Sunday, January 27, 2008

What's in a name?

Usually, a lot of thought goes into picking the name of a sports team. I’ve seen some teams hold naming contests to name a newly-formed team. I’ve seen creative names, and ridiculous names. And names that just made me scratch my head and say “WTF?” like the Amherst College Lord Jeffs, or the Lemmings of Bryant & Stratton College-Cleveland Campus. For those unsure, a lemming is a small rodent related to rats & mice.

Some are for colleges; some are for minor league baseball and hockey teams,

Here are some of the ones that really caught my eye:

University of California-Irvine Anteaters
Presbyterian College Blue Hose
University of Arkansas-Monticello Boll Weevils (men’s teams)
University of Arkansas-Monticello Cotton Blossoms (women’s teams)
California State University-Long Beach Dirtbags (baseball only)
Hampshire College Frogs
University of Minnesota Golden Gophers
Pittsburg University Gorillas
South Dakota School of Mines & Technology Hardrockers
University of Alaska-Southeast Humpback Whales
Earlham College Hustlin’ Quakers
Columbia College Koalas
Whittier College Poets
Oglethorpe University Stormy Petrels

Baseball teams from the 1800’s:

Newburyport Clamdiggers
Oswego Starchboxes
Zanesville Kickapoos
Lincoln Tree Planters
Sandusky Fish aters
Davenport Onion Weeders
Burlington Babies
Saginaw-Bay City Hyphens
Des Moines Prohibitionists
New Haven Nutmegs
Lebanon Pretzel Eaters
Kalamazoo Celery Eaters

Modern baseball:

Lansing Lugnuts
Traverse City Beach Bums
Montgomery Biscuits (wtf?)
Winston-Salem Warthogs
Walla Walla Walla Wallas (real creative, no?)
Albuquerque Isotopes
Savannah Sand Gnats
Cedar Rapids Kernels
Lehigh Valley IronPigs
Casper Ghosts
Toledo Mud Hens
Hickory Crawdads
The now-defunct Bangor Blue Ox (for Paul Bunyan’s Babe)

Minor-league hockey has a few goodies too:
Fayetteville FireAntz
The now-defunct Macon Whoopie (the mascot was a whooping crane)
Bloomington Prairie Thunder
Odessa Jackalopes (the legendary antlered rabbit)
The now-defunct Louisiana IceGators
Austin Ice Bats
Shreveport-Bossier Mudbugs (a euphemism for a crawfish)
Rockford IceHogs
The now-defunct Danbury Trashers, owned by a waste disposal company

Let’s not forget the Omaha Beef of the US Indoor Football League.

One soccer team in Thailand is called the Thailand Tobacco Monopoly.

The local high school in Cairo, Georgia (home of Karo Syrup) is called the Syrupmakers, while Teutopolis High School in Illinois is the Wooden Shoes.Yuma, Arizona’s high school is the Criminals (which really must make the PTA happy) and Frankfort High School in Indiana is the Hotdogs, I kid you not. Their mascot is a vicious Dachshund.

However, my personal two favorites are real winners. These take the freakin’ cake.

One needs travel to Scottsdale, Arizona to be intimidated by the Scottsdale Community College Fighting Artichokes, and if you’re in Califiornia, head over to the University of California-Santa Cruz to cheer on the one and only Banana Slugs. Yes, you read that correctly. The Banana Slugs.

I guess not everyone can be an eagle, a lion, a tiger, or a bear.(oh my!) Then again, having an unusual name guarantees your team is going to get press coverage and mentions in obscure blogs scribbled by a bored dude on a Sunday afternoon when his own South Carolina Stingrays are playing out of town.

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