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RoughRiders99

Team names without any meaning to it

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Just a random thought that appeared in my head regarding team names.

We all know that most of the team names usually come with some sort of meaning behind it. Minnesota Vikings for Minnesota's strong Scandinavian roots, Colorado Rockies, etc...

But my question is... can a name that has no meaning behind it work? I know there are some successful examples today, such as the Los Angeles Lakers, but is it really the "right" method to name a team?

I may not be making sense, but I think this thread might be a good place to talk about naming a team without any reason. I was sorta inspired to make this thread by an old pro basketball team in Des Moines, Iowa: The Des Moines Dragons. I've always thought the name sounded cool and rolls off the tongue smoothly, but it just doesn't make sense. I mean, there aren't any dragons in Des Moines/Iowa, nor any strong medieval ties or whatever. It was just a... name.

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Cincinnati Bengals

There ain't no Bengal tigers in Ohio

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But does a team name have to have a "meaning" in the way you describe it? The Lakers are not the best example because their origin is the reason why they are the Lakers. It is because they moved and didn't change the name. But even though their name's "meaning" doesn't work now, the history of their name is the meaning.

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Look no further than my home team (and employers) the Kenosha Kingfish (in the Northwoods League summer-collegiate league).

Kingfish are saltwater fish (Atlantic Ocean & Gulf of Mexico), and Kenosha's by Lake Michigan (freshwater of course). They also play up the Elvis theming a LOT (their mascot's King Elvis I, their entertainment crew's the Dancing Elvi), but I don't think Mr. Presley ever visited Kenosha even.

Yet somehow, it is a local PHENOMENON, and the fan support is huge (fourth in the 18-team league) and set to rally them on to a Northwoods League pennant in only their second year of existence.

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If someone can give me the reason behind the Pittsburgh Pirates, I would appreciate it.

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The earliest sports nicknames (almost) always had some meaning behind them, like Tigers if they wore striped shirts or socks, Pirates if they stole a player from another team, Blueshirts because they wore blue shirts, etc. That's how nicknames come about for people, too- some observation, comment, feature, event, etc. provides the inspiration.

In more modern times, the names are sometimes chosen for alliteration, through a contest, or because the owner likes the sound of it. Some examples (in my mind) include the Jacksonville Jaguars, the Tennessee Titans, the Pittsburgh Penguins, the Los Angeles Kings, and the Atlanta Falcons, but even in such cases, there is usually some story concocted to "explain" the name. The official story for the Penguins still does not make any sense: "[it] was inspired by the fact that the team was to play in the "Igloo", the nickname of the Pittsburgh Civic Arena" - Penguins live in the Southern Hemisphere, while igloos were invented in the Arctic (far North).

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If someone can give me the reason behind the Pittsburgh Pirates, I would appreciate it.

Wikipedia:

Before the 1890 season, nearly all of the (Pittsburgh) Alleghenys' best players bolted to the Players League's Pittsburgh Burghers. The Players' League collapsed after the season, and the players were allowed to go back to their old clubs. However, the Alleghenys also scooped up highly regarded second baseman Lou Bierbauer, who had previously played with the AA's Philadelphia Athletics. Although the Athletics had failed to include Bierbauer on their reserve list, they loudly protested the Alleghenys' move. In an official complaint, an AA official claimed the Alleghenys' signing of Bierbauer was "piratical".[5] This incident (which is discussed at some length in The Beer and Whisky League, by David Nemec, 1994) quickly accelerated into a schism between the leagues that contributed to the demise of the A.A. Although the Alleghenys were never found guilty of wrongdoing, they made sport of being denounced for being "piratical" by renaming themselves "the Pirates" for the 1891 season

TL;DR: The Pittsburgh Alleghenys were accused of "piracy" by signing a player, then decided to troll by changing their name from the Alleghenys to the Pirates.

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Washington Wizards is the most recent major pro name I can think of with NO meaning behind it.

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Jacksonville Jaguars is actually named after the Jaguars in Jacksonville zoo

Pretty terrible reason.

If Jacksonville started with an G would they be the Gacksoville Giraffes?

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Jacksonville Jaguars is actually named after the Jaguars in Jacksonville zoo

Pretty terrible reason.

If Jacksonville started with an G would they be the Gacksoville Giraffes?

