As if there wasn’t enough going on culturally, what with civil changes being demanded and statues of leaders from a certain war being toppled, some thought it prudent to re-raise the issue of nicknames for sports franchises and throw that hot potato into the mix. Here locally, the Atlanta Braves might well be a candidate for change. As a matter of fact, being proactive, one local supporter suggested just dropping the final “s” and calling the team the Atlanta Brave. Perhaps another thought would be to drop the “B” in front and simply call them the Rave.
But if the Braves have to change, isn’t it prudent to delve deeper into the subject? For example, if there is to be nothing left to mark the Confederacy, doesn’t it stand to reason there should be no mention of the Yankees? Since at least a few residents in the Big City have a reputation for being rather blunt and maybe less than hospitable to visitors, perhaps the fans there could root, root, root for the NY Rudes.
What about the Chicago White Sox? Would a team nick-named the Black Sox be allowed to survive in the current cultural climate? Probably not. Perhaps the pale hose on the southside of the metropolis may need to reflect a longtime city nickname and simply become the Chicago Wind.
Are the San Diego Padres offensive to some in the Catholic church? Would society today allow the Rhode Island Rabbis, the Iowa Imams, or even the Poughkeepsie Pastors to survive? Probably best if the Padres became the mighty Torrey Pines in honor of the trees that grow near LaJolla. And ask yourself this: Are the St. Louis Cardinals all about birds or do they have any reference to Catholic bishops? Just to silence any concerns in that regards, just call them the Arches and be done with it.
Those with a deficiency in spelling may take issue with the Pittsburgh Steelers. Written correctly, the name reflects the history of the city where for decades workers yearly produced countless tons of metal that helped build a country. But if spelling was never your forte in school, then you may think Pittsburgh is honoring Stealers, as in those who rob and plunder.
Speaking of which, isn’t that what Pirates do? Maybe Pittsburgh’s baseball team needs an updating too. Pirates were not known to be nice people. To keep some tie to that nickname, however, maybe the Gold Doubloons would be a popular alternative. In folklore, that’s what Pirates were always after, right? And the team could keep their current color scheme.
As a lifelong Cincinnati Reds fan, I hate to say it, but has that team provided unwitting propaganda for the Communists? Not to mention the Chinese. I mean, weren’t 20th century Russians called Reds? And didn’t we refer to Mao’s country as Red China? Cincinnati is the Queen City, but something tells me using that nickname might cause more consternation than the Reds. Hmmm. More thought may be required here.
The Kansas City Chiefs are undoubtedly next on the hit list. Even though the Chiefs are technically in Missouri, a big part of their fan base resides in Kansas. As a nod to the agricultural bent of that state, why not call the team the Wheats? Think how naturally that would fit into doing The Wave at the stadium.
What do we do about the San Francisco and New York Giants? Would any team dare to be called the Midgets today? I think not. The City by the Bay is known for wanting to be all-inclusive and building relationships. What better way to honor that and salute the architectural structures dotting the area than to call their team the Bridges? And since the NY football team plays across the state line in the Meadowlands, they could be the Jersey Boys.
Are the Milwaukee Brewers suggestive of alcohol usage? Call them the Milwaukee Brats after a favorite ballpark snack. The Cleveland Browns? I see trouble on the horizon there. Maybe the Cleveland Lake Perch is better. Golden State Warriors? Too war-like. The Boston Celtics? Would the ancient Celts agree with using their name to promote a basketball team?
Finally, all this recent culture change started with the Washington Redskins. And the debate continues apace to replace that nickname. Well, I think the team owners can stop looking. I have the perfect one. How about the Washington Sloths? Known for their slowness of movement, sloths also apparently spend most of their lives hanging upside down from trees. Now, if that doesn’t accurately represent how a large part of America views the denizens of the Nation’s Capital, I don’t know what does.
©MMXX. William J. Lewis, III – Freelance Writer