Minor-league baseball leagues get super-dumb names, in preparation for super-duper-dumb corporate name

Major League Baseball on Friday announced the new leagues that its shrunken-down minor league affiliate system will play in starting this year, and the big news is that all the historic league names of yore are gone: no more Pacific Coast League, New York-Penn League, or Texas League. (Though presumably Texas Leaguers will still exist.) Though the even bigger news might be how incredibly dumb the league names are:

Yes, that’s the Triple-A West East Division, which manages to sound both generic and demented, a difficult feat to pull off. There’s also a Double-A Northeast Southwest Division, and a Double-A South North, and other bizarre nomenclatures.

Or maybe the biggest news is the reason behind the weird names, which is apparently so they don’t get in the way of a corporate name to come:

For the time being, MLB is referring to the affiliated minors as the Professional Development League (PDL), but it’s widely expected that MLB will sell naming rights to the circuit, not unlike the NBA‘s G League.

The G League, for those unfamiliar, was known as the D (for Developmental) League until 2017, when for an undisclosed price it agreed to change its logo to this:

And if you’re unfamiliar with that, the G with the lightning bolt is the logo of Gatorade. If we’re lucky, MLB will partner with a company that’s easily abbreviated like that; if we’re extremely lucky, the winning sponsor will be Anheuser-Busch or American Airlines, and we can refer to either the Busch League or the AA AAA West East Division.

The reformation of the minors has also resurfaced complaints about the 43 teams that are being either vaporized or demoted to unpaid-intern status as part of the deal, with Sen. Bernie Sanders, for one, tweeting that “I will do all I can to fight” the elimination of the Vermont Lake Monsters. (Sanders griped publicly about this when it was first reported in November, too, but it seems everyone was a little distracted then.) The only way Congress is likely to influence MLB’s power grab — especially with it already paying so much in dividends in the ability to shake down cities for stadium cash or else risk being shut out of the Miner Leagues — is to threaten to repeal its antitrust exemption, which nobody is talking about right now. So don’t hold out much hope for the cavalry to ride to the rescue of either traditional baseball nomenclature or the Norwich Sea Unicorns, who had only renamed their team just in time to be purged from history, which should make their souvenirs immensely valuable.

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3 comments on “Minor-league baseball leagues get super-dumb names, in preparation for super-duper-dumb corporate name

  1. If baseball fans are really upset at either the way the MBAs are running MLB or MiLB, we can vote with our wallets and our feet.

    There is little evidence that people actually care one way or another how shamelessly the baseball “braintrust” behaves. It doesn’t appear to matter how openly they try to fleece fans, how badly they treat minor league players, or how aggressively they appropriate tax money that should be going to help the disadvantaged in our society.

    When people have had enough, they will stop giving their money to these institutions. Until then??? Why would they stop this long con? It’s working really well for them.

    If fans want change, they need to stay home, stop buying merchandise and cancel their RSN subscriptions.

    1. I stopped giving my dollars to Major League Baseball in the early 2000’s, after finally accepting that the owner of “my team” didn’t give a damn about putting a competitive product on the field, especially compared to his financial statements.

      And with this? I’m done with Minor League Baseball as well, not because of the Minor League operators themselves, but because they’re no longer MLB’s partners, but their puppets. I’m really glad I don’t own a Minor League Baseball team right now. What 5 years ago seemed a blue chip investment today is a potential ride on the Titanic.

  2. This baseball purist started phasing out my love of MLB back in the early 90’s with the Strike that Killed the WS in 94. Then my Senior Circuit team Astros was demoted to the Junior Circuit with the BS DH after MLB strong armed the new owner (who they didn’t want) to move the AL.

    Glad my new team, the Bellingham Bells of the West Coast League, that I get to visit every summer when I visit the in-laws, has no MLB affiliation. My young girls love high-fiving the team mascot, Dinger the Bellinghamster!

    Local craft beers are cold, ballpark fare is reasonably priced & good, and there isn’t a bad seat in the house at Joe Martin Stadium.

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