Category: Sports

Stealing from Sports’ Traditions

Stealing from Sports’ Traditions

I may not be a very sport-y person, but if there’s anything I enjoy about sports it would be the team naming conventions.

Yeah I know that’s a strange thing to latch onto. But trust me, there’s a through-line to this conversation. Which, spoiler alert, is video game related.

Because hey if you wanted to see me spend an entire post talking about sports alone, you should have been around for this discussion I did a while back about watching the behind-the-scenes goings on at a baseball game.

As a home-grown Southern California kid I do have some interests in sports teams that come from some semblance of nostalgia. Namely the Dodgers when it comes to baseball and the Lakers when it comes to basketball. I’ve gone to see them many times over the years, so there are fond memories there even if I’m not as much of an avid follower of their games as I am Nintendo games.

However neither are striking examples of the kind of naming conventions I enjoy when it comes to sports teams. Like… What even does the name ‘Dodgers’ stand for? If anything, you wouldn’t want to be good at dodging a ball when you play baseball. Don’t you get to walk when you’re hit by the ball while at bat?

Come on Dodgers, get your act together.

Granted there is something interesting about them specifically. The fact that both the Dodgers and the Giants were originally East Coast teams before coming to California.

Inherently that brings up some questions about the permanence of a name if it can be so easily uprooted and moved around. Like yeah now we always associate the Dodgers with Los Angeles, but they weren’t always so closely linked with the culture here. That’s kind of fascinating, honestly.

Though according to official records by Major League Baseball themselves, the only reason those teams moved were simply to bring baseball to the West Coast. Which is a kind of underwhelming answer to an intriguing question.

But hey that’s a long tangent isn’t it? What I was going to get at was the fact that I enjoy seeing sports teams that are named after singular entities which could potentially duke it out.

The phenomenon tends to be more prevalent in high school and college sports, in my head. At my high school the main rivalry was the Sea Hawks versus the Mustangs. Though I did have some school spirit, for the most part I couldn’t care less which campus actually won. It was just kind of cool to imagine some kind of battle between a vicious hawk (which my biology teacher told us was actually based on a real life bird known for crushing bones) and a majestic hoofbeast.

I imagine the same thing could be said for many small-town sports rivalries. Certainly the idea of two forces of nature going at it is much more exciting than some other team names. Like the Patriots. Or the Redskins.

Much less racist too.

As I already mentioned, I’m not just bringing up this idea because I have a sudden passion to talk about sports. Or racism scandals. There was actually a spark that got me thinking about the subject of sports team names.

Unofficial Pokémon battle tournaments.

Yeah you heard me right. Bet you didn’t think anyone would be relating competitive Pokémon battling to actual real life sports in your daily blog posts today. Well I am, so you best be ready for it.

There’s actually a healthy amount of comparisons one can make between the two. When preparing for a Pokémon battle, trainers are restricted to six members, much like sports teams are limited to X number of team members on the field. Those six Pokémon fit different roles, be them wholly offensive, defensive or supportive. Or they could be some combination of the three.

It’s not hard to say that my hyper-offensive glass cannon Mega Beedrill in a battle is comparable to a football team’s leading quarterback, or that my heal-passing Audino is supportive much like a shortstop on a baseball team that quickly gets the ball from base-to-base for multiple outs.

I don’t know, I think it’s a pretty easy comparison to make. Maybe you disagree, but it’s all just an unapologetic segue anyway.

The reason I’ve come to think about this subject is because of the lengths I’ve seen certain Pokémon-playing YouTube personalities go to when establishing battle leagues that are steeped in the traditions of real life sports.

There are about a billion examples out there, but the one that’s most impactful to me is the United Championship League (UCL). There’s no real specific reason why other than the fact that most of the circle that competes in it are a close-knit group of Pokétubers that I tend to watch fairly often.

Which yes is possibly one of the nerdiest things I’ve said around here. But does it look like I care?

The UCL started about three years ago and carried an interesting aesthetic:

It comes to mind today specifically because the draft for Season 3 happened over this last weekend. Based on the video that was put up by TheKingNappy not too long ago, it took five hours just to get teams assigned to each competitor.

Yeah that’s right. This is a Pokémon battle competition with an extended team draft and a classic branching tree tournament board. On top of that, each team tends to do a pre-game discussion where they determine which members they’re bringing based on the opponent’s overall draft and how they’re building their teams up as a result.

It’s kind of crazy to thing that that’s almost exactly the same thing as a real sports league, but I adore one and can’t bring myself to seriously care about the other.

