Question: What Would We Name the Team This Day? (American League)

At this rate, would anyone really oppose changing the “Angels” to the “Trouts”? (via Erik Drost)

“You’ve got one day.”

It’s a rhetorical staple of terribad cable movies, right?

With the dirty bomb poised to blow up Wall Street, or the Prime Minister’s kid chained to a radiator in the basement, the villain picks up the telephone and says to whichever handsome actor happens to be our hero, “You’ve got one day.”

A couple of karate chops later, Wall Street is safe and the Prime Minister’s kid is off to whichever elite prep school will pave the way to insider-trading tips.

But what if you had one day, and one day only, to name a big league team?

And for that one day, and that day only, the team would bear that name?

Some time ago, while hopped up on discount anesthesia from a cut-rate dentist, I wrote a piece with this title: Question: What Would We Name the Team Today? In response, some readers offered to perform free dental work on my own personal teeth and without the benefit of said anesthesia. But maybe — just maybe! — those otherwise level-headed fans were outraged because I had pinned a permanent name on the team that wears their preferred laundry. But what if it weren’t permanent? What if it had the lifespan of the average mayfly, which, as you’ll recall from the assigned reading, is the arthropodal equivalent of a one-day Sam’s Club pass?

Recently, while stone-cold sober, I read some Breaking News out of San Antonio. For three days this season, the Triple-A affiliate of the Brewers will change its name from the Missions to … the Puffy Tacos.

Repeat: the Puffy Tacos.

Next I read additional Breaking News, this time from San Bernardino. For one day, the Class-A affiliate of the Angels will change its name from the 66ers to … the Cherubs.

And so, while noting Commissioner Rob Manfred has a history of guinea-pigging the minor leagues with test cases for the majors, I’ve decided to extend this exercise to baseball’s top level. Think of it as an impulse buy at the supermarket checkout. It’s not what you need. It’s what you want. And what you want is to read about celebrity breakups while snacking on Jujyfruits and ghost-pepper jerky.

Today, the American League.



A Hardball Times Update
Goodbye for now.

West Division

Oakland A’s

Call ’em the Beanes, yes?

Ever since Brad Pitt made baseball great-looking again, the A’s have been synonymous with their Moneyball exec, Billy Beane. And why not?

Somehow, Beane has managed to draft 88th rounders from Local Yokel Community College and turn them into underpaid All-Stars who are quickly labeled “plucky” because they don’t yet play in pinstripes.

And, by finding loose change in Bay-area laundromats and resisting the urge to invest it in early ’90s Topps, Beane has succeeded in funding a competitive team season after season. And this is despite the fact that the A’s use a shrewd mix of cardboard cutouts, fresh corpses, crash-test dummies, medical-simulation mannequins, scarecrows, inflatable dolls and the ghost of Victor French to fill seats during day games.

But no, don’t call ’em the Beanes. The actual “the Beanes” — newlyweds Edward and Ethel — were Titanic survivors who crawled aboard the Carpathia and later reunited. Seriously! What a honeymoon, eh? Let ’em keep the name.

We could call the A’s the Charlie O’s, for one-time owner Finley.

Or the Macks, for onetime owner Connie.

Nope. For one day, they’re more than one man. They’re the Family Dollars.

Los Angeles Angels

Call ’em the Trouts, right?

If a one-man team can be a bona fide thing — if it can ever abide at the major league level — then Mike Trout has been exactly that since arriving as a fully formed Perfect Being in 2011. In a career spanning eight mostly full seasons and one partial season, he’s racked up more WAR (73.4) than 151 Hall of Famers, including recent inductees Derek Jeter (73) and Larry Walker (68.7).

But hey, so what? This is a big league baseball team, not a forgotten surf band from a forgotten surfploitation flick starring Tommy and the Spotted Trouts. Plus, even though Albert Pujols will still run the bases like a mortally wounded penguin, the team does have Shohei Ohtani and Anthony Rendon.

So…call ’em the Trout And Two Sides, right?

Wrong. Where do you think you are, an in-house cafeteria with a moderate pricing strategy? And don’t you think Ohtani and Rendon would object to being analogized to roasted mixed vegetables and mashed potatoes?

