Woody's Winners, NFL Week 2

NFL WEEK TWO: For those who missed last week's column, Woody's Winners is written with highest respect in a similar style to that of the most entertaining football prognosticator of my youth, Leonard Postero, host of Leonard’s Losers. I went a respectable 8-5 through last Sunday afternoon’s games, but then fell apart to lose all three night games on Sunday and Monday to end Week 1 with an even 8-8 record. More day games! Do ya hear me, NFL? Oh, you’ve got your hands full with referee positions and the “process of the catch”? Fine, then. Here are Woody's Winners for Week 2.



The Bengals bungled away a possible win in Week 1 with an interception and two fumbles, which tempered an attack that outgained the Patriots by 50+ yards. Rest assured that the Ravens have studied film of those turnovers and are devising schemes to peck the eyes out of the Tigers. But Owens and Ocho will have fans living on the air in Cincinnati as they adopt a pass-first attitude that will keep Baltimore from opening the season 2-0. In the Poe House, the Ravens rule, but at Paul Brown…

Woody’s Winner, in a close one: Cincinnati

FACT: Baltimore led the NFL last season with 1,094 penalty yards. The next-closest AFC team had only 920.

Click "more" to see my picks for the other 15 NFL games in Week 2.



The Bucs pulled out what promises to be a rare victory last week at home against the Browns. In Week 2, Tampa Bay goes looking for an angry pantheon of Panthers, and they’ll find them. Carolina QB Matt Moore proved he wasn’t quite ready for prime time, with 5 turnovers (3 INT, 2 FUM) and a concussion to boot. Still, without a reliable sub in the Panther dock, he’s expected to start in Week 2. The Giants wore down the Cats last week and outscored them 17-2 in the last half, so expect a Tampa tamp-down as things turn sour in Sweet Carolina.

Woody’s Winner: Tampa Bay

FACT: Tampa Bay QB Josh Freeman threw for a season-best 321 yards at Carolina last season, but five interceptions cost his team the game.



Watching Pack QB Aaron Rodgers dodging and ducking defenders and chucking the ball here and there last week made it obvious who his mentor was. Watching Green Bay LB Clay Matthews made me wonder if he’s human. Add several thousand cheesehead fans to the mix, and the Bills are in for a long day in Wisconsin. While the opportunistic Bison defense may grab a few INTs, it won’t take long before Buffalo learns that life isn’t always fun when you’re lactose intolerant.

Woody’s Winner: Green Bay

FACT: No member of the Bills had more than 40 combined rushing/receiving/returning yards last week.



Minnesota’s had 10 days’ rest since posting a loss in the first regular season game of the season, but Brett Favre should be in better form with a week of legit play under his belt. Miami hasn’t opened the season with back-to-back wins since 2002, and although Dolphins are smart, there’s not a fish in the ocean that doesn’t expect that streak to continue. Rose Nylund and Mary Richards will be partying all night to celebrate a Viking victory in Week 2.

Woody’s Winner: Minnesota

FACT: Don Shula won 274 games as Miami head coach. None of his replacements has won more than 43.



Last week, the Bears did all they could do to lose to Detroit. (If I were Commissioner, both teams would be 0-1 heading into Week 2.) They’ll have to play much better against a squad of Cowboys eager to put on a better show than they did in a loss to the Redskins. Expect the Stars to extract revenge by blowing the Windy City team halfway across Texas.

Woody’s Winner: Dallas

FACT: The Cowboys have a Week 4 bye, tied for the earliest in the league. The 13-game stretch after that includes back-to-back games against last year’s Super Bowl contenders, the Saints and Colts.



“L” is indeed for Lions, a team that rushed 21 times for 20 yards in Week 1. (If my public-school math holds up, that’s less than one yard a carry.) With Kevin Kolb banged up, Philly’s Michael Vick will get his first regular-season start since returning to the NFL, and this will cause all sorts of match-up problems for Detroit. To Motown’s credit, the team did deliver some big hits on defense last week, but with their own QB injured as well, Rocky will deliver a KO punch to keep the Kitties winless.

