November 28, 2010

It's All About the Cannon

"You Columbus people and that damn cannon!"  That's what a friend of mine in Los Angeles had to say about the new third jersey. Say what you will about Columbus' love affair with its big gun, it is loathed and despised by visiting teams. That has to be worth something.

Another great thing about the cannon is that it isn't Stinger. How likely is it that your average NHL player is going to be motivated to play good hockey in a jersey with a lime green bug on it? That's exactly what Blue Jackets players had to deal with for the first 4 years of the team's existence. That's why they sucked people! Let's face it, a player is much more likely to get fired up in a jersey with a cannon on it (pun intended).

By putting it on our third jersey, we have embraced the cannon. It's here to stay. It has become our trademark and a symbol of our still-emerging identity. We will march. We will fight. And if those two things don't work then we will just shoot you with our cannon. 

And then there is Boomer, the new co-mascot introduced by the Blue Jackets along with the new third jerseys. The team continues to distance itself from Stinger, and with good reason, but they can't seem to pull the trigger completely. So it appears we are supposed to look at Stinger as Batman and Boomer as Robin. Whatever. Judging by the public reaction to Boomer, it might not be long before the Blue Jackets go back to the drawing board on the whole mascot thing.

Ready or not, Columbus is celebrating its cannonhood. Here are a few facts about cannons certain to stimulate the inevitable conversations about them that will occur at all those upcoming holiday parties.
  • Many people think that former coach Ken Hitchcock was responsible for bringing the cannon into Nationwide Arena. This is false. The cannon was installed prior to the 2007-08 season, Hitchcock's first full season as head coach. But Hitchcock, who is an avid civil war buff, says it was not his idea.
"I'm not the one that told them we needed the cannon," Hitchcock once said. "But I did tell them where they could find one."
  • According to @RBar_AD, the cannon started with an idea that was floated around HF Boards. For two years, as the story goes, members of the forum would call Doug MacLean on his radio call-in show and harass him about it. 
  • According to,  the first significant use of a cannon occurred in 1453 at the Turkish seige of the Greek Christian city of Constantinople, the greatest of all medieval fortresses, with 13 miles of city walls.
Called the "Precursor of Antichrist" by Christians because he was a sadist, a bisexual, and a sodomite, Sultan Mohammed II of the Ottoman Turks laid siege to Constantinople in April, 1453. He brought with him 68 Hungarian-made cannons, the largest of which was a gigantic 26-ft.-long gun that weighed 20 tons, fired a 1,200-lb. stone cannonball, and required an operating crew of 200 men. For 50 days, the Turkish cannons bombarded Constantinople and ripped holes in its walls, but each time the Turks charged into the gaps, the defenders repulsed them and hastily rebuilt the walls. Finally, on May 29, 1453, a destructive cannonade toppled a wide stretch of the walls, and 12,000 elite Turkish troops successfully rampaged into the city.
  • Many older Blue Jackets fans will remember a TV show in the early 1970's called Cannon starring William Conrad who was, shall we say, a very large man. According to the Internet Movie Database, the storyline of the show was as follows:
The weekly adventures of Frank Cannon, an overweight, balding, ex-cop with a deep voice and expensive tastes in culinary pleasures, who becomes a high-priced private investigator. Since Cannon's girth didn't allow for many fist-fights and gun battles (although there were many), the series substituted car chases and high production values in their place.
  • Prior to that, the TV airwaves were dominated by another cannon. In the 60's, Freddy "Boom Boom" Cannon graced the stage on Dick Clark's American Bandstand more than any other artist. It probably didn't hurt that Dick Clark himself owned Freddy's record label. Still, as the video below proves, Freddy was a stone cold rocker. (I apologize in advance. The keyboard line in this song might haunt you for days.)

  • According to The Phrase Finder, the allusion in the phrase "loose cannon" is to improperly secured cannons on ships that were likely to move about on deck and damage the ship. The first known reference to the subject matter is in Victor Hugo's novel Ninety Three in 1874.  A translation of the French original describes cannons being tossed about onboard following a violent incident onboard ship:
"The cannonade, hurled forward by the pitching, dashed into this knot of men, and crushed four at the first blow; then, flung back and shot out anew by the rolling, it cut in two a fifth poor fellow" ... " The enormous cannon was left alone. She was given up to herself. She was her own mistress, and mistress of the vessel. She could do what she willed with both."
          Henry Kingsley picked up this reference in his novel Number Seventeen, 1875 :
"At once, of course, the ship was in the trough of the sea, a more fearfully dangerous engine of destruction than Mr. Victor Hugo’s celebrated loose cannon."
There's really only one way to end this article. Go ahead. Push the button.

1 comment:

  1. I saw Freddie Cannon at Palisades Park around that time. Yes, he was just as goofy looking live!