New El Paso franchise is the Chihuahuas

Published: October 23, 2013, 8:37 am, by Joe Paisley

elpaso_480x380_flzfuiwy_5djcbtrgFrom Muckdogs to RockHounds, RiverDogs to Sea Dogs, minor league baseball is home to a wide variety of canine nicknames. But in 2014, a brand new breed will appear on the scene: Chihuahuas.

El Paso’s new Pacific Coast League franchise announced Tuesday that, yes, they will be known as “The Chihuahuas” in 2014 and beyond. The smallest of the world’s dog breeds was chosen over four other finalists in a “Name The Team” contest that garnered over 5,000 submissions, triumphing over Aardvarks, Buckaroos, Desert Gators and Sun Dogs.

The Chihuahuas, the Triple-A affiliate of the San Diego Padres, will compete in a downtown stadium currently under construction. The team is moving to El Paso after three seasons in Tucson, where they were simply known as the Padres, marking affiliated baseball’s first appearance in the city since the Double-A Diablos departed following the 2004 campaign.

El Paso general manager Brad Taylor said Chihuahuas was chosen as the team name because they “represent fun and are fiercely loyal.” The region’s fans were able to submit names through the team’s website. The list was narrowed based on creativity, marketability, fun, relevance to El Paso’s unique character and the ability to trademark the name.

elpaso_logos_ic3b8yut_0ve6vdfm“El Pasoans played a significant role in identifying our new team name — they attended focus groups, suggested several hundred different names, and voted in record numbers for all the names,” said Alan Ledford, president of MountainStar Sports Group.

“Through the entire [branding] process, our focus was on fun and on finding something that could appeal to kids,” added Taylor. “You have to believe in the brand, and stand by it, because the brand isn’t just something that people hear — it’s something they see.”

And what people will see is a variety of “Chihuahua” imagery, with the primary logo featuring the team name emblazoned in front of the snarling titular canine. The road cap features a stylized upwards-tilting “EP” upon a red background, while a more whimsical alternate logo depicts a Chihuahua swinging a bone as though it was a baseball bat.