Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Moderately profitable poker night while watching the Sharks dismantle the Predators in a battle of the best new nicknames in sports. I’m still deciding whether the best way to play SnGs is by watching sports and playing by the numbers, or focusing on the table and taking copious notes and basing plays on trends. By the way, “moderate” is defined as around $50-75 profit; yesterday it was $66 (2nd in a $30+3, and 3rd in a $25+2). No fancy plays, no special hands, although I lost with AJs to QQ that hit quad queens.

Anyway, the opening sentence makes me think about something that I’ve wanted to opine about for a long time. Franchise nicknames. Without being asked, here are my top five franchise nicknames in sports, bonus points for originality and applicability with minus points for repetitiveness (Tigers being the most omnipresent).

1. Sharks – The logo is great, the home arena (“Shark Tank”) is aptly nicknamed, it lends itself to a mascot that isn’t excessively cute or cuddly: IMHO, the perfect type of franchise name.

2. Predators – Cool logo, though essentially a saber-tooth tiger (arrgh, not another tiger!), it inspires the right kind of power and aggression. And bonus points for originality.

3. Raiders – An entire persona has been built around the “Silver and Black”, more mystique than all other nicknames combined. ‘Nuff said.

4. Pistons – Think about it, they pound up and down, they’re always pumping, they might not be anthropomorphic, but the name conveys an ethos that carries to the team.

5. Steelers – Seriously, can you think of a team name that is less transportable than this? OK, so the Utah Jazz kept the name (wrongly), but can you imagine any other city hosting the Steelers?

Almost made its: Panthers (minus points for Carolina/Florida picking the name around the same time), Jaguars, Cowboys (I just hate them), Astros and Supersonics (for their regrettable uniforms in the 80’s), Bulls

And of course, the worst team nicknames currently in operation. Teams with a historical purpose for their names (Yankees, Dodgers) and/or ethnic identifiers (most NHL teams, Celtics, Knickerbockers, etc.) are exempt from inclusion.

1. Columbus Blue Jackets – Who the hell thought of this one? “Hey, check in the closet, we might get inspiration from something hanging there… It’s.. a… blue jacket! Let’s run with it.”

2. New Orleans Saints – Hmmm, we have a team in the NFL, we need to think of a nickname that inspires fear and trepidation… I know, let’s pick some old religious guys!

3. San Diego Padres – See #2, not quite as bad because, well, there are padres in San Diego, but there sure as hell ain’t no saints in New Orleans.

4. The Mighty Ducks – No comment needed

5. Atlanta Thrashers – Might as well call them the Atlanta Epileptics or Spazzes. Thrashing is just about the last thing I want to do on ice. It’s a shame because other Atlanta teams have relatively cool names (Hawks and Falcons, Braves are a borrowed name)

6. Any team named for a disaster – Avalanche, Hurricane, Heat, Lightning, Earthquakes… Sheesh, have a little bit of sensitivity to people that have loved ones actually DIE from this shit. You don’t have teams called the Tower Snipers or the Suicide Bombers, do you? I suppose sharks and predators eat people too, but at least they make cute mascots.

Almost made its: teams who have moved but kept the geographical identifiable nickname like the Lakers (“Yeah, I was just sailing out on Lake Wilshire Blvd”) and Jazz, teams that kept the sponsors name (Red Wings, Packers)


At 10:34 AM, Blogger Drizztdj said...



At 10:44 AM, Blogger Meek said...

I've learned to like the BlueJackets. It ties into the Indian (okay Native American) heritage of the Ohio valley area, as well as the ties with the northern states (the blue coats), it also refers to a kind of wasp - which is the mascot. However, Blue is a word associated with 'the state up north' and should have been avoided (Go Bucks)

How do industry tie-ins hurt the Packers & Red Wings, while helping the Steelers and Pistons?

At 11:36 AM, Blogger Jersey Joe said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

At 2:25 PM, Blogger ToddCommish said...

Packers and Red Wings took their names directly from the company that originally funded them [i think]. The Steelers and Pistons refer to the industry that the city is based upon and therefore have more cultural significance (kinda like the Houston Oilers or Dallas Cowboys).

At 9:14 AM, Blogger Hammer Player a.k.a Hoyazo said...

Let's not forget to include the oh-so-original Philadelphia Phillies on the list of worst names. Is that really the best, most creative thing they could come up with for a nickname of a Philadelphia team? The Phillies? I think that's the worst name in sports.

At 1:13 PM, Blogger FatBaldGuy said...

Until Katrina we had an Arena League team here in New Orleans, the Voodoo, and they played in The Graveyard. Hopefully they are coming back next season.


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