If Edward Bennett Williams indeed moves the Baltimore Orioles to Washington, what's going to become of their lovely name?
When Washington got the basketball Bullets from Baltimore it could take them lock, stock and logo. But there can never be a Washington Oriole.
The little bird for which the team was named is more Baltimorean even than the city.
It was named for Lord Baltimore, whose family colors were black and orange. According to Stuart Keith, research assistant in the ornithology department of the Americn Musuem department of the American Museum of Natural History in New York, the naming of the bird predates the city.
I've always considered naming athletic teams after wild creatures an exceedingly pleasant custom. In increasingly urban America, wildlife still gets mention with the Bears, the Cubs, the Dolphins, Hawks, Falcons, Eagles, Blue Jays, Cardinals, Lions and Tigers.
Orioles seemed one of the nicest choices. It almost matched the mood of the team, which over the years has maintained a level of excellence on defense, which over the years has defense, which is how the little songbird thrives as well.
But if they come to Washington the name has to change.
Washington has a plethora of wildlife, thanks largely to the shelter of Rock Creek Park and the wide and thriving Potomac River.
I began thinking of all the finned and furry creatures that call Washington home, and tried them on for baseball names.
My first thought was of Rock Creek Park. My father-in-law lives on the edge of the park near Carter Barron Amphitheater and he is always relating sightings of red foxes skulking aroung in the night.
The Washington Foxes?
It has a nice ring, but there is the inevitable danger that the public would mistake the new team for a pictorial spread in Playboy magazine.
Then I thought about the beavers that patrol Washington waters, building dams and huts in the backwaters of the Potomac.
Hard-working beavers would be a good image to model a team after. But EARL Weaver has been the best manager in baseball for years and surely would stay on in Washington. Weaver's Beavers will never fit.
What about the rest of Washington wildlife?
There are a few deer in the District, but I doubt the Washington Bucks would go over. The bucks have already been spent.
Racoons and Opossums are plentiful, but neither has a real sporty image.
Ospreys would be great. These migratory fish hawks flock to the Potomac and the Chesapeake Bay in the summertime to feast on the abundant fish life. But nobody but a fisherman knows what an osprey is.
The Miami football franchise broke something of a sports barrier when it went into aquatic nomenclature with the Dolphins. Maybe Washington, which boasts a lot more fish life than woods life, should follow suit.
Let's see. Catfish won't do.The Yankees already have one of them. Carp are luburbrious, fat old things. . The best way to catch them is with stinkballs, and they aren't legal in the major leagues.
Blugills would get us mixed up with the Toronto franchise.
Plenty of ducks use Washington waters, but they are on an antibaseball schedule. They arrive when the season is over and leave before it starts.
No, what we need is a spring an summer phenomenon, something that turns on just about at the start of April, like baseball.
I think "i've got it.
In the last three years increasing crowds of bass fishing clubs have taken to staging tournaments in the Potomac, and some of the winning anglers have remained in Washington waters at Teddy Roosevelt Island, Columbia Island and even the Washington Ship Channel.
These fish are feisty and scrappy and proud, just like a ball team should be .
No doubt about it.
Stand back, American League, and give a great big welcome to:
And pray that not too many people think immediately of Congress and take the squad for an offshoot of the old Senators.