FanDuel - WFBC

January 27, 2006

'Devil' may be dropped from team name: Can there ever be a team name that no one will complain about?

posted by dbt302 to baseball at 04:31 PM - 43 comments

That's so rediculous!!! Its outrageous. What are people getting so offended at for seeing the word "Devil" in a team name. A "Devil Ray" is a type of marine animal who swims around. They're flat, usually a dark color and feast on various sea critters. Right now the only feasting going on in Tropicana Field comes from teams dressed in Grey. Keep the names the same guys. It gives it some catchiness and such.

posted by chemwizBsquared at 04:40 PM on January 27

They should take the Ducks' now abandoned "Mighty". The Mighty Rays of the Metro Tampa Bay Area.

posted by NoMich at 04:49 PM on January 27

Giime a break. Do they still play baseball down there? The name aint whats so "offensive". As a peaceful non-violent irishman, I'm thinking of suing Notre Dame. Who's with me?

posted by GoBirds at 04:55 PM on January 27

Maybe all sports teams should change their mascots to angels, guardians, lambs, virgins, puritans, cherubs and saints and be done with it.

posted by Texan_lost_in_NY at 05:09 PM on January 27

Focus groups are what's evil here!

posted by UniqueFreak at 05:12 PM on January 27

I think they should drop the team from MLB! PC has gotten out of hand!

posted by directpressure at 05:13 PM on January 27

Tampa does need an outdoor stadium, because Tropicana is a horrible, depressing place. As soon as they start playing outside, rename the "Sun Rays."

posted by dyams at 05:30 PM on January 27

As a peaceful non-violent irishman, I'm thinking of suing Notre Dame. Who's with me? As a drunken bastard of an Irishman, I'm thinking of kicking your ass. Just kidding... I'm not really a bastard.

posted by mick at 05:39 PM on January 27

This is getting rediculious,let's just name all the teams by numbers(just kidding)so no one takes any offence...booo hooooo

posted by boshua at 05:55 PM on January 27

Mick, as a drunken irish bastard I'm thinking of kicking yer ass for offending me by misrepresenting yourself as such. Or something like that.

posted by GoBirds at 06:00 PM on January 27

This has nothing to do with political correctness, and nobody sited in the article says the name is offensive. What they found is that people have a subconscious negative association with name.

"When they liked something we did, they would refer to us as the Rays. If they were discussing a complaint or gripe, we were the Devil Rays," [team president Matt] Silverman said.

posted by cl at 06:06 PM on January 27

"When they liked something we did, they would refer to us as the Rays. If they were discussing a complaint or gripe, we were the Devil Rays," [team president Matt] Silverman said. Right. But so what? I mean you have to be crazy to have that bother you.

posted by UniqueFreak at 06:12 PM on January 27

Right. But so what? I mean you have to be crazy to have that bother you. Or care about how it affects your merchandising income. Which I guess they would, seeing as they're a business.

posted by mick at 06:16 PM on January 27

"Or care about how it affects your merchandising income. Which I guess they would, seeing as they're a business." I would bet if they did a focus group about merchandising, they would find out that having Devil in their name gives them a "coolness". Why do you think that teams change their uniforms to black, or at least add some black? Because the kids think it's cool and hence, they buy it. The problem isn't with the name, it's what they've done on the field to date.

posted by UniqueFreak at 06:25 PM on January 27

Right. But so what? I mean you have to be crazy to have that bother you. Once again, nobody is claiming that anyone is offended by the name (though I'm sure a very small number of people actually are). The issue, if I'm reading it correctly, is that the name negatively and subconsciously affects people's view of the team. That's not a good quality for a brand to have.

posted by cl at 06:26 PM on January 27

The problem is consciously the experience at Tropicana sucks. Change that experience and the connotation of "Devil Rays" will be strong. Look how many different times the connotation of the word "Phillies" has changed. Just an example Phillies fans. And even "Angels" once constituted a joke in baseball. Angels fans: I love the team. Seriously. On the third hand "Astros" has always given the idea of "suck." Sorry, I'm still in World Series mode.

posted by ?! at 06:35 PM on January 27

I read in Clean Times magazine that "Dirt Devil" vacuum cleaners are just going to be called "Dirt" from now on. Not sure how good a marketing move it is, though.

posted by Samsonov14 at 06:42 PM on January 27

The problem is consciously the experience at Tropicana sucks. Change that experience and the connotation of "Devil Rays" will be strong. Maybe so. My comments were directed at those who think the decision to change the name was brought about by people being offended by it, and an overly-PC front office that listened to them. That does not appear to be the case. Whether they're onto something in saying the name is negatively associated with the team, I don't know.

posted by cl at 06:44 PM on January 27

, virgins Couldn't name a baseball team the Virgins, they'd never get past third base.

posted by tselson at 06:50 PM on January 27

How have the Duke Blue Devils, Arizona State Sun Devils, New Jersey Devils, and even the Wake Forest Demon Deacons overcome this crippling problem?

