Nutty Possible New Team Names Have Colorado Springs Baseball Fans Bellowing

July 27, 2018
Photo: Colorado Springs Sky Sox at Security Service Field
The Sky Sox, seen here at Security Service Field in Colorado Springs, are leaving town. But a new team is on its way, and there's debate over what their name should be.

The uprising was swift after the Colorado Springs Sky Sox announced the five name-change finalists for the city's new minor league team.

The contenders, among the more than 2,000 contenders: Happy Campers, Lamb Chops, Punchy Pikas, Throttle Jockeys and Rocky Mountain Oysters.

"These names are horrible," Nikki Rico commented on Facebook. "I’m wondering if they know what a rocky mountain oyster is! It’s sad but our days of attending baseballs games in Colorado Springs are over.”

Dave Bettinger wrote, “These names are ridiculous and demeaning to Colorado Springs. Why not something more appropriate to our city?”

But Chris Phillips, general manager for the Sky Sox, said he’s excited to watch a new brand come to life and get people talking.

“They may not love the names right now but what I'm saying is let us work through it because right now they’re just words and they’re names,” he told CPR's Jo Ann Allen. “It’s kind of tough to picture how you can envision wrapping a team and a brand around that but once you see the logo and the imagery and the mascot, and that whole thing comes to life, that’s when you’ll really get it.”

Fans will have until Aug. 2 to vote. Here’s what Phillips had to say about each of the five finalists:

Happy Campers

Photo: Camping near Evergreen, Colorado
Campers near Evergreen, Colorado.

"It’s kind of like a state of mind of people that live in Colorado. Colorado Springs specifically is a very transient city so we’ve got people here living from all over the country. It’s kind of a tribute to everything outdoors, hanging out with friends and family, having a cold beer, having a hotdog, meeting the mascot. You’re doing all those things, you’re at the ballpark, you’re a happy camper."

Lamb Chops

Photo: Blackface Lamb at National Western Stock Show (AP Photo)
A blackface lamb at the 2009 National Western Stock Show and Rodeo in Denver. 

"A tribute to Colorado lamb, which is definitely served in a lot of high-end restaurants here. So it’s not like this cute, cuddly lamb. But it’s like this really bad, mean looking lamb and he’s holding the cleaver. So it’s kind of flipping the script a little bit with some of these names. Still keeping them kid friendly, but making them something that you can really kind of get behind and have fun with."

Punchy Pikas

Photo: American Pika (AP Photo)
An American pika. 

"I had to Google this. I had no idea. It got a ton of submissions so we said, 'Well let’s look into this and see if it’s got some validity.' And sure enough a Pika is a small kind of marmot rodent-looking animal that lives above the treeline in Colorado and some surrounding states. And they’re kind of cute, cuddly looking. But they can also be fierce and one of their cool attributes was that anytime a kind of enemy animal appears they all bunch together and make themselves kind of fierce and look like one big animal. And we like that grit and determination, and the punchy pikas was what got submitted for fan vote."

Throttle Jockeys

Photo: Soldiers Salute Flag Return To Fort Carson 2012 (AP File)
Soldiers salute the U.S. flag at Fort Carson during a welcome home ceremony upon returning from a deployment in Afghanistan in 2012.

"Huge military town here. We’ve got Peterson Air Force Base, obviously the Air Force Academy, Ft. Carson, Schriever Air Force Base. So a tribute to the military and the brave men and women that serve this country and they’re a huge part of our audience and our fanbase and we wanted to make sure we had a good strong, military name as part of the fan vote and we thought this one we could have the most fun with."

Rocky Mountain Oysters

Photo: Rocky Mountain Oysters At Coors Field
Deep-fried Rocky Mountain oysters are served at Coors Field in Denver. 

"Rocky Mountain Oysters certainly have caused some conversation. I wouldn’t say controversy. I think at first people were maybe shocked. It’s been really fun to see fans at the ballpark come up and say, 'You know, it’s kind of growing on me. I think I’m liking the Oysters.' And it's fun. It’s very minor league baseball, obviously, and we would make it very kid and family friendly if we went that route. But at the end of the day, it’s a food, right. They serve rocky mountain oysters at Coors Field and at festivals and fairs all over the state so we think we can obviously have some fun with that while keeping it very PG."