Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Ballpark Readies for 'Chihuahuas'

New Team Name Getting National Attention

Whether or not you like the Triple-A team name revealed last week for El Paso’s coming ball club, work on the stadium continues at full speed in anticipation of opening day in April. Still, the newly named Chihuahuas are turning heads and garnering attention throughout the country after the announcement of the team name.
Steel archways will hover over the concourse at the Triple-A ballpark. (City of El Paso)

Steel columns and girders have turned construction vertical at the ballpark construction site, helping define archways under which visitors to the stadium will pass. The columns will support the club and press levels, rising about 50 feet above Durango Street. Nearly 1,000 tons of steel will be used in constructing the stadium.

Construction can also be seen on structures along Santa Fe Street. These will house the outfield buildings which will include levels to be used for parties and events.

“We are entering a phase of construction in which we’ll see rapid progress,” states Alan Shubert, the Project Manager for the stadium construction site, on the City’s website. “While the steel work is the most visible, work is progressing rapidly on all corners of the construction site.”

The team’s website has undergone a change, switching to an official Minor League Baseball (MiLB) page. Fans can now go to epchihuahuas.com to visit the page which includes the team schedule for 2014, pictures, logos, and merchandise.

Merchandise for the Chihuahuas officially went on sale the same day the name was announced, and sales have been impressive according to team officials. As of Friday, orders had come in from 35 different states, including as far away as Massachusetts, with some items selling out.
Chihuahuas merchandise has been purchased from people in 35 different states. (epchihuahuas.com)

The team posted a map on its Facebook page with the Chihuahuas team logo showing from where items have been purchased. The Facebook page had over 22,000 likes as of Sunday night.

And media in national and other markets has turned its attention to El Paso, mainly due to the controversial team name. On Thursday, the Texas Monthly (www.texasmonthly.com) published an article proclaiming that “It’s Time to Embrace the El Paso Chihuahuas,” noting that other MiLB teams have embraced “fun” team names.

On Sunday, the San Francisco Chronicle published an article lauding the marketing decision behind the Chihuahuas name. The team has been mentioned on ESPN, trended on Twitter, and inspired national attention. Still, the story points out the change.org petition calling for a name change that has over 9,000 supporters as of Sunday night.

A Google search for news on the El Paso Chihuahuas shows stories from sources ranging from the Seattle Times, which predicts the “world’s smallest strike zones,” to the Latin Times calling the name “racist stereotyping.” It’s clear, the new team name has struck a chord.

Opening day for the Chihuahuas is scheduled for April 11, 2014, at the 9,500 seat stadium in Downtown El Paso.