By: Bryan Benware
There has been a lot of talk lately of Season 20 (even though we still have a season to play)
coming on the horizon and all the changes that may be coming. Some are just rumors and some have
some credibility depending on who you talk to. It got me thinking about the current field of team names
and I started wondering why certain names were chosen. So, I reached out to the captains of each
current SWBL Franchise and asked them why they picked the MLB Team they did to represent their
franchise. I also asked what they thought their Franchise meant to the other members of the league and
if they could pick any name other name, what would it be. Here are their responses along with some
editorial insight by yours truly.
(Founded 2016) – I chose the Astros name because at the time I founded the franchise, the
MLB Astros were a rising team in the American League. I’m actually a Royals fan and that would have
been my choice if it had been available at the time. I liked the way the Astros played baseball; scrappy, a
lot of hustle, and at the time not a ton of big names on the roster. This was all before they cheated so
that kind of sucks now. I also have always loved the throwback sunrise jerseys they had and thought that
it would be great to have a jersey like that on the Blur. Sadly, those are incredibly hard to get made into
t-shirts. Believe me. I’ve been looking for six years now. But I think that we sort of resemble that MLB
team from days past. We have fun, definitely hustle, and have built a roster from players that were not
really known by the league’s base group of players. However, I think that the league has come to see
what we’ve been building these past six years and the amount of love we have for the SWBL. If we could
have ventured out of MLB names, I probably would have chosen the Monarchs with my Kansas City
roots as well as to give a nod to the Negro Leagues and stayed in the baseball theme. – Bryan Benware
(Founded 2013) – We chose the Athletics because of the movie “Moneyball.” We wanted to
play Bean-ball; work together as a team, complement each other’s strengths while minimizing our
weaknesses. We realized at the time that we may not have the biggest names, but we’ve got the front
office juice to get some wins, and it showed with our run to the Championship just a few years ago. We
may not have the flashiest players, highest payroll or nicest facilities, but we play our specific brand of
wiffleball and it garners respect across the league and leads to success when we’re able to stick to our
formula. I also think we bring a unique flavor to the league as well. Each team has its own culture and
brings something different to the table. The A’s are about camaraderie, having fun, and of course
shocking the world. We have a tight bond in our clubhouse and try to share the love with other players
in the league. We’ll keep the energy up all weekend and look to send shock waves whenever possible.
And if we had had the chance to pick a different name, of course it would be the Shockers. – Alex Heck
(Founded 2012) – We were seniors in college when I started the team. Drinking was cool back
then, and we constantly hung out and drank together. Seemed like a no-brainer to go with the Brewers.
Of course, times are VERY different now, but it’s a nostalgic memory to think about how it all began.
Making memories and discussing wiffleball over a beer(s) has been a theme throughout the years. The
logo and colors are amazing (shoutout Kevin Pohle) and I think we’ve represented that well with jerseys
that are consistently touted as one of the best in our league. Our team is really a homegrown
brotherhood, literally. John and Andrew have both been on the team, along with my brother-in-law,
Jimmy. Kyle and Derek are brothers, and PG and David, half-brothers. Having fun with friends and family
is far more important to us than true competitiveness and being willing to buy players for
championships. At this point, that is our identity and we’ll continue to roll with it. Trying to build a
championship caliber team from scratch rather than creating a Big 3 or 4 like some other teams have in
the past. It’s hard to picture us with a different team name. I guess either the Cougars or the Patriots to
commemorate our elementary/middle/high school mascots, considering four of the original five all went
to elementary school together. – Peter Leicht
(Founded 2015) – When I started the Expos franchise, I had to pick from the NL team names
to even out the league. I was however given the option of selecting a former team, so I thought the
Expos was the best option. The Montreal Expos were always a bunch of scrappy players. They weren’t
always the best team, but a lot of great players started with that team. I always loved Vlad Guerrero
growing up because he swung at everything. A log of MLB All-Stars got their start with the Expos and left
to go on to better opportunities. While I don’t think that will be the same legacy of the SWBL Expos, I do
think that we have all grown tremendously over the last five plus years and we all share the same
passion for the game and wanting to have fun. Never would have though this roster would end up like
this when I first started, but we all click so well now and have each other’s backs that I couldn’t ask for a
better group of teammates to lead into battle every season. Up until last year, I think we were always
looked at as an easy win, and it’s hard to argue that. Now that we’ve won the Championship in a historic
run, I think a lot of teams are afraid to face us. Opponents like to say that they’ll catch up to Jimmy’s
knuckleball and Brett’s top-gun, but they definitely can’t back it up. I’d take our pitching rotation over
any other in the league and if anyone wants to disrespect the Expos name, we can’t wait to settle it on
the field. If we had picked a different name, I think I would’ve stuck with an MLB name. I always liked
the Mariners, growing up a Griffey fan. Other great options would be a throwback to the old St. Louis
Browns, but at this point we’ll always be the Expos because the “Expos Way” has become a lifestyle, not
just a team mantra to us. – Kevin Wiethuchter
(Founded 2020) – When deciding on our name, we were between the Marlins and Mariners.
