MLB Nicknames: Ranking the Most Intimidating Team Names in Baseball Today

Eli Marger@Eli_MargerCorrespondent IApril 12, 2011

MLB Nicknames: Ranking the Most Intimidating Team Names in Baseball Today

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    Throughout baseball's illustrious history, there have been many teams that have come, gone and stayed. There have been Spiders and Senators, Beaneaters and Browns. Fans of their respective teams take pride in wearing the colors and logo of their boys.

    But like all things in sports, these team names have a hierarchy. There are the less-intimidating names (I mean really, who is scared of a Cardinal?) and the scary ones (like the Giants).

    Though some of baseball's best teams have not-so-scary names, it is a good bragging right to be able to say your team's name is baseball's most intimidating.

    So here they are—the most intimidating names in Major League Baseball.

No. 30: Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim

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    Starting off our countdown is a talented team with an unfortunate nickname. The Angels are also referred to as the Halos, which is not a significant step forward in their quest to strike fear into opponents.

    They are certainly not the Angels of Death (but that would be cool), so their current name suggests an innocent little angel fluttering around.

    Sort of like Scott Kazmir's pitches, right?

No: 29 (tie): Boston Red Sox

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    Listen, I know this is a name entrenched in history. The Red Sox name goes back over a century and is just about as synonymous with baseball as anything. But come on, Red Sox? Really?

    I suppose the Rays, Yankees, Tigers and Mariners should be the Navies. Not many things in this world are less intimidating than socks.

    Unless they stink. Oh wait, the Red Sox do!

No. 29 (tie): Chicago White Sox

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    This one just sucks. The great city of Chicago's entire south side is represented by a pair of white socks. That's like representing New York with a pair of tighty whities. I mean, couldn't they think of anything more clever?

    How about the Disco Demolishers? Or the Fightin' Buehrles? There has to be a name out there somewhere that can do more mental damage on a foe than socks.

No. 27 (tie): St. Louis Cardinals

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    In one of America's richest cities in terms of baseball history, the home of Stan Musial, Bob Gibson and Albert Pujols, the mascot is a bird that could fit inside a baseball glove. The Cardinal is hardly a predatory bird. It is not an eagle or a raven or a phoenix.

    This is a wonderful little American bird, and that's about it. It gets some brownie points for having a fauxhawk and at least attempting to appear scary.

    Good try, Cardinals.

No. 27 (tie): Baltimore Orioles

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    Going on with our bird category, the Baltimore Orioles boast a bird that can grow to a maximum of 30 centimeters long. For those counting, that's just about a foot long.

    But seriously, what was this team thinking? The name "Ravens" is far more intimidating and entrenched in Baltimore history, but the owners of the Orioles left it for the NFL to take.

    Come on, Clarence Miles.

No. 27 (tie): Toronto Blue Jays

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    I do not claim to be an expert on any part of the animal kingdom, so excuse my inquiry, but doesn't a blue jay just look like a cardinal dipped in blue paint? Is this some sort of a joke?

    The blue jay is in the same league as the cardinal in terms of intimidation. I'd probably be more scared by a grasshopper. Someone should have sent the people who named these teams a memo a long time ago with a list of the most badass birds.

    That way, we wouldn't have a three-way tie for 27th place on this list.

No. 24: Minnesota Twins

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    The Twins present an interesting problem because there are a variety of types of twins. For example, the Olsen twins (pictured) are about as intimidating as narcotics will allow them to be. Jose and Ozzie Canseco are very intimidating but broke.

    And then there are the supermodel twins. That's not intimidating, but because they tend to appeal to the average male, they get major points.

    So a combination of these twin types will allow them to slip past the birds into 24th place.

No. 23: Brewers

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    No, this isn't Kevin Youkilis brewing beer. This is pretty much what your average brewer looks like.

    It is one of the manliest careers—imagine spending your entire day making beer—and requires skill and precision. But something about the fact that they are not belligerent drunks takes away from the intimidation factor of brewers.

    Pound a couple of Millers and the Brew Crew will move up the list.

No. 22: New York Mets

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    All I can think of when I hear the Mets is a bunch of crazy Gordon Gecko clones yelling at each other on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. I envision financial calculators, loud noises and lots of dollar signs being thrown around.

    Sounds like an MLB front office, right?

