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Today we are going to examine the most important fantasy baseball-related decision you will make all year: Choosing a team name.

Now, some of you will read this and say, “Dude, I’ve been calling my team the Jim Rice-A-Ronis since ’82 and I ain’t gonna change that now.” To which I say, “Godspeed, sir! You are a San Francisco Treat!”

Others will say, “Dude, the kind folk at Razzball have offered up this handy fantasy baseball team name generator for the team-name-impaired, and I’ve made good use of it, christening my 2009 squad the Rabid Booty Shorts.*” To which I say, “Godspeed to you too, sir! You are also, in your own way, a San Francisco treat.”

(*Real-name suggestion I actually received. Excellent.)

However, there are those of us who are constantly, heroically, obsessively striving to find that better, perfect name. For example, as an impressionable teenager, the Baron would sit in his bedroom while other kids were chasing skirts and lighting bottle rockets and I’d study the original Rotisserie League Baseball guide (represent!). I always marveled at the clever team names contained therein. Dan Okrent ran the Okrent Fenokies! Steve Wulf piloted the Wulfgang! Michael Pollet captained the Pollet Burros (think Soviet Russia)! Cork Smith helmed the Smith Coronas!

My favorite team name by far, though, belonged to Rob Fleder, who ran the Fleder Mice. This was a pun on Die Fledermaus, an operetta by Johan Strauss, the title of which means “The Bat” or, translated literally, “The Flutter Mouse.” DO YOU SEE HOW CLEVER THAT IS? Yes! Did I understand that reference at all when I was sixteen years old? Of course not! I barely understand it now!

But from that moment on, I was hooked on fantasy names like some kids are hooked on heroin and others are hooked on phonics.

Sadly, the Baron’s Christian name is not as pun friendly as, say, Steve Wulf. And my knowledge of Strauss is lacking. So I have been forced to adopt other fantasy-team-naming strategies. Over the years, I’ve scoured the globe to collect the deadliest, wickedest, most fearsome team-naming techniques (as well as some absolute clunkers), which I will share with you today. (Then, in the comments, I hope you will share your favorite/most regrettable team names of yore, so they can be celebrated/mocked accordingly.)

Without further ado, here is everything you ever wanted to know about how to – and how not to — name your fantasy team:

1. The Pun-On-Favorite-Player’s-Name Names. Personally, I just don’t get this approach. I mean, I understand the part about how you love Ichiro Suzuki or Cole Hamels or Albert Pujols. I even see the charm of names like Honey-Nut Ichiros or Hamels Toe or Albert’s Poo Holes. What I don’t understand is WHAT HAPPENS IF YOU TRADE THAT GUY? Seriously, you have a whole team of players walking around with HONEY NUT ICHIROS emblazoned on their chests, and Ichiro’s not even on the team? That is bad for clubhouse morale. Plus, if you ever meet Albert Pujols in a bar, do you really want to start the conversation by saying, “Hey, I once had a team called the Poo Holes.” No, you do not. GRADE: C

2. The Pun-On-Your-Hometown-Team’s-Name Names. I think this is more popular in Fantasy Football, or at least that’s what I gathered from that pretty amusing ESPN commercial with those teams named Behind the Steel Curtain and Boston TD Party and what not. The Baron doesn’t play fantasy football. Is this site called RazzFootball? If this method appeals to you, go over to a fantasy football site, read about Anquan Boldin, then name your team The Boldin The Beautiful. You’re welcome. GRADE: D

3. Dirty Sports Puns. Ah, an old chestnut. (In fact, the team name The Old Chestnuts could conceivably belong in this category, if this was 1852.) Here’s a more current example: The Backdoor Sliders. Think about it! Personally, the Baron doesn’t go this route, being a gentleman of refined humors. But he fully respects that there’s a good argument to be made for simply calling your team Balls Deep every single year. GRADE: B

4. Timely References to Current Events. This is probably the most popular naming convention in my current league. Our winner last year was called the B-12 Chewables, which I liked. (I liked his name from the year before even better: A-Rod Drinks Zima. It’s funny because it’s true.) Last year, mid-election, we had two different teams with puns on Obama-related hope slogans. The upside: People think you are smart about politics. The downside: You spend all year with a team called the Audacious Hopers. Worth it? I think not. GRADE: C plus.