I think part of the reason I do care so much about the UCL — other than the fact that I’m a Pokémon junkie in general — is the fact that another real life sports trope they use so well is the naming convention.

Every team in that league names themselves the same way. City name (or some other location) followed by a Pokémon name that matches in some way.

Tucson Terrakions.

Pittsburgh Pichus.

So on and so forth.

Though of course it would be a terrible mistake for me not to mention my absolute favorite Pokémon sports league name:

The New York Mankeys.

Shout out to ShadyPenguinn for coming up with literal perfection. That’s the kind of name I wish I was clever enough to come up with on my own. Not only is it a solid team name, it’s a great reference to an actual real sports team too.

I just love it man. I basically wrote this whole post just so I could say New York Mankeys out loud. It’s just the kind of name that makes me giggle whenever I hear it. More of the world deserves to hear about it even if it couldn’t give a damn about Pokémon.

Now before you ask. Yes. I have had moments where I’ve tried to figure out what my Pokémon sports team name would be. Though I haven’t exactly come up with a good answer as of yet.

Incorporating my favorite Pokémon Gardevoir would be tough without stretching my location to Gardenia (though Gardenia Gardevoirs is a cool name).

I do like the sound of something like the Manhattan Beach Mimikyu, though again that requires relegating my location to somewhere I’m technically not, a city that’s my city’s rival if nothing else.

Unfortunately I’m just not sure which ‘R’ Pokémon I would use to go with Redondo. Ralts sounds a little not intimidating, though they fit the Gardevoir line love. Roserade also doesn’t seem right, despite being one of my favorites.

Also let’s be honest. As much as the Redondo Rayquaza sounds dope, I’m not sure I’d want to use a Legendary. It seems a bit cocky.

The Redondo Rhydon might work well. I have a pretty strong affection for him too, and Rhydon certainly sounds like the kind of Pokémon that could fit a sports team.

I guess if you want you can leave your suggestions in the comments below. Or you can say what teams you might be able to make using your home region. That’d be cool to hear!

In the meantime, I’ve got a five-hour livestream recap to catch up on. So I’m going to go off and do that.

In the meantime, I suppose I should come up with some kind of moral for today’s post.

Uhh…

If you’re a sports guy, don’t make fun of nerds that like Pokémon. Because we do wacky competitive things too.

And if you’re a Pokémon guy, don’t make fun of nerds that like sports. Because they built up a cool structure that we can do stuff with.

Let’s just all live together in harmony. Liking weird things that we all like without judgement.

Yeah, that’s a good lesson. Nailed the ending.

Sports? On my blog?

Sports? On my blog?

It’s a rare occurrence I know, but frankly observing sports is a rare occurrence in my life in general, so it makes sense.

I have been known to enjoy a good Dodger game with my family or watch the Lakers on T.V. on occasion, but I’ve never proclaimed to be a sports nut in any respect. In fact, the Women’s Basketball game I went to tonight is the first sport game of any kind of that I’ve gone to during my nearly three year experience at Cal State Fullerton.

I’ve only been inside the Titan Gym only one other time before this, and that was after I first committed to CSUF. It was one of those “welcome to our school” pep rally sort of deals, but I don’t admittedly remember very much about it other than the fact that it was held in the gym.

Probably the only reason that sticks out in my mind is because that was my only experience in that gym up until now, since I’m thinking about it…

But that’s getting a bit too into the weeds on unnecessary information.

What is important right now is that I was in the gym for an actual for real game! As part of Kyle and Sarah’s new design for Comm 471 this semester, all of us staff writers are being required to cycle between the four main desks as dedicated writers for a couple of weeks at a time. That means for two week run times, each of us are going to be a dedicated part of the News, Opinion, Lifestyle and Sports desks.

It figures that an anti-sport kind of guy like me would get Sports desk first and foremost in that rotation.

Actually, it is a little funny how things worked out. Out of the seven or eight people in my rotation group, I’m the only person who isn’t already a sports junkie. So it’s a bit more of an uphill climb for me to get used to everything that’s going on than it is for everyone else in my group.

The nice thing is, getting used to things involves trying stuff out that I otherwise never would do on my own. Like going to a basketball game.

Hell I arguably got a cooler experience than most because I got to be credentialed for the game:

Plus I got to be court side at the game and sit in on our sports editor Jared’s interview with a couple of the players and the coach afterward in the conference room.

Really, although it was cool to check out a game and see some of the inner workings of writing a recap of a sporting event, I think I got a pretty clear understanding of why sports aren’t exactly my forte.

