It has been suggested on social media that the Amarillo Sod Poodles’ winning the Texas League championship has silenced critics of the downtown ballpark where they play hardball and the name of the team itself.
I plead guilty to half of that assertion.
Yes, I was a critic of the Sod Poodles name when I first heard it. The name had to grow on me. It did. The growth wasn’t a long-term affair. I grew quickly to like the name. The more I heard it the more catchy it sounded to me.
I heard about the team ownership’s rationale in selecting the name: The Elmore Group wanted a name that would be, um, conversational around the Texas League, if not around the nation’s minor-league baseball community.
I guess the Elmore Group succeeded. The name stuck. Folks are talking about it, although I am pretty sure no one has yet ever used the term to describe prairie dogs, which I understand is the old-time name for the little prairie rodents.
As for the ballpark, I’ve been on board since the beginning. My doubts arose only after some (now former) City Council members expressed concerns and doubt over whether the ballpark was feasible. The issue went to a municipal vote in November 2015; voters approved the ostensibly non-binding referendum and the ballpark was headed toward construction.
They built the ballpark. They named it Hodgetown in honor of former Mayor Jerry Hodge and his wife, Margaret. Then the fans filled the place damn near every game the Sod Poodles played at their home field.
The season is over. The Sod Poodles are Texas League champs.
I no longer live in Amarillo. However, I am delighted that the ballpark was built, that downtown continues to flourish and, by golly, that the Texas League champs carry the name of Sod Poodles.