“In a perfect world, your name would be dummy.”

It’s that time of year! Not only is Spring Training about to commence, it’s time to start preparing for your fantasy baseball leagues! Last year, I spent hours researching and preparing for the draft. Where did it get me? Seventh place, out of eight teams. I had a second team, which I called my “mini,” or “little” team, as I purposefully drafted only diminutive players (none over 6’0”.) I did it purely for fun, my only “research” consisting of finding which players fit my height criteria. I finished second out of six. Lesson learned. My prep will be a little different this year…

I’m not going to pretend I’m qualified to offer fantasy advice, and I’m certainly not going to publicize my strategies. The thing I’m concerned with at present is team names. There are so many excellent choices, I do not understand why so many people opt for such uninspired ones. Why would I want to name my team ‘The New Market Cubs?’ People use names like this all the time. Even worse are the ‘player’ names. You could not pay me to call my team ‘The Ian Kinslers,’ or ‘The Brandon Webbs.’ Fantasy manager, I implore you! Be a little more creative in 2010! Say NO to lame names!

How do you choose a good name? I consider a few different categories:

(1. Funny sounding words/names/terms

(2. Wordplay

(3. Obscure pop-cultural references

In the case of number one, just think of something that sounds quirky! The Narwhals! The Jelly Babies! The Nipperkins! I called my aforementioned “mini” team ‘The Whippersnappers.’ One of my sister’s teams this year is ‘The Garfooslings.’ Just pick up a dictionary or thesaurus and leaf through it! Pick up an encyclopedia! Just look around you! There is a goldmine of clever monikers to be unearthed. Heck, I’d rather see a team called ‘The Area Rugs’ than ‘The Tim Lincecum Giants.’

Number two! Wordplay is a bit trickier and requires a little thought. I’m not too good at it, to own the truth, and have never had a wordplay-named team. I saw someplace the Cardinal-themed ‘All The Musial Suspects.’ Now that’s an awesome name. The only examples I could think up were ‘Piniella Enchanted’ and “Yours, Mine & Mauer’s.” Cough. Now that I’ve embarrassed myself in that way, I’d love to hear some better examples. Anyone?

Number three is my go-to category. Nothing is more fun (or confusing to others, often) than picking names from random books, film, or television. I took my 2009 ‘Manhuggers’ from Roald Dahl’s The BFG. My sister’s team was called ‘The Wack Wack Sticks,’ which was derived from a New Zealand-made movie, Samoan Wedding. I’m holding onto ‘The Hong Kong Cavaliers,’ an idea from the cheesy 80’s sci-fi flick Buckaroo Banzai: Across The Eighth Dimension. I have two teams (so far) this year and have gone with a British television theme. I’ve got ‘The Pennsylvania Pippens’ (courtesy Look Around You) and ‘The Sonic Screwdrivers‘ (courtesy Doctor Who.) OK, yes. I AM a geek. I’m not ashamed.

Of course, there is nothing wrong with choosing a title that is actually related to baseball. Just quit stealing the names of existing teams. Please. Exercise your brain a bit. You shan’t regret it, and the rest of your fantasy league will quit making fun of you behind your back.

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