5. Olde-tyme baseball players. Now we’re talking! Olde-tyme players have funny names/nicknames. Also, this scores you points with other players who assume you are some sort of tweedy baseball historian, when all you did was Google “old-time baseball player nicknames.” My favorite such player’s name? Urban Shocker. My favorite ever personal team name? The Urban Shockerz. We urbanely shocked our way to a championship. P.S. I added the Z to attract the kids to our merchandise. Kidz love the Z! GRADE: A

6. Arcane baseball rules/slang. Another good way to fake-impress your buddies. (You know who this will not impress? Ladies.) My favorite arcane rule: “Fielder’s Indifference,” i.e. an official scoring decision that a runner should not get credited with a stolen base because the fielders let him advance uncontested. It also sounds like a play by Samuel Beckett starring Vance and Rudy Law. As RCL alum will remember, my team last year was called the Indifferent Fielders. Trust me, they played like they were indifferent. Verdict: Too clever by half. GRADE: B minus.

7. Walt Whitman quotes. There’s a good one about baseball – they used it in Bull Durham. (Cue Susan Sarandon): “I see great things in baseball. It will take our people out-of-doors, fill them with oxygen, give them a larger physical stoicism, tend to relieve us from being a nervous, dyspeptic set, repair those losses and be a blessing to us.” The Baron regrets to inform you that, in a fit of toxic pretentiousness, he once called a team the Dyspeptic Set. As karmic payback, he got saddled with Jeff Francouer. Thanks a lot, Walt Whitman! GRADE: F

8. Humiliating Childhood Nicknames/ Derogatory Personal Slang. This is my new favorite source of team names. It’s like you’re turning the table on the bullies by winning some fantasy league they will never hear about! WHO’S THE DORK NOW? The Baron, as all the finest concubines of Europe are aware, is a natural redhead. Apparently, in Australia, there is a derogatory slang term for redheads: “Fanta Pants.” Get it? ‘Cause Fanta, the drink, is orange. Orange in the pants. Personally, the Baron thinks this is more derogatory toward Australians. But no matter! I’ve flipped the script and found my team name for ’09. Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you: The Fighting Fanta Pants. GRADE: AWESOME.

57 Responses

  1. Jonathan Strand says:
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    Hey Baron!

    I had an AL-only team last year named the Backdoor Sliders, and I thought that deserved better than a B! Especially because you STOLE IT. Of course nobody could muster up the wit, witty enough to think up such a witty name.

    I also had an NL only team called Big League Chew – where does that fit in? (does it help if it won?)

    P.S. Agree on football. I thought the JaMarcus Russell Terrier’s would be a good one. Not riding down on that train again.

  2. Last year in one of my leagues, I had an owner adopt the league name as his team name. I am still not sure whether he was trying for humorous or was just clueless/lacking in creativity.

  3. 101 M.P.H. says:
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    “For example, as an impressionable teenager, the Baron would sit in his bedroom while other kids were chasing skirts and lighting bottle rockets and I’d study the original Rotisserie League Baseball guide (represent!).”

    I’ve been trying for years to convince my wife that rotisserie baseball is more than just ‘Dungeons and Dragons’ for socially awkward sports enthusiasts.

    You’re not helping!!

  4. BigFatHippo says:
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    Well done Baron.

    My favorite team name of all time was my first Yahoo roto team, BingoLong’sTravelinAllStarsandMotorKings. Unfortunately it woudn’t fit so I became BingoLongAllStars only to end the season as Bingo’s Long Gone as I finished 9th out of nine. Whoa was me.

  5. @Jonathan Strand: Backdoor Sliders is an excellent name. I only meant B for the dirty-pun concept in general. You have to deduct some points for all the John Kruk’s Sweaty Balls out there.

    @johnwhorfin: Trying for the former, achieving the latter, I’d surmise.

    @101 M.P.H.: I feel you. I’ve recently started seeing a new woman and, by total coincidence, we ran into a guy in my fantasy league. Afterwards she said, “What’s Fantasy Baseball,” and I thought, Okay, here we go… It doesn’t help that I have two championship Yahoo! bobbleheads on my bookshelf. It’s like, “See these? They only took me six months to win. Each.”

    @BigFatHippo: Thanks! That’s an excellent name. I had considered something this year like “Baron Von Vulturewin’s Traveling Bat & Wood Show” but realized it was way too long. Perhaps going forward you could shorten your former name to simply the Motor Kings, which has a nice ring. Or maybe you want to forget the whole debacle entirely.

  6. bsentinel says:
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    I’ve learned not to try too hard with my name. If people have to look up your reference, it’s not that cool. My first team was “Megachiroptera,” which doesn’t look like much, but if you Google it, you see it’s “the name of the family of giant bats.” Loved it. No one else did.

