1 month ago
Our story begins in 1903 with founding of the Pacific Coast League, a minor league baseball league that was once considered for "promotion" to the majors after WWII. One of the original members of the PCL was the Oakland Oaks who would remain in the Bay Area until 1956 when the New York Giants moved to San Francisco. The Oaks relocated to Vancouver and called themselves the Mounties. In 1970 the team moved to Salt Lake City becoming the Bees and then the Angels and then the Gulls. In 1985 they moved back to Canada becoming the Calgary Cannons.
This is where things get interesting. In 2003 the team moved to its current location: Albuquerque, NM and held a fan-voting contest to choose a new name. It had been only two years since the Dukes had left town, but fans still wanted a new name. They chose Isotopes. The few naive people in New Mexico will say this is because the state deals with nuclear chemicals, but everyone else knows the name comes from a Season 12 episode of The Simpsons entitled "Hungry Hungry Homer." This is the episode that features Blocko Land, the amusement park made entirely of Blocko brand assembly fun blocks. The trip to Blocko Land marks the beginning of Homer's quest to help "schmoes with their problems." He talks a girl into asking Bart on date and helps the hair dressers at Hairy Shearers increase their razor-thin profit margins by switching from loafer lightener to mincing gel. He then moves on to his most daunting task of all, a hunger strike to bring to light the Duff Corporation's plans to move the Springfield Isotopes to Albuquerque. The highlights include Homer getting visited by the spirit of Cesar Chaves ("Why do you look like Cesar Romero?" "Because you don't know what Cesar Chavez looks like."), getting replaced by Paint-Drinking Pete and the brand new Isotope Dog Supreme with Mesquite-grilled onions, jalapeño relish and mango lime salsa, the kind of bold flavor they enjoy in Albuquerque.
My reasons for telling this story are to spotlight the power pop culture has over the masses, and to remind people that The Simpsons was actually funny not that long ago.