We thought the teal was really cool on uniforms and ultimately decided to go with a little throwback
with our look. Even though we didn’t go with the modern color scheme, just like Miami we know how to
have a good time. Because we have only been in the league for one year and since we didn’t have the
success that we were hoping for, I think its been easy for the rest of the league to view us as the little
brother you can easily pick on. But also like a little brother, we can come back and kick you in the ass if
you’re not paying attention, so don’t get too comfortable. We plan to play loose and fast, just like
Miami. We come alive the later it gets, both on the field and off, just like Miami. And we’ll invite you to
the party, just like Miami. If we had been able to pick a different name outside of the MBL, we probably
would have gone with a couple of classics: Might Ducks or Average Joe’s – Eli Erickson
(Founded 2012) – We chose the Rockies name because of the respect tied to both Colorado
and the Rockies. The Rocky Mountains are a clean, fresh wilderness that earns the respect of whomever
visits, and we wanted to embody the vibe not just through our play, but our character as well. The MLB
Rockies are a team based on offense, and our team is about offense more so than defense. The big
names on the MLB Rockies historically have done more talking with their bats than their mouths, unlike
say the Phillies. From Larry Walker, to Matt Holiday, to Nolan Arenado, the Rockies have had a long line
of absolute monsters with quality heads on their shoulders, and that’s the vibe we’ve always wanted to
emulate. It has always been about earning respect from our wiffleball capabilities while holding respect
through our friendliness on and off the field, which is truly what the SWBL is all about. Colorado is a
place about enjoying life and letting others be themselves while enjoying the beautiful wilderness. It’s a
place of peace and prosperity. Choosing the Rockies name gave us a leg up in maintaining the positive
standards that Colorado and the Rockies have established, and it’s something we’ll continue to strive for
as a team. However, if we hadn’t been limited to MLB names, we would have been the GodLizards. To
us humans, lizards are small little creatures. To ants, lizards are the T-Rex gods who rule the land.
Imagine a T-Rex with the speed of a Velociraptor. Sometimes we fail to put ourselves into the
perspective of ants and we don’t give the credit to this species because of size. – Blake Spencer
(Founded 2012) – When my brother chose the Cardinals, I wanted to represent Missouri
more and have the Royals as well. This was prior to me moving to Kansas City and prior to me having any
players from the area on my team. Now we have three players that live in Kansas City, which ties in
nicely to being part of the SWBL Royals franchise. Those are maybe the only similarities to the MLB
Royals, though. They’ve even won a Championship! And I don’t really, nor have I ever compared the
teams based on player makeup. Just a connection to the wonderful area both teams are located. I’m not
a Royals fan by any means. Historically, the Royals are the best regular season franchise in SWBL history.
Other members know this, and we get the best pitchers and best lineups when we play other teams.
This is understandable of course, but it’s made us better each year, not only as individual players, but as
a team as well. With Sam and I running around all weekend, we have little time to joke around and hang
out with the other franchises. We don’t mind that because we want to create a memorable experience
for all the players and franchises. I think other franchises notice that the Royals are mostly absent
outside of our games, which is something I wish could change, but is hard to do with the lack of time.
