Deep Fried Cornmeal Enters the Mix in Richmond

Hushpuppies.jpgOn Tuesday, I blogged about Richmond’s “Name the Team” contest. Satisfied with my work, I then took the following day off.

But, as the saying goes: “You snooze, you looze.” And I have lost. For while I was convalescing with Country Joe records and The Roald Dahl Omnibus, a crucial development occurred in Richmond’s contest.

A “wild card” entrant has been added to the list of contenders, courtesy of CNBC sports business reporter Darren Rovell. What happened was this: between 9 a.m. and 9 p.m. Wednesday, fans were asked to submit their “wild card” name suggestions to Rovell. He recieved over 9000 responses, and chose the following (Drum Roll, please):

Hush Puppies

This is an unorthodox pick, to say the least. Today, Rovell posted on his blog that “The most common names suggested included references to American history
and the local James River. Hundreds of people wrote in for the River
Rapids or River Cats. Others picked names like the Revolution, Generals
and Cannonballs.”

Just one fan, meanwhile, suggested “Hush Puppies.” Despite the lack of anything resembling a common consensus, it captured Rovell’s attention for these reasons:

It has that deep-rooted Southern heritage
It’s different from what has been out there
It’s kid friendly

It has great mascot possibilities

It has an automatic concession tie-in

There is some precedent for “Hush Puppies”, since there is already a Double-A team namedMontgomeryBiscuitsCap.png after a staple Southern food (the Montgomery Biscuits, natch). For the record, I did not submit any “Wild Card” suggestions. But if I had, I would have gone all meta and suggested “Wild Cards”.

At any rate, fans can cast their vote for “Hush Puppies” (or any of the other five suggestions) at the website of the Richmond Times-Dispatch. If the comments section of the Times-Dispatch is an accurate indicator of public opinion, then the local reaction to the half-dozen names on the ballot could charitably be described as “mixed”. This is understandable, given the across-the-board frivolity of the team’s choices. My guess, however, is that fans will come around to the team name (whatever it may be) once a logo is unveiled and an overall marketing game plan established.

iron.gifIt is worth noting that Chuck Domino, chief executive of Richmond Baseball, previously presided over the Lehigh Valley IronPigs. That club has enjoyed two spectacularly successful seasons thus far, and the off-kilter name has played a huge role in how the club brands and markets itself. So, there is reason to believe that the same feat can be achieved in the Richmond market as well.

Promo of the Year Update: As of this writing (2:37 p.m. EST), Bowling Green’s “What Could’ve Been Night” maintains a slight (124 vote) lead over Fresno’s “As Seen on TV Night.” Voting doesn’t end until October 12, so this one is far from over. Vote HERE.

benjamin.hill@mlb.com

Also, I’m back on Twitter. For real this time: twitter.com/bensbiz

1 Comment

While nominations have purportedly been closed for the new Richmond bball team. What do you think? The Richmond Riverrocks. The theme song could be The River (Almost everyone loves the Boss and the Boss LOVES Richmond as the first city outside of his hometown that embraced his music, booking him frequently). The River would be featured in the name underscoring Richmond?s distinction as the only major city with a Class Three rapids (the rocks are the fall line which causes the rapids). Richmond was settled because of the fall line. The fans could be called the Rock heads (with big foam rock hats, or b-ball caps that look like rocks) or Rock Hoppers (a bow to one of the finalists). Think the strength of rocks. People throw them ? Richmond boy gangs who threw rocks were mentioned frequently in pre-civil war news articles. They are tough ? think rock hard abs. They?re sleek ? when left in the river. They?re the foundation of everything. A give-away thrown into the crowd could be a foam rock that looks like a real one. The seat cushions would look like rocks. And then there is the other meaning ? Richmond baseball ROCKS. The River ROCKS!!! The River Rocks ROCK!!

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