October 21, 2003
a rose by any other name might attract a better fan base

Wasn't quite sure how or why to post this, but let me start by saying I’m a sports fan for many reasons, but one in particular is team names. I’m fascinated with the history of them, the anachronisms and odd juxtapositions they create long after they were coined (i.e. Boston Red Sox; New York Yankees; Oakland A’s – short for Athletics; the Cleveland Browns named after their popular coach, Paul Brown; etc) or not long after they moved (alas, there are no trolleys in LA for the Dodgers to dodge; the Lakers moved and left the lakes in Minneapolis; and Utah, with its Tabernacle Choir, never bothered to rename the Jazz after coming up from the Big Easy).

But I’m equally interested in the new jacks, too. Expansion teams, hot cities, Forbes growth centers clamoring for a piece of the athletic industrial complex. And while I have some favorites (Baltimore’s Ravens are a nod to Poe’s time there) and some less than favorites (hockey’s Atlanta Thrashers – at least their first hockey team, the Flames, were named after the great fire of 1917) you can’t get the focus-grouped, Landor designed, demographically-driven taste out of your ears when you hear them. And it’s not that I haven’t tried to do my part - Kevin and I faced our own battles trying to bring football to Europe (The Berlin Wall, The Berlin Airlift, and – my personal favorite - The Berlin Tornadoes lost out to The Berlin Thunder).

And so it was bittersweet to find out the story behind the Pittsburgh Steelers name - one of the weirdest names out there - and that the namer, Joe Santoni, had died. He sounds like regular Herb Schmertz, is all I can say. But that’s a name (and a story) for another post.

Posted by elia at October 21, 2003 08:49 PM

Ah, the Berlin Tornadoes.

That's like a visit from an old friend.

Posted by: Kevin Slavin on October 21, 2003 11:36 PM

You know, just glancing at your comment, it looked like you wrote the Berlin Tomatoes. Which has a nice ring to it. I see red helmets, with bit of vine painted on.

Posted by: elia on October 23, 2003 05:31 PM
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