The city of Gastonia, North Carolina, will be home to a new baseball team in the independent Atlantic League beginning with the 2021 season. After a summer of collecting suggestions in a name-the-team contest, the team unveiled its five finalists this week: Fire Ants, Hogzillas (the early leader, based on social media comments), Honey Hunters, Hotshots, and Uppercuts.
The excerpts below are explanations from the team of each of the names. (The rather lengthy complete descriptions are available on the team’s site.)
Exceptionally impressive individually, the fire ant is able to carry as much as 50 times their body weight, pound for pound, ranking them atop the strongest creatures on Earth. But if you want to see the real magic happen, watch as they assemble as a team, working tirelessly to create expansive and intricate networks for their colony and queen. And watch out for the winged watchmen – as they say, you mess with one, you mess with the whole colony.
Did you see that? In the distance? Coming down off the mountain. It’s getting closer. Gaining speed. Crushing everything in its path. We’d all heard the myths, but dismissed them as old wives’ tales. After all, where would something of that size and power hide? Until now, we’d never seen the horrific Hogzilla with our own eyes. Truth be told, he’s more terrifying than the tales told.
Our namesake pays homage to the original Honey Hunter, Hunter Ransom – Gaston County’s first freed slave and African American land owner. Our self-taught, self-made hometown hero turned “useless land” into a place where dreams were realized, and could often be heard saying, “Strive to better yourself, but always remember where you came from.”
The most elite special forces in firefighting, the best of the best, these fearless protectors are unexpectedly embodied as cut up, ax swinging rabbits, and use their natural abilities to leap into action when flames break out in the Gas House. Outfitted in their fire suits, these hometown heroes, also known as Smoke Jumpers, keep their vigilant ears to the ground and their lucky foot on the gas.
Though you want find us on the chopping block, we did manage to steel a page or two out of the cookbook. Like the best North Carolina barbeque, we Uppercuts offer up a one-two punch of that sour kick and the sweet, smooth finish that keeps you coming back for more. But may we suggest the chicken? We’ve chased a few out of the ring – couldn’t stand the heat. And whether you’re just passing through or planning to stay for a while, you’ll be left with a sweet taste in your mouth and our fighting spirit in your bones.
Voting is taking place now on the team’s website.