What's With That Name?

Leagues start and fail, teams organize and form only to disband later, some become successful and part of the American fabric (Green Bay Packers, Boston Red Sox, Detroit Tigers and Chicago Cubs). With the changes they often move to different cities or regions. I find myself pondering the question of why they change their mascot names(examples include Tennessee Titans, Texas Rangers, Minnesota Twins), but leave the name team as a mismatch to their new status.

The Oakland Athletics, were the Kansas City Athletics for a while, and before that they were the Philadelphia Athletics (also known as the Athletics).

We woke up one morning and found the Baltimore Colts became the Indianapolis Colts.

The New Orleans Jazz were an NBA expansion team in 1974 that drew dismal crowds even though signing local LSU legend Pistol Pete Maravich. Eventually, the moved to that great jazz music capital of Utah (sarcasm intended). Why not at least change the team name? Utah Jazz just doesn't make sense.

Los Angeles has had several pirated teams in their city. The Dodgers started in Brooklyn getting their name from a reference to those people that "dodged" the trolley cars. How many trolleys are there in LA? The Los Angeles Rams became the St. Louis Rams, which had originally started in the unlikley city of Cleveland. Yes, the Cleveland Rams. And then we have the Lakers. Born in Minneapolis during the George Mikan era and eventually moved to LA (seriously, we need a name change here). How many lakes are in LA?

At least the Washington Nationals changed their name when they moved from Montreal to DC. The Washington Expos doesn't quite inspire patriotism, does it? Ah yes, Washington has had three different teams begin there. You have the original Washington Senators, with the slogan "First in War, First in Peace, Last in the American League". Woeful for many years until moved to Minnesota in 1961 and became the Twins. But the politicians said they couldn't be without a team, so they started another team that same year and came up with a catchy name "Senators". They hired Ted Williams as a coach and lasted 10 years in Washington, before moving to Dallas and becoming the Texas Rangers.

Atlanta Braves started out as the Milwaukee Braves, but don't forget that they moved to Wisconsin from Boston where they were the poor brother of the Boston Red Sox. On the basketball side, the Atlanta Hawks were thought to be a very good championship contender each year in St. Louis before moving in 1958.

New York Giants (baseball) bolted to San Francisco the same year as the Dodgers putting the great Willie Mays in the San Francisco outfield. Also leaving the east coast in the early 60's, the Golden State (aka San Francisco Warriors) moved from Philadelphia to the west coast taking along Wilt Chamberlain.

Several of my Minnesota buddies continue to proclaim the injustice of when their beloved Minnesota North Stars skated out of hockey crazed state for the greener pastures of Dallas, where they appropriately dropped the "North" part of the name and becoming the Stars.

Now over to Arizona's representatives in the National Football League, the Cardinals. Most fans know they rose from the football graveyard of St. Louis in 1988. What isn't common knowledge, is that the Cardinals are one of only two teams (the other being the Chicago Bears) that can claim to be existing charter members of the NFL. The Cardinals actually started out in Chicago from 1920-1960. The team actually won two NFL Championships, both while they were in Chicago. During the 1950's the Cardinals only won 33 games and were mostly forgotten in Chicago as the fans started gravitating to the Bears. Yes, the Cardinals used to be good, but attendance was horrible, which finally prompted them to move to St. Louis.

As evidenced in this blog, I suggest when teams move, maybe fix the name to match the new chapter. Take a page out the Tennessee playbook (Houston Oilers to Tennesse Oilers , to now the Tennesse Titans. How about changing the name of the LA Dodgers to the LA Cougars? The LA Lakers to maybe the LA Monarchs (classic, regal name for a basketball team)? And then there is The Jazz...seriously...maybe the Utah Majestics? One last shot...how about the Arizona Coyotes? Wolves? Cactus?


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