Amarillo unveiled the name and logo of its new Minor League team, the Sod Poodles, on Tuesday afternoon.
The Sod Poodles will be the Padres' Double A affiliate, formerly the San Antonio Missions in the Texas League. They will start next season in a new ballpark in downtown Amarillo. 2019 will mark the first time Amarillo has fielded a Texas League team since the 1982 Amarillo Gold Sox.
Sod Poodles is a "pioneer's nickname for 'Prairie Dogs'" the team said in a statement. The name was chosen in a "Name the Team" contest over Boot Scooters, Bronc Busters, Jerky and Long Haulers. Sod Poodles finished first in the fan vote and was also the choice of the front office.
"We wanted something different, something authentic to Amarillo that's never been done before," Tony Ensor, Sod Poodles president and general manager, told MiLB.com. "Early on, we looked over a lot of different areas, and we were really focused on the beef industry. ... But obviously prairie dogs are prevalent in West Texas, and once we discovered the uniqueness of the Sod Poodle, the minute that name came out, everyone's eyebrows were raised."
The team's new logo features a prairie dog in a cowboy hat and the state colors of Texas, a tribute to the team's host state. While the Sod Poodle mascot will be revealed on opening day, along with the ballpark name and uniform, the new name already has plenty of fans in Amarillo.
"We had [our local] Chick-fil-A putting up on their marquee 'Chicken tastes better than sod poodle,'" Ensor said."You'd go in and around town, and there were stores selling sod poodle cookies and popsicles and three or four different brands of T-shirts. A lawyer in town made it part of his marketing campaign ... and there's a church on Polk Street that made 'Sod Poodles and Mind Boggles' the topic of a sermon. Everywhere you turn, people were embracing it–it created its own energy. The community created this buzz, so even aside from the fan vote, we got the sense that this was the direction everyone wanted to go."
Minor League baseball has also announced the new identity's of two other teams, the Rocket City Trash Pandas and the Fayetteville Woodpeckers.