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The Sod Poodles Aren't As Outlandish As They Seem

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People have been saying a lot lately about the Sod Poodles.

On Twitter, people have called the name for the Padres’ new Double-A Texas League affiliate everything from “a national treasure,” to a “head scratcher” to “truly the dumbest team name ever.”

But is the name really all that different from some of the older, more established minor league monikers? Let’s use the Carolina Mudcats, which has been around since 1991, as an example.

Nobody bats an eye when they talk about the Mudcats, but there are lot of structural similarities between that name and the Sod Poodles. Both are made from a similar formula:

  • An antiquated, colloquial name for a common animal (prairie dog vs. catfish)
  • A form of dirt (sod vs. mud)
  • A second animal that in no way relates to the mascot (Poodle vs. Cat)

That’s also saying nothing of the Toledo Mud Hens, whose name dates back to 1902. It, too, draws on wet dirt and an animal that combine to form a nickname that relates to a real animal. In this case, “mudhen” refers to a bird called a coot, which, admittedly, would not make a particularly good baseball mascot.

Sod Poodles is also pretty similar to an older formula that involved throwing random mammals into bodies of water. The Eastern League alone houses the Sea Dogs and the SeaWolves, which seem to only differ when it comes to domestication.

That formula also includes the blood rival Charleston RiverDogs and Sacramento RiverCats, the near-extinct Mobile BayBears, the Batavia Muckdogs and, perhaps, the Quad Cities River Bandits (it is not clear if they live in the river or merely pilfer from those who live in the area).

See? When you drill down a bit, the new kid on the block isn’t all that different from the old standards.

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