After more than a year of community debate, North Carolina’s new minor league baseball team has finally settled on a name that is, unfortunately, inspiring unintentional giggles: The Fayetteville Woodpeckers.
The brand moniker was unveiled with much fanfare on Sunday and within minutes, the first “Peckerheads” reference appeared on Facebook.
It went down hill from there, with all manner of puns, predictions and facetious questions.
“So are the fans going to be called Peckerheads or Woodies?” asked Jon Kuhn on the team’s Facebook page.
“Using the words ‘Fayetteville Woodpeckers’ and ‘professional baseball’ in the same sentence is a joke,” posted Ruth Kittle Mullen on Facebook. “Who can take being called Peckerheads seriously.”
“I hope the Peckers can get ahead and stay ahead,” wrote Jeremy Fiebig.
As if the name wasn’t funny enough, fans like Davie P. Wedlock Jr. have notched up the jokes by asking what the team’s mascot will be and what it will be named.
Not all the feedback was sarcastic. Nicole Buchan wrote on Facebook that it was “better than the other choice, Fayetteville Fatbacks.”
Fatback is the pig fat, often used for seasoning in southern cooking.
Minor league baseball teams have become someone infamous in the past decade for picking strange names, in part to stir up the added publicity of public debate. North Carolina has some of the strangest, including the Carolina Mudcats and the Hickory Crawdads.
Sports Illustrated compiled a list of the best oddball names, including: the Hartford Yard Goats, Batavia Muck Dogs and Richmond Flying Squirrels. “They’re all hilarious! That’s what’s fun,” posted Christina L Simpson on the Woodpeckers Facebook page.
Woodpeckers now joins the list, as the official name of a Houston Astros farm team that is being moved from Buies Creek into a new stadium in downtown Fayetteville. The Charlotte Observer reported in June of 2017 that the team had narrowed its name options to five, including The Fly Traps, Fatbacks, Wood Dogs and Jumpers.
The Fayetteville Observer says the team got 1,300 suggestions and chose Woodpeckers in honor of the red cockaded woodpecker, an endangered bird in eastern North Carolina.