Go Braves . . . and take the Falcons with you

Once upon a time the Atlanta Falcons considered moving to Jacksonville. As bad as they were back then, nobody much cared. And the Braves weren't much better.

Despite all the disappointing losses, I am glad the teams stayed.

Consider the case of the New York franchises in the 1950s.

I suppose it was difficult for New Yorkers when the Dodgers fled to Los Angeles and the Giants to San Francisco. Lots of fans had to be disappointed, but the Yankees stayed, and the expansion Mets joined the league in 1962.

But the movement of sports teams results in confusion for older fans like myself who have trouble remembering which city a team plays in.

Just when I had gotten used to saying “The St. Louis Rams,” the team moves back to Los Angeles. Now, if we could only get the Arizona Cardinals to move back to St. Louis, the NFL would be almost back to normal.

But wait, we’d still have to get the Colts to move back to Baltimore and the Ravens to move back to Cleveland.

Nobody would much care where the current Cleveland Browns franchise went.

And what about the San Diego Chargers team and its move to Los Angeles? I suppose we can let that move stand since the Chargers actually played their first season in L.A. in 1960 when the team was owned by Barron Hilton, the grandfather of Paris Hilton.

The Oakland Raiders moved to Los Angeles for 12 years, but returned to Oakland in 1995. They tried to move back to L.A. a couple of years ago, but the Chargers and Rams beat them to the punch. What would happen if the Steelers and Cowboys suddenly moved to Atlanta?

Just asking?

Personally, I think it would have been cool to have three teams in L.A.

The Houston Oilers vacated the “Space City” in 1996 and later became the Tennessee Titans.

It might interest you to know that the Washington Redskins began as the Boston Braves in 1932.

Our own baseball franchise in Atlanta began as the Boston Red Stockings in 1876. The Red Stocking became the Beaneaters who became the Doves, who became the Rustlers and the then Braves in 1912.

If the Braves had stayed with Doves as a mascot, Atlanta would have been the first all bird city in the 90s with the Thrashers, Hawks, Falcons and Doves.

Ah, what might have been.

The Braves also spent 13 years in Milwaukee (1953 to 1965) before moving to Atlanta.

Milwaukee got its team back in 1970 when the Seattle Pilots moved there after playing just one season in Seattle.

The birthplace of Jimi Hendrix would get another baseball team seven years later when the league expanded.

The Washington Senators began life in 1901 and spent two decades as a doormat until Walter Johnson led them to a World Series title in 1924. They wouldn’t win another until 1987, 26 years after moving to Minnesota.

Washington wasn’t without a team long, though. The team that would become the Twins had barely left town, when an expansion team arrived in 1961. They never finished in the top half of the league and moved to Texas in 1972.

Atlanta had a similar experience with hockey teams, first losing the Flames to Calgary in 1981 and the Thrashers to Winnipeg in 2011.

Baseball returned to Washington in 2005 when the Montreal Expos moved to our nation’s capitol and became the Nationals.

Speaking of the Nationals, our own Atlanta Hawks got started in Buffalo and won their first game over the Syracuse Nationals on Nov. 8, 1946. The executive vice-president of the team, Leo Ferris, signed Pop Gates, one of the first two African-American players in what was then called the National Basketball League. Ferris was also instrumental in the implementation of the 24-second clock, according to a story on ESPN.com. The Hawks eventually moved to St. Louis and won a title in 1958. Ten years later, they arrived in Atlanta. They currently have the worst record in the NBA.

The Syracuse team later moved to Philadelphia and became the 76ers in in 1964.

And the list goes on. The New Orleans Jazz, a perfectly sensible name for team based in the a wild place like the Big Easy, moved to Utah, the state with most restrictive alcohol laws in the country. Pete Maravich should have demanded a trade.

The Lakers started in Minneapolis, a city in Minnesota, the land of 1,000 lakes. There are no lakes in Los Angeles.

Golden State started in Philadelphia, and Wilt Chamberlain scored 100 points for the Warriors in 1962, but the game was actually played at a neutral site in Hershey, Pennsylvania where Kit Kats, Almond Joys, Hershey’s Kisses, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups and York Peppermint Patties are made.

Ah, the life of the itinerant athlete.

Selah.

And here's a few songs about leaving. 

 

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