I think I've mentioned baseball-based band names like Molitor, Yo La Tengo, and The Mendoza Line before, but what about self-contained baseball names -- like player names and team names?
First off, I have to say that I'm proud to root for a team that has one of the best team names ever: The Milwaukee Brewers.
What, then, makes a good team name? There are, I think, a couple of criteria. First, it has to be specific to the location of the team. Check in the case of the Brewers -- what, if not beer, is Milwaukee famous for? We've got Miller, Schlitz, Pabst, and a number of microbreweries growing in recognition like Lakefront. Some names go from great names to lame ones when a team moves. The Minneapolis Lakers is pretty good; the LA Lakers is dumb as hell. Likewise for the Utah Jazz, who used to play in New Orleans.
A second critera is originality, which depends a lot on whether the team is named after a random agressive animal or not, especially if that animal is not locale-specific. For instance, the Charlotte Bobcats is absolutely attrocious. Yes, there are Bobcats is the USA, but there aren't any more in Charlotte than there are in Pennsylvania -- if fact, there aren't many at all in the Carolinas. That's what makes the New Orleans Jazz such a great name -- a name based on an element of the local culture/history.
For baseball teams, you can break them down into the good, the dumb, and the boring:
San Diego Padres
New York Yankees
New York Metropolitans
Washington Nationals/Patriot Acts/Donald Rumsfelds
Kansas City Royals
St. Louis Cardinals
Los Angeles Dodgers
Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
San Francisco Giants
Boston Red Sox
Tampa Bay Devil Rays
Chicago White Sox
Some teams' placement is debatable. Like the Rockies -- I mean, it's kinda dumb and/or boring, but it fits my criteria, so where the hell do I put it? The third criterion should be "Baumann likes it." That way we get the Rockies out, and the Red Sox in. It's all open to debate, too. I mean, I don't know everything -- not even everything I like.
On to great player names. A list? Let's:
Covelli "Coco" Crisp
Sal Bando (thy name be cursed)
Cal Eldred (Cal-El Dred)
Oil Can Boyd (what kind of mother names her son Oil Can?)
And a slew currently in the Cubs farm system . . .
and the best ever . . .
Henricus Vanden Hurk
I'll keep compiling them, and make periodic updates. Something tells me that sports like football just won't have same depth of great names, although DeBrickashaw Ferguson is pretty good.