Finalists for new G-Braves name provokes fan backlash on social media

Coolray Field (Special Photo)

After the six finalists for the contest to rename the Gwinnett Braves were announced by the team Thursday, reaction began to pour in immediately from around the county and beyond.

Finalists for Gwinnett Braves team naming contest announced

And that reaction appears to be overwhelmingly negative towards all six of the potential new names based on responses to and retweets of the Twitter posting of the Daily Post’s story on the G-Braves’ name the team contest.

As of the noon hour on Friday, more than 125 notifications related to the Daily Post story on the G-Braves’ announcement of the six finalists were received on the paper’s Twitter account expressing general displeasure with all of the choices, while only 16 expressed a positive reaction to at least one of the potential new names.

Those numbers don’t include likes or retweets for any of the individual responses.

The G-Braves announced the six finalists from 4,024 entries Thursday afternoon, which included the names Buttons, Big Mouths, Gobblers, Lambchops, Hushpuppies and Sweet Teas.

Among the most common words used in the reactions from fans around the county on Twitter included “terrible,” “horrible,” “bad,” “worst” and “embarrassing.”

Other reactions noted the food-related theme among many of the finalists, with one fan writing, “This is a baseball team, not the menu at @goldencorral.”

G-Braves general manager North Johnson said he wasn’t surprised by the blowback that has been expressed not only on the Daily Post’s, but also the team’s social media sties, citing other minor league teams that experienced a similar reaction during the process of changing their names.

“We were prepared for this kind of reaction,” Johnson said. “When El Paso (held a similar contest that resulted in the name Chihuahuas) went through this they were skewered in the media. When Lehigh Valley went through this with the (name) IronPigs and Jacksonville went through it with the Jumbo Shrimps (changed from Suns in 2016), those teams have been hammered not only online, but in the media. And every single one of (those teams) have gone on to have success (with the new names).

“We knew anything we did outside of Braves would spark a backlash, so we were prepared for that. My question to those people would be, how many games have those people been to? Every single thing we’ve done from a marketing standpoint hasn’t not drawn more people to the ballpark.”

There were positive responses to the finalists on the Daily Post’s Twitter page, as well, though many of them had a qualifier accompanying them.

Most of the positive responses promoted one of the finalist names or another specifically, with “Buttons” — based on the name of Button Gwinnett, the county’s namesake — being the most commonly favored.

Johnson said that the team is undeterred in its process to rename the team and will continue it with the aid of sports marketing firm Brandiose despite the criticism of the six announced finalist names.

Voting on the new team name is set to continue online through July 24, with a decision scheduled to be announced sometime in late October or early November.

“Our plans are to go forward,” Johnson said. “We’ve gone through a painstaking process, and Brandiose has a proven method (of marketing) using a number of different elements. … We didn’t go into this by being timid, and we’re not going to get timid.”

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Sports Reporter

Graduated from GSU in 1990. Have worked in sports journalism for the past 28 years, covering a variety of sports at the Gwinnett Daily News, AJC, Lafayette (La.) Daily Advertiser and Marietta Daily Journal before returning to Gwinnett at the Post in 2007.

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