Thursday, November 24, 2005

Giving Thanks

This year, I am thankful for three things (and three things only):

1) The 2004 Red Sox

2) That the sun has not burned out, leaving us all on a lifeless, cold orb.

3) That turkey tastes so darn good.

See, even he likes it. Take that, vegetarians.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Chumpians of the Diamond

So, my "continue updating regularly" plan isn't panning out so well. I guess I should get my act together if I ever hope to gain some respectability in the blog world... which really says something about the condition of "my act", as it were. So today seems like as good a day as any to catch up on happenings in baseball and elsewhere.

One of the last remaining remembrances of the team once known as the Expos is gone, as the Vermont Expos will be changing their name to the Vermont Lake Monsters, as it says here in the Burlington Free Press (sure, I could link to the Boston Globe, but I'm quickly losing faith in a paper choosing to employ both Shaughnessy and Silva).

I guess the team decided to go with "Lake Monsters" after the mythical creature rumored to be inhabiting Lake Champlain, which the team all ready had as a mascot. Of course, I don't see why they didn't just name them directly after the creature and call themselves the "Vermont Champs". Sure, other teams may resent the fact that they are just usurping the title of "champ" for every season of the foreseeable future, but I say they're Vermont, let them have their hubris. They're a state which only has maple syrup as a claim to fame, and will forever be known as "the upside-down New Hampshire" (no matter what any of those Vermont hillbillies tell you). Of course, I've always been in favor of spirited team names in the interest of fostering competition. I once played on a co-ed ultimate team that choose to name itself the "United States National Team" for the weekend. True story.

Of course, some "traditionalists" who claim to be acting in the interest of "good taste" believe you shouldn't name a team after a horrific mythical monster. These people are crazy. I for one am looking forward to seeing the introductions of the St. Paul Griffins, the Carver City Cerebus, and the Fresno Fighting Chupacabras. After all, the Lake Monsters was the best and most popular choice from the many fan submissions. That's right, the fans picked the name, you democracy-hating anti-monster lobbyists. Of course if you want to feel better about the name choice, we could always take a dip into the "rejected" pool.

The Vermont Chester A. Arthurs - Named for the 21st U.S. President and the greatest president to ever come from the state of Vermont (nobody likes Calvin Coolidge, not even his mom).

Upside: Honors Vermont's history by showing that it can send people to Washington to perform on the National stage. Totally sweet beard.

Downside: Awkward mascot. Confusing cheers (especially for those named "Arthur"). People mistakenly believing the team is named after the aardvark.

Not even the manliest chops since Ambrose Burnside could save this team name.

The Burlington Coat Factory - Named for the popular discount men's clothing store.

Upside: Free advertising.

Downside: Lawsuits from the original Burlington Coat Factory.

Probably not very practical, and something tells me that the boys of summer really don't want those jackets around when it's 90 degrees in August.

The Vermont Maple Barons - Because nothing energizes a fan base more than captains of industry, and no Vermont industry is bigger than the maple syrup business.

Upside: Free Maple Syrup Day sure to be a big hit.

Downside: Having to retire Sappy, the talking tree mascot, when it is deemed that his syrup tap is "too phallic" for the ball park. Also, insurance rates would skyrocket when a connection is made between diabetes and the all-you-can-eat maple sugar candy offer made to season ticket holders by scientists researching in the field of mapleology.

Too bad this one wouldn't work out. After all, everyone wants to be able to root for Wall Street fat cats.

The Vermont Peelers - A tribute to... people who peel things, I guess. Really this would just be an excuse to use the pun on the state's capital ("Montpelier", get it? get it?). The mascot could be a sailor with a sack of potatoes to peel, or maybe a monkey with a big bunch of bananas. And yes, I know monkeys don't peel bananas, they eat the whole. You are just going to have to suspend your disbelief when the man with a monkey costume comes out and stop being such a humorless killjoy all the time.

Upside: Everybody loves a clever play on words.

Downside: No one would get it. And those who do get it wouldn't think it was funny. And they would be right.

Do I really need to explain why this would be a bad idea?

The Vermont Chunky Monkey - Named for one of the signature flavors of Vermont's famous ice cream makers Ben and Jerry.

Upside: All ready branded with a positive image. Cross-promotion practically negotiates itself. Can get Ben & Jerry's to help finance stadium upgrades. Overweight gorilla mascot has the potential for some truly wacky hijinx.

Downside: .... nothing that I can see.

Thinking about it now, I hereby retract everything I previously said about the Vermont Expos new name. The Vermont Chunky Monkey is the far superior team name, and I am outraged that it was not selected. Both the ownership of the Vermont Expos and of Ben & Jerry's can expect angry, obscenity-laden email tirades from yours truly until the situation is rectified. The Chunky Monkey is simply too great an opportunity to pass up.

Let's Go Chunk!