It was 1903 when Portland, Oregon first had a team called “Beavers,” seven years before a certain university. But any time I walk around the city in my mascot cap people assume that it’s for OSU (and as the two-time College World Series champions, they’re certainly the more exciting team).

So I’ve got no real problem with the team’s new owner angling for a name change…though I’m not so sure about the choices currently on offer:

Portland Green Sox: Portland is green. Our leadership in sustainable architecture is internationally renown. Portland is a bicycle-friendly, mass-transit-using, Flexcar-driving, energy-saving, recycling-crazy, Ralph Nader-loving place. Portland has more owners of the Toyota Prius hybrid car than any city anywhere.

Errr, can’t we just go with Tree-Huggers? Tree-Spikers? Monkeywrenchers?

Portland Sockeyes: A tough name, a tough fish. The Sockeye is an acrobatic and powerful salmon popular in sport fishing… When they are ready to spawn, the Sockeye jaw becomes distinctly hook-shaped. Sockeye are not particularly attractive fish, but what do we know, really? We are not fish.

Too similar to the Chinooks.

Portland Thorns: Portland is the City of Roses. Roses are regal amongst flowers. But to pick that beauty, there is a price to pay. Roses have a natural defense mechanism: thorns. Thorns are the royal guardsmen. Thorns place themselves strategically like a batting order. They are threatening like a high, inside pitch. Or like the razor-sharpened cleats on Ty Cobb™s shoes as he slid into home. Thorns is a hip name. Cool. Aggressive. Interesting.

I can think of several names that would be more aggressive, hip and interesting: the Portland Spikes. The Portland Thongs.
Or how ’bout: the Portland Wipers?

Portland Wet Sox: Wet Sox is self-deprecating, yet it also takes a shot at the elite status of the two MLB Sox teams. Wet Sox is actually full of local pride. We bear the brunt of rain jokes like a badge of honor because we know that the rain brings our natural beauty, snow-capped mountains and the best-tasting tap water of any city in America. Only a minor league team could have a name as light-hearted and entertaining as the Wet Sox. However, the execution of Wet Sox should pay respect to professional baseball and honor its history. It should be presented straight and heroic like the tradition of the Yankees, so the name has a sophisticated wit.

This is probably my favorite, but not because it is any way sophisticated.

And the tap water is totally awesome.