Tag Archives: Texas League

Amarillo Sod Poodles: We’re No. 1?

This bit of news simply knocks me out.

The Amarillo Sod Poodles, which is about to begin playing AA hardball, has been named the top team nickname in all of minor-league baseball.

The Sod Poodles beat out the El Paso Chihuahuas by a couple of percentage points in a vote taken by Fox Sports: MLB.

Is this the real deal? Is this poll legit, or does it assume credence merely because it gives the home team some positive karma?

I don’t know. I do think believe it’s kind of cool that a name that was greeted initially in the city by across-the-board scorn has won this particular honor.

I saw the names of the other teams being considered. I liked the Lansing Lug Nuts and the Hartford Yard Goats, too.

But I am one who has gone through a change of heart regarding the Sod Poodles name. I hated it at first, then grew to embrace it.

Now it appears that others like it, too.

Unless Amarillo’s baseball fans have stuffed the ballot box. Whatever . . . the Sod Poodles are No. 1!

‘Ruckus’ a better mascot than that . . . other thing

I have to hand it to the Amarillo Sod Poodles baseball organization.

They’ve come up with a mascot for the AA baseball team that seems oh, so very appropriate for what they’ve decided to call the team.

The mascot’s name is “Ruckus” and it looks like, well, a “Sod Poodle,” which the community is told is an old-time name for prairie dog. So, Ruckus looks a bit like a prairie dog.

Compare “Ruckus” with what the previous baseball organization rolled out about eight years ago. It was meant to symbolize a “Sox.” It looked, well, kinda weird. And perhaps vaguely obscene.

It was unidentifiable.

See what I mean?

So, the Sod Poodles are going to play before a sold out house at Hodgetown on April 8. It’s their home opener in the Texas League. They’re playing in a shiny new ballpark in downtown Amarillo, and not in that rat hole dump at the Tri-State Fairgrounds.

At least “Ruckus” looks like what he symbolizes.

It’s a start!

Sod Poodles: The name grows on me

I have to make an admission: The name of Amarillo’s new AA baseball team has grown on me.

Yes, even more than it did before the city’s minor-league baseball team had actually chosen the name “Sod Poodles.”

I find myself saying it out loud with hardly a hint of self-consciousness. I saw a story today in the online version of the Amarillo Globe-News that the Sod Poodles had unveiled the team bus, which they’ll take as they travel from city to city to play baseball in the Texas League.

Certainly, the name had a steep hill to climb when it emerged on a list of five finalist name under consideration. My initial reaction to Sod Poodles was “Huh? What the hell is that? What are Sod Poodles, for crying out loud?”

We learned that Sod Poodles supposedly is an Old West term to describe prairie dogs. I have yet to hear anyone say they knew that.

But . . . the name is growing on me. It becomes the team’s identity around the Texas League.

I’m pretty sure baseball fans in all the cities in the league are going to be, um, talking about the Sod Poodles. I just hope they do so with no more than a smile on their faces.

Here come the Sod Poodles gags

Here they come. The jokes are going to become part of conversation in Amarillo, Texas, which is preparing to welcome the return of minor-league baseball next spring.

The hole you see in the picture above is meant to poke fun of the new baseball team’s name, the Amarillo Sod Poodles.

Sod Poodles supposedly is one archaic term for prairie dogs. I haven’t talked to anyone with any history in the Texas Panhandle or the High Plains who has heard of the term “Sod Poodles.”

Whatever, the jokes are piling up around the Panhandle.

My hunch is that the team owners are laughing hysterically themselves at what they have brought to the region.

The Sod Poodles will be a AA minor-league outfit affiliated with the National League’s San Diego Padres. The team used to play as the San Antonio Missions, but moved to Amarillo when San Antonio welcomed a AAA team.

My wife and I have moved away from Amarillo, but I am having fun watching this team’s presence in the city evolve and develop.

The multipurpose event venue/ballpark will be done by April 2019 when the Sod Poodles open Texas League play. They’ve laid down the sod. The structure is taking shape downtown.

And the jokes are flying.

Let’s play ball!

Sod Poodles it is!

Well, so much for spies and snitches who led me astray.

The Amarillo baseball franchise that starts playing ball next spring today revealed the name of the Double A team that will take the field next April.

