Richmond Inches Toward A Name

mynameis.jpgAfter a hectic and stressful (but ultimately satisfying) week at the Minor League Baseball Promotional Seminar, I have returned to New York City’s comforting embrace. What can I say? The city’s talons have a vice-like grip on my skull, and I’m okay with that.

I am also okay with the fact that it is now, completely and totally, the offseason. Since Labor Day I have been pinballing wildly between anger and denial regarding the cessation of the 2009 Minor League campaign, but peace has finally been attained. And just in the nick of time, too, because today I have one of my favorite offseason topics to write about: A Name the Team Contest!

The team in question is the Franchise Formerly Known as the Connecticut Defenders, who will be playing in Richmond in 2010 (and beyond…an article I wrote on the topic can be found HERE). Over the past two weeks, the team solicited name suggestions from fans. Over 6000 entries were recieved, and today the finalists were announced. Here they are, in order alphabetical:

Flatheads: A type of catfish (NOT referring to a type of screwdriver, engine valveflathead.jpg configuration, medical syndrome, or a song by the Fratellis).

Flying Squirrels: Gliding mammals that can be found in the Richmond area.

Hambones: A reference to the high-quality ham that is produced in the state of Virginia (not to be confused with the defunct literary journal, or blues guitarist Hambone Willie Newbern).

Rock Hoppers: People or animals that move from rock to rock while traversing a river are known as “Rock Hoppers”. That’s all I’ve got.

Rhinos: These are obviously not native to Richmond. But “Richmond Rhinos” sounds pretty cool, and that’s all that matters.

The name-the-team contest is being run through the website of the Richmond Times-Dispatch, and those who wish to vote can do so HERE. Voting runs through October 11, and the winner will be announced on the 15th.

As a personal aside, I must express my disappointment that my entry of the “Richmond Richie Riches” was rejected. Perhaps brokering a licensing deal with Harvey Comics would have been prohibitively expensive, but such considerations did not deter the Casper Ghosts.

VOTE! — We are now in Day 5 of voting for MiLB.com’s “Promotion of the Year.” The Bowling Green Hot Rods’ “What Could’ve Been Night” currently enjoys a commanding lead, but there is still plenty of time for another team to come from behind. Voting ends on the 12th, at which point I will contact the winning team with messages of congratulations. I will also be seeking quotes.

benjamin.hill@mlb.com

5 Comments

Too bad they didn’t consider something like the Patriots. It would have carried the Navigator/Defender theme down from CT. It also would have been contrary to the long-time Richmond Braves. Kind of like “Hey let’s start another 40+ yrs of tradition.”

Rock Hoppers comes from the summer pastime in Richmond that is visiting Pony Pasture or Belle Isle to hang out on the rocks in the James River. The rocks exist because Richmond lies on the fall line (yay, elementary school geography). Therefore, rock hoppers means exactly what you assumed it does – but it means a little more to those who grew up in Richmond.

I think the city of Richmond would be much happier with a name that attempts to means something – the majority of these are little more than embarrassing, in my opinion. I understand Rhinos opens the door for a variety of slogans and apparel, however with a little creativity, they could make something meaningful work.

I am not crazy about any of these. Only “Flying Squirrels” and “Hambones” have something to do with Richmond, VA. However, those names do not even remotely capture the spirit of the city. A sports team’s name should reflect the legacy, the history of a city. How about the Richmond Rebels or the Richmond Rebellion? Richmond’s legacy is the capital of the Confederate States of America. Though the CSA is now held as a highly racist and offensive organization, it is a pivotal part in our nation’s history, as well as Richmond’s. Perhaps the Richmond Dominions, in reference to Virginia nickname, Old Dominion? The finalists leave much to be desired.

I am not crazy about any of these. Only “Flying Squirrels” and “Hambones” have something to do with Richmond, VA. However, those names do not even remotely capture the spirit of the city. A sports team’s name should reflect the legacy, the history of a city. How about the Richmond Rebels or the Richmond Rebellion? Richmond’s legacy is the capital of the Confederate States of America. Though the CSA is now held as a highly racist and offensive organization, it is a pivotal part in our nation’s history, as well as Richmond’s. Perhaps the Richmond Dominions, in reference to Virginia nickname, Old Dominion? The finalists leave much to be desired.

I nominated Patriots because of Richmond’s unique revolutionary history – “give me liberty or give me death” shouted here by Patrick Henry. And it would have connected us to the Nats should we become their farm team. But I understand that is too bland. I posted my idea on another article – what do you think about the Richmond River Rocks? Tough, highlights our city’s distinctive feature, it’s different, cool, would have great options for nicknames like Rockheads or Rock Hoppers. And hey, our official song could be Springsteen’s The River!! What’s not to love?

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