Some Slogans and a Poem from ’95

Here are a few fan slogans from 1995, followed by a poem about the season and an article about the “Refuse to Lose” slogan, and Chuck Armstrong talking about the legal issues around the slogan.

At the start of the season, the signboard for the Greenlake Ale House read “Boycott M’s Opening Night”

Six months later, fans came up with some slogans for game 3 of the ALDS:

25 Yanks Can’t Beat Our Johnson
Yank This!
Welcome Back to Civilization
Here We Let Our Pitchers Do The Throwing
Hey George, We Have Fans, Not Animals in the Stands
LEYRITZ: 0-0, 4 Hit By Pitches
Begin to Win
Ken Griffey, Jr.: Mr. October The Next Generation

For game 4 of the ALDS, the fans chanted, about Donnie Mattingly: Don-nie Strike-out! Don-nie Strike-out!

Some slogans for game 5 of the ALDS:

Bring on Cleveland
This is What It’s All About Man
Saint Edgar
We’ll Take The Yankees To The Cleaners With Our 24 Hour Martinizing
Griffey: That’s Our Boy
It’s Too Late For You NY
Today’s Menu: Yankee Noodles
Start Spreading the News – Yankees Lose
Let’s SnoCone
Yanks Choose to Lose
Keep the Magic Alive
Edgar: Grand Slam Superman
Yanks are Sweepless in Seattle

For games 1 and 2 of the ALCS:

Senior Octubre
Planet Edgar
In the big inning, Edgar creates
Just Lou it
We adora Cora
No stadium=No Edgar
Corkless in Seattle
Saint Edgar’s cathedral
Better pray, Indians, you’re in St. Edgar’s Cathedral
America the Buhnerful

Here’s a poem printed in the Seattle Times just after the season ended, called “Hail, Mariners”:

Hail, Mariners, craftsmen of summer, now autumn warriors,
You beckoned us from darkness and ashes,
Out of the death of baseball and its forged return,
To the summer light of our ritual, national myth.

Hail, Mariners, when your leader fell, his wrist broken,
Our doom was complete, our epic undone.
Yet the undoing was your becoming, and you beckoned further.

Hail, Mariners, and that raucous, joyous September night,
When Texas fell, and with our tears and cheers
Your banner was marched into first place,
For the first time in autumn.

Hail, Mariners, warriors, champions,
From the fulcrum of the plate your bats blistered,
From the rampart of the mound your mighty arms hurled.
Now, the battle is done, and the shadows are long,
But when the season returns
We will raise the glorious banner,
Western Division Champions 1995

John Littel, Seattle

And finally, here, from October 14, 1995, is a Seattle Times article by Eric Pryne on the Refuse to Lose mantra, headlined ” ‘Refuse To Lose’ Catchy Battle Cry But Not Exactly An Original One”:

Refuse to lose.
Simple, catchy, tripping off the tongue as the perfect sports slogan should. Why didn’t someone think of this before?

Someone did.

The Mariners’ playoff motto isn’t an original. “You mean the motto the Mariners borrowed,” says Bill Strickland, sports-information director at the University of Massachusetts.

“Refuse to lose” has been the battle cry of UMass’ nationally ranked basketball teams for several years, he said: Coach John Calipari “blurted it out at a post-game press conference a couple years ago, and everyone just picked up on it.”

It also was a motto for Eatonville High School’s 1992 state Class A football champions. “I remember us using it,” said George Fairhart, then an assistant, now head coach, “but I don’t know where we got it. I just thought it was a common phrase.”

All this was news yesterday to Mark Schupisser, the Redmond entrepreneur who claims a proprietary interest.

Schupisser says he and his girlfriend painted and hung the “Refuse to Lose” banner that first appeared over center field in the Kingdome Sept. 24. His company, Never Quit Sportsgear, was the first – at least locally – to market T-shirts with the slogan.

Schupisser said he has filed papers to register “Refuse to Lose” as a company trademark. He said he has tried – unsuccessfully – to get other manufacturers to stop using the phrase.

Never Quit produced the first “Refuse to Lose” T-shirt last February, before the Mariners’ dream season even started. “It came from watching a ball game,” Schupisser said of the motto’s origin. “I heard something, and it just popped.”

A UMass basketball game? Schupisser said he doesn’t remember.

Strickland, the UMass spokesman, said he thinks Coach Calipari already has the rights to “Refuse to Lose” for a clothing line with which he’s affiliated.

Schupisser seemed unaffected by the news. “We’ll just have to negotiate with them,” he said.

In his talk at the University of Washington Law School in 2009, Mariners president Chuck Armstrong added some new details about “Refuse to Lose.” He said:

We thought, “Hey! Maybe we can do something with this.” So, being the good lawyer I am, I said, “Research ‘Refuse to Lose’!”

I didn’t know you could copyright, trademark this stuff. So, we found some guy in South Carolina had actually copyrighted “Refuse to Lose.” We contacted him and bought a license for $25,000. Boom! We started to put it on shirts and banners, and made a lot of money on it.

So, here we are in the playoffs, and I’m called to the front desk. A process server serves me that the Mariners are being sued, Major League Baseball is being sued, and I’m being sued, by John Calipari.

At the time, he was a coach at the University of Massachusetts, and he’s now been named the head coach at the state school in the state where I grew up, at the University of Kentucky.

Apparently, between the time when we got a license from this guy in South Carolina, Calipari went down there and actually bought it from this guy. The guy didn’t tell him that he’d already licensed us.

So, Calipari’s suing us for half a million dollars for violating “Refuse to Lose.” So, I said, “We’re not paying this guy a damn farthing. Nothing for him.” It goes on, goes on, goes on.
To make a long story short, the Mariners paid him nothing. I paid him nothing. Major League Baseball ended up paying him $6000. So, when Calipari left UMass to become coach of the Nets, he lost a lot.

So I sent him a note, John, what about “refuse to lose”? I didn’t get anything back from him.


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