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"Come to padre!"

“Come to padre!”

Our ongoing series revealing the forgotten slurs and insults kept alive by Major League Baseball continues with the National League West.

Los Angeles Dodgers – In their original home in Brooklyn, the Dodgers took pride in representing the tougher neighbourhoods of New York, far from the glitz and glamour of Manhattan. Visiting teams got a rough ride from fans and their opponents alike, and a common occurrence was for wallets and other valuables to go missing from the clubhouse while a game was being played. When visiting players started to keep their valuables in their uniforms, the “Artful Dodgers”–in particular the infielders–began picking their pockets when they were on the base paths. Eventually teams started to boycott games, forcing the Dodgers to move to Los Angeles and clean up their image.

Arizona Diamondbacks – It’s surprising that this name was chosen for the 1998 expansion team, since it’s a highly offensive term in this state with so many retirees. A “diamondback” is a Bridge player who reneges on suits, and there have been high profile cases of retribution against them; Arizona also has notoriously lax gun control laws.

San Francisco Giants – In the early days of baseball women were not welcome at games, since the new sport was rough-and-tumble and “too exhilarating” for the “fairer sex.” As baseball gained popularity and respectability later in the 19th century, teams began to loosen the restrictions around women attending games. The New York Giants held out the longest, banning women well past the turn of the century, when budding suffragists labeled the team and its owners as women-haters, and “miso-giants.”

Colorado Rockies – A “rockie” is Scottish slang for people who add ice to their whisky. In the frontier American West, where refrigeration was rare and expensive, “rockies” were believed to be flaunting their wealth, which led to gunfights and lynchings. As the West was won, and Colorado established itself as a centre of wealth in the region, its citizen took on the nickname “Rockies” as a badge of honour. Many years later, the expansion baseball team took the name, unaware of its pejorative past. Ironically, the team has not been known for its wealth, either in talent or payroll, and has reached only a single World Series, being swept by the Boston Red Sox in 2007.

San Diego Padres – Protestant baseball fans in California have long accused the Padres of being owned and supported by a secret cabal of child-molesting priests, a notion given some credence by the selection of the team name in 1969.

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He related to everyone and everything as if they were mature adults. As this was pretty much impossible, he was fairly unsuccessful. Not everything, after all, is a mature adult. Dogs and cats, for example, to say nothing of children, or for that matter cars. Cars, especially.

He wanted to have rational, and as much as possible non-emotional, discourse with the world around him. So with precocious (which it goes without saying and is a totally different story altogether) children, he did quite alright, at least until the child decided that he was tired of being grown-up after all and just wanted his blankie. Cars that worked, too, were no problem, but don’t get me started on that. Dogs that could shake hands and keep their opinions to themselves were okay in his book, but otherwise not much good having around. You couldn’t very well have a chat with Rover about the situation in the Middle East or even the state of the Dodgers’ pitching staff.

That ability to at least temporarily put oneself into the mind of another that we call empathy was, to put it shortly, decidedly lacking.

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