Proposed name would market itselfWritten by Matt Sussman | | email@example.com
When it comes to naming one’s fantasy sports team, virtually everyone — yours truly included — is trapped in the pitfall of trying to be too cute. Trying to mix wit and relevance — all while trying to fit it within the 20-character limit — results in that episode of “Seinfeld” where Jerry keeps trimming his chest hair to even the sides until he goes overboard and completely shaves all of it. So I’ve made a conscious decision to go with “Suss’ Sicilians,” just for the kick I get out of people trying to pronounce it out loud.
The city of Toledo is in the same boat as it tries to name its new sports teams. The incoming hockey and arena football teams need names. And I can picture in my head just how this went:
At some point in the past, there was a meeting of the Committee to Decide the Names for the New Toledo Sports Teams (probably not the actual name of the committee, but like I said, let’s not over think this). They were coming up with animals indigenous to the region: squirrels, frogs, robins, deer, mosquitoes, etc. They probably frequented Wikipedia often.
Then someone said, “Hey, what about the woodpecker? It could be pecker for short.” Laughter ensued, but the kind of electric laughter that sets off an idea light bulb. The Toledo Peckers. At some point they extended an idea to the Toledo Peckerheads, and I’m sure what was again done in jest became catchy enough to stay on the list.
So now our city is all atwitter with the juvenile name potentially becoming reality. It could be my youth — which doesn’t explain Ben Konop’s objection — but the Peckerheads is a fantastic name for a minor league sports team, and for the first time in this newspaper, I am dead serious.
The business of minor league sports is not about the epic battle between mediocre athletes. It’s all about spectacle. The Mud Hens have been a good baseball team lately, but would they really be as successful if the odd name were instead, say, the Toledo Bulldogs? (Fact: There are 543,201,373 teams in the world nicknamed “Bulldogs.”) Our new sports team will have to cash in on that same spectacle, and it won’t have the safety net of being name-dropped in a 30-year-old TV show.
Then think about the merchandise sales. People everywhere are going to want to get their gutter-minded hands on a Toledo Peckerheads hat. A Peckerheads shirt. Oh, heck, I’ll say it: Peckerheads underwear. It may be a halfway dirty phrase, but the University of South Carolina probably doesn’t object to the bonus revenue it receives from people buying Gamecocks memorabilia — especially because its hats don’t have the syllable “Game” on it.
And it’s not like Toledoans vest any deep passion for the team, unlike the Browns, Tigers or Ohio State football. We’re all casual, fair-weather fans. So it’s probably reasonable to keep that same light-hearted attitude with this team. It’s not as if we’re trying to rename the cemetery in which your ancestors comfortably rest to Peckerhead Memorial Park. We’re talking about a sports team that already uses a goofy-shaped ball.
So if the name Peckerheads is too lowbrow for you, I understand, and support you in your means to block not only that name, but to also change the UT sports teams from the Rockets so we can keep the city void of any phallic symbolism whatsoever.
Visit Matt Sussman’s sports blog at futonreport.net.