The Kannapolis Intimidators are playing a game tonight as the Piedmont Boll Weevils, the name the franchise had from 1996 to 2000. Piedmont is the name of the region in which Kannapolis is located, and boll weevils are bugs that eat cotton plants—serious pests in a part of the world that relies on the textile industry.
The team changed from the Boll Weevils to the Intimidators prior to the 2001 season, when a new ownership group that included Dale Earnhardt, Sr., took over, and the team was switching from a Phillies affiliate to a White Sox affiliate.
“Everyone for the most part knew the team’s name was going to change when the affiliation with the Phillies was ending,” said Josh Feldman, who was the team’s director of communications back when I interviewed him for the Intimidators’ Story Behind the Nickname. “People were open to a transition, especially with the name that we picked.”
That said, there’s still nostalgia for the old name, and tonight, the Intimidators are throwing back to their days as the Boll Weevils. They’ll wear uniforms featuring their old Boll Weevils duds and a logo that is almost identical to that one from the 1990s—all that’s missing is the Phillies P on Bo the Weevil’s cap.
The Intimidators are playing their final season with their current brand, and some fans are already clamoring for a return to the days of the Boll Weevils. So it’s possible that this throwback night is a trial run for that possibility. Or it’s just a fun throwback to one of the early quirky nicknames.