Woody’s Winner: Philadelphia

FACT: Detroit QB Matthew Stafford missed 6 games last season with a separated left shoulder, and may miss similar games this year with the separated right shoulder he suffered last week.



Alphabetically, Arizona and Atlanta come first in the standings, but both teams have things to prove heading into Week 2. Luckily for the Falcons, QB Matt Ryan has lost only one of 14 starts at home. While the Blackbirds do expect their rushing offense to return to form, their underrated passing attack may prove the difference. If the Cardinals fumble 7 times (losing 4) like they did last week against the Rams, however, expect (Michael) Turner Classic Movies to be in the end zone all day long.

Woody’s Winner: Atlanta

FACT: Cards QB Derek Anderson targeted Larry Fitzgerald 15 times last week, but the team’s #1 WR only hauled in three catches for 43 yards and a touch.



In the last four games between the Chiefs and Browns, the average score has been 36-33. This week’s match-up is expected to be a lower-scoring affair, particularly on the KC side of the ball, but either team might explode for points in any given week. The Arrowheads’ Week 1 victory against San Diego said more about the Chargers’ woes than the Chiefs’ ability, and that will be proven when the Dawg Pound sinks its teeth into some Native hindquarter.

Woody’s Winner: Cleveland

FACT: Cleveland was the only AFC team with triple-digit losses (103) in the 2000s.



Dixie was no match for Dixon last week, as sub-Roth QB Dennis Dixon helped his team edge Atlanta in overtime to seal the Steelers’ 8th consecutive victory on Kickoff Weekend. In Week 2, Pittsburgh faces another southern team, the Tennessee Titans. RB Chris Johnson rushed for 154 yards and two TDs in Week 1, but will he be able to duplicate that effort? Pitt’s D looks as tough as nails, but Tennessee will find a way to win at home.

Woody’s Winner: Tennessee

FACT: Pittsburgh’s OT victory against Atlanta last week marked the third consecutive game between those two teams that went longer than regulation time. The teams are each 1-1-1 in those games.



The Seahawks invented a new move called the “49er Smackdown” in Week 1, and I’m as curious as any to see how they follow up that gem 5,000 feet up. Neither the Ocean Birds nor the Buckin’ Bunch had much success running the ball last week. In the statistics-can-be-misleading department, the Broncos are 15-5 in their last 20 games against Seattle, but most of those games are from 2001 and before, when both teams were in the same division and played each other twice a year. Still, it’s difficult to pick against Rocky Mountain High at home.

Woody’s Winner: Denver

FACT: In Week 1, Seattle allowed San Francisco to convert only 1 of 15 third-down attempts.



It’s a good thing that he wears a different uniform, ‘cause Oakland QB Jason Campbell (2 fumbles, 1 interception) sure looks a lot like he did at the helm of the Redskins. Rams rookie Sam Bradford impressed, however, despite tossing three passes to the other team. A blocked field goal attempt and a last-minute TD cost St. Louis a win last week, but that won’t happen in Oakland. If every Man in Black had the skill of the Raiders’ punter and kicker, they’d be making reservations for Dallas in February. Alas…

Woody’s Winner: St. Louis

FACT: Last week’s Oakland-Tennessee game was a punting clinic. The Titan’s Kerns booted 4 for a 50-yd. average (and 2 inside the 20), while the Raiders’ Lechter punched 4 for a 55-yd. average (and 1).



I’m not recommending that Pats QB Tom Brady have an auto accident before every game, but heck; not only did he escape uninjured, but he went on to decimate the Cincinnati defense for 3 TD passes. Add to that a TD kickoff return and a defense that was there when it mattered, and New England looks set for another strong season. The Jets would hate nothing more than to open their new stadium with two consecutive home losses, but the season is long, and facing the Ravens and Patriots back-to-back is not exactly a late summer picnic.

