Team Nicknames

Hardball Times last week had a fun piece giving a Nickname Power Ranking.  Guess who came in first?

When the NFL expanded to Seattle, the team released its plan for the logo and a large part of the city was offended.  It fought for a totem-like bird, no frown, a rounded beak, sort of a glazed-eye cross between an Orca and a duck... we don't want something "hostile" on a football helmet that represents our genteel city.  :- )

You think I'm kidding, I know...


As a fan of the Reds, and thoroughly shamed by the Pilots with gold piping on their hats, I was bitterly disappointed by the selection of the nickname "Mariner."  Non-hostility and friendliness is my motto, except when you're throwing elbows in the key.

Fortunately for me, the disillusionment over the "Mariner" name was quickly overwhelmed by the sight of the powder-blue pajamas the local ballplayers would wear...  to me it was a uniform, and nickname, designed by ladies who were more than a little ashamed that our society still encourages athletic combat in the first place...

We wrote earlier that "hot" colors win more than "cool" ones.  The city of Seattle quite consciously set out to present its baseball team as being as passive and inoffensive as possible.  All the way with powder blue, Jay.


=== HBT Criteria ===

I dunno what the author is thinking at HBT :- ) but it ain't about bloody knuckles and intimidation.  A great nickname, for him, connects to the city and "is cool."

What's cool?  Well, cool starts with confidence, goes to wit, freshness, and mystique...

I guess the powder-blue unies were confident, in the sense that you've got to be confident to wear highwater pants and hornrims to high school.  If you're one of the 1-in-10,000 who can pull Kurt Cobain off, you're the coolEST.   Whether Mariner is so nerdy as to get into Kurt Cobain territory, you be the judge...


Completely throwing me into vertigo, the article panned the AquaSox nickname.  Now how can you get a better blend of classic-and-local than that?!

Granted, green is a "cool," non-hostile color.  But at least it's neon.  So you've got a disquieting little insinuation of insanity with their unies...  Hanson Brothers, maybe?


You could invert HBT's list, go 30-1, and the correlation with my own list would go wayyyyyyyyyy up.


=== Around the League Dept. ===

I agree with the Diamondbacks' high ranking:  it connects to the Southwest, and rattlesnakes qualify as unfriendly and intimidating, I would think.

The D-Backs also have fresh colors and the D-Snake works.   If you can't be classic, can't have the Reds' or Dodgers' or Yankees' look, then it would be hard to beat Arizona for a 21st-century sports-warrior vibe.


Texas Rangers are 2 degrees off:  police officers don't show up at a gladitorial arena to fight.  But still, it's regional, it's confrontational and it works.  But their unies don't pull the law-enforcement idea off.


Rockies works for me:  outsdoorsmen are tough hombres.  The word conveys the guttural hardness of the concept.


Toronto Blue Jays is almost as bad as Mariners, and HBT's comment on this logo, at #9, I think gets across the divide between him and myself...


White Sox and Red Sox, to me, do not conjure images of smelly footwear, as they do the HBT.  They conjure images of Hal Chase grabbing a runner's belt as he goes around first, of 1897 players spiking each other, of the time when men played baseball not for money, but in hopes of injuring one another.


=== Insta-Poll Dept. ===

We found ourselves wondering whether HBT speaks for the 21st-century fan, where "pretty bird, pretty nickname, nice colors to go with it, I just like it" is what goes into a "cool" nickname.  I dunno what's next.  The Portland Pink Ribbons?

Chime in.  Maybe intimidation is passe when it comes to marketing.  If so, we can always make up for it with Erik Bedard.


Dr D


glmuskie's picture

The M's colors are what I don't like.  Blue OK, but...  Teal???  Teal is NOT tough.  Might as well have been Taupe.  Or Mauve.
The name however, works.  Maybe because if I fill in the blanks, "_________  Mariner", the first thing i come up with is 'Drunken'.  Now that's an icon I can get behind.  A grizzly sea salt, as tough as a daggerboard, scraggly beard, one eye squinting, a couple teeth missing.  And completely incoherent.
Which brings me to the other problem with the M's, after teal....  The Moose.  I know mascots are goofy in general, but the moose has no relation whatsoever to the team.  I'd much prefer a 7-foot 'Mariner' who just lays passed out in the outfield seats with an empty bottle of rum.

misterjonez's picture

is the only emblem of the Mariners that is remotely kool.  And yes, they should ditch the moose for a scraggly, peg-legged dude with an eye-patch who wields said trident atop the M's dugout.
Agree with Doc's position on the article.  The Sox are great names, have always liked the Diamondbacks, liked the Devil Rays back when they were Devil Rays, now they're pansy.
Also always liked the Angels as an idea, but they're represented by the halos rather than something like Gabriel wielding his flaming sword, raining vengeance down upon the wicked and such.  Weak interpretation.
At least football teams have the decency to project violence in their logos, generally.  Baseball seems to be completely neutered in this regard.


Helps a little.  Costner's Mariner helps more... :- )  I'd feel a little better if I thought that's the way enemy fans construe "Mariner."
Yeah.  The Moose is so Seattle.


is definitely the one thing that bears no criticism.  See the Percy Jackson movie?  I think the Greek mythology thing blows away Harry Potter.  The Greek deities were scary dudes and dudettes :- )

misterjonez's picture

on Costner's Mariner.  Unlike many, I really enjoyed that movie and really, really, REALLY want that boat!
That harpoon-launched spinakker was something else.
But yeah, if 'Mariner' evoked that kind of image, I'd be fine with that.  Or heck, even if it evoked the image of the Deadliest Catch guys.  They're some tough hombres, themselves.


