Just forget the words and sing along

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Cracker-Cats No More

Granted, I'm not much of a sports guy, but I wanted to take a minute to talk about the demise of one of the stupidist sports names in Edmonton sports.

Yesterday, it was announce that Edmonton's Golden League baseball team, the Cracker Cats, would be renamed the Edmonton Capitals.

I'll never forget when Edmonton was granted a Golden League Baseball franchise four years ago. How the name Cracker-Cats came about is...well, foolish. According to urban legend, which was widely reported at the time, the name Cracker-Cats came about like this. The owners of the team spent millions of dollars on a marketing study to choose a name for the team. When the marketing wizards came back to the owners to present the team name, the owners said, "That's a stoopid name! We're not using that."

Because Edmonton has always been a centre of oilfield activity, they wanted a name that reflected the oil industry. So the owners grabbed the Big Book of Oilfield Terms, randomly flipped through the pages, and their finger landed on the term "catalytic cracking," which is a chemical process in the early stages of oil refinement. They flipped it around, and got "Cracker Cats."

Needless to say, lots of people thought it was a stupid name. Some baseball historians even went so far as to call the name racist, as "the Crackers" was the name of Atlanta's old Negro League team.

There were lots of problems with the Crakcer Cats, which have been widely reported in the Edmonton media. The owners lived in Florida, and never, ever set foot in Edmonton. It almost seemed as though the owners were dedicated to driving away fans, with a series of meaningless and almost random front office changes. There were reportes of game attendance dwindling at around 150.

But all that seems to have changed. At the close of the 2008 season, the Cracker Cats were bought by...the Edmonton Oilers! And the Oilers seem dedicated to turning the team around and making it viable. They've even announced that they're moving some of their offices out of Rexall Place and down to Telus Field as a show of support.

And yesterday, they announced that the name is being changed from the Cracker Cats to the Capitals...which was the winner in a city-wide "name the team" contest. Says Capitals governor Patrick LaForge, "Alberta's Capital City. Oil Capital of Canada. It just makes sense."

Along with yesterday announcement, they also unveiled the team's new colours - which is the Oiler's copper and blue - and the launch of a "design a logo" contest.

I want baseball to work in Edmonton. My mother was the baseball nut in the family, and I've got many fond memories of going to Edmonton Trappers games when I was a kid. Baseball does work in Edmonton. It can work again.

Here's the story announcing the new name.

Here's the Edmonton Capitals' new website

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