Since the contraction of two teams in the California League and the accompanying expansion of the Carolina League two seasons ago, we’ve known that the existence of the Buies Creek Astros was temporary. The Astros were a placeholder for a team destined for Fayetteville, North Carolina, just over 30 miles to the south. That team, we learned today, will be called the Fayetteville Woodpeckers.
The Woodpeckers nickname beat out four other entries in a name-the-team contest, Fatbacks, Fly Traps, Jumpers and Wood Dogs. It’s a somewhat more conservative name than many we’ve seen in recent years in minor league baseball, though that’s not surprising, as that is often the case with teams owned by their parent club, as is the case with the Woodpeckers.
The nickname is due in part to the presence of woodpeckers in the area, but it also ties to the city’s status as home to Fort Bragg military installation. Team president Mark Zarthar, quoted in an article by Benjamin Hill on MiLB.com, explains:
“Woodpeckers are small but resilient. They’re considered to be a tough bird, and an important part of the ecosystem,” said team president Mark Zarthar, quoted in an article by Benjamin Hill on MiLB.com. “They control the insect population and assist other birds finding places to nest. Those traits match Fayetteville, which is vital to the protection of our country, with Fort Bragg located here.”
The logos were designed in-house, and will be seen for the first time in Fayetteville on the 15th game of 2019 season. The team’s 14-game road trip to open the season is presumably a buffer to allow for the completion of their new stadium, which is expected in March.