nicely. But the Fan gets that it fits the area Three stars.

Milwaukee Brewers: Heck yeah. Now that's a team name! The Brew Crew! It fits the city and its rough and tumble history. Great team name. Five stars.

San Francisco Giants: The name was brought over from NYC when the team moved west. Giants are big and usually scary. But giants have a history of coming off stupid, right? But Giants is at least a bold name with a bold history. Four stars.

Los Angeles Dodgers: Another name brought over from Brooklyn. But what is a dodger? It's a squirrel trying its darnedest not to get hit. That's about as passive as it gets, right? Uh oh, trouble is coming. Better be a dodger. Plus you add draft dodgers to the mix. Not a good name. One star only for history.

New York Yankees: It fits the persona of the team you love to hate. It guarantees that the South will hate them forever. But it is steeped in Northeast history and it's bold and full of Americana. Four stars.

Florida Marlins: At least it's a fish that is known for fighting hard. But it lacks any umph. And it leads people to call you the Fish. Who wants to be called a Fish? Who wants to smell like a fish? Nobody. One star for fitting the area.

Tampa Bay Rays: Another sea creature. Is a ray a fish? Don't know. Sting Rays would have been better. At least that would have been more scary. Two stars for rhyming.

Baltimore Orioles: This name goes back a hundred years, so it's hard to fight with that. But like the Cardinals, the Orioles are a pretty unscary bird. They do make for a cool logo though. Personally, the Baltimore Crabs would be a lot more fun. The Fan loves eating crabs more than any other food on earth. Two stars for history.

Philadelphia Phillies. Phillies is too close to Filly, or a female horse. What kind of name is Phillies? It's like simply repeating the city name over twice. The Philly Phillies. It's stupid, no? It's like naming a team the St. Louis St Looeys or the Detroit D-Towns or the San Antonio San Antones. But it's only saving grace was giving us the Philly Phanatic. One star at best for history.

Pittsburgh Pirates: Arrrrrrggg. That's a tough name. Yeah. Tough name. It's a strong image even if it doesn't represent the area very well. The Steelers name is perfect. But the Pirates name is very good for effect. Four stars.

Arizona Diamondbacks: Good name. Strong image. Snakes are scary, are they not? And it fits the area very well. Well done. Five stars. The Fan doesn't get the state name though instead of a city.

Colorado Rockies: The name rolls off the tongue great and it perfectly fits the area and a strong image we all have of that area. Again, the state in the name instead of a city is weird. But other than that, it's a great name. Five stars.

San Diego Padres. Oh please. Guys in frocks? Pretty scary huh? It only fits one religion which is a handicap. Should Methodists support the Padres? This is just about the worst name in baseball. Zero stars.

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim on the West Coast of America. How stupid is this name? The Los An Ans. And Angels is kind of hard to live up to. Billy Martin managed there. Gaylord Perry pitched there. Those weren't angels. More like Angels with dirty faces like the movie. Zero stars until they get rid of the duality in the location.

Okay, who has the Fan forgotten? Oh!

The Seattle Mariners: The Fan likes this name. It fits the area and has a strong emotional feel. Mariners, those salty old dogs with toughness plying the seas. Yeah. Good name. Five stars.

The Houston Astros: Wow, is the Fan ever glad this team didn't stay the Colt 45s. Astros represents an exciting part of our not too distant history. The space race was exciting and bold. We all grew up loving astronauts. It's a shame it costs so much money because we need more space adventure. Good name. Four stars.

The Kansas City Royals: Another stupid name. Didn't we fight the Revolutionary War to get rid of royals? There is a royal pain in the ass. Plus, it doesn't fit the blue collar image of Kansas City. It's just the opposite of the persona of the place. Bad bad name. It also doesn't help that it is passive. Zero stars.

Oakland Athletics: This name has been dragged all over the country from Philadelphia to Kansas City and now to Oakland. It's a terrible name. Always shortened to the A's. The Fan could understand the team being called the Athletes. At least that makes sense. If the team moves to San Jose, they could have a fresh start. Please do. Zero stars.

The Texas Rangers: Perfect. Nothing ties up Texas history more than the rangers, those famous lawmen on their horses. Don't get the state name, but other than that, pretty great. Four stars with a star taken away for the state name instead of a city.

The Detroit Tigers: Strong name. Fierce. Deadly. Great name. Four stars because it doesn't fit the area..

The Toronto Blue Jays: Another weak bird name. At least blue jays are meaner than cardinals or orioles. A blue jay once stole an omelet right off the Fan's plate on the back patio. That's pretty daring. But overall, a pretty weak name for a great city. Three stars.

The Washington Nationals: Not fond of this name at all. It's passive but somewhat patriotic. It's better than the moribund Senators who can't get anything done constructively. Shouldn't Washington basketball team be called the Supreme Courts? But back to baseball. This name has got to go. How about the Washington AC/DCs? That would be cool. One star because it at least makes sense.

And that wraps up our look at team names. The Fan understands branding and all of that, but some teams should seriously consider a name change to change a culture and give MLB some new revenue streams for merchandise.


Josh Borenstein said...

Soooo true about the Cubs. Does not inspire fear. Have you rated caps and uniforms yet?

bobook said...

Like that the Dodgers are named after Brooklyn trolley dodgers. And anyone who's tried crossing a street in Los Angeles knows dodging still applies. Miami's basketball team is the Heat so it's baseball team should have been called the Humidity. That way we could say, 'It's not the Heat that's so bad-- it's the Humidity!'

William J. Tasker said...

Ha! Good one, bobook!