The Critical 'I'

Read. React. Repeat.

Thursday, February 20, 2003

Fans and pundits in all the major pro sports will gladly tell you how expansion has ruined their favorite sport. This ruination comes courtesy of dilution. So, instead of a league of, say, 20 teams with rosters stocked with at least adequate talent, you get 30 teams with alot of those same players, but spread too thin for any one team to really shine. And those deficiencies blaze forth through individual shortcomings: Second-line scoring wings who are lucky to pot 20 goals, or middle-rotation pitchers with ERAs hovering at 3.50, and so on.

With all this, the true crisis brought on by rampant expansion over the past 15 years is being ignored. Or it was, until Slate bravely brought it to light. Namely, it's about team names. With about 120 franchises spread among the NHL, NFL, NBA and MLB, it seems that all the good team nicknames have been used up.

Horrors! Set up a Presidential commission to look into this, quick!

It's a fun article. It brought to mind an old Simpsons episode, I believe title "Bart Star". It's the one where Bart joins the youth football team, along with most of the other kids in town. Ned Flanders is their coach starting out (Homer later takes over, when wackiness, predictably, ensues), and just before their first game, he starts out his pep talk like so:

NED FLANDERS: Okay gang, who are we?
TEAM (IN UNISON): The Wildcats!
NED FLANDERS: Who are we gonna beat?
TEAM: The Wildcats!

(If you catch this episode in syndication, pay special attention to Ned Flanders' sons, Rod and Todd, and the uniform numbers they're wearing. Alert, hidden joke!)

I could write far more than necessary about my team name preferences. In short, I really dislike singlular nouns as team names, like the Heat, the Wild and so on (yes, my local rooting team is the Lightning; I'm not crazy about it, but what the heck). Singular names like that just seem dumb, and even very minor-league-ish.

By the way, I was going to adorn this entry with all the pro team logos I've got saved. But as I intimated, that would be about 120-odd images. Too much work, and it would probably make the page slow as molasses to load up.