Benjamin seeks help naming baseball team


This release just came in from Columbia Mayor Steve Benjamin’s office:

It’s Time to Name Our Team

New Professional Baseball Team in Columbia Needs Help of Fans.

A new chapter of baseball in Columbia will begin on Opening Night in April, 2016.  For the first time in more than a decade, professional baseball will be played in Columbia and in a spectacular new venue that will anchor the redevelopment of Columbia Common, the former State Mental Health Campus on Bull Street. 

Before the future stars of Major League baseball can lace up their spikes and take the field, they need a name. A name that speaks to, from and about our City with pride. Columbia’s team needs an identity that is uniquely Columbia, and we’re counting on the community to help us identify the moniker that will resonate throughout the Midlands.

Suggestions for the name of our new professional baseball team are now being accepted online at Fans are invited to suggest a name, along with a short explanation of their suggestion, from now until October 15th.

In the coming weeks, representatives of the team will spend time in Columbia conducting research, interviews, focus groups and discussions to help them better understand the community and select the new name.  Once the “Name Our Team” process concludes, team ownership and staff will synthesize the information and suggestions to develop an identity for Columbia’s team.

The winning name, along with the team’s logo and colors, will be unveiled in the Spring of 2015. The fan whose submission leads to the team’s new name will have the honor of throwing out a ceremonial first pitch on the Opening Night of the ballpark.  That fan will also receive a prize package that will include an official team cap and jersey and tickets to Opening Night. (If more than one fan submits the winning name, one of those fans will be chosen at random.)

“The team and venue will be great additions that will provide great entertainment and enhance the quality of life for residents of the Midlands,” said Jason Freier, Chairman and CEO of Hardball Capital and managing owner of the team.  “We are excited to begin the process of crafting an identity that is uniquely Columbia and that fans and the community at large can be proud of and call their own.”

Fans are also invited to join the conversation regarding what to name Columbia’s new team on social media. Be sure to “like” Columbia Professional Baseball on Facebook and follow @ColumbiaProBall on Twitter. Use #NameOurTeam to share your ideas.  Note that all official Name Our Team entries must be submitted online

“Through this process, we will come to better understand what makes Columbia so special and unique,” said Abby Naas, the team’s Vice President of Marketing and Public Relations, who will be moving to Columbia from Hardball Capital’s highly successful team in Fort Wayne, Indiana.  “We know from our experience re-branding our team in Fort Wayne that this can really be an opportunity to build an identity that the community can rally around.  The TinCaps brand is beloved in Fort Wayne and recognized nationally as one of the great monikers in Minor League Baseball.  We will work hard to achieve the same results in Columbia.”

For more information on the team and venue, and to enter your submission for the #NameOurTeam Contest, visit

I imagine that the mayor is likely to get a few names he’d rather not hear, given the raw tempers that were aired as the new ballpark was being debated.

But in case y’all have some serious suggestions, I thought I’d give you a heads-up.

28 thoughts on “Benjamin seeks help naming baseball team

    1. Silence

      The Strippers is good, but not alliterative enough. Air South is also very clever.

      How about the Columbia Colonels – a reference to both Fort Jackson’s location AND to our confederate heritage.
      We could use one of our historic minor-leage team names: The Columbia Bombers, Sandlappers, Senators, Comers or my favorite, the Commies. Of course we’ve also had the Mets, Reds, Gems, Gamecocks and Skyscrapers.

      I’m sure we’ve had this thread here before….
      Also a few other serious and not so serious suggestions:
      The Columbia Arsenal
      The Carolina Indigoes
      The Midlands Menace
      The Columbia Barred Owls
      The Columbia Cola
      Soda City Sluggers
      The Famously Hot Tamales
      The Midlands Mosquitos
      The Carolina Radials (’cause SC is a leading tire manufacturer)
      The Columbia Colonials (Colonial Life could sponsor them, and people could wear tri-corn hats at the stadium)
      The Columbia Cotton Bales
      The Columbia Confederates
      The Columbia Combustion (see: Gen. W.T. Sherman) also Conflagration
      The Columbia Crushers (Quarries near downtown…)
      The Columbia Heat
      The Columbia Colossus

      1. Doug Ross

        Colonels was one of my first ideas… I think it works.

        Also considered the Cannons.. in reference to the cannonballs that hit the State House.

        Ok, since I’ve already submitted my entry, I went with Columbia Coyotes.

        1. Silence

          I liked Cannons too, I thought it tied in nicely with our historic aresenal. Honestly I think Colonels is the best one. It really does work and make sense for our situation.

          1. SIlvia

            Will the Cannon mascot be a round black cannonball which will offend the black women in Columbia which share a similar body shape?

          1. Doug Ross

            They are wily (wile e.) and work in teams… plus the mascot potential is good as well as a rally cheer of Owooooooooooooooo!

  1. Doug Ross

    I already submitted my suggestion but won’t share it here.

    My alternative, considering the location, the Columbia Cuckoos.

    1. Doug Ross

      Karen – the “black hole” will be generating plenty of hospitality tax revenue, jobs, and positive impact on the local economy. Give it a chance.

        1. Doug Ross

          As long as the government isn’t running team, it should be fine. If the government ran it, we’d see a team with 47 players on the field, 6 of them actually playing.

          It’s a far better investment than the Palmetto Compress Warehouse… when is that investment going to pay off? When can we see the ROI? What could possibly take so long to finish a transaction?

          1. Silence

            I still think that City Council didn’t do a good job when they inked the deal with Hughes, basically they rushed to do a deal just to get a deal done. Had they waited, I’m sure a deal could have been done that required less taxpayer input, and would have ended up being a better fit in the long term for downtown Columbia. That said, we are stuck with Hughes. think that Jason Freier is going to do a good job with the baseball team. If anyone can make it work in Columbia, I think he can do it.
            But I still think council rushed into a bad deal.

    1. Silence

      Phillip, if you brush up on your organ skillz, you can probably get a lucrative side-job as the official organist of minor league baseball in Columbia. Talk about a resume builder. You’ll have master these songs though, first:
      “The Star Spangled Banner”
      “Take Me Out to the Ballgame”
      “It’s a Beautiful Day for a Ballgame”
      “Charge!” (like 10 different versions)
      “In the Good Old Summertime”
      “Rally Cry”
      “The Mexican Hat Dance” AKA “Chiapanecas”
      “Zip A Dee Doo Dah”
      “Espana Cani”
      “Funiculi Funicula”
      “The Beer Barrel Polka”
      “The Chicken Dance”
      and I’m sure a bunch more I’ve forgotten…

      Personally, I think that’d be a sweet gig.

  2. Phillip

    I think, sadly, very few MLB stadiums have live organists playing (I believe Atlanta is one)…and probably not many in minor league parks, either. I could definitely rock that gig. I’m glad you mentioned it, Silence, because I think I’m going to write Jason Freier a letter and advocate for going (for at least parts of the games) with old-school organ playing, with all those tunes you mentioned above. (But not me playing, though I’d be “game” to try sometime, but those Wurlitzers are mighty complicated). I’m sure they’ll opt instead for deafening short-enough-they-don’t-have-to-pay-royalties excerpts of current pop tunes, but it would be nice to have a touch of the old-timey-ness as part of the atmosphere.

    1. Silence

      Philip, I missed your reply the other day, somehow, but I hope they put in a real-live-organ too! I hope that other folks advocate for it as well!


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