Brilliant Reader Challenge: The 10 Worst Nicknames in Professional Sports
NEW YORK — We’re coming to you today live from New York City, where I’m doing some WHY WE LOVE BASEBALL stuff and seeing my pal Alex Edelman’s amazing Broadway show, “Just for Us,” and doing all my favorite New York stuff. None of this has anything to do with today’s Brilliant Reader Challenge, but I must admit that I’ve always loved the way that New York dateline looks at the beginning of a story.
Before getting into that, I’ll remind you that Alex and I will be doing a “WHY WE LOVE BASEBALL” event together in Newport, R.I., on Sept. 6 — would love to see you there.
And also I’ll tell you that apparently … THE BOOKS ARE IN. I say “apparently” because I haven’t seen an actual book yet, but I’m hoping to get my hands on one today. If you’d like to pick up an early copy of the book, well, the good people at Dutton have put together a raffle giveaway over at Goodreads — they will be giving away 15 hardcover books, and I’m pretty sure they’re giving them away BEFORE publication date. Pretty cool. And it’s totally free to sign up.
I really like today’s Brilliant Reader Challenge from Tom; it’s something I was just talking about with a friend: Tom wants me to name the 10 worst team nicknames in professional sports.
BUT, and this is the part I especially like, he doesn’t want me to include inherited names. Usually on such lists you will see, for example, the Utah Jazz as one of the worst names in professional sports, because it’s so incongruous. Same with Los Angeles Lakers.
Tom writes: “Those names don’t count because New Orleans Jazz and Minneapolis Lakers are GREAT team nicknames … the problem is not the nickname but the fact that the team didn’t change that nickname when they moved cities.”
I had not thought of it quite that way before, but I think Tom is right. When talking about terrible team nicknames, we should focus on those poorly chosen nicknames that simply don’t work. Jazz is a fantastic nickname for the right city (that city being New Orleans). Pelicans is a perfectly acceptable name for the right city. All would be right with the world if Utah and New Orleans just SWAPPED nicknames. This should happen tomorrow.*
*There are apparently thousands of white pelicans that live in and around Utah freshwater lakes during the summer months. Having these two teams just swap nicknames is one of the more coherent ideas I’ve ever come up with.
But this is a slightly different challenge. Here we’re looking at the 10 nicknames that don’t work based on their own merits.
I will tell you up front: I actually like some of the nicknames below. I mean, 10 is a lot. I think there are probably five or six truly bad nicknames. But the challenge is for 10, and so 10 you will get.
Here we go!