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« An American spelling in King Yi's court | Main | I believe these people are twits, but I can't prove it »

January 04, 2005


language hat

I'm not fully grasping the ludicrousness here. Not only was the franchise originally called the Los Angeles Angels, the name had a long and storied tradition for decades before that: "The mighty Los Angeles Angels, owned by Wrigley, were ... probably the most succesful franchise in the history of the [Pacific Coast League]." Frankly, I think the name Anaheim Angels sounds silly, and have ever since they changed it to that.

the New York Mets are always trying to catch up to the Yankees

Wash your mouth! Yeah, it's been rocky lately, but back in the '80s it was the hapless Yanks who were looking up enviously at the mighty Mets.


As a Tennessean, I'm offended! There are, in fact, two viable football cities in Tennessee: Nashville and Memphis. In fact, Memphis is the larger city, and region. This is the real reason why they are called the Tennessee, rather than the Nashville Titans. Nashville is simply not a big enough market by itself, and the Tennessee label invites advertising and participation from just about every region of Tennessee but Memphis.

I suspect this is also true for the Panthers. No city in North Carolina is capable of supprting an NFL team on its own, and the "Carolina" label is designed to increase support. Using the state's name doesn't preclude having other franchises in the same sport in that state. For instance, in Florida, you have the Florida Marlins (Miami) and the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. In Texas, you have the Texas Rangers and Houston Astros. The Texas Rangers are likely so-named to ensure a fan base in both Dallas and Ft Worth (think Minnesota in the twin cities).

Semantic Compositions

I can write about language policy, immigration and politics all I want; none of those columns will ever provoke 1/10th the controversy of a sports column.

LH: As far as glorious past histories go, doesn't that mean that the actual L.A. team of today should be called the "Brooklyn Dodgers of Los Angeles"? Heck, their pre-LA history is unquestionably more significant than their post-move history. And how about the New York Giants of San Francisco? The Angels play in Anaheim, sell tickets primarily in Orange County, and have been doing so for just slightly under half their history now, which is more than can be said for the Dodgers. On this view of things, it would seem only natural for the Dodgers to want to tap into the #1 media market in the country.

As for the Mets, I have bitter memories of being fleeced of a Don Mattingly rookie card for a couple of Pete Roses and a...Mookie Wilson. I have no idea what the either card is worth today, as I haven't been a collector in years -- although whatever more Mattingly's card might be worth on sentimental criteria, Wilson's the one with the ring. That's not to say I have anything against the Mets personally -- I rooted for them in the Subway Series. I plead guilty to reading Peter Gammons and Buster Olney, who both write about the Mets' struggling for the back pages of the tabloids. From that I took the impression that the Mets are subject to some of the same treatment afforded the White Sox.

Chris: No disrespect intended. But team location is determined by a couple of things (not least including local governments' willingness to pony up), and I drew on general beliefs about media market size to make those comments. I think they're justified to some extent.

Here's Nielsen's most recent estimate of TV market sizes, current as of September '04. Charlotte and Raleigh-Durham are both bigger markets than Nashville, albeit not hugely so. Memphis, however, is down at #44, right by New Orleans (perhaps this means that Memphis residents have better things to do than watch TV). Eyeballing the data, it appears that just about all pro teams are in the top 50 media markets (except for Green Bay), and no state with multiple teams has a team located in a market smaller than #39, while the biggest markets in those states are all in the top 20. There are, of course, other factors like the willingness of the community to buy tickets (which has cost San Diego 1 1/2 NBA teams by my reckoning), and you're probably right that Tennesseeans would be a lot more likely to support two teams from that standpoint than people from many other states. But the teams would be more parasitic on each other's media markets than even D.C./Baltimore/Philly is now.

Of course, Los Angeles is only as big as it is because they've lumped Orange County in with it. Bastards.


I was being mostly facetious, so the response to the sports post, at least on my part, is because I think it's funny. The Angels' new name is absurd. Maybe they should start including the teams' former locations in names? We could have the Boston Milwaukee Atlanta Braves, or the Washington Texas Rangers, not to mention the St. Louis Arizona Cardinals from Hell (and what if they had called the Expos the San Juan Expos of Montreal?)

language hat

From that I took the impression that the Mets are subject to some of the same treatment afforded the White Sox.

Well, I can't argue with that. But I can froth and spew vitriol!

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