And the winner is … Well, the nickname chosen for the new West Coast League baseball team, which begins play next year at David Story Field, wasn’t the most popular one submitted.
In fact, it wasn’t even one of the nearly 300 submissions during a month-long contest conducted by The Daily News.
When the new team takes the field in June, it will be known as the Cowlitz Black Bears.
“We wanted a nickname with an edge, but a name that ties into the area and that youngsters can associate with,” Black Bears general manager Grant Wilson said. “A black bear can strike fear into an opponent, it’s indigenous to our area, and show me a youngster that doesn’t like a little, stuffed black bear.”
In the “Name Your Team Contest,” the most submitted nickname was Pioneers. But that name was immediately rejected by the league.
“The problem with the name Pioneers is that it’s already in use with the Folsom Pioneers of the West Coast League’s Tri-State Division,” Wilson said. “The Black Bears name was chosen by the league board.”
The Tri-State Division is a five-team grouping of teams competing from Southern Oregon, California and Nevada.
Despite not using “Pioneers,” Wilson presented Longview’s Diane Searing with two season tickets for the 2010 and 2011 seasons. That was the prize originally offered for the winning entry. Searing’s name was chosen from a drawing of all individuals who submitted Pioneers on their contest entry.
“We appreciate all the fans who entered the Name Your Team Contest,” team owner Tony Bonacci said. “There were hundreds of terrific nicknames, but after extensive research, Black Bears seemed perfect.”
Found in the forests of the Pacific Northwest coast, from central British Columbia through northern California, and inland to the tip of northern Idaho, the American black bear is the most common bear species native to North America. The black bear is also the state animal of New Mexico.
The team’s primary logo is a “C” with a black bear peering out from behind the letter. Wilson indicated additional team logos will be unveiled along with the team’s uniforms in late October or early November during Major League Baseball’s World Series.
“It was tricky because it has to look good, and it has to be something to do with the area,” Wilson said. “The logo, and how it sounds, looks, wears and feels makes it a good name. The uniforms will be an older, throwback style to go with the logo.”
Ticket deposits for the 2010 season are now being taken, and fans will soon be able to explore the Black Bears’ official Web site, which will feature authentic team merchandise.
A $20 refundable per-seat deposit puts fans in line to select season-ticket seat locations. Ticket deposit forms are available at the team’s temporary Web site www.westcoastleague.com/cowlitz.