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Little league.

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Adapted – nay, shamelessly stolen – from a Twitter conversation earlier today.

Two vaguely related thoughts from another day in corporate America …

– Someone with lots of time and no sense of importance should find out which Major League Baseball teams are most represented among America’s Little Leagues, and which are least represented.

Are there 3,000 Little League Yankees teams afoot in the land, but only 300 Little League Marlins teams?

And while we’re at it, let’s make it historical. How has the balance changed in the 30 years since I played Little League, and for what reasons?

A Twitter friend suggests that the popularity of team names is probably linked to playoff performance. By his logic, America is home to a lot fewer Little League Royals teams today than it was in 1984, when the major-league Royals were still good.

I think other factors might be involved as well. For instance, if you’re in one of those leagues that issues a different-colored shirt to every team, there are only so many big-league teams that wear orange. That probably guarantees the Orioles, Mets and Marlins a share of the Little League action that they wouldn’t otherwise merit.

(Unless you’re in some candy-ass league where they give you an orange shirt and tell you you’re the Dodgers, in which case I pity you.)

– I decided today that, when somebody hands me a winning lottery ticket and makes me a billionaire, I’m going to do two things:

a) Open a taqueria.

b) Sponsor a Little League team through said taqueria.

I never played in a league where the teams took sponsor’s names, but I know such things exist.

And in other leagues, the teams take the names of big-league teams, but carry the sponsor’s name on the jersey somewhere.

That’s my new shining vision for today: To be sitting on some uncomfortable backless metal bleachers, beaming with pride George Steinbrenner never knew, while I watch the Skip’s Taqueria Blue Jays take the field.

That sounds like terrific fun.

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3 responses »

  1. As a San Francisco resident, I felt I needed to remind you that the Giants, too, wear orange (which makes the notion of playing in an orange Dodgers jersey all the more pitiable –maybe that was your point). In fact, Friday home games are called “Orange Fridays”. The team wears their orange home jerseys and the fans deck themselves out in clothes, fright wigs, and face paint to match. I don’t know if the Orioles team and fan base are as dedicated to the color as San Francisco is, but I’d bet the Mets and Marlins (ugh, those guys) are not.

    Following up on the main point of your post, I wonder if general team popularity isn’t more important for little league team names than regular season success for MLB clubs. A couple times over the past month or so, I’ve seen a color-coded map that shows the popularity of MLB teams by county. Only two teams in the country failed to win a single county — The Mets and the A’s. The A’s have been pretty successful since the beginning of the Billy Beane era, but even so they rarely sell out the Coliseum. If the popularity of the Athletics as a team name has flourished in little leagues over the past 15 years or so, the MLB-success argument may hold some weight. If not, historical popularity may play a bigger role.

    In any case, great post!

    Reply
    • Hate to admit I forgot all about the Giants when I wrote that. They do kinda wear orange … have for 100 years now … yeah.

      I believe the Marlins and Orioles are the teams that most commonly/recently wear orange as a jersey color.
      That *might* have something to do with it as well. When you’re handing out the orange shirts, it’s not just about who wears orange; it’s about who you most commonly associate with orange jerseys.
      Though I am long past the point of overthinking it — the guys who run local Little Leagues probably don’t put as much thought into it as I have at this point. They just drink a bunch of Coors Light and pull scraps of paper out of a sweaty old cap, probably.

      I’m sure any given Little League will always have the three most popular local team names represented most years. I guess I’m curious about how it shakes out from there. What are the other five or seven teams called?

      The A’s might do better if parts of their ballpark didn’t flood with sewage on a regular basis. Just a theory there.

      Thanks for reading!

      Reply
  2. Late seventies I played for “Brown Realtors.” Uniforms were yellow (though I think the lettering was brown). Maybe they were owned by Century 21?

    Reply

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