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Aberdeen IronBirds
Acereros del Norte*
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Akron RubberDucks*
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Altoona Curve
Arkansas Travelers
Asheville Tourists*
Auburn Doubledays
Augusta GreenJackets
Batavia Muckdogs
Bay Area Toros*
Beloit Snappers
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Binghamton Rumble Ponies*
Birmingham Barons
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Bowie Baysox*
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Bradenton Marauders
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Cleburne Railroaders*
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Delfines del Carmen*
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Down East Wood Ducks*
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Erie SeaWolves*
Eugene Emeralds*
Evansville Otters
Everett AquaSox
Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks
Fayetteville Astros*
Florence Freedom
Florida Fire Frogs*
Fort Myers Miracle
Fort Wayne TinCaps
Frederick Keys*
Fresno Grizzlies
Frisco RoughRiders
Gary SouthShore RailCats
Gateway Grizzlies
Grand Junction Rockies*
Great Falls Voyagers*
Great Lakes Loons
Greeneville Astros
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Greenville Drive
Guerreros de Oaxaca
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Hartford Yard Goats*
Helena Brewers
Hickory Crawdads
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Idaho Falls Chukars
Indianapolis Indians
Inland Empire 66ers*
Iowa Cubs
Jackson Generals
Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp*
Johnson City Cardinals
Joliet Slammers*
Joplin Blasters
Jupiter Hammerheads
Kane County Cougars
Kannapolis Intimidators
Kansas City T-Bones
Kingsport Mets
Lake County Captains
Lake Elsinore Storm
Lake Erie Crushers*
Lakeland Flying Tigers*
Lakewood BlueClaws
Lancaster Barnstormers
Lancaster JetHawks
Lansing Lugnuts
Laredo Lemurs
Las Vegas 51s
Lehigh Valley IronPigs
Leones de Yucatán
Lexington Legends*
Lincoln Saltdogs
Long Beach Armada*
Long Island Ducks
Louisville Bats
Lowell Spinners
Lynchburg Hillcats*
Mahoning Valley Scrappers
Memphis Redbirds
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Mobile BayBears*
Modesto Nuts
Montgomery Biscuits
Myrtle Beach Pelicans
Nashville Sounds*
New Britain Bees*
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New Jersey Jackals
New Orleans Zephyrs
Norfolk Tides*
Normal CornBelters
Northwest Arkansas Naturals
Ogden Raptors*
Oklahoma City Dodgers*
Olmecas de Tabasco
Omaha Storm Chasers
Orem Owlz
Ottawa Champions*
Palm Beach Cardinals
Pawtucket Red Sox*
Pensacola Blue Wahoos
Peoria Chiefs
Pericos de Puebla
Piratas de Campeche
Pittsburg Diamonds*
Portland Sea Dogs
Potomac Nationals
Potros de Tijuana*
Princeton Rays*
Pulaski Mariners*
Quad City River Bandits*
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Reading Fightin Phils
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Richmond Flying Squirrels*
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Rochester Red Wings
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Rome Braves
Round Rock Express
Sacramento River Cats*
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Tampa Yankees
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Texas AirHogs
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Toledo Mud Hens
Toros de Tijuana
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Vallejo Admirals*
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Visalia Rawhide*
Washington Wild Things
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West Virginia Power*
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Williamsport Crosscutters
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Winnipeg Goldeyes
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York Revolution*
Northwest Arkansas Naturals 88

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Posted 2017 April 30

Sometimes I look at a terrible team name and just know it's fairly recent. Only in the past fifteen to twenty years have teams gotten bad about ridiculous compound words, especially with capital letters stuck in the middle for no reason. Augusta GreenJackets? That's got to be recent. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton RailRiders? No one would have thought that one up in 1923. Akron RubberDucks? Rubber ducks are at least a real thing, but it's doubtful anyone a hundred years ago would give their team such a name and even if they did it would be two words.

Others speak to a naming convention that dominated long, long ago. Asheville Tourists? That clearly sounds like a name that was first used over a century ago, and sure enough it was first used in 1915. Arkansas Travelers? Yep, 1895. Birmingham Barons? Unlike the other examples I've given that's actually a good name but there's still something about it that sounds very old-fashioned, and indeed it dates all the way back to 1885 (the only older name in minor league baseball is the Buffalo Bisons, first used in 1877). And then we come to the Northwest Arkansas Naturals and you just know that no one in the Twenty-First Century would come up with a name like this. It's got to date back to before the Great Depression.

Nope. This one doesn't even manage to pre-date the Great Recession, as the name debuted in 2008. That's right: this name is less than a decade old. I have no idea what they were thinking. Granted, I have no idea what people were thinking when they came up with names like the Asheville Tourists or (and this is a real team from the late 1890s) Worcester Farmers, but I don't expect to understand the mindset of people from the late Nineteenth and early Twentieth centuries. The North Carolina of 1915 was very different from the North Carolina of today; the Massachusetts of 1898 even more so. But the Arkansas of ten years ago isn't so different from the North Carolina of today.

Or maybe it is. Apparently there was quite the controversy when a local preacher discovered that (gasp!) alcohol was going to be served at the ballpark! Look, I've got nothing against people who aren't keen on drinking (I myself have never been drunk), but to be surprised that a ballpark is going to let people buy a beer? In the Twenty-First Century? And then, proving once again that I don't understand the Arkansas of 2008, this preacher's opposition to an alcohol-serving ballpark nearly killed the team. Seriously: after this preacher announced his opposition, a movement to vote against a referendum to provide tax-payer funding for the stadium rose up and in the end the referendum passed by a mere fifteen votes. I'm trying to imagine what would happen if there was a push to build a stadium here in Raleigh and a local pastor announced his opposition on the grounds that beer would be served. In that instance fifteen votes sounds less like how much the referendum would win by and more like the number of votes that would actually change as a result of the preacher's opposition. And if we're talking about a basketball stadium then it wouldn't even be that high. After all, for all the churches in Raleigh, everyone who lives here knows that largest denominations in town aren't Baptists, Methodists, and Catholics, but Wolf Pack, Tarheels, and Blue Devils.

The name could have been worse, incidentally. The "Naturals" name was the winner of an online fan poll. The second placer? "Thunder Chickens". No, seriously. And apparently it's an annual thing where for one night the Naturals go by that name. (It's usually in early June, if you're interested.) I don't know what other names were in the poll. But I can't help but think: good god, if Naturals won and freaking Thunder Chickens was the runner-up, what must the other options have looked like? I'm sure with some intense Googling I could find out, but honestly? I'm not sure I want to know.

Final Score: 88 points.
Penalties: Region, 8 pts; Reference (to the movie), 10 pts; Alliteration, 5 pts; Scenery, 11 pts; Equipment, 13 pts; Colorful, 31 pts; Name, 10 pts.
Bonuses: None.


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