A good chunk of that was the predictable not-complete-comprehension of all the specific statistics and lingo involved with following sports for a living.

Seriously look at how many of these box score readouts they give out to the press. Not only are there a metric ton of them just for one game, but I honestly have no idea what I’m supposed to be gathering from any of them. I think I can figure out a little bit of what they say here or there, but until I get more used to reading them they mostly just look like a jumbled mess of numbers to me.

However, the reason that stuck out to me the most during this experience of physically being there was just… Generally how little I felt like I was focusing on the game itself compared to everything happening around it.Like yes it was engaging watching the players move back and forth and fall all over each other to an extent, but even so I seemed to be more curious about the people other than the players.Like for instance:I was watching and listening to the band quite a bit, both to essentially live tweet what they were playing to my band geek of a sister but also just to figure out exactly what they were playing and why we needed the live band if there was also going to be other artists DJ’d on the speakers.

I also found myself paying quite a bit of attention to the auxiliary cheer and spirit accompaniment. I had no idea they just sat at the side of the court waiting. What are they doing when they aren’t doing a routine? What are they thinking about? How do they keep themselves entertained if they aren’t sports lovers like myself and don’t want to watch the game?

Plus don’t even get me started on the person in the Tuffy mascot costume. I can’t even look at that thing without remembering my friend Harrison’s story about a Public Relations person trying to convince him that the mascot was a real elephant that didn’t have a person inside.Also watching the referees having to run back and forth all night alongside the players was pretty hilarious to me, honestly. I don’t know why, but I was thoroughly entertained just watching them and the people who came in whenever a player fell to sweep up and polish the floor again.

Then beyond that I was also doing some work on my phone at the same time, section editing stories and such, as I was listening in on the radio announcers sitting next to us who were talking live over the whole event. It’s always baffled me how they can follow a game and talk over it the entire time. Though I suppose that’s the same thing as half of the gaming YouTube personalities I watch… So I shouldn’t be that enamored by it.Anyway, I think that’s enough rambling for now. Long story short, I went to a sports game with the editor who’s a cool guy, had a pretty nice time and let my mind wander to all the extra things going on that I never would have noticed due to my general apathy.Should be an interesting couple of weeks as I try to figure out exactly how to cover something I have next to no experience with.Until then I have two articles getting published for this upcoming weeklong paper tomorrow, and a bunch of other work adjusting to all of my classes. So I’m going to head home and get started on most of that.Peace Fullerton, thanks for giving me the opportunity to get some insight on something new, and I’ll see you again tomorrow.

The old ball game

The old ball game

I may not be the biggest sports fan in the world, and that extends to my general lack of interest writing about sports for journalistic purposes…

But that doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy a good game of baseball. Hell, it’s hard not to enjoy America’s pastime, especially when you grow up going to games with your Dad, taking in all the clichés. The first pitches and national anthem. The seventh inning stretch. The acceptance of normalcy that comes with the potential of being hit in the back of the head by a rogue beach ball. The sheer scale of the stadium and mass of people all sharing the same experience you are.

And, of course…


The food.

Can’t go wrong with a dodger dog and a bag of peanuts. I’m also partial to having a frozen lemonade toward the latter half of the game, that’s something of a tradition for me.

It’s been some time since I’ve gone to a game, and I definitely have to thank our family friend, my uncle David Liebling for getting us in to this Dodgers/Mets showdown (with some pretty good seats at that).


Since it has been some time, and my interests have been developing continuously, I’m definitely noticing different things around the stadium this time around.

Namely, the interesting interplay between the sport and my area of focus, the media.


In all the times I’ve gone to ball games, I’ve never noticed the pre-game reporting being done on the field. It’s actually pretty hilarious to see the two anchors in a fancy suit and dress contrasting with the sea of jerseys and colloquial game-attending attire. Plus they set up and took down the desk and camera equipment real fast, so that was interesting to watch.

On top of that, if you’re really paying attention, you can catch some of the interesting shots that help make the game a media sensation but might not be so easy to understand the scope of from behind a screen.


Not sure why I thought this was so interesting, but something about the intertwining of being live and seeing media being created spoke to me today. Figured I would share that little observation.

However, I’m going to cut things short, because I am still in the middle of a game, and as much as I enjoy writing I probably look a little stupid. Plus, the Dodgers just caught a fly ball in the outfield and managed to throw it to home for a double play that ended the top of the second inning.

It was pretty hype, to be completely honest.