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Akron RubberDucks 168

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 2019 May 2

In preparation for these reviews, I often do a little reading online about the city where the team is located. Sometimes it gives me a hook for the review. Other times it provides some interesting info I can weave into the review. And sometimes it can make me lament the state of education today. Today is one of those days.

My usual go-to for this sort of thing is Wikipedia. It's accurate enough for my purposes (it's not like I'm writing a Ph.D. dissertation), and it's usually an easy read. But sometimes it's too busy being a muddled mess to be an easy read. I want to quote to you a couple of paragraphs in the history section for Akron. As you read this, please bear in mind that I didn't change anything to make it look more ridiculous.

  The Riot of 1900 saw assaults on city officials, two deaths, and the destruction by fire of Columbia Hall and the Downtown Fire Station (now the City Building since 1925). The American trucking industry was birthed through Akron's Rubber Capital of the World era when the four major tire companies Goodrich Corporation (1869), Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company (1898), Firestone Tire and Rubber Company (1900), and General Tire (1915) were headquartered in the city. The numerous jobs the rubber factories provided for deaf people led to Akron being nicknamed the "Crossroads of the Deaf". On Easter Sunday 1913, 9.55 inches of rain fell, causing floods that killed five people and destroyed the Ohio and Erie Canal system. From 1916 to 1920, 10,000 schoolgirls took part in the successful Akron Experiment, testing iodized salt to prevent goiter in what was known as the "Goiter Belt". The Akron & National Marble Tournament was created in 1923 by Roy W. Howard, being owned by the Akron District Marbles Tournament and the Akron Beacon Journal sometime before it ended permanently in the 1960s.

Rubber companies responded to housing crunches by building affordable housing for workers. Goodyear's president, F.A. Seiberling, built the Goodyear Heights neighborhood for employees. Likewise, Harvey Firestone built the Firestone Park neighborhood for his employees. During the 1910-1920 decade, Akron became a boomtown, being America's fastest growing city with a 201.8% increase in population. Of the 208,000 citizens, almost one-third were immigrants (also Clark Gable) and their children from places including Europe and West Virginia. In 1929 and 1931 Goodyear's subsidiary Goodyear-Zeppelin Company manufactured two airships for the United States Navy, USS Akron (ZRS-4) and USS Macon (ZRS-5). Goodyear built a number of blimps for the Navy during WWII and later for advertising purposes. Akron again grew when Kenmore was annexed by voter approval on November 6, 1928. Found hiding under a bed at one of his hideouts in the city, notorious bank robber Charles Arthur "Pretty Boy" Floyd was arrested under the name "Frank Mitchell" in March 1930. Goodyear became America's top tire manufacturer after merging with The Kelly-Springfield Tire Company in 1935. Lasting five weeks and consisting of roughly 5,000 strikers including union sympathizers from other factories and neighboring states, the Akron Rubber Strike of 1936 successfully used "sit-down" tactic being organized by the United Rubber Workers. During the 1950s-60s Akron surged as use of the automobile did. The historic Rubber Bowl was used by the National Guard of the United States as a base during the racial Wooster Avenue Riots of 1968. Like many other industries of the Rust Belt, both the tire and rubber industries experienced major decline. By the early 1990s, Goodyear was the last major tire manufacturer based in Akron.

Much of this reads like someone copy-and-pasted random sentences from multiple sources. Facts are inserted in random fashion. For example, why do we get "(also Clark Gable)" in a sentence about immigration? (Neither he nor his parents were immigrants, in case you're wondering.) In a paragraph that's largely about the tire industry, why do we suddenly get a sentence about "Pretty Boy" Floyd? Why is it worth mentioning that the National Guard stayed at the historic Rubber Bowl during the Wooster Avenue Riots, but not worth mentioning what caused the Wooster Avenue Riots, what happened during them aside from the National Guard staying at the Rubber Bowl, how they ended, or why anyone should care? What have goiter, deaf people, and floods got to do with anything?

Someone involved in the creation of those paragraphs didn't understand that history isn't the random spouting of facts. It's the weaving of facts into a coherent narrative that people can understand. No one can understand the coherent narrative in those paragraphs, because there's no coherent narrative to follow. Most people, I'm guessing, don't actually get through those paragraphs because at some point their eyes glaze over and they just give up. Be honest: did you actually read those paragraphs in their entirety? I don't blame you if you didn't. I didn't do so in a single setting. Someone who feels more ambitious than me and/or who cares more about Akron than I do ought to fix that mess. Either tell us more about the riots and their significance, or don't mention them. Don't name drop every famous person with any connection to the city in the History section (that's what the "Notable people" section is for). In short: Edit.

Anyway, enough of that. I have a name and logo to talk about.

If you managed to muddle through those Wikipedia paragraphs (or even if you just skimmed them), you know enough to understand why the team decided to make a reference to rubber in the team's name. But even with that knowledge you might think it's strange that they went with RubberDucks. And you're right. But it could have been worse. Imagine Akron RubberBands. Or just Akron Rubbers. Rubber isn't really a good hook for a team name. And given that the only other recurring themes in in Akron's history seem to be labor strikes and riots, there wasn't a lot of local color to name the team after. What I'm saying is they probably should have gone with a generic name. But here we are.

At least the logo is, um, tolerable. It suffers from the common problem that when you try to make something unintimidating look intimidating the result is usually a bit ridiculous. But it does, somehow, look less ridiculous than an actual rubber duck. A low bar when you think about it, but at least they met it. The treads on the side of the duck's head are either clever or silly, or maybe both.

Also Clark Gable. No, I really have no reason for saying that, but it gave me such a case of the giggles when I was reading the Wikipedia page that I couldn't resist. I think I'll even end the review with it.

Also Clark Gable.

Final Score: 168 points.
Penalties: Software, 27 pts; Misspell, 29 pts; Humanoid, 30 pts; Colorful, 31 pts; Cartoon, 47 pts; Name, 10 pts.
Bonuses: Local, -6 pts.


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