Criteria: A) Should intimidate. B) Sports-relevant C) Locally relevant D) Historical relevance E) Alliteration F) Uniqueness
1. New York Yankees. -- Maybe it's because I'm a southerner. But, these guys killed thousands and burned entire states.
2. Pittsburgh Pirates. -- Thanks to Cary Elwes and Johnny Depp, not as scary as they used to be. But, shouldn't they routinely lead the league in steals?
3. Detroit Tigers. -- Which live mascot would you least like to be locked in a cage with?
4. Arizona Diamondbacks. -- So, how does "Padres on a Plane" strike you as a scary movie title?
5. Atlanta Braves. -- The warrior tribes were waay scary. Originally, they were Boston Braves, so they get a point for alliteration.
6. Cleveland Indians -- Those classic western heroes wouldn't seem so brave if they'd been facing the Oompa Loompas.
7. Texas Rangers. -- The "Lone" Ranger wanted an Indian for added protection.
8. San Francisco Giants. -- Thanks to Andre and Hagrid, more cuddly than scary these days.
9. Oakland Athletics. -- Yeah, it's lame -- but at least conjures some level of sports competence.
10. Seattle Mariners -- The Trident is critical. If you're not really scary - at least be armed.
11. Colorado Rockies. -- Not so much scary, as big. But certainly, locally relevant.
12. Florida Marlins. -- It may be a fish - but it's one that takes a man multiple HOURS to reel in.
13. Tampa Bay Rays. -- In 2008, a woman was killed when a Stingray jumped out of the water and struck her in a freak boating accident. That was also the year Tampa made the World Series. Believe it ... or not.
14. Houston Astros. -- There was a time when astronauts were THE great American heroes. Not intimidating, so much as heroic.
15. Philadelphia Phillies. -- Only plus is alliteration, really. But, horses can be intimidating, though having a nickname homonym for your all-male sports team alluding to female horses is more embarassing than anything else.
16. Washington Nationals. -- Would rank lower, except the homonym here is Gnats, which at least are pesky and annoying, even if not intimidating.
17. Minnesota Twins. -- I think blonde co-ed sisters chewing gum. Which can be very intimidating. But, they are at least as often refered to as the Twinkies -- a sweet, soft, yummy treat -- easily devoured.
18. Los Angeles Dodgers. -- Trolley Dodgers? So, we're lauding the ability to NOT get run over in traffic?
19. New York Mets. -- The Metropolitans. Well, the other famous "Mets" are the Opera House and the Museum. Might as well have called them the Crooners and be done with it.
20. Milwaukee Brewers. -- Most sports fans like beer. Fine. But, would the "staggering drunks" be intimidating?
21. Baltimore Orioles. -- The only thing that keeps the bird nicks from being lower is the Hitchcock classic.
22. Toronto Blue Jays. -- Birds aren't naturally scary, and none of the trio of bird names is even a scary bird, (Hawk, Eagle, Vulture).
23. St. Louis Cardinals. -- But, they're pretty and they whistle sweetly.
24. Chicago Cubs. -- They got to choose their nick more than a century ago, before all the good names were taken. And they choose to be the cuddly stuffed toy every 5 year old slept with? They DESERVED to lose a centuries worth of World Series.
25. Kansas City Royals. -- There was a period where Royalty was feared. But, since American Democracy kicked the snot out of English Imperialism. In the modern world, Royals are impetent figureheads who are just fodder for tabloid ridicule. At least it's a nickname that fits.
26. Cincinnati Reds. -- Sorry, but laundry is not intimidating. At least Cinci dropped the "legs", and for awhile Communism was the biggest fear in America, just not anymore.
27: Boston Red Sox. -- Fluff and fold.
28: Chicago White Sox -- The least scary footwear -- the "Pale Hose". These nicks stink ... darn it.
29. San Diego Padres. -- The only thing worse than a non-intimidating, non-sports, non-historical, non-alliterative name, is one that is actually ANTI-intimidating. It's not only a calm, spiritual guide -- it also can be slang for buddy, (from compadre). We don't want to compete. We just want to be your friends.
30. Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. -- The stupidity of the city name costs points. Originally, the LA Angels, they moved OUT of the City of Angels to Anaheim. But, Angels go beyond Padres in the realm of "niceness" factor. Oh, isn't she an Angel? It means something that is completely cute, cuddly, and utterly harmless. (Even a Padre might rap your knuckles with a ruler occasionally). Archangel would've been a different story, of course.

OBF's picture

of a guy who married into a family of Alaskan Fisherman...  
Mariners are VERY intimidating.
If they can't cuss you out of the room, or box you into delirium, they drink you under the table :)
These dudes are as tough as it gets.  You trying picking Salmon out of a net sitting in 30 degree water, while its raining and the seas are swelling (as you lean over the skiff) for 16 hours a day, 7 days a week.  My wife tried it for a couple of summers 10 years ago and her knuckles STILL hurt ;)
Of course losing the trident took away some of the edge.  Other more applicable logos, that would at least be more intimidating that the Compass Rose would be a Crab, or even a Salmon drawn in the Native Alaskan style.
Of course the next time you stumble upon a 8 foot tall (at the shoulder 10 ft. if you include the antlers), 1800 pound moose, who could take on your Land Rover and WIN, lets see you stare it down and call it unintimidating :)  Should would help if they went with THAT moose and not the cartoon character they have now!
Quick question, are there any moose in Washington at all?  I thought they were mostly in colder climates, like Alaska and Canada.

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