Word association: What pops in your head for all 30 teams?

Justin K. Aller

You hear a team's name, then something pops into your head. What is it?

When I think of the word "Packers," I think of the person who sat behind me at Candlestick in 1998, screaming in my ear for three hours about how my favorite team sucked. It was one of the most unpleasant experiences as a spectator I've ever had. It worked out in my favor, though. My only regret is that I don't have her phone number, so I could call her and say, "We all know Rice fumbled. We all know, and we don't care," and hang up. That's the word association I have with "Packers."

Ah, but that's football talk on a baseball site. It's there because if I did a word-association blurb for one of the 30 baseball teams, it would spoil the post. Which is about word associations. Which you probably guessed. Here's the idea: When you think of each major-league team, what's the first word that pops into your head?

Here's a blank form, so you may play along if you're so inclined:

Giants:
Rockies:
Diamondbacks:
Padres:
Dodgers:

Reds:
Pirates:
Cubs:
Cardinals:
Brewers:

Mets:
Phillies:
Braves:
Marlins:
Nationals:

A's:
Rangers:
Mariners:
Astros:
Angels:

Tigers:
White Sox:
Twins:
Indians:
Royals:

Yankees:
Red Sox:
Blue Jays:
Orioles:
Rays:

The rules: One word. Okay, maybe two. For some reason, "Leon Durham" keeps popping into my head when I think of the Cubs. It's kind of creepy, actually. Can't get it out of my head. So if I wanted to use "Leon Durham," it would qualify.

I do not want to use Leon Durham.

Three words is pushing it. Four words means you're some sort of hotshot maverick, and you think you're better than everyone else. One or two is probably best. This is about the first word that pops into your head, not necessarily the best one. You should probably do yours before I taint your mind with my picks.

Anyway, here goes …

Giants: Candlestick
Rockies: Humidor
Diamondbacks: Pool
Padres: Gwynn
Dodgers: Money

Reds: Big Red Machine
Pirates: Parrot
Cubs: Leon Durham
Cardinals: Fans
Brewers: Selig

Mets: Wilpon
Phillies: Ryan Howard
Braves: Chop
Marlins: Loria
Nationals: Innings limit

A's: Billy Beane
Rangers: 2010
Mariners: Jeff Sullivan
Astros: Bad
Angels: Contracts

Tigers: Miguel Cabrera
White Sox: Hawk
Twins: Kirby
Indians: '90s
Royals: Hochevar

Yankees: Jeter
Red Sox: Monster
Blue Jays: Annoying bird
Orioles: Ripken
Rays: Dome

First: These are all the first things that popped into my head. I didn't mean to troll Rangers fans. If I got titillation from that sort of thing, you'd best believe I would have done it for the Tigers, too. But I spent years and years not thinking of the Rangers. Maybe they would have been "Will Clark-nappers" or "Rich Aurilia-donors" in an earlier incarnation. After years and years of not thinking about the Rangers, they were all I thought about for an entire offseason.

Second: While I don't mind the Blue Jays at all -- kinda like them -- the blue jay is the world's most annoying bird. This is not up for debate.

Third: Lots of ballpark mentions, which is a bit of a surprise. You certainly wouldn't get that if you did the same thing for NFL, NBA, or NHL teams. The architecture becomes the identity after a while.

Fourth: Five teams got classic players. One of them was Leon Durham. I don't even know if I've thought about Leon Durham before tonight.

Fifth: Parrot? Oh, come on, brain.

If you have the time and desire, I'd love to see what other folks think of. You think of these teams all the time. Except for the Padres, but still. Now's your chance to dig down to the roots, and see what your subconscious is really trying to tell you.

Apparently I have a date with Leon Durham's Baseball-Reference.com page.

Say, he was much better than I remembered ...

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