Teams Should Reflect City PT II-BASEBALL

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Updated: December 3, 2012
Washington_Nationals_Montreal_Expos.jpeg

Gary Norris Gray BASN Staff Reporter

Part 2

BASEBALL

OAKLAND, CA.—-(BASN)Let’s look back on history and the names of current teams that have moved with and without their original names and mascot.

Over the past 60 years 40 teams have changed cities, logos, and names causing a crazy maze quilt pattern of sports history. American cities have been held hostage to the demands of teams and their billionaire owner’s. These owners and teams want new state of the art arenas and stadiums. The City of Oakland, California could be the latest casualty and lose all three of their professional sports teams if they refuse to cave into these selfish and self centered demands.

Major League Baseball (MLB)
Baltimore Orioles- St. Louis Browns
Oakland Athletics-Philadelphia, Penna.
San Francisco Giants- New York
Los Angeles Dodgers-Brooklyn (N.Y.C.)
Minnesota Twins- Washington (D.C.) Senators (1)
Texas Rangers -Washington (D.C.) Senators (2)
Atlanta Braves- Boston Braves
Milwaukee Brewers- Seattle Pilots

Let’s start with the star struck Montréal Expos organization in 1969-2005. It was the first Major League Baseball team outside of the United States. This team played in old band box stadium, Jerry Park, before moving to cavern-like Olympic Stadium in 1977. My favorite player was their catcher John Boccabella. his name just rolled off your tongue.

The Expos played in Canada until 2006, then moved across the border to our nation’s capitol Washington, D.C. With a sagging attendance record, the team became the farm team for other Major League Baseball teams. The Expos could not afford to keep players north of the border. Players also did not want to pay taxes in both countries.

The Montreal Expos became the modern day St. Louis Browns.

The Expos traded All Stars Tim Raines, Gary Carter, Andre Dawson, Pedro Martinez, Randy Johnson, and Vladimir Guerrero. This 1994 team almost won the National League Eastern Division. The Expos were six games ahead of the Atlanta Braves when the baseball strike started. The season never re-started again. That was the end of the Expos. The team just fell apart and waited for the move out of Montreal. This team played their last season-splitting home games in both Puerto Rico and Canada. Major League Baseball took over the team in 2004 and because of its financial problems; and the owner could not continue paying the players.

The Washington D.C area is trying for the third time to have a baseball team in this city. The Washington Nationals were the Montreal Expos. The team should have been named the Washington Grays in tribute to the African American population and the old Negro Leagues. These fine baseball fans have supported not one but two losing franchises. The first Washington Senators team moved to St. Paul-Minneapolis to become the Twins in 1958. The second Washington Senator team moved to Arlington Texas in 1972 to become the Texas Rangers.

The third and hopefully final team had a naming contest and the city considered naming this team the Senators again. That idea did not go over with the citizens of Washington or officials at MLB.

The fact that Washington acquired their third team in 50 years can be attributed to our nation’s powerful politicians in the capitol. They were tired of traveling the forty five minutes to Camden Yards in Baltimore to see a MLB game. If this city of Washington ever loses this team, they should never be honored with another team.

The Washington Nationals are truly back on the right track with a Rookie of the Year-Bryce Harper and a playoff team in 2012.

The Boston Braves moved to Milwaukee in 1953. This team would make one more move, with their final destination Atlanta, Georgia in 1966. Taking both the name and the mascot with them, the Atlanta Braves have made efforts to not offend Native American Indians/First Nation by taking off their famous Indian head logo or any other reference to Native American/First Nation.

In 1954, one year later, the St. Louis Browns headed east and change its name and logo. The Browns became the Baltimore Orioles. The Browns were the first unofficial farm team for the NY Yankees, Boston Red Sox, and Cleveland Indians because they could not afford their talented young players. Twelve years later the Orioles won The  World Series beating the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Three baseball teams traveled west in the 1950′s: the Philadelphia Athletics, Brooklyn Dodgers, and the New York Giants.

The Athletics or better known as the A’s  landed in Kansas City in 1955 from Philadelphia and then would moved to Northern California in 1968. The A’s changed the team’s colors from Blue and White to Green and Gold by maverick owner Charlie O. Finley. Mr. Finley also added white shoes and tried to put orange baseballs into the game. The League voted down the orange baseball but you can’t fault Mr. Finley for trying. The Oakland A’s were the first team to have four different uniforms. In the late 1970′s The Pittsburgh Pirates would topped that with 5 different uniforms.

The Giants and Dodgers both moved to the California coast in 1958. Rivalry in tact, the Giants went north to San Francisco while the Dodgers went south to Los Angeles. Both teams took their logos and mascots with them. The Dodgers had a meaning in Brooklyn but what did it mean in Southern California? Not many people were dodging trolley cars in the City of Angels.

The Seattle Pilots only stayed in the great northwest for one year 1970-1971; a record for the shortest of any major league franchise. The Pilots moved to Milwaukee in 1972 and replaced the lost and beloved Braves. The Milwaukee Brewers have been in the Midwest ever since. The Pilots had a different type of uniform with a captain’s military braid on the bill of their caps. Their uniform became an instant classic once they moved to Milwaukee. The Brewers organization changed the team’s colors to a darker blue and gold. This is the perfect name and mascot for this team and its city. If they ever relocate, they should leave the mascot and logo behind as the Seattle Pilots did in 1972.

Gary Norris Gray – Writer, Author, Historian. Gibbs Magazine-Oakland, California and New England Informer- Boston Mass. THE GRAYLINE:- The Analects of A Black Disabled Man, The Gray Leopard Cove on Blogtalkradio.com Disabled Community Activist. Email at garyngray@blackathlete.com

©Copyrighted Gary Norris Gray @ Gray Leopard Prod

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