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YankeesEveryone is familiar with team names in the world of sports that are horribly offensive to one group or another today, in our more enlightened times. An example is football’s Washington Redskins, who are under a great deal of pressure to change their name, since it is seen as an affront to Native Americans. But not all team names are so overtly racist and offensive; some are more subtle or have connotations that are usually overlooked today. In fact, almost every team in baseball has a name that, if its history were known, would elicit just as much shock and opprobrium as “Redskins.”

In an ongoing series, we will examine the history and origin of each Major League Baseball team name. The results might shock you. They will definitely rock you. First up, the American League East.

Toronto Blue Jays – Most people assume the team is named after the distinctive bird, a common sight during long Canadian winters, but the truth is more surprising. In the 1920s, Yugoslavia was a new country and spelled its name “Jugoslavija” on its postage stamps. Slavic immigrants to Canada were commonly referred to as “J” or “Jays” as a way to mock their home country’s spelling, which appeared odd to the Anglo-Saxon establishment of Toronto. Further insult was heaped upon the slur by adding “blue” in front, a reference to the predominantly male immigrants, who had to leave their wives in the old country, and who it was implied had no access to sex, since Canadian women would have nothing to do with them. The term is related to the slang “blue balls” or groinal pain caused by lack of sex. Over time the racist overtones of “Blue Jays” was lost, but the name stuck in the public consciousness, and was bestowed on the expansion baseball team in 1977.

New York Yankees – The term for Americans living in the American Northeast has a long history, but the team was actually named after an early manager’s frequent use of the phrase “yankee my crankee” in his stories about traveling the country in the early years of organized baseball, and anecdotes about his incessant whoring.

Baltimore Orioles – Early pitchers in the area were renowned for their control, and it was boasted that they could throw the ball through an area as small as a “glory hole” at will. “Oriole” is an archaic Chesapeake Bay dialect term for the same.

Boston Red Sox – Stephen Crane famously wrote about blood being a symbol of “the red badge of courage” for soldiers in the American Civil War. Boston baseball teams were already a dominant force in the sport as early as the 1860s, and one of the best teams christened itself “Red Socks” and later “Red Sox” to honour its players who had served bravely in war, and bore the wounds to prove it. But there is a more pejorative meaning, of a soldier who wounds himself on purpose in order to escape duty, and this is the sense which has been used by fans of other teams over the years, suggesting that the Red Sox are weak and cowardly, and lack the heart to win. This has been somewhat mitigated by their three World Series wins since 2004.

Tampa Bay Rays – Although the team is named  the devil ray, a fish common to the Gulf of Mexico and Tampa Bay, a “Ray” is also an offensive term which traces its origins to criticism of Ray Liotta, the actor most likely to play characters with his own first name or slight variations. See roles as “Ray,” “Gray,” and “Roy.” The implication is of an actor so stupid he can only respond to his own name, even while filming. Fans in Anaheim and Los Angeles are known to chant “Ray-ay” and shout “Hey, Ray!” during visits by Tampa Bay, in efforts to distract the players, which is held to be uncommonly easy to do.

Hello “Adriana,”

Well, you’re certainly persistent–the same basic email every few days for months now… only the sexual act offered really changes.

You say we met on Facebook, which is strange, because I’ve certainly never met you on Facebook, since I don’t really “meet” people on Facebook at all… I only interact with friends and family I already know, or very occasionally, I suppose, a friend of a friend. But I don’t think you’re one of those, to be honest.

You ask “How are you sexy?” but then refer to the pictures of me that you saw today as “CUTE!” Well, which one is it? Am I sexy or cute? I suppose I might be both but who are we kidding, Adriana? You might be able to stretch a “cute” out of the very few pictures of myself that I have on Facebook, but there’s no way there are “sexy” pictures of me there: a) I don’t know if “sexy” pictures of me exist, b) even if there are, they’re certainly not posted on Facebook.

You ask me to imagine you giving me a massage and later a blow job, and suggest that I would love it. Well, I probably would. Who doesn’t like a good massage? But here’s where my ambivalence kicks in: even if you’ve seen photos of me that you like, you haven’t had the courtesy to include a photo of yourself to pique my interest. And while imagining a soothing massage doesn’t require a face or a body to go along with it, I kind of need–and maybe this is just me–to be able to have an image of the person potentially giving me a blow job to begin to get excited. Maybe that makes me shallow or a “lookist,” but I want to be nothing if not honest with you, Adriana. It seems the least you deserve after putting yourself out there, messaging me and laying your feelings on the line.

We all know the cliché about men being visual creatures and I’m not afraid to tell you: it’s largely the truth. As a pornbot or even, at the wildest edges of hypothetical thought, an actual woman, I’d think you would know this about men. Since you don’t, it really makes me question the abilities of your programmers. You provide a link to “naughty pictures” but you and I both know there’s no way I’m going to click on that link, especially without at least one teasing photo to prick my curiosity. I mean, these spam emails must work on some small percentage of the male population, otherwise it wouldn’t be worth even the minimal effort it took to write and send them, but if you know anything at all about me from Facebook, you know that I’m not one of those guys.

“Get dirty with me Hun.” Am I Attila, all of a sudden? Look, I know you probably meant “hon” as in short for “honey,” but even then, can we save the pet names until at least after the massage, when I’ve had a chance to get to know you better? And if I’m being honest here, I’m probably going to want to get the blow job before really committing to any terms of endearment. But again, if you knew the slightest thing about me (and reading even a couple of my posts on Facebook would quickly demonstrate the kind of guy I am) you’d know that bad grammar and spelling and logical fallacies are my biggest pet peeves. Calling someone “Hun” is just the kind of thing that I might post about, and to be very clear, in a disparaging way. And while massages and blow jobs are enticing prospects, I think that I’ve learned over my forty-three years that the kind of woman who’d call me “Hun” is probably not the kind of woman with whom I could have a lasting relationship.

I’m sorry.

I will also not be messaging you at sexy3108sister. I don’t use online chats, and even if I did, it would not be Yahoo Messenger. Also, “sexy sister”…? No, just… no.

Best,

James

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