The Padres' Triple-A affiliate has a new city, and a new ballpark is on the way for its 2014 debut in the Pacific Coast League. Now the El Paso, Texas, club has a new name to go along with it.
A "Name the Team" contest produced more than 5,000 submissions, which subsequently were narrowed to five finalists. On Tuesday, "Chihuahuas" was named the winner, as the world's smallest dog breed beat out Aardvarks, Buckaroos, Desert Gators and Sun Dogs.
The Chihuahuas will be El Paso's first affiliated professional baseball team since the Diablos, a D-backs farm team in the Double-A Texas League, left after the 2004 season. The Padres are moving their PCL club to El Paso -- where a downtown stadium remains under construction -- after three seasons in Tucson, Ariz.
In Tucson, the team shared its moniker with the big leaguers in San Diego. But a new city called for a fresh identity, and El Paso general manager Brad Taylor told MiLB.com that the selection process was aimed toward finding something fun and appealing to children. Chihuahuas won out, because they "represent fun and are fiercely loyal," Taylor said.
For the logo design, the team enlisted the help of Brandiose, a company that previously had worked on branding other Minor League teams with bold nicknames, such as the Richmond Flying Squirrels, a Giants affiliate. The results were a primary logo featuring the team name in front of the head of an apparently angry chihuahua wearing a spiked collar. One alternate logo depicts one of the little canines swinging a baseball bat in the form of a large bone.
Taylor, who has experience working for new Minor League franchises, knows it's unlikely that everyone will love the choice right away, but he believes they will take to it over time.
"If everyone liked the logo, then it'd probably be something very boring," he told MiLB.com. "This is something that you can't take too seriously; imagine seeing it through the eyes of a child, because again, it's all about fun. It might take some time to warm up to it, but we know people will grow to love the brand once they see how we do things."
Andrew Simon is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @HitTheCutoff.