The Wild Wild West League, a summer wood bat baseball league for high school and college players, expanded from four teams to eight this week, establishing a four-team Texas Division to go with its existing four-team Portland (Oregon) Division. The new teams include the Cleburne Eagles, Joshua Trees, Fort Worth Rodeo Cats, and Burleson Boxers.
The Cleburne Eagles are reprising the brand of a Negro Leagues team that played in Texas from the 1930s to 1960s. Per a statement from the league, the team started as a sandlot team, then “the Cleburne Eagles rose to prominence in their hayday with highly talented players who went on to play for the Phillies as well as professional teams in Canada.”
The Joshua Trees are named for the town of Joshua, Texas, and the distinct flora of the Mojave Desert. While actual Joshua trees are most commonly associated with California, they can grow in Texas and the league sees them as a metaphor:
“The Joshua Trees stand tall and proud, just like U2’s biggest album of all time. They’ll enter your world surreptitiously, unbeknownst to you. Over time you’ll realize you can’t live without them. With roots that spread throughout the community, the Joshua Trees are the team to watch in the coming years.”
The Fort Worth Rodeo Cats pay homage to an independent professional team that played for more than a decade in the early 2000s, the Fort Worth Cats. Per the league: “The Fort Worth Cats roamed these hills for eons, but the Rodeo Cats are taking over. Confidently clawing into their pommels, these Rodeo Cats will leave the best buckaroos shaking in their boots.”
The Burleson Boxers lean on alliteration for their brand, and the league calls their boxing boxer dog “the funnest, cutest team of all time.”
The WWL was formed in 2020 with two teams by the Portland Pickles in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The league expanded to four teams in 2021: The original two, the Portland Gherkins and Gresham Greywolves, and two new teams, the Portland Rosebuds and Willamette Wild Bills. The new eight-team league will begin play in June.