For a day, LA is the Archangel Michael & His Cast Of Earthly Beings.

Houston Astros

C’mon. This is too easy.

Or maybe it’s too hard. In the wake of Houston’s super-scandalous trashcan-whacking scheme, there are so many names to choose from.

The Asterisks.

The Trashtros.

The Sammy Sosastros.

The Yes-We-Cans!

And is it weird that “dodger’ is a synonym for “cheater?”

It is. Let’s skip it.

How about the Astrays? Nah. Any rational observer should understand a multi-season, multi-pronged cheating scheme goes beyond just going astray.

That said, we could call ’em the Ashtrays. And we will.

Seattle Mariners

The problem with naming a team after some identifying feature of its host city is local denizens will accuse you of pigeonholing. Like, you can’t call the Seattle team the Starbucks, the Fair-Trade Coffees, the Grunge Scenes, the Nirvanas, the Soundgardens, the Alices in Chains, the Frasiers, the Frasier’s Brother Nileses, the Grey’s Anatomies or even the Sleeplesses In This City.

You could call them the Microsofts if Microsoft gave you a ton of money and a free mouse pad, but egad, man. Micro? Soft? You’d be setting them up fora 2-160 record.

You could also call them the Amazons, which, honestly, isn’t bad, but the drawback is the players making major league minimum might get fewer restroom breaks.

And again, we need to avoid this whole pigeonholing thing.

So, let us turn back to baseball.

The M’s have never reached the Fall Classic, right?

So there you go: the Classic Fails.

Texas Rangers

Full disclosure: I am a Rangers fan.

Fuller disclosure: Being a Rangers fan is a modern form of medieval torture. I mean, renouncing your belief system might seem the prudent thing to do, especially in light of the thumb screws currently applied to your own personal thumbs, but damned if you don’t still believe in a glorious trip to the Promised Land even as they move you from the screws to the Spanish boot.

Fullest disclosure: This is not an exaggeration.

Despite that level of conviction, it might seem a tad overstated to call the team the One True Gods. Faith is more a testament to the power of the faith itself than to the legitimacy of whatever inspires it. We could call them the Big Ol’ Myths, but then again, mythical achievements are now the property of that other Lone Star team. Their crowns are made of make-believe and garbage.

What about the Prophets? Well, considering the money-making schemes cooked up by the owners — the brand-new ballpark financed by local taxpayers, plus the slate of non-baseball events to take place on its less than natural turf — a homonym might be the better choice: the Profits.

But I won’t root for the Profits. That’s like rooting for the Ill-Gotten Gains, which, come to think of it, is also a suitable name for the Ashtrays.

I will root for the Doomsday Cult Leaders.

Why not? You gotta believe in something.

Central Division

Cleveland Indians

Of late, the Indians are known as much for their mascot, Chief Wahoo, as for their Rangers-like inability to win a World Series. Of course, given it predates the more politically correct term “Native Americans,” the name “Indians” is arguably a commendable tribute to a collection of people who got here long before the advent of souvenir caps and overpriced shirseys.

On the other hand, a cartoonish avatar of a vast population subjected to wholesale genocide is probably not the best choice for a primary logo. Perhaps the Visigoths, following the Sack of Rome, wore caricatures of the Romans on their war helmets, but that came well before the development of public shaming on Twitter. Kudos to Cleveland, in any case, for phasing out an offensive and passe lampoon.

Okay! So…what to call them for a day?

The PCs? It won’t work. Talk radio and its TV equivalents have weaponized the term “PC,” and once the nomenclature for fair play is co-opted by a toxic glossary, you can never detoxify it. So, how about something wholesome, something that separates us from the poisonous partisanship of contemporary society and returns us to a time when, instead of spewing hate-filled misspellings on message boards, men mowed the lawn in khakis?

I hereby present the Cleveland Cleavers.

As for the logo design, leave it to Beaver.

Kansas City Royals

The Royals, like the A’s, are always strapped for cash. Granted, this has not been confirmed by Ken Rosenthal, but it was first reported by me, just now, that the Royals once paid Mike Moustakas in Schrute bucks.

