Name That Team!

So I mentioned to my wife that Los Angeles now has a football team again. The Los Angeles Rams, back again after two decades. My wife protested that there are no rams in Los Angeles.  Now, there are some wild sheep that live up in the mountains around the city, but this doesn’t really count as anything particularly emblematic of Los Angeles.

So if you were on the committee to rename the team to be somehow particular to Los Angeles, what mascot or nickname would you choose?  I’m going to decline to list my wife’s ideas, because they are all less than complementary about the city. San Franciscans, however, are exempted from this rule. We’ll get back at you in good time.

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61 thoughts on “Name That Team!

  1. The Tacos

    Because Los Angeles would just be Kansas City with better weather if it wasn’t for the omnipresent roach coaches and taco stands with mean-looking Mexican hombres vending food that tastes even better than it looks.

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  2. A couple of thoughts:

    I actually don’t mind a franchise keeping the nickname even after moving to a city where it’s inappropriate – LA (Minnesota) Lakers, Utah (New Orleans) Jazz, Arizona (St. Louis, from Chicago) Cardinals. It provides continuity. Even if LA has no lakes and Utah has no Jazz…

    Some talking heads actually went there – that the Rams are now coming home to LA, despite the fact that the franchise started in Cleveland and moved West in much the same way that the Brooklyn Dodgers did.

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    • What’s weird is that one team recently gave back it’s nickname (the New Orleans Hornets returned the name to the Bobcats, who later replaced them in Charlotte after their departure) and it is one that lacks any real geographic connection. But the locals were supposedly strongly attached to it and this (again, supposedly) limited their willingness to back the imposter Bobcats.

      So now the Bobcats are the Hornets and the Hornets are the Pelicans. But they made the switch over in one year with no gap in between so now I never know which team we’re talking about when we talk about the Hornets. I still think Anthony Davis plays for them even though he hasn’t for several years. And the Pelicans were an awful choice for the New Orleans franchise. Yes, I guess the big dopey birds do live in the swamps of Louisiana but of all the amazing things we uniquely associated with New Orleans, you pick the Pelicans? Oy.

      The Jazz should be obligated by federal mandate to return that name to New Orleans. Then the Utah franchise can choose something really cool based on their own area’s unique culture and history.

      The Lakers? Whatever. Does anyone even know that is a reference to lakes? Also, fuck the Lakers.

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        • Baltimore and Orioles, which is baseball goes back to the 1890s.

          Oh ye of short memory!

          [Mansfield vs. Baltimore 8/2/1872] A change was made in this inning, Clapp going to c.f., Brainard to r.f., Allen to s.s., Bentley to p., and O’Rourke to c. The change was effective, and for three innings the Orioles could not tally, when, seeing the necessity for work, they went for heavy batting ,and aided by errors on the part of the visitors, scored two runs in the last three innings. Baltimore Gazette August 3, 1872

          [Baltimore vs. Mutual 8/8/1872] [headline:] Baltimore vs. Mutuals–The Orioles Retrieve Themselves. Baltimore American August 9, 1872

          Not bad, for a chance similarity n the coloration of a bird and some 17th century English heraldry.

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      • Well, Cleveland fought hard (and won) to keep not only the name “Browns” but also the entire team history. So despite the fact that the Ravens were The Team That Formerly Played in Cleveland, they were treated as an expansion team and when Cleveland got a team a few years later, they were The Browns, and were born already 50 years old.

        (True story or possible Urban Legend: a poll taken in Cleveland after the Browns left put Art Modell as the second worst person in history, defeated by Hitler, but coming in ahead of Stalin)

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        • (True story or possible Urban Legend: a poll taken in Cleveland after the Browns left put Art Modell as the second worst person in history, defeated by Hitler, but coming in ahead of Stalin)

          This is a riff on an older joke: You are in a room with Adolf Hitler, Joseph Stalin, and Walter O’Malley. You have a pistol with two bullets in it. What do you do? If you are from Brooklyn, you shoot O’Malley twice.

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  3. We could look to the most prominent local industry for inspiration, but I don’t think the LA Rehab Counselors will catch on.

    Hollywood has a good idea, though: we’ll name them the LA Rams. Now, I can here you already: “that’s not a new idea; it’s just a cynical rehash of their old name,” but if there’s one thing we’ve seen it’s that you can make a gritty reboot of anything. Mute the colors on the uniforms a bit, maybe add a bit of blood dripping from the logo’s teeth, and we have a brand-new mascot for a brand-new team.

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  4. I think they should give team a faux European football club name like so many of the MLS teams have. How about Real LA or The Los Angles FC? Maybe they can get some fan boys with long scarves and other accouterments.