No because the giraffes aren't the main attraction, when you look at Jacksonville Zoo there are Jaguars everywhere.

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Can we please stop with the "there are no (insert animal) in (insert town)". Sorry that Miami isn't infested with Dolphins and Marlins, being blown in by Hurricanes, when it's blistering hot outside.

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my question is... can a name that has no meaning behind it work?

The premise is deeply flawed. You don't mean "no meaning", you mean "no special meaning to the locals." And I think it's kind of silly to expect every name to have a specific local resonance.

Just because a name doesn't fit perfectly with the locale like say "Milwaukee" and "Brewers" doesn't mean that there's "no meaning" behind the name.

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There's exactly one: North Dakota.

You can't have a team name with meaning if you don't have a team name.

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Can we please stop with the "there are no (insert animal) in (insert town)". Sorry that Miami isn't infested with Dolphins and Marlins, being blown in by Hurricanes, when it's blistering hot outside.

Hurricane_Andrew.jpg

It's different naming the team after an animal native to the area (like dolphins and marlins are to Miami) than naming a team in Michigan after a saltwater fish, like above.

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Cincinnati Bengals

There ain't no Bengal tigers in Ohio

Named after an older team in town, and also the Massillon High School Tigers, where team founder Paul Brown played and coached.

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Of course "Wizards" has a meaning. It is an actual word in the English language. If you look it up in the dictionary, you will see a definition, which means the word has "meaning." But it has no "organic" connection to Washington DC. It's a team name that is basically generic enough to work for any sport, in any city. That is what people here mean when they say a team name has no meaning.

Edited by Ice_Cap
removed unprovoked insults and the confrontational attitude
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If someone can give me the reason behind the Pittsburgh Pirates, I would appreciate it.

Wikipedia:

Before the 1890 season, nearly all of the (Pittsburgh) Alleghenys' best players bolted to the Players League's Pittsburgh Burghers. The Players' League collapsed after the season, and the players were allowed to go back to their old clubs. However, the Alleghenys also scooped up highly regarded second baseman Lou Bierbauer, who had previously played with the AA's Philadelphia Athletics. Although the Athletics had failed to include Bierbauer on their reserve list, they loudly protested the Alleghenys' move. In an official complaint, an AA official claimed the Alleghenys' signing of Bierbauer was "piratical".[5] This incident (which is discussed at some length in The Beer and Whisky League, by David Nemec, 1994) quickly accelerated into a schism between the leagues that contributed to the demise of the A.A. Although the Alleghenys were never found guilty of wrongdoing, they made sport of being denounced for being "piratical" by renaming themselves "the Pirates" for the 1891 season

TL;DR: The Pittsburgh Alleghenys were accused of "piracy" by signing a player, then decided to troll by changing their name from the Alleghenys to the Pirates.

Yeah, they "pirated" away a player, and tried to clear their name by calling the team the Pittsburgh Innocents in 1890. It didn't stick, everyone still referred to them as pirates, so they went with it.

Turn of the century sports newswriting was VERY different. The branding we see today simply didn't exist, and team nicknames were really more of suggestion; newswriters called them whatever they wanted and sometimes it would stick. In my own research on the Pittsburgh Pirates NHL team, newspapers referred to them as "Yellow Jackets" regularly, even though that was an amateur team that had preceded the NHL team, they simply didn't care. I'm still not sure what the USPHL's Minnesota team was named, the Pittsburg Press listed at least 5 different names over the 1924 season with no indication what their actual name was. I'm sure it was the same in baseball.

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Obviously, the Bills are a play on "Buffalo Bill," but I never liked how the name "Bills" doesn't fully stand alone as something that makes sense.

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Obviously, the Bills are a play on "Buffalo Bill," but I never liked how the name "Bills" doesn't fully stand alone as something that makes sense.

I've always wanted Buffalo to produce a team, in any sport really, where the team name was Buffalo.

Just: Buffalo.

Not the Buffalo Buffalo, not the redundant Buffalo Bison, just Buffalo. Is it the city name? Yes. Is it the team name? Yes. Which is it? Exactly. Every team logo from that city uses a Buffalo in its imagery (or so it seems), why not embrace it and get some weirdness/uniqueness points and publicity?

This would also work for Phoenix. Any other cities that could do that?

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