With team names as quirky as the RubberDucks (yep – it’s all one word), as intimidating as the Flying Squirrels, as cryptic as the Blue Wahoos, and as iconic as the Mud Hens, Minor League Baseball has some pretty good names. But not everyone loves or understands them. Take the Hartford Yard Goats, for example. I mean, who knew there was such a term to begin with?
Yesterday’s post prompted the question, “what’s a Yard Goat, anyway?” According to a press release from the team, “The definition of a Yard Goat is a hardworking locomotive that moves trains from track to track, keeping the rail yard moving. A Minor League Baseball player is like that Yard Goat, working hard in his Minor League City to keep his Major League affiliate on track.”
When the team’s owners moved the team from New Britain to Hartford, CT, they decided to let the community vote on the team’s new name. The team held a naming contest and received over 6,000 submissions. They narrowed the list down to 10, then 5. The finalists were: Hedgehogs, Praying Mantis, River Hogs, Yard Goats, and Whirlybirds. The final name was chosen by the team owner, Josh Solomon; general manager, Tim Restall; a consultant; and a sports branding/marketing company. And, thus, the Yard Goats were born. (The person who proposed the name Yard Goats, Anthony Castora, was awarded two season tickets for life; the other finalists each received two season tickets for the 2016 season. Castora, a 1998 graduate of the University Connecticut who now lives in New Jersey, said he would donate his tickets to charity, though he plans to attend Opening Day.)
When the name was announced, the headline on CBSSports.com read, “Hartford Yard Goats is actual new name of minor league team.” As the New York Times reported, the name was not an immediate hit. And the reaction to the new name from the Mayor of New Britain, the former home of the team?
What’s your favorite minor league team name?