Woody’s Winner: New England

FACT: New England’s 38 points scored in Week 1 led all NFL teams.



The Texans made a HUGE statement to the NFL in Week 1, defeating the Colts despite Manning’s sharp 433/3/0 performance. And, unexpectedly, they did it on the ground. The Redskins earned their own shout-out by surprising the Cowboys, and they’d love to knock of Texas’ other team in Week 2. Houston seems destined to break out this season, however, and should pull off a W in Washington. I’m tempting fate by picking three road teams in a row, but why not?

Woody’s Winner: Houston

FACT: The Texans are 0-2 lifetime against the Redskins, losing both games by the same margin, 16 points.



In Week 1, Jacksonville’s hyphenated-last-name attack belonged to Maurice Jones-Drew, who ran for 98 yards and caught three passes. (Sims-Walker didn’t touch the ball except in pre-game warm-ups.) As they proved last season, the Chargers can be notoriously slow to warm up. But they should still have enough juice in their battery packs to render Jacksonville catatonic. I wonder if any Jags will take a side-trip up to L.A. to check out the housing market…

Woody’s Winner: San Diego

FACT: Both the Bolts and the Jags tossed 10 interceptions last season, tied for fewest in the AFC.



Manningfest 2010 takes place in Indianapolis, where Peyton expects to defend his home turf against his younger brother. New York should have fallen victim to Eli’s 3 interceptions, pulled out a win nonetheless. Indy couldn't do the same with Peyton's 400+ yard passing day, and lost at Houston. That’s the third regular-season loss in a row for the Colts, something that hadn’t occurred since 2002. I wouldn’t hold my breath to wait for number four.

Woody’s Winner: Indianapolis

FACT: Hakeem Nicks had four catches last week, three of them for TDs.



It’s gold rush time in California as the New Orleans arrives to do some panning in San Francisco. No team scored fewer points (6) than the 49ers did in Week 1, and there’s no way the team can hold its own against a bunch of high-flying Saints. The Super Bowl champions will be wearing flowers in their hair as they descend on some unsuspecting Prospectors, and I wouldn’t want to be in the locker room post-game when coach Mike Singletary tells it like it is.

Woody’s Winner: New Orleans

FACT: Since New Orleans was realigned out of the NFC West in 2001, the Saints are 5-0 against their old division rivals.


Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below, but please be cordial to others; this is all in good fun. Thanks!

Fox Searchlight Pictures
18 Winning Facts About Bend It Like Beckham
Fox Searchlight Pictures
Fox Searchlight Pictures

Five years before David Beckham moved across the Atlantic—and before anyone knew who Keira Knightley was—a low-budget movie about a Punjabi teenager living in Southall who wanted to play soccer became a bona fide international sensation.

Bend It Like Beckham was a surprise smash, earning more than $76.5 million against a $6 million budget. Although the film itself is British, both in its setting and its theme—dealing with immigrant integration in a country with a religious-like devotion to football (what we know as soccer)—it delighted critics and audiences worldwide with its quiet charm and optimism. On the fifteenth anniversary of its U.S. release, and one West End musical adaptation later, here are 18 winning facts about Bend It Like Beckham.


In 2002, studio executives at Fox Searchlight were concerned that Americans wouldn’t know who David Beckham was, and wouldn’t understand what it meant to “bend” a soccer ball. Fortunately they changed their minds before the film was released after writer-director Gurinder Chadha objected.


Chadha said that her initial idea to write a film about “the evolving concept of Britishness” came about when she saw an image of Ian Wright, a black player, wearing the Union Jack flag at the Euro 96 championship.


Chadha relied on her co-writers to fill in the blanks of what she didn't know, writing “jargon jargon football jargon,” instead of actual content, into the Beckham script.


