They did it. They named our AA baseball team the Amarillo Sod Poodles. It’s official, it’s despicable, and it’s not going to change.
I was in attendance yesterday in the Yellow Rose Ballroom at the brand new Embassy Suites Hotel downtown when the San Diego Padres AA affiliate unveiled the disturbingly absurd moniker. I thought it was a joke right up to the very end. I thought they were telling us Sod Poodles and showing us all the logos, giving us this moment that was anti-climactic at best and humiliating at worst, in order to switch gears and unveil the real name. I kept hoping they would give us a name we would all be surprised by and proud of, a name we’d all hang around and talk about, a name we’d be excited to share with our friends and plaster on the backs of our pickup trucks.
No. It’s Sod Poodles.
To make things worse, they also encouraged us to refer to our new team as the “Soddies” and revealed another logo to go with it. As a writer at CBS Sports noted, “The Sod Poodles can also go by ‘Soddies,’ which is miraculously worse than Sod Poodles.”
When the black curtain came down and the Sod Poodles name was announced to the packed ballroom, the disappointed man standing next to me said, “It’ll have to grow on me.”
One of the many disturbing aspects of this whole thing is the way the national media is blindly parroting the team’s insistence that Sod Poodles is a pioneer-era Texas slang expression for prairie dog. I’ve yet to see any proof. The 70-80 year residents of our city I’ve spoken to have never heard the term. I’m also bothered by General Manager Tony Ensor’s spinning of the city’s response to the name. He’s being quoted everywhere today as saying “the community created the buzz” around Sod Poodles and “this is the direction everyone wanted to go.” He’s using derisive Chick-fil-A signs and tongue-in-cheek lawyer ads and goofy sermon titles from Terry Tamplen at Polk Street United Methodist Church as evidence that Amarillo citizens have endorsed and embraced this move from the start. Like somehow we’re responsible for this!
The defense for Sod Poodles has always been that all minor league teams have goofy names. My argument is that you know what all those other names mean. In New Orleans, you know what a Baby Cake is. A Chihuahua is a real dog. You know what a Lugnut is. And a Biscuit. And Sand Gnats. Just like a joke is not funny if you have to explain it, the team name doesn’t work if you have to explain what it means.
I’m not a PR guy. I’m not a marketer. Maybe they’re onto something huge. Maybe this is genius. Maybe it won’t matter on a sunny afternoon in April at that beautiful gem of a downtown ballpark.
No. It’s Sod Poodles. It’ll have to grow on me.