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Carolina Mudcats 81

Notice: All logos on this page are included within the parameters of 17 U.S.C. § 107, which states that the reproduction of a copyrighted work for purposes of criticism and/or comment is not an infringement of copyright. No challenge to the copyrights of these logos is intended by their inclusion here.
Posted 2010 August 23

The name "Carolina Mudcats" irritates me. That should surprise no one; there are over a hundred pages on this website and the average page has 4.718 examples of things that irritate me. But this time the irritation is heightened by the fact that this is one of two local teams for me (it takes me about 30-40 minutes to get to a Mudcats game, and about the same for a Durham Bulls game). For some reason, irritations are more irritating when I actually buy a ticket from he irritator.

The source of this particular irritation comes from the fact that the name "Mudcats" isn't appropriate to this area. The name made sense in the city where it picked up its name (before moving to Zebulon, the team was the Columbus (GA) Mudcats), but then the team moved and kept its name despite the name not fitting anymore. Now, this sort of thing happens a decent amount in various sports. Basketball is especially bad about it. I can't think of two more geographically absurd names than the Los Angeles Lakers and the Utah Jazz. But as I said, it's more irritating when it's a local team. Simply put, there are no mudcats in this area.

There are, to be certain, catfish in this area. There are catfish all over the eastern United States. But in this area, at least, no one actually calls them "mudcats". The term of choice is "catfish". I can't recall hearing a single person in this area refer to catfish as "mudcats". Admittedly, I can't name too many instances of hearing a person to catfish as "catfish", either; the topic of catfish just doesn't come up much in my life. But when I do hear about the fish in question, it's always called a catfish. On those rare occasions when a local charity hosts a dinner with this fish (I say "rare" because usually they have either barbecue dinners or shrimp dinners), it's always a "catfish dinner", not a "mudcat dinner". My wife and I went to a local seafood restaurant a couple of days ago, and the menu had catfish, not mudcat. Heck, if you go to the Carolina Mudcats' own website, there's a link under "Five County Stadium" to the restaurant at the stadium. You can look at the menu there, and guess what? They serve catfish, and they call it catfish, not mudcat. If this doesn't clinch the fact that no one in this area calls the fish "mudcat", I don't know what will.

The odd thing about it is that it would be so easy to change the name to "Carolina Catfish". They could use the same logo (which, unsurprisingly, is the same logo they used as the Columbus Mudcats). Alliterative names are very common in sports, so it's not like people would see anything wrong with the name. I really have no idea why they kept the Mudcats name. All I can figure is that the owner of the team was from Columbus and didn't know the name wasn't as widespread as the fish. In any case, it's a dumb name.

Another dumb thing about the team — although this is completely out of their control — is the league they play in. The Mudcats are in the Southern League. There's a certain logic to this, since the team is in the South. But it's also in the East, and the team would be a much better fit in the Eastern League. With the exception of the Jacksonville Suns, the Mudcats are the only Southern League team east of the Appalachians. Their closest Southern League opponent is the Tennessee Smokies in Sevierville, Tennessee (near Knoxville), over six hours away. Jacksonville is their second-closest opponent, seven and a half hours away. Meanwhile, over in the Eastern league, there are five teams within seven and a half hours of Zebulon, with the closest (Richmond) being a mere two and a half hours away. It would make a lot more sense for the Mudcats to be in the Eastern League than in the Southern League. The problem is there isn't really a good team to move with them. I'd kind of like to see the Suns move farther north (maybe to Charleston, which is way too large to have a team in the non-advanced "A" South Atlantic League) and have them and the Mudcats in the Eastern League. I imagine the Mudcats' bus driver feels the same way. But we may be the only ones who care. Also, who's to say the Eastern League would want the Mudcats? They might take one look at the name and decide they want nothing to do with them. Then again, the Richmond team is called the Flying Squirrels. They Eastern League can't be all that picky.

As for the logo itself, it's one of those "Well, what can you expect with a name like that?" logos. It looks kinda silly, but that's because catfish look silly. If you look head-on at a catfish — and I don't recommend doing so, as there are so many better things to look at head-on — what you see is amazingly similar to the logo, with the obvious exception of the "C". There are a couple more of those weird projections around the mouth, and the color is a bit different, but aside from that it's pretty close. Real catfish even have the goofy-looking grin. The only problem with this logo is that once again someone felt the need to give an animal human eyes. I get tired of that, but all in all the designer did a good job given the name. I'n fact, I'm willing to go so far as to say that aside from the eyes, it's hard to imagine a better logo for a team named the Carolina Mudcats.

Or the Carolina Catfish. (Hint, hint.)

Final Score: 81 points.
Penalties: Region (doubly-egregious), 27 pts; Letter, 24 pts; Humanoid, 30 pts.
Bonuses: None.


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