The New Britain Rock Cats are holding a contest to select their new nickname once the Eastern League baseball club moves to Hartford in a little over 13 months in April 2016. Fans have until March 11 to vote for their three favorite nicknames at www.hartfordplaysball2016.com. The selection committee received nearly 6,000 entries over the past two weeks.
Most are unique and some make you scratch your head. We’re providing you with all 10 proposed nicknames and the explanation that goes with each name.
- Blue Frogs: Combining Hartford’s literary and baseball history, “Blue Frogs” marries Mark Twain’s book, Jumping Frog, and the name of Hartford’s first baseball team, the Dark Blues.
- Choppers: Celebrating Hartford’s place in Aviation history, the “Choppers” honors Connecticut’s invention of the first helicopter in 1939.
- Hedgehogs: Known as the “insurance capital of America” the Hedgehog is a tribute to our insurance industry, while celebrating Hartford’s fighting spirit.
- Honey Badgers: Everyone loves a good alliteration and Honey Badgers is a fun name that falls in line with the Lugnuts, Biscuits and other wacky names minor league baseball is known for.
- Hound Dogs: A smart, loyal and useful dog who is always by your side, just like the community of Hartford.
- Praying Mantis: As Connecticut’s state insect, the Praying Mantis embodies Hartford’s fighting spirit and being known for punching above its weight.
- River Hogs: This fun team name is a tribute to the legendary “Hog River” that flows under the city of Hartford.
- Screech Owls: A Hartford native, screech owls are known for their fierce piercing calls.
- Whirlybirds: Celebrating Connecticut’s helicopter manufacturing and the Northeast Helicopter School, the Whirlybirds opens up all kinds of fun mascot possibilities.
- Yard Goats: Railroad slang for an engine that switches a train to get it ready for another locomotive to take over, the Yard Goats honors Hartford’s rich railroad history.
The contest will run from today until March 11 when the final five names will be appear on the website along with the corresponding contestants who submitted the names. The winning name will be unveiled at a press conference on Wednesday, March 18.
By the way, Rock Cats wasn’t universally beloved when that nickname was introduced nearly 20 years ago. But it grew on us all.