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More Diamond News: A Team By Any Other Name . . .

Many of you may be familiar with Stanford University’s Elimination of Harmful Language Initiative (EHLI), a multi-year project directed toward removing racist, violent, and biased language from university media. You may also be aware that after an onslaught of criticism, much of it mocking and not all of it from right wing sources, the institution appears to have abandoned the project altogether.

This is a shame, because the Toteboard would like to go on record as saying that it fully supports the initiative. The EHLI literature has really sensitized the Toteboard on how to recognize ableist, ageist, colonialist, culturally appropriative, gender-based, imprecise, racist, and violent language that it might not have noticed previously.

For example, the recent Toteboard post on baseball has inspired a second look at how the names of many Major League teams still employ problematic or inappropriate language. In fact, the Toteboard would even venture to say that every MLB team name is insensitive in some way, and that ownership should strongly consider adopting names (and mascots) that better respect the goals of diversity, equity, and inclusion.

To address this situation, the Toteboard here presents a concrete proposal, which emulates the format established on the EHLI website. What appears below is a table that includes an alphabetical listing of every current team, explanations of how each team name is potentially offensive, and modest suggestions for alternatives to the current names. This is, much like the EHLI, a work in progress, and the Toteboard is more than open to suggestions that could improve the current proposal.

Instead of . . .

Context . . .

Consider Using . . .

Arizona Diamondbacks

May be unintentionally triggering to those who have ophidiophobia or have been attacked by a snake

Arizona Diamondfronts

Atlanta Braves

Cultural appropriation that trivializes term’s use in Native American com-munities

Atlanta Risk-Takers

Baltimore Orioles

May unintentionally trigger those with ornitho-phobia

Baltimore Aurioles

Boston Red Sox

Using player-first language helps to not define people by just one of their char-acteristics

Boston Sox that are Red

Chicago Cubs

May unintentionally promote the violation of child-labor laws

Chicago Critters

Chicago White Sox

Using player-first language helps to not define people by just one of their char-acteristics.

Chicago Sox that are White

Cincinnati Reds

May trivialize the experience of color-blindness

Cincinnati Neutral Values

Cleveland Guardians

Unintentionally appropri-ates a term from both the Green Lantern comic book series and an episode of Star Trek

Cleveland Indians

Colorado Rockies

May unintentionally re-mind people of Sylvester Stallone

Colorado Foothills

Detroit Tigers

May be triggering to people who have had friends or family members eaten by tigers or other predatory felines

Detroit Pussycats

Houston Astros

Appropriates a dog’s name from a television cartoon

Houston Elroys

Kansas City Royals

Implicitly reinforces unnecessary hierarchical social relationships

Kansas City Comrades

Los Angeles Angels

Implicitly assigns a lower status to those who are going to Hell

Los Angeles Fairies

Los Angeles Dodgers

Has its origin in the term “trolley-dodgers,” which may be unintentionally triggering to those who have suffered injuries caused by or on public transportation

Los Angeles Pedestrians

Miami Marlins

May be triggering to those who have been attacked by marlins, swordfish, or other istiophoridae

Miami Mackerels

Milwaukee Brewers

Glorifies alcohol abuse

Milwaukee Twelve-Steppers

Minnesota Twins

Perpetuates the stereo-type that siblings close to each other in age lack uniqueness or distinct-iveness

Minnesota Individuals

New York Mets

Has its origins in the term “Metropolitans,” which excludes those who reside in exurban and rural communities

New York Residents

New York Yankees

​Has its roots in a pejorative reference to residents of one part of the country

New York Coastal Elites

Oakland Athletics

Perpetuates the valuation of people who are sporty and coordinated

Oakland Mediocrities

Philadelphia Phillies

Identifies female women as non-human animals

Philadelphia Phyllos

Pittsburgh Pirates

Trivializes the experience of the those who have been victims of piracy

Pittsburgh Mariners

San Diego Padres

Perpetuates the idea of a male-only priesthood, as well as the hierarchical stratification between clergy and laypersons

San Diego Wiccans

San Francisco Giants

Reinforces offensive stereotype of tallness as superior

San Francisco Amples

Seattle Mariners

May be triggering to those who experience sea-sickness

Seattle Transporters

St. Louis Cardinals

May be unintentionally triggering to those who have suffered sexual abuse by clergy

St. Louis Ordinals

Tampa Rays

Has its roots in the term “devil rays,” which may raise religious or moral concerns.

Tampa Segments

Texas Rangers

May be triggering to those who resent authority figures

Texas Egalitarians

Toronto Blue Jays

Using player-first language helps to not define people by just one of their char-acteristics.

Toronto Jays that are Blue

Washington Nationals

May reinforce harmful or jingoistic displays of patriotism

Washington Cosmopolitans

Again, this is a work-in-progress. If you have suggestions on how to improve this table, please contact Herman's Toteboard! We hope to have an updated version released same time next year.


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