Tag Archives: Amarillo baseball

Sod Poodles? Is this the name?

Maybe it’s just me, but my sense from afar — from my new perch in Collin County — I am beginning to sense that Sod Poodles is slated to be the name of Amarillo’s new AA minor-league baseball team.

Sod Poodles emerged as one of five finalist names under consideration by the Elmore Group, the outfit that owns the baseball team that will begin playing ball in Amarillo in April 2019. The team owners have opened the names up to baseball fans, asking fans to pick the name they want for the new team.

Maybe it’s just my unusually unreliable trick knee that’s telling me this. But I sense that Sod Poodles is getting a bit of traction among baseball fans.

Or, maybe it’s just that the Sod Poodles name is growing on me. I confess to hating it when I first saw the name among the five finalists being considered for the team that will move to Amarillo from San Antonio.

My new “least favorite” name happens to be Jerky. By no stretch of the imagination do I want Amarillo’s new ballclub to take the field as the Amarillo Jerky.

Amarillo Sod Poodles, the so-called one-time term used to describe prairie dogs? It has a certain ring to it now that I’ve rolled it around a time or three or four. For that matter I could live with any of the other finalist names — sans Jerky — under consideration.

I have to confess that Sod Poodles is beginning to make a lick of sense — even from my distant perch.

Sod Poodles? Let’s play ball … but hurry up!

AMARILLO, Texas — We’re all entitled to change our minds, right? Politicians do it all the time, saying their views have “evolved.” Or, in the case of Donald John Trump, his views change according to whatever his closest friends or his children tell him.

But … I digress.

I have done a nearly 180-degree about-face on the finalist names for the AA baseball team that’s going to play in a structure that at the moment is nothing more than a very large hole in the ground across the street from Amarillo City Hall.

None of the names excited me at first. Upon reflection, though, I am leaning toward Sod Poodles, the so-called old-fashioned name that supposedly refers to prairie dogs.

Don’t wish bad things to happen to me, please. My wife and I have a lot of fun-loving retirement years ahead of us.

Yeah, I said the name stunk when the franchise owners announced the finalist names. The one name that still sticks in my craw — if you’ll excuse the pun — is Jerky. Amarillo Jerky? Are you kidding me?

The team went for cutie names. They want the new baseball franchise to be a family-friendly endeavor. I think Sod Poodles fills the bill.

OK. That all being said, I want to offer a slight word of caution.

I ventured downtown over the weekend and noticed the big ol’ hole. I saw what looks like some reinforcement along the north edge of the hole.

I walked into the Embassy Suites hotel to see a friend who’s visiting from Lubbock. He reminded me that in his mind the construction pace needs to pick up. “I am not sure they’ll be ready for ball,” he said. I answered, “But they’re opening their season in April 2019.” Then my pal said, “Hey, that’s less than a year away!”

Duh???

I’m not an engineer. I have no experience with heavy-duty construction projects. My friend, though, has raised a legitimate concern. The multipurpose event venue where this team will play hardball is, um, seemingly a long way from becoming reality.

My farming and ranching friends will hate me for saying this, but if the MPEV is going to be finished on time, then I think Mother Nature perhaps needs to provide us with a second bone-dry winter in a row in 2018-19.

I’m trying to imagine how the crews are going to work when there’s a foot of snow on the ground in, say, December or January.

Let’s get busy, gang.

It’s all about baseball ‘marketing’

I am beginning to soften my view of those goofy finalist names for Amarillo’s new minor-league baseball team.

But only just a little.

I still dislike the five names they came up with. However, I am beginning to grasp the marketing techniques that the AA minor-league team ownership is using to sell the team to the public when it begins play in the downtown Amarillo baseball park in the spring of 2019.

The team’s general manager spoke this week of creating a “wholesome family entertainment” product that will play baseball at the multipurpose event venue.

They aren’t going to go with the usual Major League Baseball team nicknames, such as Cardinals, Giants, Tigers, Marlins … etc.

So what did the Amarillo management do? They pored through more than 3,000 submissions and came up with Jerky, Bronc Busters, Sod Poodles, Long Haulers and Boot Scooters.

If I had to choose a favorite among those finalists, I would settle on Bronc Busters. The worst happen to be Jerky and Sod Poodles.

An ABC 7 morning news anchor, Lisa Schmidt, noted this morning that she has lived in the Panhandle her entire life and has never heard the term Sod Poodles to describe prairie dogs. I’m hearing a lot of that around Amarillo over the past few days.

However, I am beginning to get why the team management has embarked on this goofy course. They want to establish a unique brand for the minor-league team that will play hardball in downtown Amarillo.

Let’s hope the brand sticks.

More names come forward

The word got out about those goofy finalist names for the Amarillo minor-league baseball team that begins play in the spring of 2019.

And with that word came a whole host of names that I find a lot better than the names put forward.

Plainsmen. Wildcatters. 66ers. Skyliners.

Those are just a few.

I’m wondering if the backlash against the weird names put forth are is going to make the Amarillo baseball brain trust rethink what they’ve come up with.

One can hope.

They’ve invited the public to vote for the favorite among five finalists. They’ll announce the winner later in the year. I’m wondering how “None of the Above” is going to fare.

Amarillo’s baseball future might get brighter

Paul Matney pitched hard for approval of a downtown ballpark, reciting his belief that Amarillo is, indeed, a “baseball town.”

The retired Amarillo College president walked the point for approval of the multipurpose event venue in a nonbinding municipal referendum in November 2015. Amarillo voters listened and approved the MPEV by a narrow margin.

Now the real hard part might be coming to a fruitful conclusion for the city. It well might come in the form of a signed agreement to bring a AA baseball franchise to Amarillo — on the provision that the city proceed with construction of the MPEV.

Or … we might be getting ahead of ourselves.

City Councilman Randy Burkett wears another hat as a member of the Local Government Corporation that’s seeking to negotiate a deal to bring a team that currently plays ball in San Antonio. He sent out a message that suggested that a deal might be struck by Feb. 1.

Not so fast, said Jerry Hodge, chairman of the LGC board. The deal won’t be done by then and Hodge — a former Amarillo mayor — said he is “ashamed” of Burkett for speaking prematurely.

I want to embrace the Matney view of Amarillo returning to its baseball roots. Its unaffiliated baseball team has abandoned this city, which used to be home to franchises affiliated with Major League Baseball teams. The AirHogs left because of the rotten condition of Potter County Memorial Stadium, the venue known formerly as the Dilla Villa.

There appears to be a complicated set of negotiations going on. San Antonio is trying to bring a AAA team to replace the AA team that is slated to move out. The AA San Antonio Missions have indicated a desire to move to Amarillo.

Meanwhile, the LGC is seeking to nail that down, at which point the city hopes to begin construction on the MPEV that Matney and others worked so hard to win voter approval more than a year ago.

Before we can see an organization signing up to play hardball in Amarillo, it appears there needs to be some procedural work done. It might have to start with reeling in a city councilman who is getting ahead of himself and the rest of the city’s negotiating team.

I want Amarillo to have minor-league baseball. I want it to land a team that will play ball in a shiny new ballpark downtown. I want Paul Matney’s vision to become a reality.

But first, let’s all get on the same page.