Tag: Lakers

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.

The Del Amo Mall Bizarre Goods Tour

Today my journey to the Del Amo mall as a chauffeur for my sister got a fair bit more interesting when I was able to drag my buddy Juan along for an impromptu hangout.

All-and-all it was a great time, far more than it would have been if I just went and sat around by myself. We had lunch, explored a bunch of kitch-y stores, made fun of some really silly products and talked about all the important things in life.

Like video games.

But that’s another story. I thought it might be fun to take another look at some of the photos I took of some ridiculous things around the mall. Because that seems just quirky enough to probably be interesting, and it’s a real easy kind of post to do while watching Ready Player One with my family.

So let’s begin with this:

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Boxing Jack-Jack and the raccoon from Incredibles 2.

I’ll be honest, the scene where Jack-Jack fights the raccoon is probably the best part of this movie. But… Wow. How could you make a toy that looks so unsettling?

I understand the idea that they’re sock puppets. It makes sense. The interactivity of the toy is also cute, since both characters make noises when they punch their arms.

I just wish the thing didn’t make it look like both a small baby and a raccoon weren’t twink boxers. Because god damn is it just… Not great.

Luckily there were a bunch of other cute Incredibles toys for parents to buy. Don’t buy your kids this unsettling bit of nightmare fuel, parents.

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Here’s a clothing shop that’s just called “Q.” I don’t know why it’s just called Q. I didn’t go inside so I’m not sure what the gimmick is.

It’s just Q.

Honestly, I don’t have anything else to say about the place. I just thought it was so bizarre that it was worth pointing out.

Unlike this next picture, which has so many bizarre things to it that I can’t stop talking about it:

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Seriously I’m not even sure where to begin here. The clashing art styles all being thrown together immediately stand out of course, but it’s the fine details that really just dig into your cerebellum.

Like why is Naruto wearing Goku’s outfit while standing next to Goku in a much more soft, pastel tone.

Why is Crono from Crono Trigger hanging out with Black*Star and Sonic the Hedgehog and Kirby? Except Kirby is red instead of pink.

Why is Bijou from Hamtaro sitting on top of Cloud’s shoulder? She ain’t in any Final Fantasy games.

Oh and let’s not forget the extra bizarre inclusions. Why is Nyan Cat in the top corner? Why is Navi from Ocarina of Time hanging out without any other Zelda character anywhere on the piece?

Ultimately though, I think there’s just one question to ask.

Who allowed this photoshop hodgepodge to be a thing?

I could honestly talk about that thing all day. But I won’t because I might actually descend into madness if I do.

So instead I’ll talk about this.

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Anybody remember Xiolin Showdown? Because I do!

I used to seriously love this show growing up. So when I saw this PSP game sitting in a shop, I couldn’t not take a look.

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I never owned a PSP or anything, but this game seems like it was probably pretty cool. I wonder-

Wait.

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Oh no… What did they do to your face little guy?

I… I can’t even look at that. It’s physically painful.

Okay let’s move on to something hopefully less nightmare-inducing, shall we?

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I spoke too soon, there are just as many nightmares over in toy land.

I don’t know whose decision it was to make ‘Mighty Muggs’ a thing, but they made a very poor choice when it comes to overall design. Especially if they were hoping to compete with things like Funko Pops.

But hey, let’s look at something less terrifying, shall we?

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Like check out all of these god damn copies of Wii Fit.

I don’t know who out there decided to trade in all their copies of Wii Fit to Book Off in the Del Amo mall, but I just wanted to give an extra special shout out to all of them.

Because look at how amazing this collection is. It’s literally the most stocked game in that store, and it’s beautiful.

Worth the trip all by itself, honestly.

Though that wasn’t the only amazing game that made this trip worthwhile.

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My Stop Smoking Coach. For the Nintendo D.S. An Ubisoft title.

Only one dollar.

To be completely honest the fact that I didn’t go out of my way to buy this thing out of sheer curiosity’s sake may just be my greatest regret.

Actually I got ice cream because I didn’t buy this game, so I guess I don’t regret it too much. But if I see this thing again next time I go to the store, I’m definitely going to go out of my way for it.

Here’s another game that I thought was interesting from a series that’s probably a little more well-known.

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Harvest Moon: Save the Homeland.

I don’t have too much to say about this overall. I threw it over to my friend Sam who’s a huge Harvest Moon fan and she’s never played this particularly title in the series.

I just wanted to throw it out there because it probably has the most nationalist title I’ve ever seen. ‘Save the Homeland.’ Can’t help but imagine the Von Trapp family showing up to beat off some Nazis.

That was about all I had in terms of video game stuff. But I did have a little more to cycle back to from our stop in Disney earlier:

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Check out this Porg. Everyone loves Porgs, right?

Well, this is a Porg mug that has a scalped Porg. So you can drink it’s brains.

For the children, right?

I don’t know maybe that isn’t as funny on here as it was in person, where Juan pulled his now infamous ‘drink of my Porg’ line.

So I’ll let that one fly and move into this last fun thing I pulled out of our last trip to GameStop on the way home.

I’m not a huge basketball person, but my Twitter has been rampant with talk about LeBron James joining the L.A. Lakers. I have my own opinions about that whole thing and how… Ridiculous the number of dollars thrown around for one man are.

But that’s neither here nor there.

In the end I think it’s all worth it just for what this GameStop employee did to this NBA 2019 advertising stand.

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Pure genius.

It’s about as good a place as any to end off, if you ask me.

Hopefully you enjoyed this romp into weird shit I found today. If so let me know! Also don’t hesitate to send me any weird things you might find, because I thrive off that.