Amarillo Sod Poodles? Yep, that’s it, man! Sod Poodles.

Get used to it.

A friend who said he knew what was coming today told me he thought the team would announce another name, even though Sod Poodles had gotten the most public attention. That was the subject of an earlier blog post.

I can imagine now that the chatter, tittering and muttering has commenced already. Many of Amarillo’s residents are now talking about the new name, which is what the owners of the team wanted when they announced the list of five finalist names a few months ago.

I’ll admit one thing for sure: I hated Sod Poodles when I first saw the name on the list of five finalists listed by the Elmore Group, owners of the franchise. I rated the name at the bottom of the finalist list, right next to Jerky.

Then I thought about it. And I thought some more about it. Over time, the name began to grow on me.

The Elmore Group, the team owners, said it sought a quirky name, one that would generate some discussion in Amarillo and around the Texas League, to which the team will belong.

I’m betting the team owners will accomplish their mission once the Sod Poodles name is circulated around the league — and around the country.

Is this my idea of a suitable name for a baseball team? No. However, it does have a curiously attractive ring to it.

I cannot explain it. It just does.

Hoping the council will share the credit with predecessors

I noticed some pictures today of the announcement that a Double A baseball franchise is coming to Amarillo.

I saw plenty of dignitaries and the chairman of the team that’s coming to the Panhandle. They’re excited as the dickens at the prospect of building that shiny new ballpark downtown. They should be!

But when they finish the job, when they chalk the field for the opening game of the 2019 Texas League baseball season at the new place in downtown Amarillo, I am hoping that the City Council will be sure to extend an invitation to the festivities to the individuals who did much of the work to make it happen.

I refer to the previous City Council.

Amarillo voters turned over the entire five-member council this past May. The new folks took over and then watched the Local Government Corporation hammer out the details of the San Antonio Missions’ baseball franchise relocation.

This, of course, didn’t happen overnight. It didn’t even transpire in the span of a month or two. It took years to cobble together this agreement.

I recall when President Obama strode to the microphone in May 2011 to announce the killing of Osama bin Laden. He made it clear that the effort was done after years of diligent work by intelligence and military agencies over the course of two administrations.

He has said the first call he made when he new bin Laden was dead and the commandos who killed him were out of danger was to former President George W. Bush.

I don’t intend to put too fine a point on this, but Amarillo’s next big step forward is the work of a lot of individuals and local agencies. Yes, I was critical of the previous council over a number of issues. However, it was that council’s hard work that brought about the big announcement today.

My candidate for throwing out the first pitch in April 2019? Former Mayor Paul Harpole.

Who’s on first in the Texas League?


Left hand, meet the right hand. Right, say “hey” to left.

Someone — and it’s difficult to discern who — isn’t talking entirely straight regarding a possible baseball franchise move from one city to another in Texas.

A consultant who works with the San Antonio Missions of the Texas League apparently has told downtown Amarillo officials that the Missions might like to consider moving to Amarillo once the city build its downtown ball park.

Oh, but wait! Tom Kayser, president of the Texas League, said the Missions aren’t moving anywhere. Kayser said Rich Neumann, the consultant working with Brailsford & Dunlavey, isn’t speaking for the team or the league or anyone else he can think of.

The third principal here is Melissa Dailey, head of Downtown Amarillo Inc., who told the Amarillo Local Government Corporation of the Missions’ possible move. I don’t recall her saying anything was set in stone, or that any other pledges had been made.

Yes, it’s a bit confusing.

Something is amiss. Someone might have spoken out of turn down yonder in San Antonio without telling the league president of the intention.

It’s been reported that San Antonio wants to upgrade to a AAA farm club; the Missions are a AA team affiliated with the San Diego Padres of the National League. Amarillo’s baseball fortunes currently are tied to an independent organization that in the next season will play half of its own homes in Grand Prairie. So, with that, Amarillo is looking to upgrade as well, to a AA team with a Major League Baseball affiliation.

So, let’s get all this straight. OK?

Many of us in Amarillo want to see some movement in the right direction as it involves the city’s baseball future.

First things first. How about we determine with absolute certainty whether the discussions we’ve been told have occurred with the San Antonio Missions are the real thing — or are they just a diversion?