Part of the fun of being a sports fan is team nicknames, which can range from the fitting to the fictitious; from the serious to the sarcastic. With that as a guide, and in no particular order, here are some of the best — and worst — sports nicknames:
10 MOST CREATIVE (professional division)
Richmond Flying Squirrels — Double-A affiliate of the
Montgomery Biscuits — Double-A affiliate of the
El Paso Chihuahuas —
Saltillo Serape Makers —
Fayetteville FireAntz — Unaffiliated minor league team in the 10-team Southern Professional Hockey League, which also includes the Columbus Cottonmouths and Huntsville Havoc.
Culiacan Tomato Growers — Mexican Pacific League; the Tomateros, two-time Caribbean
Kannapolis Intimidators — Single-A affiliate of the
Lamigo Monkeys — Chinese Professional Baseball League; formerly the
10 MOST CREATIVE (scholastic division)
Banana Slugs — UC Santa Cruz; a student referendum followed by a poll of athletes was needed to change the name from Sea
Stormy Petrels — Oglethorpe University; named for a sea bird that, legend has it, would roost on ships when it sensed bad weather was nearing.
Keelhaulers — California Maritime Academy; given the school's nautical mooring, what could be more threatening than keelhauling, an often deadly form of punishment used by European navies.
Beetdiggers — Jordan High, Sandy, Utah; the 106-year-old high school was once at the center of a thriving sugar-beet industry.
Chanticleers — Coastal Carolina; formerly the Trojans, the school's nickname changed in the 1960s and was inspired by the witty rooster in Chaucer's "Canterbury Tales."
Fighting Camels — Campbell University; the alma mater of baseball Hall of Famer Gaylord Perry, the school was known as the
Dots — Poca High, Charleston, W.Va.; The name "Poca High School" was established in 1922. The original mascot was an Indian after chief Pocatallico. The current mascot — "The Dot" — was formed in 1928, during a storming football game when a reporter said: "They look like a bunch of red polka dots running around the field!" The name stuck and is still currently used.
Syrupmakers — Cairo High, Cairo, Ga.; Roddenberry's syrup plant was once located in Cairo, giving the town the name "syrup city" and inspiring the school's nickname.
Marcos — Polo Community High, Polo, Ill.; formerly the Apostles, the school held a vote in 1939 and changed the name.
(tie) Orphans (boys teams) and Annies (girls teams) — Centralia High, Centralia, Ill.; The nickname is believed to date to a Depression Era basketball game when the school's team, forced to play in rags, was likened to a bunch of orphans. When girls' athletics was were added in the 1970s, "Annies" was the obvious moniker.
NAMES THAT TRAVEL
These teams were able to pack their nicknames when they changed cities:
Dodgers — The nickname was borne of a pejorative for trolley-dodging Brooklynites but it had become so iconic, the team kept the name it when it moved to largely trolleyless Los Angeles in 1958.
NAMES THAT DON'T TRAVEL
These nicknames were banned by either a court judge or a court of public opinion:
Hornets — This nickname spent its first 13 seasons in Charlotte, where it sold a lot of T-shirts. It fell flat when the team moved to New Orleans, though, so the franchise changed the name to Pelicans and sent the old name back to Charlotte and the
Senators — The nation’s capital has lost two
FIVE THAT FIT A CITY
FIVE THAT DON'T FIT A CITY