By Doug Halberstadt
I was watching the 10 p.m. version of the local news, weather and sports one night last week, and I caught a story about a local boys’ baseball team that had qualified for post-season play. They are called the “Young Guns.”
First of all, congratulations to the players, parents and coaches for all of their hard-earned success. I took the time to do a little research on the Young Guns. According to their website, they are classified as “Baseball Boys 11 & Under AA.” They play under the sanctioning body of the United States Specialty Sports Association. As a result of their success this season, they’ve qualified to represent our city in their post-season tournaments.
OK, here’s my problem … it’s their name. Really, the Young Guns? Is this an appropriate name for a group of 11-year-old boys playing baseball? Especially since they are representing Rockford? Our town was recently cited as the ninth most dangerous town in America. Why did they choose this as their name? Who thought it was a good idea? With the proliferation of violence in this town, why on earth would you name your team after a weapon?
What kind of message is this sending to the team? What do guns have to do with the game of baseball? What does this say to the opponents of this team? Does this send a message of acceptance of weapons? I think it’s in incredibly poor taste, and they should change their name immediately.
This isn’t the first time a team’s name has been considered offensive because of violent overtures. In 1995, NBA team owner Abe Pollin announced his Washington, D.C., franchise was to be renamed because Bullets carried violent overtones, which he wanted to repudiate, especially since Washington was experiencing some of the highest homicide rates in the country at the time. A contest was held to choose a new name, and the choices were narrowed to the Dragons, Express, Stallions, Sea Dogs or Wizards. May 15, 1997, the Bullets became the Washington Wizards.
The current Young Guns, their managers, sponsors, parents and anyone who has anything to do with the team should follow Pollin’s lead and quickly change their name.
Doug Halberstadt can be reached via e-mail at Dougster61@aol.com.watering because that can help to spread the disease. Buy varieties of plants that are resistant to mildew.”
From the July 20-26, 2011 issue