March 30, 2011
And yet I'm not sure that I've ever seen a published suggestion that approaches the baseball-themed craziness that a man named Leon Furgatch put forth in Tuesday's copies of the Los Angeles Times.
As resident of the area since 1937, Furgatch wants the Los Angeles Dodgers to change their name to the "Los Angeles Yang-nas."
The Yang-nas, of course, being the peaceful Indian tribe that originally settled in the Chavez Ravine location where Dodger Stadium now stands.
Ah, yes, of course! The Yang-nas. The dudes that were there way before settlers arrived from Mexico and way, way before Walter O'Malley's crew showed up in the 1950s.
Today, not much more is known about the peaceful Yang-nas, except that they spoke in a Shoshone Indian dialect, lived in huts made from the surrounding brush, and their diet included pinon nuts. It's not such a big leap from pinon nuts and the Yang-nas to peanuts and baseball.
Had O'Malley known of this connection, he surely would have jumped at the chance to rename his team and the stadium in honor of the first Los Angeles residents. Visualize his portly body shaking with laughter at the thought of pitting his Los Angeles Yang-nas against their former bitter New York borough rivals, the Yankees, in a World Series in Yang-na Stadium.
OK, so I'll admit that I have no idea if Mr. Furgatch, a freelance writer, has his tongue in cheek or not. Parts of his piece suggests that he does, others a little less so.
Yet I still bristle at him bringing up the name change subject in the first place, regardless of whether he's joking. I mean, do we really want to give the McCourts — the divorcing owners who once paid a Russian spiritual healer six figures to help the team's performance — any ideas that involve ancient Indian spirits?
*I was, uh, one of the authors of the Port Huron Statement. The original Port Huron Statement. Not the compromised second draft. Me and six other guys.
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