A rose by any other name would smell as sweet.
At least that’s what Shakespeare told us years ago.
A minor league baseball team by any other name, specifically the New Orleans Zephyrs, should work just fine, too.
When it comes to minor league baseball nicknames, anything goes, anyway.
And if you don’t believe me, just check out the list of seven names that the Zephyrs revealed as finalists for what the Triple-A team will call itself starting next season. Fans can vote at zephyrsbaseball.com.
Here’s a breakdown of the seven choices, along with one man’s opinion of each.
New Orleans Baby Cakes
This is supposed to be a tribute to the king cake, a Mardi Gras tradition. I have several objections to this one. The first is that I had an uncle who referred to his girlfriend as “Baby Cakes.” To me, this name sounds more fitting for a roller derby team or a female professional wrestler. Or a stripper.
There were right at 2,000 names submitted when the Zephyrs announced the contest. It’s hard for me to believe this one made the final cut.
New Orleans King Cakes
This one, like the one above, is obviously based on the king cake.
“The King Cake tradition bring families and community members together to celebrate the joyous season of Mardi Gras, just like minor league baseball draws families together,” the Zephyrs said in their news release.
Sometimes simple is better. I could live with this one.
New Orleans Night Owls
This is probably my favorite. Nobody does nightlife like this city. We could call them the NoNos for short.
And surely there’d be some great marketing ideas based on Owls making the “Whooo” sound. We could even call the mascot the Whooo Dat or the Whooo Bat. Something.
New Orleans Crawfish
This one’s self-explanatory.
New Orleans Po’boys
The Montgomery Biscuits are a minor league team in Alabama, so the food theme isn’t unprecedented. In fact, the Biscuits were near the top in a recent “Sports Illustrated” list of the top nicknames in minor league baseball. The New Orleans Gumbo or Jambalaya or Beignets perhaps would have worked just as well.
New Orleans Red Eyes
Speaking of food, this is because of this city’s love for crawfish. I’m not a fan of this one.
But we could combine it with one of the ones above and just call them the Red-Eyed Night Owls, paying tribute to the city’s late-night revelers whose bloodshot eyes indicate they may have had a few too many. If you really want to compromise, just call them the Red-Eyed Po’Boy-Eating Night Owls.
New Orleans Tailgators
The Zephyrs say this name was chosen because “alligators are synonymous with Louisiana, and tailgating is synonymous with baseball.” For me, tailgating is synonymous with football.
Maybe the fact that Zephyr Field will host high school football games this fall confused everybody.
So those are the choices.
And though some are not ideal, it’s minor league baseball, where weird nicknames are the norm.
There are the Savannah Bananas in Georgia, so you could have gone with a rhyming name like the Nola Granola.
There are the Topeka Train Robbers in Kansas (Lord knows there would be plenty of crimes to choose from around here).
There are the Richmond Flying Squirrels and the Hartford Yard Goats and the Lansing Lugnuts.
So when it comes to minor league baseball, any nickname will do.
Just please don’t call them the Baby Cakes.