Don't let Baltimore's team name bug you A germ of an idea: If the choices for Baltimore's NFL team's name make you sick, take this suggestion and call in the morning.

March 24, 1996|By John Parlato

THE FOLKS IN the new Baltimore football organization are expected to announce a name for the team any day now. In fact, the announcement might come before you read this article.

Right now, it appears that the club is wedded to the most traditional sports team nomenclature, i.e., The Ravens, The Mustangs, The Marauders. Naturally, the club would prefer a name that has something to do with the region. But first and foremost, the Baltimore club is following the path of many of its NFL rivals by seeking a moniker that suggests power and fierceness. In the case of The Bombers, they have included a warlike character. I have no argument with tying these qualities to a football team. After all, it allows for great sports copy: "The Marauders rampaged through the So-and-sos." "The Mustangs trampled over the Whatevers." However, I hope the club won't overlook a name that not only pays homage to Maryland's growing biomedical research industry, but also would give us the most ferocious and fearsome reputation in professional football.

Namely, the Baltimore Bacteria.

In recorded history, no other force in nature has done more damage or inspired greater fear. If you'd told someone in 14th century Europe that a dragon was on the loose, they'd have taken precautions. If you'd told them the plague was coming, they'd disappear for a decade or two. More than half of the deaths in the Civil War were from disease. The influenza epidemic of 1919 wiped out millions. To put it in terms that sports fans can understand, bacteria has the best record in the predatory world.

What's more, bacteria are now.

Ebola. Hantavirus. Flesh-eating streptococcus. Bacteria are in the news and on everyone's lips (figuratively and literally).

Sure, a seahawk can swoop in and snag a fish. A lion can bring down an antelope. A bronco can put you in traction. But a milliliter of bacteria can eat through an entire division of infantry and still have room for dessert.

The Baltimore Bacteria will give sportscasters a whole new pallet of expression. "The Baltimore Bacteria infected the Chicago Bears."

"The Giants are flat on their backs with aching muscles and wheezing lungs after the Baltimore Bacteria spread through their defensive system. "

We can call the new stadium The Petri Dish. Our cheerleaders could dress as nurses and during timeouts they could parade through the stands with microscopes giving fans a peek at our team mascot an active culture of staphylococcus. Everyone can sport gauze masks emblazoned with the team name. Oversized "No. 1" rubber gloves will replace the traditional oversized foam hand. Instead of a cheering section labeled The Dawg Pound, we can have The Hot Zone.

If the club comes up with a name before this article appears, I hope they'll at least reconsider the decision. The team ought to have a name that will put us on the map and also strike fear into the hearts and every other vital organ of the competition. The fight song could begin like this:

"Invade them, infect them

Their face masks can't protect them

Go Bacteria Go!"

John Parlato is the creative director for W.B. Doner & Co., a Baltimore advertising agency.

Pub Date: 3/24/96

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