Nov 17, 2011, 10:12 AM EDT
Jack the Ripper, still causing controversy 125 years later. A women’s group is promising protests and the mayor is shifting uncomfortably in his office chair over London, Ontario’s big kerfuffle: the name of its newest pro baseball team. As Hardball Talk mentioned on Wednesday, the owners of the new Frontier League squad have named their team the London Rippers. Any resemblance to the notorious British serial killer of the late 19th Century is purely coincidental, says the team’s owner, David Martin. But that’s
kind of hard impossible to believe: especially when you see the new team logo, unveiled Wednesday.
Martin swears it isn’t so.
“That (Jack The Ripper) is not our story,” Martin told the London Free Press. “Ripping a ball is used in baseball all the time.”
The logo even has a backstory. Here’s Martin, obviously a crazed individual, explaining it.
“The character’s name is Diamond Jack, a frustrated hockey player who found he could ‘rip’ the cover off baseballs. Despite his talent, teams grew weary of the expense of replacing balls so Diamond Jack decided to form his own team in London, Ontario.”
Well that makes total sense … (hits own head with circus mallet).
Not mentioned in Diamond Jack’s backstory: How he stalked and murdered prostitutes and wrote messages to the police on the sides of buildings in the women’s blood. But I’m sure that info will be in the program.
Women’s groups and marketing companies are crying bloody murder.
“It’s naive to think that they didn’t have that in mind,” said Richard Powers, a sports marketing expert from the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management.
“It is distasteful and it raises negative connotations,” Powers said. “It’s celebrating a very despicable criminal act.”
“I could have made it another fluffy animal that every other team seems to do,” he said, adding he wanted to do something “edgy.”
“If they do not change their name, there will be major protests in front of Labatt Park,” said Megan Walker, executive director of the London Abused Women’s Centre. “People are not going to support this.”
Moreover, Walker wants Martin to apologize to the people he has offended with the moniker London Rippers.
But Martin has totally succeeded in one respect. The main goal in marketing a new sports franchise is to create a buzz, and the London Rippers have certainly done that.
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