posted by UniqueFreak at 07:00 PM on January 27

Two of those teams are in the Bible Belt, UF. Stay tuned.

posted by Texan_lost_in_NY at 07:06 PM on January 27

At least the fans will get to park for free, that's one positive step anyway. Also, you can't name a team anything even remotely religious sounding because the Athiests and Agnostics would be offended then. :o)

posted by Steeler_Fan at 07:31 PM on January 27

There is nothing offensive in Devil. Most people believe in the devil, most do not worship him. I obviously think that Devil is nit the best nicname. Howeer, I am supporting the move becausde the Rays need some serious PR help. They've made parking at the Trop free. Also, the Anaheim Ducks news is obviously giving them better reasons to pull the trigger on this, believeing that it will work like with the Anaheim Ducks, and won't be a repeat performance of the attempt at Toronto Jays.

posted by Joe88 at 08:07 PM on January 27

The way I understand the situation, the reason why the Tampa Bay group chose "Devil Rays" was because the group's first choice -- "Tampa Bay Stingrays" -- was unavailable due to there being an existing independent Hawaiian Winter League team that held the trademark for the name "Stingrays" for a professional baseball team. I am a big fan of Duke coach, Mike Kryz....er....Coach K. I have been a Duke fan going back to the days of Gene "Tinker Bell" Banks, a pre-Jordan high-flying guard. But I have never worn a Duke Blue Devils item. When the Bay Area finally got an NHL expansion team, I was delighted that the name "Devils" was already taken -- I couldn't imagine being alienated from my local team by a nickname. This did end up happening about a decade later; I would have loved to attend one of the XFL games played in San Francisco's Pacific Bell Park (especially because of former Cal QB and Arena League All-star Mike Pawlawski), but as a Christian, I couldn't. I could never in good conscience shout, "Go Demons Go." I can almost hear some of you scoff at that, so let me ask you: is there a team name that you wouldn't just swallow and regurgitate? Would you stand up and cheer for the Chicago Cannibals? Would you wear the Starter jacket of the Green Bay Gestapo? Would you put a Seattle Serial Rapists bumper sticker on your car? Or buy a replica jersey of the Tennessee Terrorists? Would you be OK with your son tacking up a Pittsburgh Pederasts pennant in his room? Or hear him singing the fight song of the Nashville Nazis? Would you bring the family to the watch the Indianapolis Incest? Hopefully, you said "Of course not!" to at least one of the above. If you did, now you understand how I feel, because I believe demons and the Devil are worse than all of the above.

posted by L.N. Smithee at 08:49 PM on January 27

cl, what say you about L.N.'s opinion?

posted by Texan_lost_in_NY at 08:59 PM on January 27

Couldn't name a baseball team the Virgins, they'd never get past third base. That would suit the Rays to a tee.

posted by dfleming at 08:59 PM on January 27

I suspect there are a lot of baseball fans in the Tampa area who feel exactly as Smithee says. If most of your target market is actively Christian (which I take it is the case in that area), then changing the name might make sense. I believe very strongly that there is no God, but I wouldn't want anyone poo-poohing that belief either, so if they want to change the name, sure, go for it. There are lots of other examples where it's okay, but just because changing the name seems silly to me doesn't mean it's a bad idea. Also, this is a good way to get out from the last decade, which hasn't been a good one on the field for the Satanfish. How about the Mighty Rays of Tampa Bay? I suspect that name is free.

posted by chicobangs at 09:24 PM on January 27

My old high school team catches grief now and then about being called the Blue Devils. The Baptists in the area want to change the name to the Blue Elephants. It is something that will never end. We as a country have tried so hard to make everyone happy that we've created this huge problem. Don't like the name? Deal with it. Don't like what is on tv or the radio? Change the damn channel.

posted by dbt302 at 09:52 PM on January 27

"most of your target market is actively Christian" Nope, not in my experience. Of course a team has to listen to the fans, but they can't listen to any group using strong-arm tactics. Thankfully, that hasn't happened here. I respect L.N. Smithee's stance. I know I could never cheer a team named "Yankees", "Braves", "Indians", "Nationals" or "Marlins." By the way, here is a devil ray The team should keep the name or if they must change it I nominate Torpedos

posted by ?! at 10:04 PM on January 27

LN...Interesting blog! If you or anyone else have seen a demon or the devil, what does it look like? If you see one again, take his/her/its pic and post it, maybe it doesnt look at all like the Duke Devil! Maybe it looks like Theo Epstein or George Bush! I personally would rather wear a Duke Blue Devils jacket than one that says Christian Fundamentalists because these jerks are real. The world in general has had enough of this bullshit. If someone doesnt like the name on the jacket...DONT WEAR IT, if one doesnt like the team nickname, DONT CHEER FOR THAT TEAM. The "politically correct" crap has gone too far in too many areas. The southern Baptists STILL think that the rock band KISS stands for Knights In Satans Service....what a bunch of assholes! By the way...the earliest origin of the word "POPE" ..... in general means..."keeper of the key"...as in inn keeper of a house of prostitution, sex slavery, and torture. Look it up or ask a Priest!