  7. bsentinel says:
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    Last year, I was Hashimoto Ice Balls. Sounds like an innocent shout-out to team from northern Japan. Actually, “Hashimoto” is a hypothyroid condition, lowering your body temperature…Guess that falls under dirty baseball puns?

  8. IowaCubs

    IowaCubs says:
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    I just wet my pants in jolly-good timeness. Good show, Baron!

  9. IowaCubs

    IowaCubs says:
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    Oh, and going back to the Olde-timey theme, my favorite team name was the Mordecai Middle Finger Browns.

  10. Lou Poulas

    Lou P says:
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    Hmm, and here I thought Bertrand Island Carnies was a good name. It’s a reference to an old amusement park from my hometown that opened in the mid 20′s. Damn you Baron!

  11. sean says:
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    Branford Beardsplitters!

  12. Fman99 says:
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    I dispute your claim in full, Baron!

    The best names, to me, are always puns on a current MLB player name. Doesn’t have to be on my roster, either. I am going with such classics as “Hole Camels,” “Shit My Hunter Pence” and “Covetous Choo” this year.

  13. SaltyBiscuits says:
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    Dennis Eckersley’s Vagina Sponge

    Chase Utley Blows Dudes

    I Hope the Phillies Team Plane Crashes

    WWBVVD (for the good Baron)

  14. Fourness says:
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    I was “Dykstra’s Tobacco Plugs” last year but went with “Van Slyk and the Bondsmen featuring the Don Slaught Onslaught” this year

  15. pops says:
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    @SaltyBiscuits: Is that you Billy Wagner?

    One Nut Kruk
    Bedrosian’s Beard
    Steve Jeltz for the HOF

    My tribute to the legends of Phillies past….

  16. AZ Bobblehead says:
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    I have one league where the commissioner insists we include our city name. I hate it.

    I’ve always been a fan of pop culture references…specifically TV shows. I want them common enough for some people to understand, but obscure enough for some people to be confused. Usually about half the leagues gets my references. My favorite names from the past include the Stonecutters, Tobias Funke’s Nevernudes, and the MacGrubers.

    This year, I went with Business Sox.

  17. T. Dog says:
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    You sound like a bunch of girls arguing about what to wear. If your team is good, it doesn’t matter what the heck you call it. If your team sucks, you have to at least have a cutsy name…pathetic.

    Give me some real fantasy content and not this crap…

  18. T. Dog says:
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    PS> Chances are your team REALLY sucks if you spend all your time researching your team name and then bragging to fantasy writers about how original YOUR’S was in yesteryear’s ….REALLY pathetic.

  19. willclarkismyhero says:
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    Baron:

    It’s unusual that I feel moved to post, but a laurel and hearty handshake to you, sir! Thanks for making my Thursday feel like Friday.

    The Fighting Fanta Pants indeed…

  20. @IowaCubs: I should have also given a shout out to your RCL name last year, Rod Beck’s Doublewide. Classic.

    @bsentinel: This is very true. I learned this last year when people kept asking, ‘What the hell is a Dyspeptic Set,’ and I’d say, ‘Well, there’s a Walt Whitman quote…’ and they’d punch me in my own nuts. Deservedly.

    @bsentinel: This is a Baron Approved ™ name.

    @Lou P: Also Baron Approved ™.

    @SaltyBiscuits: Very salty! I imagine it’s hard for you to bring up Utley in trade talks.

    @Fourness: I should have mentioned players from yesteryear, not just the 20s and such, but the 80s as well. Oil Can Boyd, we miss thee. The Oil Can Boys, anyone?

    @AZ Bobblehead: Very nice. Perhaps in ’09 someone can snatch up the name “Pepsubers,” and get a sponsorship deal out of it.

    @T. Dog: You sound like a barrel of laughs.

    @Grey: This is too good:

    In Soviet Russia Fantasy Baseball Plays You*

    Also: How’s the View From Not First. Though a risky gambit, for obvious reasons.

    *A friend of mine ran a novelty t-shirt site for awhile. One big seller: In Soviet Russia, Shirt Wears You.

  21. Tony says:
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    @T. Dog: You’re obviously not a regular LOL. I suggest you read some other articles than the “one” you stumbled upon. You’re Wasting YOUR time posting on here about wasting time picking team names? Ironic?

  22. Hank

    Hank says:
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    @Baron Von Vulturewins: If you look at the Urban Dictionary submission for Backdoor Sliders you’ll see that it was submitted by me (downpat75 – forum handle). I’ve used that name for a couple of seasons now in assorted leagues!

