I was over the moon when I learned that minor league baseball was coming back to North Alabama. When I first moved to Huntsville, I was excited because I thought I was coming to a baseball town. Sadly, the Stars had finished their final season here just a couple of months before we packed the UHaul and headed up I-65. It became a dream of mine to get baseball back here. So when the city of Madison and BallCorps, LLC announced plans to bring the Mobile BayBears franchise here, you better believe I was ready! A team is expected to move into a stadium at the Town Madison development for the 2020 season.
We’re starting to see signs that minor league baseball is closer to reality. Probably the biggest sign to date is the Top team names. People submitted their ideas, which became the top 10. That was whittled down to the top 5. The names and descriptions as provided by BallCorps are below.
- Comet Jockeys: “Rocket City” was put on the map for its cutting-edge aerospace development. Comet Jockeys is a celebration of our brave astronauts who explore outer space.
- Moon Possums: A scavenger at heart, these local critters are known for hanging around and having a good time with their family – just like going to a ballgame!
- Space Chimps: A tribute to Miss Baker, one of the first animals safely launched into space. She is buried on the grounds at the U.S. Space & Rocket Center.
- ThunderSharks: Mix the powerful thunder of North Alabama’s storms with the ultra-strong, sleek determination of the shark and you end up with the personality of our community: willing to attack any problem. Visiting teams won’t mess with ThunderSharks.
- Trash Pandas (Slang for raccoon): Our community is known for engineering, and no creature in our galaxy is as smart, creative, determined and ingenious a problem solver – dedicated to the challenge at hand – as our local raccoons
These names have generated a lot of buzz to say the least. Whether you think this list is the greatest thing or the worst thing to ever happen to baseball, the important thing to the marketing team is that you’re talking about it. Personally, I’m team “Anyone but the Trash Pandas.” I know there are a lot of people saying they’re behind that one, but it just screams short shelf life to me. People will get excited, they’ll buy that one “Trash Panda” item to be cool, then it will go the way of the word “Fleek” and Hammer Pants.
I personally have no problem with the current wave of funny team names in minor league sports. Names like the Montgomery Biscuits, Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp and the El Paso Chihuahuas are whimsical and a great way to get people interested in the teams. Whatever is chosen, I hope it’s something that speaks to this area.
The team will announce the winning nickname on September 5 during an event at Rocket Republic Brewing in Madison. You can vote here.