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Literal Nickname Battle Royale: AL East

From civic landmarks to colorful clothing items to fauna both fierce and docile, the 30 MLB clubs own a diverse set of nicknames. What if each team was represented not by human baseball players, but by the literal thing it’s named for?

Here are the rules: Just like in real MLB, each team gets 25 "players." But unlike in real MLB, the players are not playing baseball -- they are playing a no-holds-barred battle royale in however large an arena is necessary to hold them. We'll examine who would reign supreme in each of the six divisions, and finish with determining an overall champion. Today: the AL East. Previously: the NL West, the NL Central and the NL East.

The AL East may traditionally be a strong division in baseball terms, but in literal terms, there are some real duds here. Let's start with the Boston red-hued garments worn on the feet. Aside from absorbing sweat and possibly giving off a malodorous stench, it's hard to imagine what other weapons they'd have at their disposal. And with their loud color, they couldn't even hide easily.

They would fall victim to the Baltimore orange-and-black icterid birds or the Toronto white-blue-and-black passerine birds, either of which could methodically peck the socks apart. The blue jay is a bolder and more aggressive animal, and its "inner or second of the three toes is fitted with a long, straight, murderous nail which can sever an arm or eviscerate an abdomen with ease." Wait no, that's the cassowary. Truth is, neither of these quaint avians with pleasant songs could defeat much other than seeds, nuts or cotton footwear.

And they're also both very prevalent in the woods of the Atlantic states, making them easy prey for the New York residents of the northeastern U.S. of colonial English descent. These hardy souls are surely well-versed in small New World airborne fauna ... but how would they deal with one of the most unusual teams in the literal nickname throwdown? I'm talking about the Tampa Bay flat cartilaginous fish/electromagnetic radioactive waves given off by the sun.

You see, the MLB team is the only one whose uniform imagery implies two different, homonymic meanings, both of which are powerful in their own right. Stingray spines are filled with venom, can cause intense pain and were used in Mayan bloodletting rituals. The ultraviolet rays of the sun can cause second-degree burns and assault one's field of vision. Creatures with the ability to stab you with a poisonous barb that also unleashes the full scope of a yellow star's fury would be fearsome indeed, and they are your AL East Literal Champions.

-- Dan Wohl / MLB.com