The Pittsburgh Pirates will be moving their NYPL affiliate from Jamestown to Morgantown next year, playing in the new baseball stadium that will be built for West Virginia University. So far, the team doesn’t have a name, but that will change soon. The Morgantown franchise released the ten finalists for the team name. You can vote on that name until Friday, October 17th at 5 PM by going here. Below are the names, along with some thoughts on the name choices (the descriptions are from the voting page).
Black Bears –The official state animal of West Virginia, Black Bears live in all 55 counties of the state. A large and ferocious animal, a black bear would strike fear into any opponent.
Off to a strong start. Having a ferocious animal is a plus. But I think the real benefit here is that it opens up a lot of Dwight Schrute marketing campaigns. Minor league baseball has the best campaigns, which means we could probably look forward to a “Bears, Beets, and Battlestar Galactica” night in Morgantown one night.
Black Diamonds –A nickname for coal that also has a baseball twist, as the game is also played on a diamond. A diamond is seen as something valuable and important, just as the coal industry has been to West Virginia.
Before I read the description, I thought of two things. The first was a black diamond snake. As a person who has an Indiana Jones level of fear for snakes, I’d say no. Then I thought about ski slopes. That would open up a ton of horrible Bob Nutting jokes from the crazy Pirates fans who have ignored the last two seasons and still think the Pirates can do no right. Thus, it might be worse than the snakes.
Canaries –The canary was the underdog hero of many coal miners in the past. These birds were used to protect workers from dangerous mine conditions.
I can’t think of a less threatening name. Sadly, I think this one is going to win due to the kid factor. Back when Richmond added a team, they held a similar vote, and “The Flying Squirrels” won, mostly due to the Rocky and Bullwinkle connection. If they make a Sylvester and Tweety connection here, this one is over.
Coal Kings –Another reference to the coal mining industry of West Virginia’s past. There is no more royal figure than a King, who towers over opposition.
This sounds like a reality show on The History Channel.
Coal Sox –A variation of a tribute to the coal mining industry of the region. The Coal Sox represents a team and players that will work hard together to achieve their goal of victory.
Anything with the word “Sox” is out, because it would be confused with a Red Sox affiliate. Or a White Sox affiliate, which has the Hawk Harrelson connection.
The Energy –From coal to natural gas, West Virginia has been a major energy producer for decades. The new baseball team will bring a high level of energy and excitement to every game they play.
This is close to “The Power”, or “The West Virginia Power”. That name has the double meaning because “power” is a tool that is highly sought after in baseball. I’m not saying energy isn’t sought after. I just don’t think it’s as mainstream. Also, “Morgantown Energy” sounds like a power company.
Moonshiners –A favorite of the mountaineer, moonshine has been made in the hills for over 300 years and is one of West Virginia’s oldest traditions.
This name is awesome. There’s no way I think it’s allowed, but I love that it made the finals. There’s nothing like good moonshine. And no, I don’t mean the stuff they now sell in liquor stores. I mean the kind you get when you’re up all night cooking a pig in December, and everyone is passing around a mason jar of clear liquid, or in some cases, colored liquid with fruit inside and after a while you dare someone to eat the fruit. Basically the giveaways and the $1 beverage nights with this name would be amazing.
Muskets –A trusted companion of the mountaineer, the musket was essential to the settling and protection of West Virginia. It’s a symbol of the mountaineer’s fighting and independent spirit.
I don’t know what to say about this one. Does anyone still use muskets? Do you want to name a team after something obsolete?
Wild Ones – The ‘Wild and Wonderful’ state slogan of West Virginia dates back to 1969. The Wild Ones helps encapsulate West Virginia’s pride and passion to the beautiful territory that makes up this state.
Rule #1 of naming a minor league baseball team: never name it after a Flo Rida song.
The Wonder –Another version of the ‘Wild and Wonderful’ state slogan. There’s no doubt the amazing plays in the field will be a wonder equally as beautiful as the West Virginia landscape.
This is a worse version of “The Energy”. Which is a bad version of “The Power”.
My vote? Black Bears. But only if they do the Dwight Schrute promotion.