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Posted 1/2/13 at 2:48 PM

Literal Nickname Battle Royale: AL West

From civic landmarks to colorful clothing items to fauna both fierce and docile, the 30 MLB clubs own a diverse set of nicknames. What if each team was represented not by human baseball players, but by the literal thing it's named for?

Here are the rules: Just like in real MLB, each team gets 25 "players." But unlike in real MLB, the players are not playing baseball -- they are playing a no-holds-barred battle royale in however large an arena is necessary to hold them. We'll examine who would reign supreme in each of the six divisions, and finish with determining an overall champion. Today: the AL West. Previously: the NL West, the NL Central, the NL East, the AL East and the AL Central.

We finish our survey of the literal divisions with what is almost surely the strongest of the six. There isn't a particularly weak squad in the bunch, though the Seattle crewmembers of seafaring ships might be slightly questionable if they're susceptible to the same curse their poetic namesake was. As long as there's no albatrosses around they should be alright, but I'm still not betting on them against the Oakland physically fit, strong and active humans.

I think it's safe to say that neither of those groups of people, though, would stand a chance against the one that could possibly include Chuck Norris: the Texas law enforcement professionals policing the open range of the American west. This elite group was formed when Texas was still an independent republic, took down John Wesley Hardin, Sam Bass and Bonnie and Clyde, and are required to wear attire that is "Western in nature" to this day. I would imagine they would reign supreme in the competitive three-way human sub-battle ... but to win in this division, you need to do better than being human.

You see, there are two entrants here possessing power far outstripping that of mere mortals. The first is the Los Angeles supernatural beings serving as intermediaries between Heaven and Earth of Anaheim. Angels can clearly make use of some level of divine might. We know what they can do on the baseball field. And they have the benefit of being, surprisingly, the only truly supernatural entrant in the field -- there is no equivalent to the Tennessee Titans, Orlando Magic or Arizona State Sun Devils in MLB.

So we know they don't necessarily succumb to forces of nature -- but the Houston celestial bodies beyond Earth's atmosphere are not just any forces of nature. Gamma-ray bursts that release as much energy in a few seconds as the sun will in 10 billion years. Supermassive black holes that can rip entire stars apart. The mysterious "dark energy" that accelerates the expansion of the universe itself. The situation might have been different if they were dealing with not angels but gods, but given 25 of their most fearsome features, the cosmos could probably defeat just about anything, natural or otherwise. Marvel at the awesome majesty of your AL West Literal Champions.

-- Dan Wohl / MLB.com

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