Are you ready for the Down East HamHawks?
That’s just one of the finalists announced on Thursday by the Carolina League’s newest team, in Kinston, N.C. After receiving more than 1,300 submissions, the team has narrowed the list to five choices.
Down East HamHawks: As one of the country’s biggest pork producers, there’s no questioning the importance of the pig in North Carolina. But, hogs are just a fraction of what the state is known for–this is also the birthplace of aviation. This team name is a play on words, paying homage to some of the state’s most notable contributions.
Down East Eagles: A nod to baseball history in the Eastern part of the state, the Eagles were the first pro team to play at Historic Grainger Stadium.
Down East Hogzillas: Whole hog BBQ is part of the very fabric that makes Eastern North Carolina a colorful place. Hogzilla is a mighty and powerful team ready to bring home the bacon, and the wins, for fans.
Down East Shaggers: The Carolina Shag is a partner dance that will leave your toes tapping. Watch for members of this team to shag balls on the field and maybe even invite you to dance at the ballpark.
Down East Wood Ducks: Also known as “woodies,” these colorful local waterfowl are a favorite among local hunters and boast some of the sharpest claws among all ducks. Less than 24 hours after hatching, these gutsy ducklings make a long and unassisted jump out of their nest high above the ground. Look for this team to make equally plucky plays on the field.
And, as one might have noticed, the team will not use Kinston in its name. Wade Howell, the team’s general manager, explained why in the statement announcing the choices for the team’s name.
“While the new team will call the great city of Kinston home, there are so many people from neighboring areas that will be part of the family fans,” Howell explained. “To honor the geographic diversity of the fans and to give a nod to the many vibrant areas the team, we’ll precede the new team nickname with phrase, Down East.”
Fans wishing to make their vote heard can vote on the team’s website for the next two weeks.
The Down East team, whatever it winds up being called, is the first of two new teams in the Carolina League. The second is widely reported to land in Fayetteville, N.C., and have the Astros as a parent club. What the second team doesn’t have, however, is a home stadium for the next two seasons. The Fayetteville city council recently gave primary approval for the financing on a downtown stadium to be completed before the 2019 season. The two new teams are the results of High Desert and Bakersfield being shuttered in the California League.