The announcement that minor league baseball was on its way to Amarillo came nearly a year and a half ago. Since then, one question above all others has lingered in the Panhandle city: what would the new club be called? At long last, there’s an answer, though it hasn’t come without controversy.
Before we get to what the name is, let’s talk about how we got here. Amarillo has had minor-league baseball teams before – teams like the Thunderheads, the Gold Sox, the Gassers. But this team, the Double-A affiliate for the San Diego Padres, will be a new start. Amarilloans voted to publicly finance a new downtown ballpark, and a new name was up for debate, too. In May, the team announced five finalists: the Long Haulers, the Bronc Busters, the Boot Scooters, the Jerky and the Sod Poodles. The public response was less than enthusiastic, says local writer Jason Boyett.
“We heard those five finalist names, and there was just a collective groan as somebody read them to us,” Boyett says. “They were all a little bit hackneyed. They relied more on stereotypes about who we are rather than who we want to be, I think, and that was some of the reason that people were so upset by them.”
So upset that Boyett started an online petition for better names. Over 7,000 people signed it, but the club wouldn’t budge: the names were the names – there would be no other options. The only thing to do was get on board with at least one of them. And one name rose above the rest, says local rancher and bootmaker Carson Leverett. He’s also an amateur songwriter who came up with a ditty about the preferred name:
“They are the Sod Poodles, Sod Poodles, them Sod Poodles, they sure know how to win,” as one of Leverett’s songs goes.