Cumberland Times-News

August 15, 2012

Arghh, mateys! Yo, ho ho!

Michael A. Sawyers
Cumberland Times-News

— The Major League Baseball team in Pittsburgh has, hands down, the best nickname.

It is said that the team got the name because they stole or pirated some good players away from another team, way back when. However it came about, it works.

You would think that a team named the Pirates would be located on a coastline. But our Pirates have two rivers that turn into one so that ain’t bad.

My son Ryan has a great idea. He thinks that when the Pirates play the Reds in Cincinnati they should take a watercraft down the Ohio River rather that fly or drive. It wouldn’t have to be a pirate ship. The Gateway Clipper would do, just as long as the players said “arghhh” a lot and had just a small sip of rum. The menu would be steak sandwiches with  French fries inside.

Eye patches, of course, would be required. Parrots on shoulders would be optional. Peg legs would be forbidden.

It’s official, you know, that pirates are the only people allowed to swashbuckle.

Walk onto the Town Centre in Cumberland not dressed like a pirate and swashbuckle and you will likely draw some attention. Holler “yo, ho ho” and you could very well be arrested for solicitation.

At the very least, the guys in the bright blue polos and caps will use their radios to call the guys in muted blue shirts and caps so that they can have a conversation with you. The latter bunch wears badges.

Also, the downtown manager and business owners may have a public meeting to determine how to deal with your presence.

Arghhhh, matey!

Some MLB nicknames are stooobid. Like the Phillies. Who was the ad wizard who came up with that one? Based upon that thinking, we could have the Clevies, the Pitties, the Colies and the Tampies. See what I mean?

Of course the Atlanta Braves and the Cleveland Indians likely retain a legal staff to deal with complaints or lawsuits about their names. Speaking of those kinds of judiciary activities, I’m surprised that some support group for very large people — Giants Defense Fund? — hasn’t subpoenaed the team in San Francisco.

Can you imagine a team called the Dwarves?

Although with a team called the Dwarves, instead of having Pierogies or Presidents run a stooobid race between innings you could have Sleepy, Grumpy, Dopey and Happy see who is the fastest.

Who could get upset over a team being called the Pirates? Nobody! Well, maybe somebody in Somalia.

And Dodgers? OK, the   nickname was neat when the team was in Brooklyn and fans had to dodge the Flatbush trolly cars to get to Ebbets Field. But c’mon, there are no trolly cars in L.A. and nobody tries to walk across freeways, at least not more than once.

And the Mets? It’s not    really stooobid, more like “yeah, whatever.”

If you watch the Pirates games on the tube you see that the winning season is attracting more and more fans including those dressed like pirates. I think some of them look pretty real, at least like the real pirates on TV. I’ve never seen a genuine pirate.

You don’t see a fan at a Miami game dressed like a marlin, at least I hope you don’t.

For at least one home game a season, Pirates fans should be required to pay for tickets using doubloons.

Bird nicknames are close to being stooobid. Except for the Orioles, that is. See there really is a bird called the Baltimore oriole. There is not, however, a bird called the Toronto blue jay or the St. Louis cardinal. Any blue jays or cardinals in those respective cities are simply ones that happened to fly across the municipal boundaries.

I wonder if the Pope gets ticked at the St. Louis nickname?

And how would you like to be named after the color of a sock? Stinky, right. Also, relatively stooobid. Or after a letter, as in As.

Or named just after a color, like in Reds, like in Cincinnati.

Maybe every Reds fan seated in the Great American Ballpark should be required to remove a shoe and pound the head of the person seated in front of them when they don’t like an umpire’s call. After all, Nikita Khrushchev did it in 1960 and he was a Red.

The only other explanation I can conjure is that all Cincinnati fans are Republicans. I guess we’ll find out in November.

There are some other cool nicknames, though not as cool as Pirates.

I like Angels and Mariners.

Astros and Twins are good enough nicknames to put them in a distant second place. 2A and 2B.

Any team named after a salt water creature is stooobid, devilish even.

Nationals is an OK nickname, though for it to really work the Toronto team should be called the Internationals.

Yankees could be a neat nickname, but the American League team in New York doesn’t seem to use it correctly. What’s with the top hat? I mean aren’t Yankees from Connecticut and don’t they spend most of their time in court. It’s difficult, being a Yankee hater, for me to be objective about that nickname.

Royals is a goofy nickname. Sounds like somebody named Billy Joe came up with that one down in the boondocks. Kansas City should be the Steaks. Then when they lose to the Phillies some clever sports editor in the City of Brotherly Love could write the headline “Phils tenderize Steaks.”

Where is Tank McNamara when we need him?

Cubs is a decent nickname, especially since the football team in the Windy City is the Bears. Sorry, Da Bears.

The closest Tiger to Detroit is on a different continent.

Have to be fair here. Padres, Rangers, Brewers and Diamondbacks are pretty good nicknames.

But they aren’t allowed to swashbuckle.

Arghhh! Raise the Jolly Roger.

Contact Mike Sawyers at