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Albuquerque Isotopes 46

Notice: All logos on this page are included within the parameters of 17 U.S.C. § 107, which states that the reproduction of a copyrighted work for purposes of criticism and/or comment is not an infringement of copyright. No challenge to the copyrights of these logos is intended by their inclusion here.
Posted 2014 August 1

There's not a lot of religious imagery in sports logos. There's a fairly obvious reason for this: sports are about making money, people you offend are less likely to give you money, and throwing religious references into a sports team's logo can offend both adherents of the religion in question (who might consider it sacrilege) and non-adherents of that religion (who might consider it having other people's beliefs shoved in their face). I haven't gone on the most exhaustive review of logos for this, but the only teams I can think of that put religious symbols into their logos have valid reasons for doing so. The Anaheim Angels have a halo. Los Diablos Rojos del México have horns and a devil's tail. But that's about it in baseball.

On the other hand, you have these guys, with their atheistic symbol.

To the right you will see the logo for American Atheists. The similarity to the Isotopes' logo is undeniable: both feature a representation of an atom with a capital A replacing the nucleus. This may seem like an odd logo for American Atheists, but they had to pick something, and just having two A's would create confusion between them and Alcoholics Anonymous. In any case, American Atheists was using the atomic logo before the Isotopes.

Not that I think the Isotopes did this on purpose. If a sports team associating itself with religion is risky, one associating itself with atheism is dangerous. No, I think the Isotopes came up with this independently. It is a percfectly reasonable logo for a team called the Albuquerque Isotopes, after all.

Of course, that raises another question: where on earth did this team come up with the name Albuquerque Isotopes?

The name does make sense, mind you. Albuquerque is home to Sandia National Laboratories, which works on making (non-nuclear) components for nuclear weapons. Los Alamos, home of the Manhattan Project during World War II, is a little under two hours away. But still, it's a bit of an odd name. Who in their right mind proudly associates themselves with the nuclear industry? The answer is that it's all a big joke. The name actually comes from a TV show.

Back in 2001 there was an episode of The Simpsons where the local baseball team, the Springfield Isotopes, had plans to relocate to Albuquerque. Albuquerque, incidentally, had just lost its team (the Dukes) when the episode aired. Then, before the 2003 season, Albuquerque got a new team when the Calgary Cannons relocated there. Apparently someone involved with the team at the time was a big fan of The Simpsons, because he decided that continuing the joke from that episode (never mind the fact that the team in the episode decides not to relocate at the end) would be a hilarious thing to do. And the team doesn't hide the origin of the name, either. The team has freely admitted the name was inspired by the show, and if you go to the stadium and walk around you will see statues of characters from the show in the concourse.

Personally, I like the name. It's irreverent in the grand tradition of teams such as the Macon Whoopee and UC Santa Cruz Banana Slugs. And it stands out in a way that naming a team after another bird or another sock color never will. I wouldn't recommend naming teams after TV shows as a general practice (does the world need a team called the Rockford Files or the Austin City Limits?), but it worked out well in this case.

Final Score: 46 points.
Penalties: Equipment, 13 pts; Letter, 24 pts; Colorful, 31 pts.
Bonuses: Name, -10 pts; Logo, -12 pts.


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