The name the team contest ended on Sunday for the new Eastern League team in Richmond. The name will be announced on Oct. 15. We all know about the five names presented to fans (Rockhoppers, Rhinos, Flying Squirrels, Hambones, and Flatheads) and the last minute “wild card” entry (Hush Puppies). It is a pretty sad list. Columnist Andy Thompson does his best making the sales pitch for the Flatheads, but we remain underwhelmed. That being said, we are not against unique, fun, and marketable names. In fact, we like them when developed and executed well, like the husband and wife duo of Tom Dickson and Sherrie Myers did in Lansing (Lugnuts) and Montgomery (Biscuits), or the owners of the American Association franchise did in Kansas City (T-Bones). But the list provided by the media falls short in this company.
Hush Puppies is an old shoe that wore out its brand long ago. They are also the “filler” before you get to the good stuff on a seafood platter. Rockhoppers and Rhinos (is this af2?) work well with the “R” in Richmond, but they are real yawners with limited marketing potential. There are marketing possibilities with Flying Squirrels, but the name is too long (16 spaces without even using Richmond, which works great for merchandising) and doesn’t flow well with Richmond. It also doesn’t have the “it” factor, which you know when you hear it. Now, make it the Flying Circus, and you might sell us.
The Flatheads seems to flow best with Richmond, but having a fish as a mascot would never be at the top of our list. We’ll make it our #2. This leaves the Hambones as the last name standing. It is a little awkward to say with Richmond, and piggies have been a little overdone with the Lehigh Valley IronPigs, Grand Prairie AirHogs, and the St. Paul Saints’ unique baseball delivery system, but it’s a funny name that offers the highest marketing potential from the list provided. Go ‘Bones!