    But unless this group of white-collared traders becomes a mob and goes on a stampede down Broadway, there is little intimidation to be found beyond their Harvard-trained brains.

No. 21: San Diego Padres

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    Many of you may see the Padres this far down on the list and wonder why they are not near the top with another group of Holies, the Angels. But the Friars have something going for them—they're crazy.

    You would half-expect them to be able to kick anyone's ass if provoked.

    In Robin Hood, Friar Tuck is usually either a master swordsman or a fat guy. So to take a middle ground, we'll put the friar at No. 21.

No. 20: Cincinnati Reds

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    I know, the Reds are another team named after their hosiery. They are baseball's oldest team and one whose choice of name should not be questioned. But in the post-Soviet era, calling someone a Red is basically implying their residence in the Kremlin.

    No one likes Communists and especially not here in America. But we did almost get nuked by them, so the Reds will round out the top third of the list.

No. 19: Tampa Bay Rays

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    Had the Rays kept the "Devil" in their name, they would probably be in the top 10. But now, they are the sun rays. They are little beams of hope and sunshine. Nothing intimidating about that, right? Wrong.

    Think about all the UV rays! These same sun rays are destroying our ozone layer at an excruciatingly slow pace so that by the time we are all at nursing homes, the ozone will be gone. Don't get me wrong, seeing the sun in the sky scares no one.

    But its rays and their destructive power do count for something.

No. 18: Colorado Rockies

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    They loom in the distance, ready to strike at any moment. But not really. Mountains can't move (well, they can, but at a very minimal rate) and they certainly can't talk trash or make faces. But they are daunting. They are big, proud, and they're always going to be there.

    In Colorado, the Rockies look over the skyline of Denver, providing a beautiful backdrop to the city. But try and climb one at your own risk—these hills mean business.

No. 17: Seattle Mariners

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    Fishermen are some of the most underrated men in the world. They are tough, skilled and often bearded, which automatically adds points to the intimidation factor. They battle large fish in the most hostile conditions, unfazed by the environment.

    But they're catching fish, not bears or elephants, so there's limited intimidation appeal. Unless you're liable to be caught by a hook, you probably aren't that scared of the average mariner.

No. 16: Washington Nationals

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    Imagine going toe to toe with George Washington. Trying to fight one of our founding fathers, aside from being treason, would be a poor idea. These guys knew how to fight, especially considering they pried our country away from the strong hand of the British. The sheer thought of them is intimidating.

    But they didn't have F-22 fighter jets or rocket propelled grenades, so they are no longer that intimidating. The Nationals, our founding fathers, round out the bottom half of the list.

No. 15: Kansas City Royals

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    The name Royals implies power, confidence and intellect. The royals are kings, queens, dukes and lords. Just ask your great-great-great grandfather what it was like to see the King in person.

    And no, we're not talking about Elvis. We're talking about Louis XVI or King George.

    These guys had some power. And with great power comes great intimidation. Now if only the baseball team could channel that power.

No. 14: Philadelphia Phillies

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    They are baseball's most feared group. They are passionate, constantly intoxicated and always belligerent.

    Yep, Phillies fans are definitely one of the more intimidating groups in the game. Go to Citizens Bank Park in Mets gear, and you will almost certainly get a beer poured on you, even if you're 10 years old.

    Now what red-blooded human being wouldn't be scared by the thought of having beer poured on their daughter? That alone puts the Phillies at number 14.

No. 13: Florida Marlins

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    If you've ever been deep sea fishing, you know that catching a marlin is like finding a diamond. Not only will you get mad props, but the ghost of Davey Jones will rise from the sea and give you a high five.

    These aren't goldfish, either. Marlins can grow up to 16 feet and weigh 1,500 pounds.

    Yes, it's a fish, but it is the AK-47 of the ocean. It has no fear. Plus, its nose is literally a spear. How much cooler can you get?

No. 12: Oakland Athletics

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    This was an interesting one, because an athlete is obviously a staple of any sport. So how intimidating can an athlete be? Well, it depends on the athlete.

    Michael Phelps here is not too intimidating. But take Ray Lewis or Kevin Garnett, and you have a different story. Taking the average of all athletes, the average 5'10", 175-pound person would be wise to avoid conflict.

    Most athletes know how to fight, and they know how to intimidate. Get stuck in an alley with the wrong one, and you're in trouble.