“I put them into three months solid football training and they had a coach and every day they would in and train," Chadha told "They worked really hard at it. Keira, who plays Jules, got concussions a few times. Parminder really damaged her toes and was too scared to [kick] the ball in case she broke one. They really had to go through the pain barrier like other athletes in order to excel. It’s only when I said, ‘We could always use doubles, don’t worry about it,' when the two of them said, ‘No way! We’re definitely going to go for it.’ And they did.”


According to Simon Clifford, the coach who trained the lead actresses to be believable footballers, by the end of training, Knightley "could do things some Premier League players can't do ... If I'd trained her from the age of 10 or 11, without a shadow of a doubt, Keira could have been a pro.”

It's particularly impressive considering Knightley's soccer experience had been fairly limited up until that point. “I was captain of the girls' team in primary school, but we never actually scored a goal,” Knightley told Interview Magazine. "We only kicked people.”


While Nagra and Knightley were cast for their acting ability and learned how to play soccer for the role, the rest of their team, the Hounslow Harriers, was made up of professional players. “All the other girls in the film play for various London clubs except one, Shaznay Lewis. She’s part of the music band All Saints, which is really a popular band," Chadha said.

As it turns out, the actresses, pro players, and musician worked incredibly well together. "We literally had become a really solid team,” Nagra said. "We got so into it once that Gurinder stormed across the pitch, shouting, 'Cut! Cut! Have you forgotten this is a movie?'”


Keira Knightley in Bend It Like Beckham (2002)
Fox Searchlight Pictures

Although she had already made several small television appearances and a brief appearance in Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace, Bend It Like Beckham was Knightley’s breakout role. One year later, in 2013, she appeared in Love Actually and Pirates of the Caribbean, cementing her place as a Hollywood A-lister.


In the film, Jules encourages Jess to pursue her dream of playing soccer professionally, telling her that in America women can play with the WUSA. Although that was true at the time, the organization folded in 2003.


Parminder Nagra in Bend It Like Beckham (2002)
Fox Searchlight Pictures

Nagra was worried that the scar on her leg would prevent her from getting a part in a film that required her to wear shorts for much of her character’s screen-time. Instead, Chadha wrote the scar into the script, lifting the story about an accident making beans on toast as an eight-year-old straight from Nagra’s life.


After creating a 1989 documentary about the lives of young British Asians, Chadha made her feature directorial debut with Bhaji on the Beach, a film which went on to earn a BAFTA nomination for "Alexander Korda Award for Best British Film" in 1995. Eight years later, in 2003, Bend It Like Beckham was nominated for the same award.


Kim Jong-il screened the girl-power flick at the Pyongyang Film Festival in 2004, where it was seen by 12,000 people. In 2010, Bend It Like Beckham became the first western-made film ever to be broadcast on television in the country, as an event marking 10 years of diplomatic ties between the U.K. and North Korea. The 112-minute film was edited down to just an hour long.


Jules wears number nine, which is Mia Hamm's number. Both characters had the corresponding player’s poster hanging in their room.


Jonathan Rhys Meyers and Parminder Nagra in Bend It Like Beckham (2002)
Fox Searchlight Pictures

“He was originally English,” Jonathan Rhys Meyers told the Irish Examiner, “but I had to read with Parminder—who plays Jess—and during the screen test we did the scene where she complains that someone called her a Paki, and I just shouted back, ‘Listen, I’m f*cking Irish and what’s your problem?’ It made sense that the Irish being a minority in England as well, Joe would have an empathy with Jess on that level. And the director just loved that, so Irish he remained.”


"I thought it was going to be terrible!" Rhys Meyers told Marie Claire. "For months and months and months, I refused to tell anybody that I'd been in a film called Bend It Like Beckham. Even in the beginning I was like, 'I don't want to do this.' But I spoke to my brother and he said, 'Do the film. Everybody's going to love this.' It's one of those girly, guilty-pleasure movies. It's on that shelf with Dirty Dancing, Footloose, and Beaches."