It’s odd that a major league franchise must turn to made-up currency to keep its players in Ramen soup. But so it goes. I once went to a game at Kauffman Stadium, and I can tell you this: If they were to put some Top Ramen in those giant fountains and stir it up, they’d save a lot of money on postgame spreads.

As it stands, the Royals shop for players in the five-dollar bin at Marshalls. They allow their All-Stars to go full mercenary in the free-for-all called free agency because poverty isn’t free. It comes at a cost.

So…the Paupers?

No. The Mendicants? Nobody knows what that means.

The Guttersnipes? That seems cruel.

Let us lean toward resourcefulness. The Bargaineers? The MacGyvers?

Meh. How about the Tow Ropes? The Kmart Clearances?

Nah. Prepare for Instant Noodles.

Detroit Tigers

Tigers in wildlife documentaries narrated by Sir David Attenborough often take down prey by biting the throat until the animal dies of strangulation. These days, the Tigers of Detroit have no such lethal bite. They just suck. They won 47 games last year, two fewer than their Pythagorean record suggested. Yep, they twice snatched defeat from the jaws of Pythagorean victory.

Given the Tigers are neither apex predators nor even particularly fearsome, we’ll not do nature the disservice of even calling them Cats.

So, take your pick of these actual animals:

– Spiny Lumpsuckers

– Pleasing Fungus Beetles

– Pink Fairy Armadillos

– Tasselled Wobbegongs

– Blobfishes

My choice? None of the above.

I choose the Dung Beetles.

Minnesota Twins

I’ve never been to Minnesota. It’s true! I do want to visit, though — during its one week of summer. It beats the 56 weeks of summer I get here.

Here’s how I see my stay: After visiting the grave of Moonlight Graham, I attend the one game at which the home team adopts its one-day name. So, what’ll it be? How about the Boomsticks? I’m a softy. I still love Nelson Cruz.

That said, back in Arlington, the Boomstick remains a three-pound hot dog smothered in chili and sprinkled with business cards of local cardiologists. Even if the Twins have concocted their own version of that heart attack-on-a-bun, I’d be committing gustatory adultery against the Texas Boomstick.

Other items on the Target Field menu include cheese curds and Sheboygan bratwursts. There’s also a Minneaple pie and deep-fried pickle chips. Each would be a fantastic name, especially the Minnesota Sheboygan Bratwursts.

But…let’s hear it for the Deep-Fried Pickle Chips!

Chicago White Sox

What do you get when you wear socks for too long?

You get athlete’s foot.

Say hello to the Athlete’s Feet. They’re spray hitters.

AL East

Toronto Blue Jays

Vis-a-vis Minnesota, Toronto’s another story. I’ve been there!

I visited the provincial capital some years back, in mid-December of that winter season. Despite the brain-bending fact that Toronto is farther south than Minneapolis-Saint Paul, it’s cold in mid-December. It’s extremely cold, like science-experiment-at-the-National-Snow-and-Ice-Data-Center cold.

And so the thing to remember is I forgot to take a coat.

I froze my excursionist arse off. Daytime temperature: one degree. Granted, that’s Celsius, but still: one degree! To warm up, I went for a run. In time, I jogged right past the Rogers Centre. Cool! thought I, no pun intended. Canadian baseball!

Little did I know that some years later, in that stadium, the Torquemada-style torturer Jose Bautista would administer medieval-style torture by tossing his Louisville Slugger directly into my brain.

Team name: the Toronto Torquemadas.

Baltimore Orioles

For a long time, the Orioles were the Rangers East. In Texas’ quest for a World Series title, it routinely sent soon-to-be All-Stars to Charm City in return for relievers who would consistently crap the sheets. That’s a fact. You can look it up on the Internet.

Anyway, times have changed. As far as I can tell, both teams just swap terrible players back and forth and nobody even notices. I’m pretty sure Rio Ruiz hit four home runs for the Rangers last season. He also kicked an extra point for the Cowboys and, apparently, dropped 578 catchable passes.

I have little doubt the O’s will again emulate the Rangers this season by pretending to be a major league team. The one discernible difference: The O’s will play their games in the great outdoors, where the heat and humidity of the Eastern seaboard will work its usual charms on their personal bodies.

Name for a day: the Baltimore Crotch Rots.

