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London Baseball Rippers
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Silliman on Sports
By Stan Silliman
London Baseball Rippers Rile Community

“Lurking at LaBatt Park… the Rippers. Dare you?”

That’s a slogan, no lie, for a baseball team in London. Any question why the city might wish for a name change? You’re thinking “Nah, they wouldn’t be. They’re not ripping off a famous serial killer, are they?”

Let’s answer it this way. Their mascot’s name is Jack, and he’s wearing a cape, hiding his face and the team is in London. Ontario, that is. Joe Fontana, the mayor of London, Ontario in Canada wrote a letter to team president, David Martin, asking that they might be a little more sensitive, consider the women folk  of London and… uh… change the bloody name!

“But it’s not Jack the Ripper,” responds Martin. “Our Jack was a hockey player. The only blades he knew were on his shoes. And when he could no longer play hockey (Canada’s national sport) he turned to baseball and found he could RIP the hide off the ball.”

Have you ever seen such side-stepping, dancing, back-tracking, rationalizing, from a team owner? Some folks want him to man up and quit the back-tracking. Rush Limbaugh doesn’t buy the hockey excuse. Limbaugh says “I admire creativity and I admire crossing the line.”

Hold it, Rush. Jack the Ripper killed women, a lot of them, and not in a nice way.

“I love offending people,” says Rush. “People are so wound up, tightly wound, waiting to be offended.” Rush went on to assume some of Jack’s victims were on the dole, or worse, femi-nazis.

Not cool, Rush. Not cool, David Martin. We realize the Rippers are in the Frontier League with a lot of crazy named teams but none of them, repeat not one has ever used a serial killer for a mascot. There are no Bellingham Bundys, Boston Stranglers, Waterloo Gacys nor Milwaukee Dahmers. 

True, there are some odd names in the Frontier League. For instance, The Traverse City Beach Bums, and before that there were the Zanesville Greys, the Slippery Rock Sliders, and the old team in London, Ontario was the London Werewolves.
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We think Werewolves was a better name. At least the Werewolves were imaginary.  We also think Martin should admit he associated the name London with the famous London, England serial killer and had planned a marketing campaign with the Jack. Then he should either change the name or… as Rush advises, go full Psycho.

On second thought, forget full Psycho and all the cute Norman Bates uniforms and the screeching music whenever the Rippers have a rally. Go with a real Londoner, instead. The city is home to hundreds of famous people, like Jack Warner (movie mogul), Victor Garber, Hume Cronyn, Gene Lockhart, Guy Lombardo, Lolita Davidovich, Paul Haggis (director), Ryan Gosling (hot, at the moment), and several dozen hockey players. Or how about Justin Bieber, he’s pretty well known. The London Biebs, that’s it.

Not as fierce as the Rippers, but what a campaign and between inning songs you could bring. You’d be a hero, Mr. Martin. You can thank me later. A Bieber autographed baseball should do.

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