The musical, which ran at London's Phoenix Theatre, was also written and directed by Chadha. It closed in March 5, 2016, when the original actors' contracts were up.

Chadha initially had serious doubts that Howard Goodall and Charles Hart, the men who composed and wrote the show's music, would be able to capture the heart of a story about female empowerment and the immigration experience. “I thought, how will these two middle-aged English blokes get on with this material?” Chadha told The Telegraph. “Then I met them and it was job done, marriage made in heaven. Both of them are a particular kind of Englishman that I really love and respect.”


In an interview with The Guardian, Chadha said that Bend It Like Beckham became something of a tribute to her father, who passed away before the film was edited.

"It had a profound effect on me. And it's sort of funny really; when he died, it was absolutely gut-wrenching ... but it was like that fantastic Powell and Pressburger film, A Matter of Life and Death; suddenly time stopped still and went into color. When he died, there was this real sense of loss and tragedy, but at the same time, there was a sense of appreciation. It made me very impatient with people who throw life away. It was an epiphany. And I didn't know this at the time, but when I was making Beckham, I was totally grieving. That's why that film is so emotional and so raw, especially the scenes with the dad. It's a film that was made in grief."


Parminder Nagra in Bend It Like Beckham (2002)
Fox Searchlight Pictures

Chadha related the idea of “bending” a ball to the way women strive to achieve their goals in male-dominated industries. “We can see the goal, but we too, like David Beckham, need to approach it in such a way where we twist and turn and bend our way into it," she explained. "My film is about bending the rules to get what you want instead of breaking the rules.”


The Magnus effect is defined as “the force exerted on a rapidly spinning cylinder or sphere moving through air or another fluid in a direction at an angle to the axis of spin.” In other words, when a ball is spinning, it’s also causing the air around it to spin. If the ball is spinning and moving forward at the same time (in the case of a good soccer kick), the pressure difference from the air around the ball and the air rushing past it will cause a difference in pressure that will make the ball “bend,” or move in a curved path.

Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images
The Origins of All 30 MLB Team Names
Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images
Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images

With the Major League Baseball season on the horizon, here's the breakdown of how the league's 30 teams got their names.

Arizona Diamondbacks

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In 1995, the expansion franchise's ownership group asked fans to vote from among a list of nicknames that included Coyotes, Diamondbacks, Phoenix, Rattlers, and Scorpions. Diamondbacks, a type of desert rattlesnake, was the winner, sparing everyone the mindboggling possibility of a team located in Phoenix, Arizona, called the Arizona Phoenix.

Atlanta Braves

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The Braves, who played in Boston and Milwaukee before moving to Atlanta in 1966, trace their nickname to the symbol of a corrupt political machine. James Gaffney, who became president of Boston's National League franchise in 1911, was a member of Tammany Hall, the Democratic Party machine that controlled New York City politics throughout the 19th century. The Tammany name was derived from Tammamend, a Delaware Valley Indian chief. The society adopted an Indian headdress as its emblem and its members became known as Braves. Sportswriter Leonard Koppett described Gaffney's decision to rename his team, which had been known as the Doves, in a 1993 letter to the New York Times: "Wouldn't it be neat to call the team the 'Braves,' waving this symbol of the Democrats under the aristocratic Bostonians? It wouldn't bother the fans." And it didn't, especially after the Braves swept the Philadelphia Athletics in the 1914 World Series.

Baltimore Orioles

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When the St. Louis Browns moved to Baltimore in 1954, the franchise was rebranded with the same nickname of the Baltimore team that dominated the old National League in the late 1890s. That team, which featured the likes of Wee Willie Keeler and John McGraw, was named after the state bird of Maryland. The orange and black colors of the male Oriole bird resembled the colors on the coat of arms of Lord Baltimore.

