Debating William & Mary, sports and culture since 2011. Updated every Wednesday.

What’s in a Name: Fantasy Edition

In Baseball on April 4, 2012 at 11:02 am

The 2012 Major League Baseball Season is finally upon us, bringing what only spring baseball can bring: new rosters, renewed hope and Fantasy Baseball. Across the country, groups of friends will gather in living rooms freshly stocked with snacks and drinks. With updated spreadsheets of player data and team transactions in hand, they will aim to squeeze out every statistical advantage to dominate the most time-consuming (and, ultimately, least-fulfilling) fantasy game.

But the true test of the Fantasy player isn’t the win-loss record. It isn’t player stats, and it isn’t money won. No, the true test of the Fantasy star is a much more difficult accomplishment: the Fantasy team name. A good team name can make or break an entire Fantasy season. Winners can lose all earned respect for a championship because of an awful team name, while that guy from accounts payable that you invited to join your league as a favor to your buddy Scott might become your new best friend for coming up with “Byrnes When I Peavy.” Thankfully, Crim Del Harris has compiled an easy-to-use guide of essential elements that will help craft the perfect team name to gain you Fantasy immortality.

Pun: Some people have said that the pun is the lowest form of comedy. Those people are wrong. Punning is the foundation of any successful Fantasy season. In fact, without puns, there would be no Fantasy baseball (that might not be true). It’s true (again). But how do you create a clever punned name? It all starts with the last names of players — starts being the operative word. Don’t pick a player because his last name is actually a word to make your job easier. Even if you’re a Shawn Green fan, Green Acres won’t cut it as your team name. Step 1: Find a player with a unique last name. Step 2: Find a sentence, phrase, album name, etc. that sounds (at least in part) like the player’s name. Step 3: Insert the player’s name into that sentence or phrase. Step 4: PROFIT, because you’ve just made an awesome team name.

EXAMPLES: Honey Nut Ichiros, Grand Theft Votto, Funky Cold Molina

Be Current: So, you know how to pun (incidentally, ABC already has a pilot ready to air on this), but your job isn’t Dunn. (See what I did there?) If all player names from baseball history are fair game, then anyone can pun. I’m sure Williams “Candy” Cummings is a prime candidate for a team name, but how many of your friends know the name of the inventor of the curveball? And of those who don’t, how many will be able to stop giggling long enough for you to explain it? To get the most impact out of a team name, it has to be current. Ideally, the player should be well known and still playing, like David Wright. However, you can use a former or retired player if he is exceedingly well known, like Greg Maddux or Cal Ripken. If you choose a former player, then your sentence or phrase must be current. No one wants to see a Breakin’ 2: Electric Boogaloo/Old Hoss Radbourn combo.

EXAMPLES: The Humber Games, Marmol Said Knock You Out, My Darlin’ Clemente-tine

Stick to the sport: So, you’ve figured out a pun, you’ve selected a great reference, and your player’s last name fits into it perfectly. Chad Ochocinco plays football, and this is a Fantasy baseball league. Choosing a player from a different sport for your Fantasy team name — it’s a rookie mistake. And, because of Linsanity, I’m sure this gaffe will appear with a vengeance this season. Picking a player who doesn’t play your league’s sport is like throwing dynamite into a game of rock, paper, scissors. Don’t be that guy. Leave Somewhere Over Dwayne Bowe for Fantasy football season.

EXAMPLES: Don’t use Jeremy Lin in your Fantasy baseball team name.

Represent your favorite team/player: Congratulations, you’ve finally figured out a funny and original pun for your team name. But sometimes you want something extra, a special kick to make your team name truly yours. You want to make your Fantasy team name about your favorite team. You’ve just made your job a lot harder, but you’re to be admired for your dedication. The biggest obstacle with choosing a team-specific Fantasy name is that it limits your player name pool, and , to a lesser extent, your available references. Rosters only have 25 players. And unless you have an up-and-coming minor leaguer like Bryce Harper, you only have those 25 names to work with. The same goes for making a team name about your favorite player. In both cases, it is certainly possible to make a solid Fantasy team name, but you’ll have to be creative. May I suggest some Troy Tumuchwhiski.

EXAMPLES: Sweet ‘n’ Mauer Sauce, Zack & Miri Make a Morneau, A Streetcar Named Cuddyer

Failing that, mock another team/player: Sometimes you don’t want to support your own team. You want to take down your hated rival, or your friend’s favorite team. The Germans have a phrase for it. It’s called, “being an asshole.” (My German is rusty.) The team name-as-burn is a difficult maneuver. You have to be extra clever. You have to be willing to stick with it for an entire season. And you must hope that the team/player you’re slamming has a miserable season. Only the bold take these drastic measures. May the odds be ever in your favor.

EXAMPLES: Take it in the Pujols, McCourt Jester, Yu R.A. Dickey

There you have it, five easy steps to Fantasy team name success. You may have drafted Johan Santana in the first round because you haven’t watched a Mets game in, like, three years, but your team name is Theriot Hearts. So you know what? Screw you, Scott.

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