Since we’re in the midst of the first qualifying round for the World Baseball Classic in 2017 (Australia and South Africa are both 1-0) it has reminded me of the difficulty of writing about teams that don’t have a name. Descriptions of the games are particularly arduous as there are only so many ways to say Team USA (you can’t even say the Americans because Canada, Mexico, Venezuela and other American countries have teams as well). Things would be so much simpler if, like in any professional sport, the teams had a moniker as well. Since these countries have yet to do that, I will now do it for them.
Since we are only in the qualifying rounds, I’ll focus only on the 8 teams playing for a spot in the first two qualifiers, Sydney and Mexicali. If I feel like it, I may eventually get around to the other 8 contenders and the 12 teams that are already in for 2017.
Starting with the current group and the host team of Australia, there are many options. The island nation has been separated from the rest of the world so long that they have many species of native animals that can’t be found anywhere else in the world. While the most popular internationally is probably the kangaroo, the University of Akron had that first, so we need to get more creative and more vicious.
The Australia Drop Bears
Koala’s aren’t bears and don’t assault people from dropping from trees onto them, but this nickname is more akin to the Jersey Devil and Cincinnati Bearcats line of nicknames. If you haven’t heard of drop bears, I recommend listening to Jason Ellis. Actually, I don’t.
The game one losers against Australia were the island chain of the Philippines and they also have a very unique variety of fauna to chose from. These include tarsiers, pangolins and flying lemurs, but we are playing baseball here and none of those would be very good at the sport (although that may make them fitting for the Philippine team). Instead, we’ll go the equipment route like the Louisville minor league team and go with…
The Philippine Flying Foxes
These are awesome gigantic flying mammals and most importantly, bats. There’s also the all important alliteration that all good teams have.
Near Australia, the island nation of New Zealand is also competing in the qualifying round and they would almost certainly like to call themselves the Kiwis after the famous flightless bird. However, since they have not officially given themselves that name and do not feature the bird on their hats, I’m going with a name that Americans may be more familiar with…
The New Zealand Hobbits
Thanks to Peter Jackson’s love of the mountainous terrain of New Zealand, they are now more famous for being Middle Earth than anything else. A special bonus: Billy Boyd hasn’t done a major movie since 2003, so he should be available as a mascot.
The final team in the Australian bracket is South Africa and rather than go some offensive route based on their recent history, we’ll just name them after their most famous large mammal…
The South Africa Buffalo
The second group of four will play in mid-March much closer to the United States in the border city of Mexicali (not to be confused with Calexico, which is on the US side of the border). Beginning with the home squad of team Mexico, we have the most perfect name for a team that has never been used…
The Mexico Gila Monsters
Monsters are cool and so are the large, orange, venomous lizards that are endemic to both Mexico and the United States. I’ve been trying to get an Arizona team to snatch up this name (or the even cooler Gila River Monsters), but until they do, it’s up for grabs. Just think of the wonderful uniform options.
While we’ve gone the animal route on most of these teams, team Nicaragua needs professional help as they didn’t win a single game last time around despite being the favorites. Even better than an animal species, they should be named after the greatest baseball player they ever produced.
The Nicaragua Presidentes
Dennis Martinez was a four time All-Star and author of a perfect game for the Expos in 1991. He played for the Indians as well later on, but that has nothing to do with this. The Presidentes need to jump on the coattails that once lead the league with a 2.39 ERA.
The Czech Republic the not really known as a baseball hot spot, although it is the home country of Indians minor league catcher Martin Cervenka. In honor of their history and the band Queen, we shall call them…
The Czech Republic Bohemians
Depending on which version of the term they would prefer to embrace, this could lead to some very interesting uniform choices.
The final team in the Mexicali bracket is Germany and it is hard to come up for a non-offensive nickname for the Deutschland, so we’ll take a slight turn from convention and go with…
The German Lightning
I know, there’s already a hockey team in Tampa with that name, but does Tampa really need a hockey team? Ice in Florida doesn’t make any sense. This should also make the games of this series more intense, particularly when the Lightning try to steamroll over Bohemia. The World Baseball Classic has had trouble building a fervor in the United States and what better way than to set up the perfect villain. Americans will be rooting hard for the Gila Monsters, Presidentes and Bohemians just to make sure the Lightning lose.
Of course, the Germans will almost certainly want a different name, but that’s the point. Come up with your own name, mascot and logo and people like me won’t have to create them for you.