Wednesday, August 22, 2012
A mosquito by any other name is a Skeeter
Regardless of his motives and whether or not he actually makes it back to the major leagues, Roger Clemens' return to baseball at the age of 50 has introduced us to one of the most delightfully named franchises in all of professional sports.
If you had asked me before yesterday who or what the Sugar Land Skeeters are, I'd have guessed an indie rock-a-billy music trio or a brand of candied yam available only at IHOP franchises south of the Mason-Dixon line. I also like the Toledo Mud Hens, Vermont Lake Monsters and Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs, but for a combination town AND team name, it's tough to beat the Texas-based Sugar Land Skeeters, not only for the name itself but because of how it rolls off the tongue of a native Texan.
The Skeeters also represent part of an inadvertent public relations campaign that continues to rehabilitate the image of a relatively useless, highly annoying and sometimes lethal insect. From being the namesake of the RAF's most celebrated fighter bomber of World War Two to having an entire youth sports league division named after it, the mosquito has enjoyed an unprecedented run of good press compared to other disease-bearing or parasitic life forms. That I'm aware of, there are no Quad City Dengue Beetles, Amarillo Ringworms or Fort Wayne Rabid Fruit Bats competing in any of the various professional and semi-pro leagues across North America.
But for this week, at least, the Skeeters are the darlings of baseball, all thanks to a snake.