    I’ve always been a fan of the Cleveland Steamers, or if I’m in a league that requires a constant streaming of pitchers: the Cleveland Streamers.

    @Baron Von Vulturewins: In Communist China Millions of Chinese Will Play Fantasy Baseball For You in Sweatshop Like Conditions For a Small Fee

    To long?

    @T. Dog: You apparently take “fantasy” sports way to seriously.

  23. Phildo says:
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    Honkbal Hoofdklasse forever!

  24. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @Hank: Yeah, well, look at the Urbandictionary entry for yawnstipating!

  25. Tim says:
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    My last name is also the name of a tree, so for fantasy football I gave a shout-out to XFL “legend” Rod Smart and went with He Hate Tree. It’s grown on me so now I use it for baseball every seaon as well (you know, so the fans don’t get confused).

  26. 101 M.P.H. says:
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    @Baron Von Vulturewins:

    For the love of God, please tell me you were able to stash the Yahoo bobbleheads away before your significant other could discover them….

  27. Hank

    Hank says:
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    @Grey: You now have 5 thumbs up.

  28. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @Hank: Thanks! (That was my plan all along. Muahahahaha…)

  29. sjglauber says:
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    Big fan of the puns:

    Ugeth’s As Good As Mine
    Cock Ortiz
    Learn Teixiera
    Jacoby Photoshop
    Peach Snaplebon

    can’t remember any more

  30. Hank

    Hank says:
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    @Grey: Oh, you are dastardly.

  31. johnson says:
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    fantasy names should be something funny, clever, or force someone into a mental image they can’t shake for a week. here’s a few of mine from the past-
    Gary Carter’s Perm- in reverence to the best coif of the 80′s
    Ass Gerbils- in honor of Richard Gere
    Cocaine n Guns- just a couple of hobbies of mine
    Jose Cruzers- a true badass
    Joan Rivers’ Vagina- cavernous
    The Gay Centaurs- ?
    Felix Hair Pies- too easy
    and my RCL name- Bobbitt and the Cutt-Off Men- also the name of my softball team

  32. i always like the splendid sphincter

  33. Baron Von Vulturewins

    Baron Von Vulturewins says:
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    @Tim: Rod Smart is among my favorite fifty sports people of all time. The phrase “He Hate Me” is the best thing to come out of that league.

    I still say the XFL would have succeeded if it had just been a bit more crazy. No fair catch? Pshaw! How about one guy on offense is soaked in kerosene, and every defensive player carries a Zippo? Or dudes on horses. Or motorbikes. More Thunderdome, is what I’m saying.

    @101 M.P.H.: They’re hard to stash away given they’re in a climate-controlled bulletproof trophy case with dedicated halogen lighting.

    @johnson: re: Bobbitt and the Cutt-Off Men — (sound of slow clapping, building to standing ovation).

  34. Byrone says:
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    Having both upton brothers locked down in a keeper league: “Upton Oh Good”

  35. Byrone says:
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    Forgot to add my old stand-by: “The Ha Noi Nguyeners”

  36. PWNightmare says:
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    Hey, the whole reason I got into the rotisserie thing was because it combined my love of baseball & Dungeons & Dragons! Ahh, the late 80′s/Early 90′s… a time before fantasy baseball as we know know it.

  37. PWNightmare says:
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    “now” know it

  38. sneauxman says:
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    The best I saw last year was Foul Pole Dancers.

  39. BigFatHippo says:
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    @sneauxman: I know her!

  40. p0rk burn says:
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    Nice work BVV. You made me laugh a couple of times, good thing the boss just took off.

  41. Martin says:
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    Im sorry but my favorite of all time is the team name Chris Kaman His Pants from a fantasy basketball league (no where as fun as baseball). It took my 2 months to finally realize the name.

  42. hasenmensch says:
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    Not sure where I saw this name first (it wasn’t for one of my teams but I ran across it on some website): What Would DeJesus Do. Good for a current team with David or an old-school one with Ivan. (If I were Grey, here I would say something like “Represent, Philly Phans!” But I am not Grey nor can I do justice to his trademarked brand of self-consciously detached irony.)

  43. ChrisKamanFanClubPresident says:
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    What do you do when someone steals your fantasy team name for another league he is in. Should you share in the winnings, take a nominal fee, or shun him completely for trying to pawn it off as his own stroke of genius?

