Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Minor League Baseball Offers Unusual Mascots

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Minor League Baseball Offers Unusual Mascots

Article excerpt

When a minor league baseball team chooses a nickname like the Boll Weevils, it makes you wonder what suggestions were rejected.

In the case of the Piedmont Boll Weevils, the names that didn't make the cut include the Towels, the Cannons and the Lintheads.

That nickname for the South Atlantic League affiliate of the Philadelphia Phillies is part of a trend among teams to choose unusual names and just the right logo to draw crowds and increase souvenir sales.

"In the last couple of years, they have changed their logos to not only promote the game, but obviously to promote the team," says Jonathan Frank, licensing director of minor league baseball for Major League Baseball Properties.

"So, you've come up with a lot of unusual names, but in secondary marketplaces, a lot of those teams obviously relate to those regions and they've been very creative," Frank said.

In Winston-Salem, the Carolina League team used to be the Cards, Twins, Red Birds, and Red Sox. After following the trend of inanimate-object nicknames and becoming the Spirits, the team now is known as the Warthogs. The team lived up to that animal's surly persona last season by getting into a bench-clearing brawl with the Durham Bulls.

Hickory got a team several years ago and named it the Crawdads. Steve Bryant brought his Mudcats from Georgia and dropped them just east of Raleigh. Wilmington earned an affiliate of the Seattle Mariners and dubbed it the Port City Roosters. Greensboro used to be the Hornets, but now they're the Bats - the swinging kind, not the flying variety.

Back in the 1960s, the Wilson farm club of the Minnesota Twins was known as the Tobs, short for Tobacconists.

North Carolina's minor league baseball community has its share of relatively normal nicknames, like the Fayetteville Generals or the Charlotte Knights. Even the Boll Weevils were happy for awhile just being the Phillies, the name they brought from Spartanburg, S. …

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