Creative fans design their own name game

November 29, 1992|By Jon Morgan | Jon Morgan,Staff Writer

Baltimore is one of the few cities seeking a pro football team that has not resorted to a name-the-team contest to whip up fan support. But that hasn't kept fans out of the game.

At least three of them have gone so far as to draw up specific designs, apply for formal trade name or trademark protection and submit them to the investment groups vying to own a team in Baltimore.

"When I heard about the NFL effort I thought, 'This is my chance,' " said Matt Battison, a graphic artist with Mobil Corp. in Alexandria, Va.

Battison, who grew up in the Baltimore area as a Colts fan, experimented with a few designs and ended up with what he thinks will be a winner: Baltimore Constellations.

His proposed logo features a silhouette of the frigate Constellation, now displayed in Baltimore's Inner Harbor. The ship logo is surrounded by 13 stars, the number of stars in the U.S. flag when Fort McHenry was attacked.

"It was so hard to see Indianapolis steal the Colts, so I wanted something that was uniquely Baltimore and could not be stolen away," Battison said.

If he can convince an owners group to sit down for a presentation, he also will be able to use the design as a thesis project. He's pursuing a master's in visual communication at George Washington University.

Bruce A. Genther, a senior marketing associate at Legg Mason in Baltimore, once designed uniforms for a sporting goods store owned by former Oriole Brooks Robinson. A version of his logo for the University of Baltimore still appears on uniforms. He's also responsible for the Orioles' experiment with an all-orange uniform in the early 1970s.

He's designed a symbol and uniform for the Baltimore Clippers, a name once used by the city's American Hockey League franchise. The stylized ship symbol comes from a design previously used by the city to promote the Inner Harbor, he said.

A former Colts season-ticket holder, he said he would trade the name for a season ticket to the new football team's inaugural season.

"It's not one of those contrived names, like the Blizzard or the Fire. People would immediately gravitate toward it," Genther said. He has met with a representative of Malcolm Glazer, and is trying to get the attention of the other prospective ownership groups, he said.

Barry Asbury, editor-owner of Consumer's Guide, a community newspaper in Parkville, incorporated his pick, the Baltimore Americans, five years ago when it appeared to him that legal efforts to reclaim the Colts name were hopeless.

He has created a symbol featuring a muscular character who bears a striking resemblance to Uncle Sam, but who is actually a cross between Uncle Sam and a generic steel worker, Asbury said. Combined with the name, the symbol reflects Baltimore's heritage in both manufacturing and as the birthplace of the national anthem, he said.

He sent the idea to one of the ownership groups, but hasn't heard back. He'd like the name to be used, but, he added, "I wouldn't just give it away. I've put too much into it."

Bryan Glazer, son of Malcolm Glazer, said his family is narrowing in on a couple of ideas for a team name, but they are thankful for the unsolicited ideas they have received.

"Until something is decided, we're not adverse to going back and working with a new idea," Glazer said.

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