Single-A team's name game not foolproof

The Flip Side

April 17, 2005

It began with the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim.

Then came the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.

Finally this: The San Diego Padres' Single-A team said April 1 that it was changing its name from the Lake Elsinore Storm to the Anaheim/Los Angeles/San Diego Storm of Lake Elsinore.

"We want to be America's minor league baseball team," team president Dave Oster told The San Diego Union-Tribune. "If we are going to compete at the national level, we need to be able to build our brand.

"That's what this is all about. We figured that since the Angels abandoned Anaheim, we'd stake our claim to that area and beyond. With our location, the boundaries are endless."

So were the complaints from angry residents of Lake Elsinore, who apparently couldn't see through a pretty successful April Fool's joke.

Take minor league baseball seriously at your own risk.

Only in the minors will you find teams named after an episode of The Simpsons (Albuquerque Isotopes) and a military base that supposedly houses aliens and their spaceships (Las Vegas Area 51s).

The Fullerton Flyers of the independent Golden Baseball League have a conventional nickname, but an unconventional promotion: "Too Funny Tuesdays," during which the Brea Improv will provide a comedian to warm up the crowd during pre-game ceremonies.

The Flyers, who must expect a lot of laughers this season, are scheduled to begin play May 27 at Chico.

Then, Mr. Flip noticed on his pocket calendar, they come home for two series against Groucho and Harpo.

The Lake Elsinore Storm was kidding about changing its name.

Colombian soccer fan Giraldo Zuluaga was serious about changing his.

Zuluaga, 55, who watches soccer matches of his beloved Deportivo Independiente Medellin in the company of his dog, who wears the team's red and blue colors and barks to celebrate a goal, has just gone through a successful seven-year court battle to alter his name to ... Deportivo Independiente Medellin.

"Everyone said I was mad," Zuluaga said, "but finally I won. Now you can call me Deportivo Independiente Medellin or DIM."

Mr. Flip would suggest a slightly different name: DUMB.

Mexico City hosted the 2005 International Ice Hockey Federation Division III championship.

"Which got us to wondering," wrote Randy Turner of the Winnipeg Free Press, "if there ever was a superstar hockey player to come out of Mexico, would he be dubbed `The Great Juan'?"

Mark Akins of The Seattle Times, after John Stockton, the NBA's all-time assists leader, named one of his sons Houston: "Pardon me, but shouldn't his name be El Paso?"

A question from Dwight Perry, also from The Seattle Times: "Shouldn't next season's Bears-Browns game - featuring the first coaching matchup of Lovie vs. Romeo - be played on Valentine's Day?"

Finally, from Damon Hack, an NFL writer for The New York Times, on his engagement to Suzanna Yip: "With last names like Hack and Yip, I guess we won't be naming our first kid Tiger."

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