Columbus Crew fans reject name change, and win

Crew... saved?
Crew... saved?
Photo: Getty Images

Perhaps it’s not on the level of preventing a team from moving away from your city, but fans of the Columbus Crew once again took on ownership of the club and once again came out on top.

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A couple weeks ago, the Crew announced that they were “rebranding” the club, with a new badge to go along with a move into their new stadium come July. And they were going to drop “Crew” from their name, and simply be “Columbus SC.” They, hilariously, claimed it would help with global branding and awareness, as if the only thing keeping MLS clubs from being hot shit in Japan is sounding like yet another European name knockoff. MLS has a long way to go to being a brand just in the U.S., so they can save their global worries for never. It didn’t stand up to any scrutiny, and probably was just a ploy to make fans buy a whole bunch of new gear with the new badge and name on it.

Well, the fans absolutely hated it, as you might expect, because everyone around Columbus refers to the team as “The Crew.” No one was going to call them “SC.” So, the same fan groups that fought the team’s move to Austin and kept their team in Ohio lost their rag, made the club’s ownership know it, and last night the team announced defeat and kept the name. There will still be a new badge, but it’ll have “Crew” on it.

Everyone sort of wins with this. The fans feel they’ve saved the name they’ve come to love, and have genuine pull with the running of the club. The owners still get to have a new badge and new merchandise with it, and despite whatever fans tell you, most of them will still rush out to buy it. Especially now that they feel they have some direct hand in its creation.

Columbus isn’t the first MLS team to completely whiff on a rebrand of late. The Chicago Fire changed their badge, and switched the team’s main color from red to blue. Fans hated it so much, and also that the new logo was reminiscent of a local gang’s symbol, that the Fire admitted defeat immediately and will be scrapping the new look after just two seasons.

Soccer fandom as a whole is on something of a win streak, with massive revolt and rancor scuppering the Super League last month. In the long run, maybe none of these things will matter much. But there is relief in making the owners and powers that be remember that they can’t steamroll to wherever and whatever they’d like without the occasional detour into a ditch.

Sho’-ing off

MLB has a new home run leader. He’s also a pitcher. That’s certainly a pairing of sentences. Shohei Ohtani did this ridiculous thing last night to move on top of the list:

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That is not a pitch anyone should be swinging at. It is not a pitch anyone should be making solid contact on. It is not a pitch that any carbon-based lifeform should be sending 400 feet. Look at this shit. It’s jugular height:

Illustration for article titled Columbus Crew fans reject name change, and win
Graphic:
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I remain a slight Ohtani skeptic, just because of the injury history (and he’s still walking nearly 20 percent of the hitters he sees, but that becomes more ok when he’s striking out nearly 40 percent), but this is the best show going just about anywhere. I overuse the phrase “unheard of,” and so do many others, but that’s what this is.

Maybe it’s better he’s so wild on the mound. This might be such raw energy that it can’t be tamed. It’ll never stabilize, and we’ll just get stupid fun highlights every night until it burns out spectacularly.

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Real shame the Angels still suck eggs anyway.

Snare Jordan

If it wasn’t for Jordan Binnington last night, the St. Louis Blues very well may have had their Game 1 against Colorado stopped by the refs. The Avs outshot the Blues 51-23. They out-attempted them 80-47. Whatever measure you want, it’ll tell you the Blues’ innards were splayed all over the ice. Binnington couldn’t completely save them, but he kept them from being completely embarrassed with shenanigans like this:

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The Avalanche are so good they can get “goalie’d” in a game and still win 4-1.

We can't be too careful. Two guys in an airport...talking? It's a little fishy.