Zephyrs’ new nickname choices a swing and a miss
It happens in baseball: A swing and a miss.
Hank Aaron hit 755 home runs and had 3,771 big-league hits. He also struck out 1,383 times.
Pete Rose had 4,256 hits. He also fanned 1,143 times.
A swing and a miss.
And, that’s what the Zephyrs did when they announced their seven finalists for a new nickname as the club changes its name in time for the 2017 season.
I have heard the same thing from many fans: They don’t like any of the seven. The finalists are Crawfish, PoBoys, Baby Cakes, King Cakes, Night Owls, Red Eyes and Tailgators.
Fans went on the team’s website and proposed names. The seven were picked by club officials. And, the club, led by new owner Lou Schweckheimer and general manager Cookie Rojas, have done some good things.
Bringing in Mumford and Sons for a concert at Zephyr Field was one. So was the announcement that eight high school football games would be played at Zephyr Field in the fall of 2016.
Both of the above items make Zephyr Field more of a community venue and expose the stadium to those who are not baseball enthusiasts.
So, I have a question: When the club changes its name, what do you call the stadium? Baby Cake Field?
It is even more important to get the name right when you are in a pro sports town, where the names of the football and basketball franchises are part of the fabric of the city.
Launching the Saints on All Saints Day in 1966 was perfect. The Pelicans baseball franchise began play in the Southern League in 1887.
The last time I checked, the Zephyr was a roller coaster at a former New Orleans landmark, Pontchartrain Beach.
One of the biggest issues for the Zephyrs has been their major league affiliate. The Miami Marlins have not given New Orleans good teams. Since the Zephyrs became the Marlins’ Triple A affiliate in 2009, New Orleans has yet to post a winning record.
The Zephyrs’ best record in that span was 72-72 in 2013.
In minor league baseball, winning always takes a backseat to entertainment. But, having clubs that have been non-competitive does not help.
If the Zephyrs are totally committed to making a change, I would inquire who owns the rights to the name “Brass,” our former East Coast Hockey League team. It was a terrific name. Sort of the cousin of our former NBA team, the Jazz.
Or how about Buccaneers? They were our team in the American Basketball Association.
Or how about Zephyrs? The club could just say the following: “Our fans have spoken, and they don’t particularly care for any of the seven names. We swung and missed.”