I’ve never really thought about a different name before. Probably something stupid like The Wiggly
Green Beans. – Gus Skibbe
(Founded 2015) – I picked the Twins because they have always been my favorite professional
baseball team. We were the Phillies for one year because we had to pick a National League team, but
the Twins are close to my heart. And really there are no similarities to the real team. We are in the
business of winning championships and they are in the business of taking fans hearts, placing them into
a garbage disposal, and slowly grinding them down to pieces until they are mincemeat for the mice that
plague our souls. Other league members probably do not think fondly of the Twins because of Spencer
Bogad, but really, he’s just misunderstood. Give him a chance and you may come to find you can
tolerate him for five minutes. If we could change our name, personally I would go with the Squatting
Platypi for the sweet jersey possibilities. – Chris Meador
(Founded 2012) – I remember someone saying, “We need someone to be the Yankees,” so I
volunteered. Maybe not the coolest team name origin story, but, hey, we’re still having fun. As far as the
similarities between us and the MLB Yankees go, I actually don’t watch a ton of baseball. So, my best
guess would be from what I think I know about the Yankees (after the Jeter years.) They usually have
good talent but for some reason haven’t been able to string it all together. For some reason, we have a
hard time stringing it all together as well. Except form Season 17. There is also the nickname “The Bronx
Bombers” due to the power they have been known to have, which is they way we play. I have no idea
what our team means to the rest of the league. I think because we’re they Yankees, we’re probably not
anyone’s “favorite.” If we hadn’t been limited to MLB names, I’m not sure what we would have chosen.
I’m really glad we made it easier because I would have no clue! – Scott Pohle
Lastly, I wanted to cover the remaining available MLB names that could come to fruition in the
years to come. I’ve listed them with my personal pitch for why a new team should choose the name if
they so desire.
Braves – Even though this was used in 2020, I’m leaving it here as it wasn’t really established as
a franchise. The logo is already made so this would be an easy add to the league.
Orioles – This team was originally the STL Browns. You could use the name but use the
throwback jerseys and pay homage to the great team of our old city. And if you did that the color
scheme would be orange and brown rather than black, which I actually find appealing. Though you may
end up looking more like turds and in turn, playing like one.
Red Sox – Only pick this name if you think you can rival the power of the SWBL Yankees. If so, it
would be sweet to add this rivalry to the league. Red, white, and blue is a good combo for Memorial Day
White Sox – The throwbacks for the White Sox are pretty cool with the red included. Plus, if any
member of the team lives in Chicago, it would work.
Cubs – Same as the White Sox above if you have a player from Chicago. But prepared to be
hazed every day for the rest of your time in the SWBL because most players are Cardinal fans. You’ve
Reds – Cincinnati has chili, I guess. If you like that and the color red, this is the team for you.
Tigers – Name a more ferocious mascot. You can’t. If you want to intimidate your opponents
when you step foot on The Blur then go with this name. Plus think of all the amazing logos Kevin could
come up with! Bet he’d be your biggest fan.
Angels – If you’re a kid who sees visions and end up stealing from people while their dreaming,
then look no further. I do think the logos would be pretty incredible for this and if you’re willing to pay
to sign all the big names in the league yet never win a championship, then go with the Angels.
Dodgers –The Brooklyn Trolly Dodgers are a historic team with many big names. Ebbits Field is
iconic. The LA Dodgers were the best team in baseball last year. And the color combo is pretty great. But
every player must be #42. Go big or go home.
Mets – Orange and Blue. Pretty cool. The original name for the Mets was the Metropolitans, so
if your teammates can commit to living in the city, you’ll feel right at home.
Phillies – Same as the Braves but without the logo. And you don’t get to claim the Championship
from 2016. Also, crimson (which is a shade of red dummies), white and blue. How can you go wrong in
representing the city where our country was founded?
Padres – I honestly wish I would have picked this name. You have to go with the brown and gold
color scheme and the logo would be fantastic! Also, if the average age of your team is over 35, then
you’re all set.
Mariners – Like Eli said, if you’re a fan of Griffey, go this route. If you’re not a fan of his, what’s
wrong with you? Also, if you have a player that resembles Rob Walters/Ichiro Suzuki and will swing at
anything, then what better name could you find?
Rangers – Also red, white, and blue. I bet Kevin can come up with something that the MLB team
would actually buy from you to replace their boring logo, so if you’re out for a quick buck, here you go.
And I have it on good authority that you’d make his day. Texas forever!
Blue Jays – Do you like Canada? Do you like birds? Then what are you waiting for… But the
numbers are sweet.
Nationals – RED, WHITE, AND BLUE! But all others pale in comparison to the Nationals on
Memorial Day. Hell, their name even means “America” and the logo could be phenomenal. Do yourself a
favor and go this route.