Boston Red Sox

The team that became known as the Red Sox began play "“ wearing dark blue socks, no less "“ as a charter member of the American League in 1901. With no official nickname, the team was referred to by a variety of monikers, including Bostons and Americans, as in American League. In 1907, Americans owner John Taylor announced that his team was adopting red as its new color after Boston's National League outfit switched to all-white uniforms. Taylor's team became known as the Red Sox, a name popularized by the Cincinnati Red Stockings from 1867-1870 and used by Boston's National League franchise from 1871-1876.

Chicago Cubs

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Chicago's first professional baseball team was known as the Chicago White Stockings. When the team began to sell off its experienced players in the late 1880s, local newspapers began to refer to the club as Anson's Colts, a reference to player-manager Cap Anson's roster of youngsters. By 1890, Colts had caught on and Chicago's team had a new nickname. When Anson left the team in 1897, the Colts became known as the Orphans, a depressing nickname if there ever was one. When Frank Selee took over managerial duties of Chicago's youthful roster in 1902, a local newspaper dubbed the team the Cubs and the name stuck.

Chicago White Sox

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In 1900, Charles Comiskey moved the St. Paul Saints to the South Side of Chicago. The team adopted the former nickname of its future rivals (the Cubs) and became the White Stockings, which was shortened to White Sox a few years after the club joined the American League in 1901.

Cincinnati Reds

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The Cincinnati Red Stockings, so named because they wore red socks, were baseball's first openly all-professional team. In 1882, Cincinnati's entry in the newly formed American Association took the same name and retained it after moving to the National League in 1890. Red Stockings eventually became Redlegs, and Redlegs was shortened to Reds. Before the 1953 season, club officials announced that the team would once again officially be known as the Cincinnati Redlegs. Around the same time, the team temporarily removed "Reds" from its uniforms. As the AP reported in 1953, "The political significance of the word 'Reds' these days and its effect on the change was not discussed by management."

Cleveland Indians

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Cleveland's baseball team was originally nicknamed the Naps after star player-manager Napoleon Lajoie, so when the team cut ties with Lajoie after the 1914 season, it was in the market for a new name. Club officials and sportswriters agreed on Indians in January 1915. The Boston Braves' miraculous World Series triumph may have been part of the inspiration behind Cleveland's new moniker.

Colorado Rockies

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When team officials announced that Denver's expansion team would begin play in 1993 as the Colorado Rockies, some fans couldn't help but question why the team was adopting the same nickname as the city's former NHL franchise, which averaged an abysmal 19 wins per season from 1976 to 1982. "I think for us to compare a failed hockey franchise 10 years ago is nonsense," Rockies CEO John Antonucci said. "We feel very strongly that Colorado Rockies might be one of the strongest names in all of professional sports." According to surveys conducted by Denver's daily newspapers, fans preferred the nickname Bears, which had been used by Denver's most famous minor league team. "The name we picked—it's strong, enduring, majestic," Antonucci said.

Detroit Tigers

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Detroit's original minor league baseball team was officially known as the Wolverines. The club was also referred to as the Tigers, the nickname for the members of Michigan's oldest military unit, the 425th National Guard infantry regiment, which fought in the Civil War and Spanish-American War. When Detroit joined the newly formed American League in 1901, the team received formal permission from the regiment, which was known as the Detroit Light Guard, to use its symbol and nickname.

Houston Astros

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Houston's baseball team was originally known as the Colt .45's, but team president Judge Roy Hofheinz made a change "in keeping with the times" in 1965. Citing Houston's status as "the space age capital of the world," Hofheinz settled on Astros. "With our new domed stadium, we think it will also make Houston the sports capital of the world," Hofheinz said. The change was likely also motivated by pressure from the Colt Firearms Company, which objected to the use of the Colt .45 nickname.

