The Cape Cod League is one of the minor leagues' most beloved and historic treasures, if you're into the whole "treasure" thing. The league was founded in 1885, which makes it as old as Yogi Berra. It also happens to have some of the same team names as Major League Baseball franchises, including the Harwich Mariners, which are actually older than the Seattle Mariners. But they won't be keeping those team names for long: Major League Baseball is making them change the names.
Well, kind of: They're threatening to take away the grant that allows the league to exist. No more Hyannis Mets.
A year ago, MLBP sent out a notice to the Cape League that six of its franchises were violating copyrights of Major League Baseball Properties, namely the six franchises that share names with current MLB teams. The six Cape Cod Baseball League franchises that currently share nicknames with Major League Baseball teams are: the Bourne Braves, Harwich Mariners, Orleans Cardinals, Yarmouth-Dennis Red Sox, Chatham Athletics (A's), and Hyannis Mets. All six of those clubs have held their current nicknames for at least 20 years, with both Orleans and Chatham having had theirs in place for more than 40. In Harwich's case, the local Mariners' name predates the existing Seattle MLB team's name.
MLBP allowed the Cape League to continue to do business as usual for the whole of last year, but last week renewed its interest in settling any dispute with the CCBL. According to an e-mail circulated throughout the Cape League on Wednesday, the CCBL had 48 hours to come to a decision as to whether they would agree to MLBP's terms. A formal response has not yet been decided upon by the Cape League.
We look forward to continued aggressive trademark protection maneuvers from MLB, including running these copyright pirates out of business.
Cape League In Copyright Dispute With MLB [Cape Cod Now]