No. 11: New York Yankees

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    During the Civil War, the Union Army was known as the Yankees. In fact, that term has come to be used for any American in battle. So naturally, there is an intimidation factor.

    Whether it's the nuclear bomb, a Civil War cannon, or a Navy SEAL, the label of Yankee implies greatness in battle. And that's pretty intimidating.

No. 10: Los Angeles Dodgers

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    I originally had the Dodgers lower, but then I thought of something. What is more intimidating and frustrating than knowing that you will never be able to directly hit something?

    The name dodger implies evasiveness, the ability to jump out of the way of a punch or a bullet.

    No matter how big your gun is, chances are, you won't hit a dodger. For their ninja-like escaping powers, the Dodgers are the first of the top 10 teams for their intimidation.

No. 9: Houston Astros

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    The Astros name brings to mind the concept of space travel. With Johnson Space Center located in Houston, it is only appropriate that the team be named after one of the great feats of human exploration.

    Because we know so little about outer space, there is not much more intimidating than blasting off in a rocket full of highly explosive fuel going into a massive vacuum that humans barely know anything about.

    Space travel is cool, dangerous and quite intimidating. You don't want to have to test your skills against a Saturn V rocket.

No. 8: Chicago Cubs

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    Before you tear me apart for putting a baby animal at eighth on this list, let me tell you what happens if you try and approach a baby bear. As little and cute as these little fluffballs may look, they are still bears.

    And where there's a cub, there's probably a momma. And momma will rip your face off.

    Don't be fooled by the cuteness. These baby bears grow fast, and if you catch them at the wrong time, parental control might end your life.

No. 7: Detroit Tigers

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    Ever wonder what it feels like to get mauled to death by a tiger? Me neither.

    Tigers are so intimidating that the only people stupid enough to willingly approach one are Sigfried and Roy, and Roy got his neck chomped. Tigers may not be the king of the jungle, but they're pretty close.

    They're lightning quick, aggressive and have teeth that could bite through a steel bar. Good luck not being intimidated.

No. 6: Pittsburgh Pirates

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    While sailing on the high seas, you're liable to be raided by a group of pirates. Whether in the Caribbean or off the coast of Somalia, pirates are one of the most feared groups in all of society.

    Just look at Blackbeard over there. His men are ready to die at his side, armed with swords, guns and cannons.

    Pirates never go down without a fight and are never afraid to jump on your ship. Unless you want a one-way trip to the bottom of the ocean, stay away from the pirates.

No. 5: Arizona Diamondbacks

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    Have fun not soiling yourself if you run into one of these things in the wild. The diamondback rattlesnake is one of the larger species of rattlesnakes, and they deliver a large amount of venom in every bite.

    There are few scarier sounds in the natural world than the calm shake of the rattlesnake's tail. If you hear it, you're pretty much screwed.

    Walking through the desert with the possibility of meeting a diamondback is a pretty intimidating concept. No one likes a healthy dose of proteolytic venom.

No. 4 (tie): Cleveland Indians

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    Indians are angry people. And they have every right to be after being essentially exiled by Andrew Jackson.

    But when they attack, they mean business. Just ask General Custer. Whether using their tomahawks, bows and arrows, or their skillful use of horses, Indians are a force to be reckoned with.

    They are masters in battle, ready to ambush an unsuspecting group. And so far this year, the Cleveland Indians have ambushed the baseball world.

No. 4 (tie): Atlanta Braves

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    The term brave was first used by American traders to describe Native Americans who were particularly well-trained in battle. Well, in that case, avoid a brave at all costs.

    These people are lethal with a bow and arrow and are absolutely relentless. There are multiple instances of ambushes involving braves.

    If you get captured, you are probably going to get scalped. That's not like getting a haircut. That's literally getting your hair ripped out. Intimidated yet?

No. 2: San Francisco Giants

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    Most giants in popular culture are portrayed as gentle. Despite their large stature, giants are usually kind and caring people who are just misunderstood.

    You don't actually buy that, do you?

    Giants can tower above cities, blow up countries, take the moon and throw a fastball with it and chop down a skyscraper with an axe, a la Paul Bunyan. People are intimidated by sheer size, and what entity has more size than a giant?

No. 1: Texas Rangers

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    Chuck Norris.

    Game over.