Globe iconLogin iconRecap iconSearch iconTickets icon

Literal Nickname Battle Royale: NL West

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 NL West.

The San Diego 18th Century Spanish Franciscan friars may have founded their city, but they’ve taken vows of poverty, are likely elderly and may or may not look like this. They aren’t getting very far in this battle. Nor are the Los Angeles people in a dense urban setting dodging trolleys; not only is their defining ability not particularly impressive, they are also suffering from intense ennui and disillusionment at having little mass transit to actually avoid in the L.A. area.

What about the Arizona western diamondback rattlesnakes? Now we’re getting somewhere. These slithering creatures are venomous, and they are responsible for the second most human fatalities from snakebites in the U.S. However, that’s likely because of how prevalent they are. As far as actual venom lethality, let’s just say this species is no Inland Taipan. Its untreated bite mortality rate is only about 10-20 percent.

And that’s on Homo sapiens. How about Homo enormousmagicalus, the San Francisco monsters of human appearance but prodigious size and strength? The snakes are not likely to bring any of them down. But none of the famous giants of myth – not Goliath, not Grawp, not the BFG, not even Skaði, the Norse giantess-goddess of skiing – are likely to be able to conquer a 3,000-mile long mountain range that has 58 peaks of higher-than-14,000-feet elevation. Yes, the Colorado Rocky Mountain Ranges are immensely dangerous and powerful, and they are your Literal NL West Champions.

-- Dan Wohl / MLB.com