OpinionJanuary 20, 2005

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The Ten Most Creative Minor League Team Names

By Arlo Vander

Every fantasy owner knows that picking the perfect team name is a key part of preparing for a new season. A good name for a fantasy ballclub can be anything from a grandiose boast to a wry pun, but most owners will agree that creativity and originality are essential. For those still searching for inspiration, here are ten of the minor leagues’ most interesting names to get those creative juices flowing.

1. Albuquerque Isotopes (Pacific Coast League)

In a memorable episode of The Simpsons, the fictional Springfield Isotopes threatened to relocate to Albuquerque, a plan eventually foiled by Homer (who else?). In real life, however, Albuquerque got the last laugh by naming its AAA club in honor of the cartoon team.

2. Batavia Muckdogs (New York-Penn League)

There’s just something wonderful about the word ‘muckdog.’ Hearing it conjures up images of ground balls dug out of the dirt, head-first slides into second base on a soggy day and baseball played the way it was meant to be.

3. Chattanooga Lookouts (Southern League)

Sometimes, it helps to have interestingly-named geography nearby when choosing a team moniker. In Chattanooga’s case, Lookout Mountain provided the ideal inspiration.

4. Tucson Sidewinders (Pacific Coast League)

A poisonous snake found in the region and a type of baseball pitcher rolled into one. Perfect!

5. Brevard County Manatees (Florida State League)

All right, a manatee might not have much to do with baseball (no Mo Vaughn jokes, please), but in a league populated by Cubs (Daytona), Tigers (Lakeland), Dodgers (Vero Beach) and other major-league equivalents, the Manatees pick up style points for going with a unique name.

6. Savannah Sand Gnats (South Atlantic League)

Aside from the occasional Bees, baseball teams tend to avoid insects as their symbols. Not so the Sand Gnats, who embrace the image of this pesky critter.

7. Auburn Doubledays (New York-Penn League)

Hey, if you’re going to name a team after someone, why not make it the man who (supposedly) invented the game itself?

8. Altoona Curve (Eastern League)

Ordinarily, I’m not a big fan of singular team names, but this one nicely combines a local landmark, the Pennsylvania Railroad’s Horseshoe Curve, with baseball terminology. For that, I’m willing to overlook the singular – but just this once.

9. Inland Empire 66ers (California League)

No, there wasn’t a gold rush in San Bernardino back in ‘66, and this team is no San Francisco 49ers wannabe. These Sixers are named for something entirely different: America’s most famous highway.

10. Brooklyn Cyclones (New York-Penn League)

Yes, any name for a Brooklyn team other than ‘Dodgers’ sounds wrong to most baseball fans, but unfortunately, that wasn’t an option for a team in the Mets system. And while it may take a bit of getting used to, naming the ballclub after the famous Coney Island roller coaster was a very nice touch.

Arlo Vander feels the Texas League should resurrect the turn-of-the-century Paris Parasites.

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