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Washington Wild Things 160

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 2012 September 1

Longtime readers know that one thing I am constantly harping on is the fact that teams should avoiding naming themselves after regions, states, counties, et cetera. They should either name themselves after the city they play in or, if they play in a suburb, after the name of the nearest metropolitan city.

This is one of those exceptions. If you say a team is in "Washington" to just about anyone in the United States or Canada, they are going to assume one of two locations: the nation's capital, or the state that's north of Oregon and west of northern Idaho. This holds true for most people in cities that have teams in the Frontier League. But this team isn't in Washington, D.C. or the state of Washington. It's in Washington, Pennsylvania. Washington, PA is a town of about 13,000 people in the southwestern part of the state, about forty-five minutes from Pittsburgh (and about four and a half hours from Washington, DC). I'm guessing a large number of fans in other Frontier League cities have watched the Wild Things numerous times without ever realizing that the team isn't from the nation's capital, particularly before the Expos became the Nationals in 2005. Then again, considering the woeful state of Americans' knowledge of geography, I'm sure you could tell a lot of these people that the team plays in Washington, Pennsylvania, and their response would be "I didn't know our nation's capital is in Pennsylvania."

There is, of course, no dearth of cities in the United States names "Washington". Twenty-seven states have at least one Washington; mostly there's no more than one per state, but California has two and Wisconsin has eight (apparently they really love the father of our country in Wisconsin, or maybe they used up all their creativity coming up with the idea to make hats out of cheese). But having a Washington so close to the one on the Potomac seems to be asking for confusion. Don't blame the founders of Washington, PA for this: the town was founded in 1781, about a decade before the nation's capital was founded. They didn't like sharing the name, either. In fact, they responded by tarring and feathering the first federal government official who made the mistake of setting foot in the county where Washington was located. The history books will tell you this had something to do with the Whiskey Rebellion, which was centered in southwestern Pennsylvania, but I think we all know that was just a cover for the real reason, which is that they didn't want to be upstaged by a new city carved out of Maryland and Virginia. Eventually, George himself had to come to town to put down the rebellion, which put him in the rather awkward position of having to put down a revolution led by men who had named their town after him. (For some reason, the history books never mention this event as "Washington's march on Washington", which I think is missing out on one of the few opportunities for word play in a history book.) In the end, Washington was able to suppress the Washingtonians, and life returned to normal. But the people of Washington kept refusing to pay the whiskey tax, just to save face.

All this history nonwithstanding, I think this is one of those times when a baseball team might be advised to pick a different name. I wouldn't advise using "Pittsburgh", partly because they're not really close enough to it and partly because I don't think any baseball team would want to be associated with Pittsburgh these days, given how lousy the Pirates have been the last few seasons. The Wild Things are the only team in the Frontier League in Pennsylvania, so perhaps changing "Washington" to "Pennsylvania" would be a smart move.

I know, I know: if we did that, then the alliteration of "Washington Wild Things" would be lost. Well, about that...

I couldn't find anything that said why the team chose the name "Wild Things", but the way I see it, there are really only two reasons. The first is that the owner really liked the song. This seems unlikely, but I can't rule it out. If this is the case, I think we can all agree that while the name "Wild Things" is unfortunate, it's at least better than if his favorite song had been "Mr. Tambourine Man".

The second — and much more likely — possibility is that the name is a reference to the movie Major League. And I don't really have a problem with this. The movie is one of the better baseball comedies out there. But remember that Ricky "Wild Thing" Vaughn was played by Charlie Sheen. In this day and age, do we really want to name teams after a Charlie Sheen character? Perhaps we should rename the team the Pennsylvania Punks. After all, that would replace the Charlie Sheen reference with an Ashton Kutcher reference, and apparently Ashton Kutcher is the official replacement for Charlie Sheen regardless of whether or not it actually works. In this case, it may work, since we get to have alliteration again.

The logo, as you can see, features a, uh, something. I'm not sure if it's supposed to be a bear, a dog, some other specific animal, or just a generic "wild thing". The logo also lets you get a good look at the team colors, which are black, red, and purple. Seriously. I think the Wild Things may be the only team on the entire continent to use red and purple in the same logo, and it works just as poorly as you think it would.

Hopefully they'll take my advice and change their name to the Pennsylvania Punks, and change the team colors while they're at it.

Final Score: 160 points.
Penalties: Alliteration, 5 pts; Equipment, 13 pts; Letter, 24 pts; Humanoid (because of the sunglasses), 30 pts; Colorful, 31 pts; Carton, 47 pts; Name, 10 pts.
Bonuses: None.


This page Copyright ©2012 Scott D. Rhodes. All rights reserved