Play Ball! What Baseball Series Nicknames Tell Us About America’s Cities
Oakland Coliseum, home of the A's and the Bay Bridge Series

Oakland Coliseum, home of the A’s and the Bay Bridge Series

Now that Major League Baseball’s American League plays the National League during the regular season and not just during the World Series, we have some interesting nicknames for series within or near metropolitan areas.

In honor of Opening Day today, it’s worth reviewing these nicknames to give us insight into the urban character of the cities, and in particular the way people are physically connected within or between them:

  • Oakland Athletics vs. San Francisco Giants: the “Bay Bridge Series” — It’s all about the waterway bisecting this metropolitan region.
  • New York Yankees vs. New York Mets: the “Subway Series” — Travel in New York is all about the subway.
  • Chicago White Sox vs. Chicago Cubs: the “Crosstown Series” — Supposedly this one is also nicknamed the “Red Line Series” after the connecting train line.  But you get a sense of the intimacy of Chicago from this nickname.
  • Baltimore Orioles vs. Washington Nationals: the “Beltway Series” — Despite being an East Coast city, Washington DC is pretty auto dependent and has bad traffic on the beltway.  Of course the heart of Washington DC is very transit-oriented.
  • Tampa Bay Rays v. Miami Marlins: the “Citrus Series” — I’ll give it to the series’ boosters for not going with a highway name on this one and trying to reinforce the agriculture angle (for a state that will be mostly underwater due to sea level rise in the coming century).
  • Kansas City Royals v. St. Louis Cardinals: the “I-70 Series” — These cities are far apart, so I give them a pass on the nickname.  But they should use the Amtrack line name between these cities: the Missouri River Runner.  A “River Runner Series” would be cool.
  • Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim vs. Los Angeles Dodgers: the “Freeway Series” — Not much to add here.  If Dodger Stadium moved downtown, it could be the “Metrolink Series.”  Maybe it should be called that anyway, just to give a struggling rail line a marketing boost.

But enough about cities and transportation.  Play ball!


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