At the unveiling on Tuesday night, the name London Rippers was announced and the logo was a sketchy looking cartoon man in a cape and top hat. The back story behind this mysterious man by the name of 'Diamond Jack' is that he had originally played hockey, but he was too powerful or something and then he turned to baseball and started "ripping" every ball he hit, which made people kick him off the team or something, so then he came to London to form his own baseball team? It's a stupid back story either way....and one that seems strangely unnecessary for a logo (not mascot as I was informed by the official Twitter account for the London Rippers....no no, the mascot is just a fuzzy lovable dog named Fungo! naturally.)
Anyways......at first I didn't really care about this name. Then when I started to think about it more and more, I realized that London now has a baseball team named after a serial killer. While I agree that oftentimes some people can be offended too easily and make mountains out of molehills, in this case, I think it is perfectly warranted to be offended by this name. A lot of people have brought up the analogy, well what if it was the Scarborough Bernardos or the Vancouver Picktons? Now, mind you, Jack the Ripper committed his killings in London, England (not Ontario) but...you see the connection. He also was never actually caught, making him even more mysterious.
It seems that timing is what is supposed to make this name ok. The fact that these killings happened so long ago seem to negate the fact that they were horrible, brutal killings of young women.
What really grinded my gears throughout this entire week of "should they or shouldn't they change the name" is that the owner of the team didn't even admit to the tie to Jack the Ripper. He played it off as if it was pure coincidence that there was a serial killer in London (England) named Jack (just like that mysterious logo character) who is generally depicted wearing a top hat and cape (kind of like...no wait...EXACTLY like the logo). I find it insulting that they didn't just own up to the name and say "yeah, we want him to be like Jack the Ripper....we think it's super bad ass and cool"
Today I even saw this promotional video that goes through the story of 'Diamond Jack'. Ummm, did anyone else notice the word "murdered" at 0:52, oh and then "disappear into the night" and "by night he would snoop around" "when all were asleep he would creep..." "baseball covers mysteriously found in the town" Anyways, anyone who says there was no intent to connect this to Jack the Ripper is completely lying and in my opinion is the scummiest of all scum.
Now, after my initial anger and disgust with how this situation has played out over the past week, today I got to thinking that these Marketing people (whoever they may be), are total geniuses. What I once saw as being an idiotic plan with no forethought, I now see as a completely well-thought out (though risky) plan. The amount of publicity this team has already been given is more than they would have received all year with any other name. While it is controversial and will certainly keep those who are offended by the name away, I have a feeling that isn't exactly the people who would be buying the tickets in the first place anyway. Baseball fans are baseball fans. I don't think they would boycott a team or game based on a controversial name. However, there is the risk that if they keep the name and logo, there will be protests and more bad publicity and London will just be a complete joke of a city. I honestly don't know how it will play out, but I certainly can't wait to see. Either the London Rippers are here to stay and they will fill the stadium with fans/fall flat on their ass, or they will change their name and logo after wasting a lot of money on initial marketing.
Either way.....I do not appreciate the bad publicity towards London. So if this was all done on purpose, I hope the Marketing team thinks that their 15 minutes of fame is worth a permanent dent on their community.