SBD/Issue 29/Leagues & Governing Bodies

Cape Cod Teams Forced to Choose Whether To Retain MLB Names

Six Cape Cod Baseball League (CCBL) teams who share monikers with MLB clubs are facing a November 1 deadline to "abandon their names or purchase team uniforms and merchandise exclusively through licensed vendors," according to Katie Thomas of the N.Y. TIMES. The teams are being "forced to choose between maintaining a link with the major leagues and remaining true to their homespun heritage." In the case of the Chatham Athletics, "homespun is winning out," as the team has changed its name to the Anglers. The Orleans Cardinals "have also decided to change their name." CCBL President Judy Walden Scarafile said that the other teams with MLB monikers -- the Hyannis Mets, Harwich Mariners, Bourne Braves and Yarmouth-Dennis Red Sox -- "will keep their names at least through the 2009 season." Harwich Mariners GM John Reid said that he has "received permission from [MLB] to continue using local vendors if the T-shirts he sells read only Harwich or Mariners, but not the two words on the same shirt." Thomas notes new designs "will need approval from" MLB. Some in the CCBL suggest that MLB is "singling out the Cape Cod League, a volunteer-run organization with a budget of about $650,000," but MLB VP/Business PR Matt Bourne said that MLB is "obligated to protect its trademarks." Bourne: "It's important to make sure that we're honoring the agreements that we've made with our licensing companies. We're not picking on the clubs. We support the Cape Cod League" (N.Y. TIMES, 10/24).

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