Teams with asterisks are not yet posted

Aberdeen IronBirds*
Acereros del Norte
Águila de Veracruz
Aigles de Trois-Rivières
Akron RubberDucks
Albuquerque Isotopes
Algodoneros de Unión Laguna
Altoona Curve
Amarillo Sod Poodles
Arkansas Travelers
Asheville Tourists
Augusta GreenJackets
Beloit Sky Carp*
Billings Mustangs
Biloxi Shuckers
Binghamton Rumble Ponies
Birmingham Barons
Boise Hawks
Bowie Baysox
Bowling Green Hot Rods
Bradenton Marauders
Bravos de León
Brooklyn Cyclones
Buffalo Bisons
Capitales de Quebec
Carolina Mudcats
Cedar Rapids Kernels
Charleston Dirty Birds
Charleston RiverDogs
Charlotte Knights
Charros de Jalisco*
Chattanooga Lookouts
Chicago Dogs
Clearwater Threshers
Cleburne Railroaders
Columbia Fireflies
Columbus Clippers
Conspiradores de Querétaro*
Corpus Christi Hooks
Dayton Dragons
Daytona Tortugas
Delmarva Shorebirds
Diablos Rojos del México
Dorados de Chihuahua*
Down East Wood Ducks
Dunedin Blue Jays
Durham Bulls
El Paso Chihuahuas
Empire State Greys*
Erie SeaWolves
Eugene Emeralds
Evansville Otters*
Everett AquaSox
Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks
Fayetteville Woodpeckers
Florence Y'Alls
Fort Myers Mighty Mussels
Fort Wayne TinCaps
Fredericksburg Nationals
Fresno Grizzlies
Frisco RoughRiders
Gary SouthShore RailCats
Gastonia Baseball Club*
Gateway Grizzlies
Generales de Durango
Glacier Range Riders
Grand Junction Jackalopes
Great Falls Voyagers
Great Lakes Loons*
Greensboro Grasshoppers*
Greenville Drive
Guerreros de Oaxaca
Gwinnett Stripers
Hagerstown Flying Boxcars*
Harrisburg Senators
Hartford Yard Goats
Hickory Crawdads
High Point Rockers
Hillsboro Hops
Hudson Valley Renegades
Idaho Falls Chukars
Indianapolis Indians
Inland Empire 66ers of San

Iowa Cubs
Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp
Jersey Shore BlueClaws*
Joliet Slammers
Jupiter Hammerheads
Kannapolis Cannon Ballers
Kansas City Monarchs
Lake County Captains
Lake Country DockHounds
Lake Elsinore Storm
Lake Erie Crushers
Lakeland Flying Tigers
Lancaster Stormers*
Lansing Lugnuts
Las Vegas Aviators
Lehigh Valley IronPigs
Leones de Yucatán
Lexington Legends
Lincoln Saltdogs*
Long Island Ducks
Louisville Bats
Lynchburg Hillcats
Memphis Redbirds
Midland RockHounds
Milwaukee Milkmen
Mississippi Braves
Missoula Paddleheads
Modesto Nuts
Montgomery Biscuits
Myrtle Beach Pelicans
Nashville Sounds
New England Knockouts*
New Hampshire Fisher Cats
New Jersey Jackals
New York Boulders
Norfolk Tides
Northern Colorado Owlz
Northwest Arkansas Naturals*
Oakland Ballers
Ogden Raptors
Oklahoma City Baseball Club*
Olmecas de Tabasco
Omaha Storm Chasers
Ottawa Titans
Palm Beach Cardinals
Pensacola Blue Wahoos
Peoria Chiefs
Pericos de Puebla
Piratas de Campeche
Portland Sea Dogs
Quad City River Bandits
Rancho Cucamonga Quakes
Reading Fightin Phils
Reno Aces
Richmond Flying Squirrels
Rieleros de Aguascalientes
Rochester Red Wings
Rocket City Trash Pandas
Rocky Mountain Vibes
Rome Emperors*
Round Rock Express
Sacramento River Cats
Salem Red Sox
Salt Lake Bees
San Antonio Missions
San Jose Giants
Saraperos de Saltillo
Schaumburg Boomers
Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders
Sioux City Explorers
Sioux Falls Canaries
Somerset Patriots
South Bend Cubs
Southern Maryland Blue Crabs
Spokane Indians
Springfield Cardinals
St. Lucie Mets
St. Paul Saints
Staten Island FerryHawks
Stockton Ports
Sugar Land Skeeters
Sultanes de Monterrey
Sussex County Miners*
Syracuse Mets
Tacoma Rainiers
Tampa Tarpons
Tecolotes de los Dos Laredos
Tennessee Smokies
Tigres de Quintana Roo
Toledo Mud Hens
Toros de Tijuana
Tri-City Dust Devils
Tri-City ValleyCats
Vancouver Canadians
Visalia Rawhide
Washington Wild Things
West Michigan Whitecaps
Wichita Wind Surge
Wilmington Blue Rocks
Windy City Thunderbolts
Winnipeg Goldeyes
Winston-Salem Dash
Wisconsin Timber Rattlers
Worcester Red Sox*
Yolo High Wheelers
York Revolution
Richmond Flying Squirrels 40