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  5. The serious answer is that: (a) Animal mascot names usually aren’t intended to have any particularly local resonance. Who, outside of the football context, associates falcons with Atlanta or bears with Chicago? (b) Los Angeles has a long tradition of adopting locally inappropriate or irrelevant sports names when teams move there: Lakers and Dodgers both are local references for somewhere else; and (c) The Rams were in Los Angeles for plenty long enough to make this qualify as the traditional name for a professional football team in L.A. (Compare with the Los Angeles Raiders, which never seemed quite right.)

    With regard to (b), this is because Los Angeles imported its teams in an era when that did not imply a nickname change. There was a flurry of moves by baseball teams in the 1950s. The only one that comes to mind as including a name change was the St. Louis Browns moving to Baltimore and adopting the traditional name for a Baltimore professional baseball club. All the others kept their names: the Dodgers, Giants, Braves, and Athletics. The Washington Senators moved soon after and changed their name, but it’s not as if the name had been covered in glory.

    Nowadays it is pretty normal to change the name when moving. The last I can think of that did not involve a name change was the Cardinals’ move to Phoenix, and that was in the 1980s. On the other hand, franchise moves have been pretty rare since then, for all that they capture the public imagination, so it is hard to say what the modern trend is. “Rams” is about as likely a keeper as you will ever see.

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    • Ah, but what about the Denver Broncos? The wild horses of the high prairie are a deeply romantic and regionally-appropriate notion. So too with the Miami Dolphins and the Miami Marlins and the Florida Panthers, the Arizona Diamondbacks, the Charlotte Bobcats, the Arizona Coyotes, and of course the Baltimore Orioles. (Baltimore’s nom de football, the Ravens, recalls the city’s cultural history rather than celebrates its local fauna.) New Orleans has the Pelicans and is the biggest city in the Pelican State and them damn things are everywhere in the bayou. I’m not sure how unique animals like Blue Jays and Sharks are.

      A lot of these teams are relatively new, or new to their names (sometimes in new locales). So I think the trend is to find a mascot that is emblematic of the location represented. Lots of the human-occupation mascots are parochially emblematic: Packers, Vikings, Oilers, Senators, Yankees, Celtics, Brewers, Angels, Cowboys, just to name a few.

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      • Ah, but what about the…

        Hence my inclusion of the weasel word “usually.” Yes, that is an impressive list. But compare it to the full list of such names. Include college teams and the disparity widens. Then add high schools, with their endless parade of Eagles and Wildcats.

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        • I’d spitball that about half the professional sports teams names out there are, or were at one point in the team’s history, somehow parochially emblematic. The other half are pretty generic: livestock, birds of prey, and variously-colored socks can be found nearly everywhere in the United States.

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        • Wimps. Yeah, cats wander down from the hills occasionally, and sometimes take a few pets that careless owners let run outside in the dark. (What do you call a small dog the owner lets run loose in the backyard of their new house in/near the foothills after dark? Hors d’oeuvre.) But they’re not a big deal. Here in Colorado, lightning strikes are much more likely to get you.

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        • When I worked for Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, we had a summer when a mountain lion decided that the campus was part of the territory it would regularly patrol. The security patrols and perimeter fences were not designed to deal with a stealthy predator that can leap 15 feet in the air, so it had no trouble getting in and wandering around until somebody reported it and it got chased off by security.

          It was really weird. I’d go through security checkpoints with armed guards to get to an office at a place where people laugh at you for locking your car doors. Then, I’d get an email warning that I shouldn’t go near building XXX because a predator that might jump me from behind had been spotted there.

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  6. If you want a bloody revolution led by geriatric Angelenos, who in the last couple of days suddenly started to feel young again, just try naming the Rams anything but the Rams.

    If the Chargers come, too, call ’em whatever you want. Maybe “The Account Settlement Negotiators.”

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  7. LA Law. That’d be super fun for announcers. “The Law is coming to town for a showdown with their bitter rivals!”

    LA Surf.

    Scrap LA entirely and call them the Hollywood Hills.

    LA Stars.

    LA Shades. Like sunglasses but also like throwing shade. Though that phrase is already on its way out I think.

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  8. LA Moguls

    LA Opinion (for non-Angelenos, there’s a daily Spanish language newspaper called La Opinion, with an accent I cannot replicate over the second o.)

    L.A-lists (to keep explaining my jokes, the A-List is the people invited to the best hollywood parties)

    El Pueblo de la Reyna de Los Angeles Angelenos (with a tilde over the last n)

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  9. LA (Show)Runners. With the parentheses.

    LA Waiters. With alternate jerseys that say, “We aren’t really waiters, we’re just doing this while we wait for our pilot to get picked up.”

    Which reminds me… LA Pilots. When they play the Jets, they’ll taunt their opponents with calls of “A jet is useless without a pilot!”

    LA Tar Pits. When they suck, you’ll get a million “They’re the pits!” jokes. Classic!

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