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Sultanes de Monterrey 49

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 2013 May 5

Los Sultanes de Monterrey are so named because Monterrey's nickname is "La sultana del norte", or "The Sultan of the North". I'd love to be able to tell you why, but I have no idea. It can be really hard to find out where a nickname for a city comes from. Maybe if I knew enough Spanish I'd be able to find something on the web, but as a monolingual English speaker I had no luck with that. I'm not convinced it would help anyway. It can be hard enough trying to find out the origins of nicknames for cities here in America, and I don't need to know a foreign language for those. Need a list of nicknames? Easy. Explanation of where they came from? That's another matter.

Some of the nicknames, of course, are obvious. All you need to figure out why Dallas is called The Big D is literacy. Anyone who knows where General Motors, Ford Motors, and Chrysler Motors are headquartered understands why Detroit is Motor City. Simple geography will tell you why Denver is the Mile-High City.

Others may have origins you don't fully understand, but you can appreciate the forces at play. In most cases, the force at play is desperate boosterism. This is particularly true of most cities whose nickname is the [insert noun here] Capital of the World. For example, did you know that Sturgis, Michigan is the Curtain Rod Capital of the World? Did you know that someone in Sturgis actually thinks being the Curtain Rod Capital of the World makes people want to visit Sturgis? Did you know that there is no tourism to speak of in Sturgis, Michigan? Can you guess why?

These are not the worst examples of boosterism, mind you. If nothing else, we can assume they're tethered to reality in some way. We can safely assume they make, or at least once made, a lot of curtain rods in Sturgis, Michigan. It may be the only thing of note that has ever happened in Sturgis, Michigan (and if you're thinking "That's where all the bikers get together", you're thinking of Sturgis, South Dakota), but it's at least an identifiable accomplishment. Some other cities let the boosterism get out of hand. Here's it's usually the bigger cities that appear to be past their prime rather than the small cities that never had much prime to be past. For example, Detroit has been called America's Comeback City. So has Cleveland. Is it just me, or does it sound to you like someone hopes if they can get enough people to believe, the city will come back to life à la Tinkerbell in Peter Pan? And they're not the worst. Baltimore somehow got dubbed The Greatest City in America, which makes me wonder what the person who devised that had been smoking and whether he brought enough to share with the whole class. Buffalo, incidentally, bucks this trend by being the City of No Illusions. So if you're in Buffalo and need an illusion or two to get through the day, I suggest heading down to Baltimore, where they obviously have plenty of illusion to spare.

But for a nickname I really don't get, I can stay right here in Raleigh, also known (to Ralegians,* at least) as the City of Oaks. You're thinking this one's too easy: there are a lot of oaks here. Except that there aren't really that many oaks here. Sure, there's a decent number of oaks. But it's not like anyone visiting the city looks around and goes, "Oh my! Would you look at all the oaks in this town! I've never seen anything like it!" Part of this is because most people these days, if they're being totally honest, would be unable to look at an oak and identify it as an oak as opposed to any other kind of tree. Another part is that there are probably more pines than oaks in Raleigh. There are a lot of pines in this part of the country. Our state tree is the longleaf pine. I think the longleaf pine got picked as the state tree because it's the most common tree in the state, including here in the capital.

Going down a list of city nicknames I found on the web, I was truly puzzled by some of them. Who dubbed Tuscaloosa, Alabama the Druid City, and why? Was it a love of irony that caused someone to declare Indianapolis (which is shaped like a sqaure) the Circle City? Does Rio Rancho, New Mexico's status as the City of Vision have anything to do with peyote? Do I even want to know what caused Utica, New York to become known as the City that God Forgot?

"Sultan of the North" is similarly confusing. There are more Queen Cities than I can keep up with (the two biggest are Cincinnati and Charlotte), but the idea of a queen fits quite easily in with the Anglo-American tradition, especially since some cities (Charlotte among them) are in fact named after queens. To my knowledge, there weren't any Sultans in Mexico or Spain, even during the Moorish period. And if Monterrey is the Sultan of the North, then what is the Sultan of the South, or just the Sultan?

I was hoping the logo might provide some kind of insight, but no dice. There's not a sultan in the logo at all. Instead, there's a big M and some mountains, plus the obligatory baseball. The mountains around Monterrey are not the Sierra Sultanes or anything like that; they're the Sierra Madre. The mountains don't explain anything. They don't belong there.

There are nine stars in the logo as well. Los Sultanes have won nine Mexican League championships, you see. You may recall from my review of los Tigres de Quintana Roo that they, too, have one star for every Mexican League championship they've won. In that review I called the stars "a bit of nonsense", but it turns out to be something of a Mexican League tradition. Although I didn't realize it, los Rojos del Águila de Veracruz do the same thing. And yes, the teams do update the logo when they win new titles (los Rojos del Águila are now up to six, and los Tigres are up to ten). Some Mexican League teams don't put stars in their logo, but every one that does has one star for each title. So I take back what I said in the review for los Tigres. Now that I think about it, I think it's actually kind of cool. I'd like to see some other minor leagues pick up this tradition. But not Major League Baseball. First of all, it is just a wee bit bush league...that means it's fine for the bush league to do it, but the majors need to stay out of it. And second, we all know the damn Yankees would insist on doing it if anyone else in MLB did, and no one wants to hear it out of those bastards.

*You may be asking yourself "Is 'Ralegians' really the name people from Raleigh use to refer themselves?" The answer is no, but it should be. The most common demonym for Raleigh is probably "people from Raleigh", with the goofy-sounding "Raleighites" coming in second. "Ralegians" is easily as goofy-sounding as "Raleighites", but it's at least a self-aware goofy-soundingness. And really, if people from Glasgow can be "Glaswegians" and people from Manchester can be "Mancunians" then "Ralegian" sounds positively normal in comparison.


Final Score: 49 points.
Penalties: Script, 7 pts; Scenery, 11 pts; Equipment, 13 pts; Letter, 24 pts.
Bonuses: Local, -6 pts


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