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Posted 2018 July 8

As I'm sure you all know, one nice thing about the web (is it still possible to call it the "world wide web" without sounding ridiculous?) is that it's easy to quickly find answers to questions which, just thirty years ago, would have taken considerable effort to research. It's definitely made my job a lot easier. Imagine trying to find out in 1988 what the origins of various minor league teams were. Today you can just type "[team name] name origin" into the search engine of your choice and odds are good it'll come right up. It would have taken much longer to find the origin of the Richmond Flying Squirrels name if I had tried in 1988. By my estimate it would have taken about twenty-one years, since that's how much time passed after 1988 before there was such a team. But even if there had been such a team in 1988 it would have taken quite a while.

So what is the origin?

The process started, apparently, with inviting the public to submit suggestions. And they responded in spades. If the team's vice president is to be believed, the stack of papers with all the suggestions is an inch thick. He didn't specify how big the sheets of paper were or how many names were on each piece of paper, but even if we're talking about thick index cards with one name per card we're still talking over a hundred names. And if we're talking normal typing paper with two single-spaced columns of names (which is easily do-able), we're in the tens of thousands. From this, the team picked ten favorites. One team official was quoted as saying "We were looking for controversial. Not super controversial, but something that would shake things up."

I don't know about you, but to me this is the first warning bell. This is baseball we're talking about here. This is a sport that has tolerated such names as "Bridegrooms", "Orphans", and "Mutuals" (and those were all major league teams). This is a sport where naming your team after the color socks it wears (or, in some cases, used to wear) is a time-honored tradition. With traditions like that, "shaking things up" is a recipe for disaster.

Then the team narrowed down their list of ten to a list of five. Then they replaced one of those five when someone pointed out that it was hella racist. In addition to the eventual winner, the other four names on the (revised) list were Flatheads, Hush Puppies, Rhinos, and Rock Hoppers. Remember, they had somewhere between 100 and 20,000 names to pick from, and this was what they deemed the best five. That's warning bell number two. Did they decide that since baseball has traditions going back to the Nineteenth Century, they should aim for some Nineteenth Century inspiration by smoking opium? You could come up with a better list by feeding the sheets of paper with the names on them into a shredder and using the ones that were still readable.

Finally, the team told everyone they were going to let people vote on the name and then pick whatever damn name they wanted. I'm not making that up. They actually told everyone that they were going to let the fans vote but the final decision rested with the team. I suppose I should admire them for being upfront about it, since we all know most of these "name the team" contest are rigged. But it's still weird.

This is a process that should result in a good name. Let people make suggestions, narrow them down to the best five or six, get input from the community on those names, then pick one with the community's pick being one factor you consider but not the only one. This should have resulted in a better name than Flying Squirrels. Or Flatheads, Hush Puppies, Rhinos, or Rock Hoppers, for that matter.

Incidentally, the team that was in Richmond before the Flying Squirrels was the Richmond Braves, Atlanta's AAA affiliate. They moved to Gwinnett County, Georgia (in the Atlanta suburbs) in 2008 to become the Gwinnett Braves, and last year they announced a name change. Like the Flying Squirrels, they let people submit names (they apparently got around four thousand). Like the Flying Squirrels, they narrowed that list down to a small number (six in this case). And like the Flying Squirrels, one of the names they put on the short list was Hush Puppies.

What the hell, people? Seriously: What the fucking hell?

Final Score: 40 points.
Penalties: Humanoid (the teeth), 30 pts; Name, 10 pts.
Bonuses: None.

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