Conversation with a rhino

August 13, 1993

Joe McGinniss wrote an entire book based on conversations he imagined with Sen. Ted Kennedy. The least we should be able to do is write an editorial based on our conversation with rhinoceros Daisey Mae over at the Baltimore Zoo:

Us: What do you think about "Rhinos" as the possible name for a Baltimore professional football team?

Daisey: Pass me a clump of that meadow grass, will ya?

Us: Uh, sure. What about the name?

Daisey: Actually, I'm a little insulted.

Us: Insulted?

Daisey: Yes. You've got 100-plus major league sports teams in America and none has ever adopted the heroic, powerful but non-predatory, image of the rhino. You've got all kinds of meek little birds -- blue jays, cardinals. You've got teams named for beer brewers and meat packers, even religious symbols such as padres and angels and saints. Scores of football teams suited up in armor for generations and we've never gotten so much as a nibble. Someone finally mentions "rhino" and all of Baltimore's aghast, as if you were going to name it for pigs or slugs or Washington attorneys. Talk-radio phone lines sizzled in protest. The rhino-aficionados over at the National Football League backed down. And now your newspaper is going to solicit readers about other names they would prefer!

Us: Don't be offended. It's just that Maryland sports fans expect something more, well, Maryland-like. Crabs, perhaps, or sea nettles or rockfish or Chesapeake Bay retrievers.

Daisey: I just would have expected Baltimore, a great underdog town, to have treated an endangered species better. Besides, this town used to appreciate things that were big and brash. Big steel. H.L. Mencken. The defense of Fort McHenry against the British navy. Three-run homers. John Waters' Divine. If Baltimore won't accept the rhino, you think one of these new, yuppified cities will? I guess we're just destined to sit forever on the sidelines.

Us: Well, don't get down. The NFL hasn't made any decisions, and maybe Baltimore will take a liking to you yet. Even if we do get a team and settle on "Rhinos," however, there's one thing I can't guarantee.

Daisey: What?

Us: That the logo will be pachydermically correct.

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