Boh Yes: Introducing America's Best New Sports Uniform/Logo/Idea

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There are, because it is a big world and soccer is a popular sport, probably people out there closely following the goings-on in the USL Premier Development League. Hopefully, those people will be patient while I explain to everyone else, including people who think they follow stateside soccer fairly closely, that the USL Premier Development League is the top feeder league for the United Soccer Leagues, which in turn is an amateur league with teams in the United States, Canada and Bermuda. The Wikipedia page for the USL Premier Development League asserts that the United Soccer Premier Development League is considered to be the "fourth tier" in American professional soccer, below Major League Soccer, which you have probably heard of, and the North American Soccer League and the United Soccer Leagues itself, which you quite probably haven't; it's worth noting, maybe, that even this humble Wiki-assertion comes with a skeptical superscript Wiki-parenthetical reading "By Whom?" So it is quite possibly the fourth tier in American soccer, probably. All that is settled. Now, let's talk about an expansion team in that league.

No, I know. I understand that an expansion team in an amateur soccer league is maybe not the most impor... okay, you seem angry. I'm sorry you are so angry about this. Why not look to your left, though? Perhaps the incredibly bitching new jerseys of the Baltimore Bohemians will calm you down. Yeah, it's nice, right? Soothing. I know. Hey, no problem. I understand. We all overreact to things sometimes.

That is Baltimore Bohemians as in National Bohemian, the proudly seltzerian Baltimore macro-brew that, when said as "Natty Boh" with a strong Maryland accent and consumed while nursing a sunburn in Ocean City, is essentially the most Maryland thing possible, or at the very least as Maryland as John Shelby eating a pit beef sandwich while holding a lacrosse stick and riding a giant blue crab.

The Bohemians themselves will play in Bel Air, Maryland, which is only slightly closer to Baltimore than it is to Newark, Delaware. But by picking Baltimore Bohemians as their name and National Bohemian (now owned, as is the case with so many bottom-shelf bodega brews, by Pabst) as their sponsor, the Bohemians have undoubtedly made a good choice, both aesthetically and in terms of repping their region. And in Mr. Boh, National Bohemian's rakish one-eyed mascot, the Bohs have both seized upon one of Baltimore's truly iconic images and snagged a pretty nice jersey-adornment in the process.

What this will or won't do for the fortunes of this particular expansion team in an amateur league I was 100,000 miles from ever having heard of an hour ago is, of course, not something I'm much qualified to guess at. But while the Bohemians do inhabit one of the lower rungs of minor league sports in these United States—these are, again, unpaid players taking what are almost certainly going to be excruciating bus trips to go play the Long Island Rough Riders or New Jersey Rangers—they will at least be doing inhabiting that rung in style. Also, they'll get a trip to Bermuda to play the Bermuda Hogges in early July. So I really don't see what you were getting so angry about before.

I am, personally, not a terribly tough audience when it comes to sports things. I will go to more or less any competitive sporting event, including ones at which no beer is served, and I have proven this over and over again. But my love for minor league sports is not simply an especially soft spot in a vast swath of otherwise heroically soft terrain, or not only that. There's something to the all-American hustle of the minors that, while it can obviously be taken to crass/corny extremes, reflects a stubborn, admirable, do-it-yourself creativity that's otherwise tough to find in our grandiose, subsidy-fattened sports economy. What makes minor league sports work, and what can make them amazing—beyond the actual games, and often more so than the actual games—is a heady, brash combination of localism, whimsy, and winking, half-craven marketing savvy. It's hard to know how well the Bohemians will fare against the rest of the USLPD, especially given my earlier comments in re: "what the hell is the USLPD?" But for the other stuff, the localism and the savvy and so on, the Bohemians look like they should do fine.

Thanks to Brendan Flynn for the tip.

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