Mike McCann / Minor Leagues
HOW NOT TO NAME A TEAM
By Mike McCann
I don't know how many people have been paying attention to the new team that will be playing in Manchester, NH next season, but if you are, I hope that you have been laughing as much as me. The people in charge of the team either have no idea what they are doing or are strong believers of the 'any publicity is good publicity' school of thought.
At the beginning of November, it was announced that the this new Eastern League team would be named the New Hampshire Primaries. That is such a terrible name. The idea is that since New Hampshire holds the first primary voting for the president each year there is a presidential election, they would capture that in their team name. They even created a logo with an elephant and donkey.
To me, that is a bad idea for a baseball team name. Last year, this team was the Ravens. That's a good name. Ravens are birds and people can identify with a team nickname being an animal. Most team names seem to be animals or groups of people, but there are a number outside of this genre that still fit. Tides, Keys, Blaze, even Isotopes make good names because they are tangible objects. A primary isn't the kind of thing you name your team after. It would be similar to naming the team the Manchester Box Social.
Apparently, I wasn't the only one who disliked the name because the Manchester Union Leader took a poll and the majority disliked the name. A petition was even being started to ask them to change the name. As a result, a few days later the team announced that it would not be named the Primaries. Now I'm not sure if they actually regret the team name or if they are happy that people are now talking about it, but now they set themselves up to further show that they didn't know what they were doing.
On the team website (newhampshirebaseball.com), they asked people for suggestions for the team name. They received a thousands of entries into their contest. They eliminated entries that were already being used by other professional or college sports teams since they didn't want to fight any battles of trademarks or anything like that. This still left them with hundreds of entries for the Granite State or Manchester or New Hampshire team. The team then asked the fans to vote on the names. Sounds like a good idea, but I think they needed to think things through a little more.
On the team website, they listed hundreds of names and asked people to pick their top choice. Then with the same list of names, people were asked to fill in their second choice. Then third. Then fourth. Then fifth. Yes, I'm going to resist the temptation of making the obvious joke about a certain gubernatorial vote not too long ago. Maybe it's just me, but I think it is extremely difficult to go through hundreds of name choices and go through and pick my first choice. Then look at the same list four more times trying to rank them. At first when I looked at the page, I thought I could just select five choices from the list, but instead I had to rank them all also. They just did a really poor job in setting up their contest. Maybe it was because they wanted to allow every possible name that was submitted to be among those in contention, but this was ridiculous.
After this contest closed, they took the top five choices and then asked the fans to pick their favorites. The ironic thing is that New Hampshire Primaries was one of the top choices. The other four choices were New Hampshire Fisher Cats, Granite State Mountain Men, New Hampshire Granite and Manchester Millers. I think that they are all pretty bad names, so I can't even bring myself to vote for any of them. The people in charge of the team just butchered the whole process. The name will be announced on December 3 and I can't wait. Regardless of what the name is, I will still do my best to make it to Manchester for a game this season.
I think that the new teams names this season have been overall pretty poor. The Idaho Falls team will now be known as the Chukars. I didn't know that a chukar was a bird that inhabited that area before now, so I won't criticize that name. The Quad City River Bandits will become the Swing of the Quad Cities. I always hated the nickname before the place name idea. I know they are trying the play on words with swing music and a baseball bat swing, but it still isn't a good team name. The new team in Montgomery, AL will be the Montgomery Biscuits. Nothing like being named after food.
I know that the main reason that these names were chosen were because of
the marketing possibilities, but I can't imagine people buying merchandise
because they especially like the name (like the Albuquerque Isotopes). So
if anyone working for a minor league team wants some team name suggestions,
feel free to send me an e-mail. And the first thing I will say is not
to include the word 'river' as part of the nickname.
I am always looking for topics to write about, so please send me an e-mail and let me know what would be interesting reading for you. Feel free to ask any questions or give an idea for a column.