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"I'm gonna miss the ZZZs and the Buzz"

COLUMN: Reuben Wadsworth

Published: Friday, February 2, 2001

Updated: Monday, August 9, 2010 15:08

“All the fun without the ZZs.”

For a while this statement was posted on the Ogden Raptors Web site, showing the franchise’s pride in being the only professional sports team in Utah that hadn’t given into “peer pressure” when it came to choosing a nickname. Even the Zion Pioneerzz, a team not located on the Wasatch Front, joined the Utah moniker fad.

This week one of those double-Z nicknames has fallen, and amazingly, I’m not happy about it.

The owners of the Salt Lake Buzz changed the team’s name to the Salt Lake Stingers, in search for a new identity, I guess. The old identity was just fine in my book.

It all started when the team changed affiliations in September.

Buzz brass turned away a perfectly good parent team, the Minnesota Twins, which had supplied the Buzz with players that led the team to six straight winning seasons and the highest attendance in the Pacific Coast League some years, in favor of the Disney-owned Anaheim Angels.

That mistake led Buzz co-owner Hillary Drammis into thinking a new look was necessary for a new affiliation. She even had the gall to initiate a team-naming contest, the results of which she didn’t even use.

And her first choice all along was the Stingers?

“It’s exciting,” she said in The Salt Lake Tribune.

I’ll admit, it’s a thousand times better than one unoriginal name management considered — the Mountain Cats. But it doesn’t cut it.

The name “Stingers” is still associated with a bee. What kind of a new identity is that?

The Buzz was a tougher nickname because it suggests the sound made by a swarm of bees rather than referring to just one part of the bee’s anatomy. Granted, some people are allergic and have died as a result of injections coming from that portion of a bee’s body — but it’s still kind of cheesy.

Why didn’t she choose the name the Salt Lake Swarm? It’s still alliteration and it’s still associated with a bee.

Or better yet, why didn’t she just decide to let a perfectly good nickname stay?

The Buzz takes the lead of many great baseball team names — it’s ambiguous and can mean a few different things, and it’s catchy. It could signify the aforementioned reference to bees. It’s an army haircut. It’s another word for gossip. It’s the first name of one of the astronauts who took part in Apollo 11, the first mission to the moon.

What’s a Dodger? Could it be someone who avoids the draft? Someone who evades taxes? A participant in a favorite elementary school game?

What’s a Met? Is it a heavily populated area? Is it an opera house? Or is it an insurance company? In Italy its derivative means subway.

I suggest we have a moment of silence for a defunct identity and try to look at the positives.

My too-small opening-day Buzz T-shirts may be worth more now. I’ve already hung it on my wall as a memento of times past — the good times. But then again, I don’t really care if it’s worth more, I’d keep it anyway. It’s sentimental.

One worry is my peers might make fun of me if I still parade around in my now-too-small Buzz sweater. But then again, I’ve never had much fashion sense and I don’t pay attention to the current trends.

It’s clear Drammis and her management team don’t have fashion sense. They’ve gone so far as adopting the Angels’ colors for the new-look team — red and dark blue — perhaps with gold highlights.

Since when does red have anything to do with a bee?

I guess I’ll just stop asking questions and wait and see the new logo — that is if they come up with one before opening day.

Reuben Wadsworth is the assistant sports editor of the Statesman.

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