Tampa Bay Rays

If the Rays aren’t careful, they’ll soon be called the Charlotte Webs or the Portland Ultra-Hipsters, and for longer than a day. It’s a proven truth an average of 14 fans attend games at Tropicana Field. It’s another that 13 of them think they’re attending a celebrity boxing match between Ray Romano and Ray Liotta, the difference being that Liotta gets to act like Shoeless Joe.

According to inside sources, the problem is that playing at The Trop is like playing in a decommissioned blimp hangar that just happens to have weird rules about B-rings. Once outside, other sources have claimed it plays like an empty mausoleum. True example: During one A’s-Rays game, 13 fans reported a sighting of Shoeless Joe and the other a sighting of Victor French.

For one day, or one long night, call ’em the Crypt Keepers.

Boston Red Sox

I’m an Astros hater — sorry, an Ashtrays hater — to the bone, but I’m also a Texan, and (shoots pistols in air, stomps boots on saloon floor) I can tell you I ain’t at all surprised pundits and fans have chosen to crucify the Lone Star team while leaving largely unscathed the East Coast team that likely committed the same transgressions against the American Pastime.

Allow me the liberty, then, to tilt the scales in yon direction.

I’m gonna call ’em the Boston Astros, and maybe for more than a day.

New York Yankees

These days, with an impenitent fabulist littering the globe with verifiable lies, it’s hard to tell the true truth from the fake truth. I mean, I deemed it a proven truth the Rays draw an average of 14 fans when, in fact, I failed to corroborate it on the Internet. I also trust the audience to know when it’s being hoodwinked. Alas. But here is a truly true truth: The Yankees are the Evil Empire. You know it. I know it. Even the Yanks know it, and they revel in it.

There’s a Twitter account called Evil Empire Talk. Seriously. It’s on the Internet! Even the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office is on board. Some time ago, its poobahs ruled the Yanks have rights to the nickname Evil Empire and can prevent others from registering the name as a trademark.

These things are verifiably true. I can give you the links.

More speculative, I suppose, is what we’ll call the Yankees du jour. Given their empire is now Twitter- and trademark-worthy, we must liken them to history’s evilest empire. The Visigoths? No. The Huns? Uh-uh. How about the Nazis? Nein!

In a key cultural development, Seinfeld’s Soup Nazi drained the term of its wurst implications and placed it squarely in the realm of acceptable satire. I once went hiking in the Canadian Rockies and there crossed paths with the Hike Nazi. Suffice it to say, I took only pictures and left only footprints.

But if not the New York Nazis, then what?

Well, if Boston can be the Astros, then New York can be the Patriots.

John Paschal is a regular contributor to The Hardball Times and The Hardball Times Baseball Annual.
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kick me in the GO NATSmember
4 years ago


4 years ago



Dennis Bedard
4 years ago

Maybe I have too much spare time on my hands or am obsessed with baseball and language but I remember as a kid there was a saying that rooting for the Yankees was like rooting for US Steel. So what is the modern day substitute: Microsoft? Uber? Walmart? And since we have a team named after an industry (Astros) that is near and dear to the city it plays in, what about the SF iPhones or the Seattle Powerpoints?

Jetsy Extrano
4 years ago
Reply to  Dennis Bedard

Wal-Mart or Amazon fits, yeah.

4 years ago
Reply to  Dennis Bedard


4 years ago
Reply to  Dennis Bedard


Green Mountain Boy
4 years ago

Call the Red Sox the Red Flops. They were informally referred to by that name for years by New Englanders.

Marc Schneider
4 years ago

Well, that article was a waste of 30 seconds.

J. T.
4 years ago

The Los Angeles We-Wasted-A-Legend’s-Career-gels

4 years ago

The Pittsburgh Drug Trials

4 years ago

Easily one of the worst articles I’ve read on this collection of websites. New York Nazis, really?!? Oof.

4 years ago

As soon as I saw the headline, I thought for sure the article would conclude with the New York Paschal’s Pals.

4 years ago

Another Paschal masterpiece!

4 years ago

The Los Angeles Archangel Michael and His Cast of Earthly Beings…and a Rusting, Once State-of-the-Art Machine with a Bum Foot.