Kansas City Royals

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When Kansas City was awarded an expansion franchise in 1969, club officials chose Royals from more than 17,000 entries in a name-the-team contest. Sanford Porte, one of 547 fans who submitted Royals, was awarded an all-expenses-paid trip to the All-Star Game. Porte submitted the name because of "Kansas City's position as the nation's leading stocker and feeder market and the nationally known American Royal Livestock and Horse Show. Royalty stands for the best—that's another reason." Coincidentally, Kansas City's Negro League team was nicknamed the Monarchs.

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim

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Los Angeles gained a second major league team in 1961 when the Los Angeles Angels entered the American League. The nickname had been used by Los Angeles' Pacific Coast League team from 1903-1957. The team was renamed the California Angels in 1965 and became the Anaheim Angels after the Walt Disney Company took control of the team in 1997. While the team's lease with the city requires that Anaheim be a part of the team name, owner Arte Moreno changed the team's name to include Los Angeles in 2005 in hopes of tapping into the L.A. media market. The result is one of the most absurd names in all of professional sports.

Los Angeles Dodgers

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The Dodgers trace their roots to Brooklyn, where the team was known as the Bridegrooms, Superbas, and, beginning in 1911, the Trolley Dodgers. The Dodgers nickname referenced the pedestrians who dodged the trolleys that carried passengers through the streets of Brooklyn. While the team was known as the Robins from 1914 to 1931, in honor of legendary manager Wilbert Robinson, the nickname switched back to Dodgers when Robinson retired. When Walter O'Malley moved the franchise to Los Angeles after the 1957 season, he elected to keep the name.

Miami Marlins

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The Marlins take their name from the minor league Miami Marlins that called South Florida home from 1956-1960, 1962-1970, and 1972-1988. Owner Wayne Huizenga hoped to give his expansion team, which entered the league in 1993, more regional appeal by including Florida in the name. However, when the Marlins moved into their new baseball-only stadium in 2012, they became the Miami Marlins.

Milwaukee Brewers

The Brewers nickname, a nod to Milwaukee's beer industry, was used off and on by various Milwaukee baseball teams during the late 19th century. When the expansion Seattle Pilots relocated to Milwaukee after one failed season in 1969, the team adopted the traditional Brewers nickname under the ownership of Bud Selig.

Minnesota Twins

Minneapolis and St. Paul, which are separated by the Mississippi River and collectively known as the Twin Cities, argued for years over where an expansion team in Minnesota, should one arrive, would call home. When the Washington Senators moved to Minneapolis in 1961, club officials settled on Twins as the team nickname and unveiled an emblem showing two baseball players with hands clasped in front of a huge baseball.

New York Mets

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Team officials asked fans to choose a nickname from among 10 finalists when New York was awarded an expansion National League franchise in 1961. The finalists were Avengers, Bees, Burros, Continentals, Jets, Mets, NYBS, Rebels, Skyliners, and Skyscrapers. The team received 2,563 mailed entries, which included 9,613 suggestions, and 644 different names. Mets was the resounding winner, followed by two nicknames that weren't among the team's 10 suggestions—Empires and Islanders. As the New York Times noted, "what the fans will call the team when it begins play, of course, will depend in part on how it performs." One of the reasons that team officials chose Mets was because "it has a brevity that will delight headline writers." Another reason was the nickname's historical baseball association. The New York Metropolitans, often called the Mets, played in the American Association from 1883 to 1888.

New York Yankees

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In 1903, the original Baltimore Orioles moved to New York, where they became the Highlanders. As was common at the time, the team, which played in the American League, was also known as the New York Americans. New York Press editor Jim Price coined the nickname Yanks, or Yankees, in 1904 because it was easier to fit in headlines.

Oakland Athletics

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The Athletics nickname is one of the oldest in baseball, dating to the early 1860s and the Athletic Baseball Club of Philadelphia. In 1902, New York Giants manager John McGraw referred to Philadelphia's American League team as a "white elephant." The slight was picked up by a Philadelphia reporter and the white elephant was adopted as the team's primary logo. The nickname and the elephant logo were retained when the team moved to Kansas City in 1955 and to Oakland in 1968.