posted by LiveWithIt at 11:31 PM on January 27

?!, I've only visited the area a few times, so I don't really know, but I was giving the benefit of the doubt. I've heard the Christian argument regarding the Devil Rays' name before, so I'm prepared to think it's an actual issue for some people. Anyway, there's nothing wrong with changing the name, for any reason. They don't have to drag religion into it. I mean, they can if they want, but if they just wanted to change the name to The Big Guavas of Tampa, just, y'know, because, there's no reason why they couldn't. Or shouldn't.

posted by chicobangs at 12:00 AM on January 28

I don't think its a credible arguement simply because "devil ray" is the name of the sea creture. If they have such a problem, should we then change the name of the creature too? The name "Devil Rays" doesn't suggest any evil or anti-christian beliefs which some people seem to imply that they believe. Other names like the New Jersey Devils may fit this category, but the Tampa Bay Devil Rays do not.

posted by Ying Yang Mafia at 05:39 AM on January 28

chico, "they" didn't drag religion into it, as you mention, at least "they" haven't publicly said so. But I think it's naive to think there is not a Christian right undercurrent to this name change issue. Subconscious negative association? I find this hard to believe and those who read the original story in the link will now notice the "negative association" comment has been removed. Regarding L.N. Smithee's opinion, while I feel the examples he used were exaggerations for the sake of argument, I admire his commitment and devotion to his beliefs. Nothing wrong with standing up for your values, no matter who disagrees.

posted by Texan_lost_in_NY at 10:24 AM on January 28

Other names like the New Jersey Devils may fit this category, but the Tampa Bay Devil Rays do not. Actually, New Jersey doesn't either since it's a reference to one of those Big Foot-ish, chupacabra-like mysterious creatures: the Jersey Devil.

posted by mkn at 09:53 PM on January 28

I Dont see how anyone can be religiosly offended at that name of the devil rays either since that is the actual name of a creature that God himself created. I am a cristian and see nothing harmful about the team name neing the devil rays. I do think that if the new owners want to change the team name they do have that right. But people should really stop trying to say that it is anti religious to have the word devil in the name

posted by willegbert at 07:56 AM on January 29

Good point mkn, I should have made a reference to the Sun Devils or Blue Devils. As for L.N. Smithee I think that is very extreme, I am also christian but would wear Blue Devils memorabila and cheer for the Demons.

posted by Ying Yang Mafia at 01:47 PM on January 29

I would bet if they did a focus group about merchandising, they would find out that having Devil in their name gives them a "coolness". Nope. Nothing can make you cool in teal. They could be the Bad Motherfuckers and they still would be as punk rock as Pepsi.

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 07:13 PM on January 29

In answer to the original question in this post "is there a team name to which no one will take offense", I have to believe that the answer is yes. Case in point, The Stanford Cardinal, not the bird, not the Catholic church personage, but the color. Unless there is an underground movement named People for the Ethical Treatment of Colors, I am unaware of any argument against the team name, of course there is the ridicule of having a shade of red as your team name and having your mascot be a large coniferous TREE, one that is green even. In addition for non-offensivness, I would have to commend the UCSB Banana Slugs, the Southern Illinois Salukis, and several high school names in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, to wit, The Kingsford Flivvers ( a nickname for the Ford Model A), the Gwinn ModelTowners (don't ask me how they came up with THAT one, and of course the now nationally famous Watersmeet Nimrods.

posted by elovrich at 09:14 AM on January 30

Honestly, if i was put in the position to change the name i probably would. Just because if i didnt i would lose money. But as myself i believe their is nothing wrong with the name. Its a freakin fish. Im a Christian and i see nothing wrong with it. Although i am not a blue devils fan my highschool teacher loved them, and she was a Christian. I mean come on its just a name. I understand certain Christians believe different, and i even see why certain ones believe that blue devils or even demons are wrong. But i just don't get the devil ray thing. Like said before if you change the name of the team, why not change the name of the fish. Some people just look in to stuff way too much.

posted by threemoney21 at 09:58 AM on January 30

The bigger question here is, how will this impact Deviled Eggs?

posted by irunfromclones at 03:19 PM on January 30

I regularly hear the Rays referred to as the Tampa Bay Double A's. Maybe that name is open.

posted by swerve at 03:37 PM on January 30

Uh guys, there is nothing in that article that suggests anyone is actually complaining about the name. It's just about the new management looking at every possible angle to take steps to move the Devil rays from last place to first, or at least next to last. Kind of like the Tampa Bay Buccaneers switching from fairy to scary pirate.

posted by irunfromclones at 11:28 AM on January 31

I have yet to experience a name change effect how good a team is. One year I was on a team called the Cobras. By the end of the season we were known as the Green Team (we couldn't afford the logos). And we still sucked. We did get one win because a team didn't show up. Management probably thinks the name change will save money because there are 5 less letters to pay for in advertising.

posted by njsk8r20 at 12:59 PM on January 31

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