    Also enjoyed a fantasy basketball name from 1999…The Lew Alcindor LP

  44. wizo says:
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    last year one of my leagues used over 200 player/band combos

    few examples:
    Rage Against the Fermin
    Nen Inch Nails
    Ríos Speedwagon
    Hunter Pence None the Richer
    Atkins in Chains
    Aviles Lavigne
    Sciocsia Distortion
    Porno for Pujols
    Gload the Wet Sprocket
    Villone Thugs N’ Harmony
    Veruca Saltalamaccia
    Goo Goo Qualls
    right said freddy sanchez
    Uggla Kid Joe
    Helton John

  45. Scandalous Bob says:
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    A few years ago I spent some time in Eastern Europe and picked up some Russian. The Russian word for grandma or old lady is “babushka”. We called them “bobs” for short. One day I saw an old lady wearing a short skirt and said to a friend, “That’s a scandalous bob!” My first thought was that it would make a great band name, (which I actually used in a band a few summers ago). Later, “Scandalous Bobs” became my standard fantasy baseball team name. I haven’t finished lower than 3rd in any league where I’ve used that name. Most guys in my leagues just assume my name is Bob. But only I know the truth. And it still makes me laugh.

  46. Cotton says:
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    This article finally transformed me from lurker to poster. Due to my first name, I use The Cotton Club often. But during a draft I’m The Loco Motives to throw my opponents off the scent.

    In Fantasy FB (no basketball for me, but football and baseball rule!), I tried to convince my friend Warren to call his team The Warren Terror, but, sadly, he used some indiscernible acronym (and finished in last place).

    Grey: Ever heard of The Greyboy All-Stars? If you lived in Seattle, like me, The Greysies would resonate.
    Baron: as a shamed king once said “I’m a lover not a fighter.” Still, The Baron Ucklers has a ring to it.

  47. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @Cotton: Good to have you commenting! (And the rest of youse.) I don’t play on my name for a team, probably so I can distance myself if need be. For instance, The Greyboy All-Stars might have owned Ben Grieve in 2001 hoping for a huge bounceback, but I would never!

  48. @Cotton: First off, if your real God-given first name is Cotton, I am very jealous. (More jealous than I am of Grey and Rudy Gamble.)

    Second, The Baron Ucklers is pretty great. I just might have to steal that. You, sir, clearly have a facility with puns, a skill I greatly admire.

    Given that, it seems a shame to call your teams the Cotton Club, as appropriate as that might be. May I suggest:

    Cotton the Crossfires (or the Cotton Crossfires)
    Cotton the Act

    or my favorite

    The Cotton Himmels

  49. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @hasenmensch: Represent, Philly Phans!

    @BigFatHippo: Hehe

    @p0rk burn: Well, look who it is. Back to reclaim your RCL title, I suppose.

    @Byrone: I don’t know what “The Ha Noi Nguyeners” means but it’s funny and I think racist.

    @Scandalous Bob: That’s an awesome backstory!

    @wizo: I’ve heard a lot of (lame) variations on the Pujols theme, but Porno for Pujols isn’t bad.

  50. jamesllegade says:
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    I myself go with themes. I have been mining the Monkey Theme for quite a while;

    The Primate 9 (a homage to a local band called “the Primate 5″ which, oddly enough, was a three piece)
    The Chimpions (after i won the league)
    SILVERBACK (after i won a 2nd straight)
    The Ape-Ocalypse (a third)
    Turd Flinger (Finally lost)

  51. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @jamesllegade: Shame about the outcome, I like The Turd Flingers.

  52. Ron says:
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    Do you recall Phillip Wellman, the Atlanta Braves’ minor league coach that displayed the SINGLE GREATEST BLOW UP ever? If you recall, prior to wrapping up his perfectly scripted display to show up the umpiring crew, he did a military crawl to the mound, grabbed the rosin bag pulled the imaginary grenade pin out with his teeth and chucked it beautifully to within a couple feet of the homeplate umpire. My team name will forever be…..the “Rosin Bag Grenadiers”.

  53. Clint says:
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    I’m a fan of puns on statistical categories myself. “Ghost Ride the WHIP” was my old favorite to use in H2H leagues where I punted pitching ratios in favor of stacking W’s and K’s.

    “Covert OPS” and “Occam’s RZR” are getting some use this season.

  54. The Dude says:
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    Since I had won my dynasty league 4 out of the past 7 seasons, last year I named my team: Wire Use Sofa Kingdom

    It may take a while to get it…just think of it as a question. FYI, I made it 5 for 8 and hoped someone with half a brain would get my team name in the RCL league. Either it’s not as good as I think it is, or it’s true…lol

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