Philadelphia Phillies

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Founded in 1883 as the Quakers, the franchise changed its nickname to the Philadelphias, which soon became Phillies. New owner Robert Carpenter held a contest to rename the team in 1943 and Blue Jays was selected as the winner. While the team wore a Blue Jay patch on its uniforms for a couple of seasons, the nickname failed to catch on.

Pittsburgh Pirates

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After the Players' League collapsed in 1890, the National League's Pittsburgh club signed two players, including Lou Bierbauer, whom the Philadelphia Athletics had forgotten to place on their reserve list. A Philadelphia sportswriter claimed that Pittsburgh "pirated away Bierbauer" and the Pirates nickname was born.

San Diego Padres

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When San Diego was awarded an expansion team in 1969, the club adopted the nickname of the city's Pacific Coast League team, the Padres. The nickname, which is Spanish for father or priest, was a reference to San Diego's status as the first Spanish Mission in California.

San Francisco Giants

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The New York Giants moved to San Francisco in 1957 and retained their nickname, which dates back to 1885. It was during that season, according to legend, that New York Gothams manager Jim Mutrie referred to his players as his "giants" after a rousing win over Philadelphia.

Seattle Mariners

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Mariners was the winning entry among more than 600 suggestions in a name-the-team contest for Seattle's expansion franchise in 1976. Multiple fans submitted the nickname Mariners, but the team determined that Roger Szmodis of Bellevue provided the best reason. "I've selected Mariners because of the natural association between the sea and Seattle and her people, who have been challenged and rewarded by it," said Szmodis, who received two season tickets and an all-expenses-paid trip to an American League city on the West Coast.

St. Louis Cardinals

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In 1899, the St. Louis Browns became the St. Louis Perfectos. That season, Willie McHale, a columnist for the St. Louis Republic reportedly heard a woman refer to the team's red stockings as a "lovely shade of Cardinal." McHale included the nickname in his column and it was an instant hit among fans. The team officially changed its nickname in 1900.

Tampa Bay Rays

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Vince Naimoli, owner of Tampa Bay's expansion team, chose Devil Rays out of more than 7,000 suggestions submitted by the public in 1995. The reaction was not positive. "So far, I've fielded about 20 phone calls protesting Devil Rays, and most of the callers have described themselves as Christians who are upset about the word devil," a Tampa Tribune columnist told a reporter less than a week after the nickname was announced. Naimoli reportedly wanted to nickname his team the Sting Rays, but it was trademarked by a team in the Hawaiian Winter League. The team dropped the "Devil" after the 2007 season and the curse that had plagued the franchise for the previous decade was apparently lifted, as Tampa Bay made a surprising run to the World Series the following season.

Texas Rangers

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A second franchise named the Senators left Washington in 1972, this time for Arlington, Texas. Owner Robert Short renamed the team the Rangers after the Texas law enforcement agency that was formed under Stephen F. Austin in the 1820s.

Toronto Blue Jays

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More than 30,000 entries were received during a five-week name-the-team contest. A panel of 14 judges, including 10 Toronto media members, selected 10 finalists. From that list, the club's board of directors settled on Blue Jays. "The Blue Jays was felt to be the most appropriate of the final 10 names submitted," according to a statement issued by the board's chairman, R. Howard Webster. "The blue jay is a North American bird, bright blue in color, with white undercovering and a black neck ring. It is strong, aggressive and inquisitive. It dares to take on all comers, yet it is down-to-earth, gutsy and good-looking."

Washington Nationals

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Washington's original baseball team was interchangeably referred to as the Senators and Nationals, or Nats for short, for most of its time in the District before relocating to Minnesota in 1960. Washington's 1961 expansion franchise was known almost exclusively as the Senators until it moved to Texas after the 1971 season. When the Montreal Expos relocated to the nation's capital in 2005, the team revived the Nationals nickname.


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