The Joliet Slammers, who under normal circumstances play in the independent Frontier League, will host a four-team City of Champions Cup this summer. The newly formed temporary league will feature the Slammers, who have been around since 2011, as well three new teams, the Tully Monsters, Chicago Deep Dish, and NERDS® Herd.
The nicknames all have significance to the area’s natural and cultural heritage. We covered the Slammers prison-based brand here in our Story Behind the Nickname series back in 2016. As for the others:
The nickname Tully Monsters comes from 300 million-year-old fossils—the state fossil of Illinois—found at nearby Mazon Creek Fossil Beds.
The Deep Dish comes from the area’s iconic and distinct take on the classic food stuff. Per the team, “Deep dish is rooted in the culture and history of Chicagoland, and each restaurant strives for the longest cheese pull when serving a slice.”
And finally, the NERDS® Herd pays tribute to the Ferrara Candy Company, a Chicago staple since 1908.
The City of Champions Cup will run from July 16 to September 6.