Let's be honest: I don't think any of us were expecting the selection of team names that we got on Wednesday.
On Wednesday morning, Amarillo Pro Baseball announced the five finalists in the team's "Name the Team" sweepstakes. Residents from the area were encouraged to submit their picks to name the soon-to-be-relocated minor league baseball team, ahead of the start of the 2019 Minor League Baseball season. We heard promises of grand names and elected officials like Councilmember Elaine Hays went on tour to local businesses, pitching the naming game.
Then we got the names. And, I think we all have to ask ourselves, "what happened?"
A press release revealed the final team names to be: the Boot Scooters, the Bronc Busters, the Jerky, the Long Haulers and the Sod Poodles. The names are zany, which is to be expected. However, it's absolutely mind boggling that these were the five best names that people submitted for the team.
Immediately, the response to the team's finalists was lackluster, and eventually angry. There were even longtime supporters of the project angry over the name selections and, apparently, an online petition has been started to demand five new finalists.
If you think about it, this is really ironic. For years, I have heard from the supporters of the project that if you oppose anything about it, then you are wanting the team and the stadium to fail. Now, all of these same supporters are angry about the name selections for the teams. There are even online petitions. If opposing any part of the project is supporting an eventual failure of the team, what do these keyboard warriors and downtown cheerleaders think they are doing by creating petitions, launching tirades about the names and demanding new finalists?
The hypocrisy would be funny if it wasn't so sad. If you disagreed with funding structures for the stadium, that meant you wanted the team to fail. If you disagreed with the placement of the stadium, that meant you wanted the team to fail. If you disagreed with the debt service issues on the stadium or the contract for the team, that meant that you wanted the team to fail.
But, if you oppose the name finalists for the team, I guess that opposition just doesn't count.
I have also heard for years about all the enthusiasm for the team. Cheerleaders have screamed for years about the excitement and enthusiasm for the team and the project. The question is, if there was actually that much enthusiasm, don't you figure we could have better finalists for the team name, or at least a more positive response from the self-proclaimed supporters?
I don't remember this kind of angry response to the semi-pro team names of the Amarillo Dillas, Sox or Thunderheads. But, I do remember hearing about how sub-par the team was to the miraculous minor league team that was promised. Everything was supposed to be better with a minor league team. Ballpark food was supposed to be better, ticket sales were supposed to be better, player quality was supposed to be better. I guess the team name wasn't one of those things that was going to improve.
In the end, I will be voting for the Amarillo Jerky. Whichever way the naming goes will be fine with me, though. Hopefully, this will serve as a longstanding reminder that sometimes, the grass isn't always greener on the other side.