Backlash toward Chihuahua's a positive, says experts

Updated: Wednesday, October 23 2013, 09:56 PM MDT
Backlash toward Chihuahua
By: Melissa Gundersen
EL PASO, Texas -- Many people in the Borderland are showing backlash toward El Paso's new Triple-A baseball team's name – the Chihuahuas. But experts said the negative feedback may actually turn into a positive come game day.

It's a similar situation to the Albuquerque Isotopes. Eleven years ago Albuquerque's baseball team was replaced by a new team. That new team debuted in a renovated stadium, and began playing under a new name.

"You know, you still every once in a while hear somebody say ‘Oh jeeze, you should be the Dukes,’” said John Traub, the general manager for the Albuquerque Isotopes.

Traub said when they first took on the new name, it had a 57 percent approval rating.

"There were traditionalists who thought we should have stayed the Dukes," said Traub.

Some people compare the Isotopes' negative feedback, with what the El Paso Chihuahuas are facing right now.

"A lot of people have been saying like, ‘That’s a disgrace and what the heck's going on. Like, who ever thought about this is out of their mind,’” said Damion Rene Portello of east El Paso.

Traub said when it was game time for the Isotopes, though, the change sparked interest in fans.

"We had nearly 13,000 people here for opening night," said Traub.

More than a decade later, their merchandise now sells nationwide and they're banking in on the royalties.

"The El Paso club is probably going to experience the same thing," said Traub.

Joe Lopez, the CEO for Lopez Marketing Group in east El Paso, said what the city is experiencing is a typical public relations move.

"If it had been the Desert Gators people would have been saying great we got the name, it's a good name, we'll support it, it's over," said Lopez.

With a name people didn't expect, it's become a main topic of conversation.

"I mean, it's cool. We have something to talk about," said Portello.

In the end, both Lopez and Traub said the hype of the name will sizzle.  They said what determines success is how many smiles are in the stands.

"In the spirit of minor league baseball it's all about fun and entertainment," said Traub.
Experts predict to see a lot of families packing the stadium since children draw in families and children seem to like the new team name.Backlash toward Chihuahua's a positive, says experts
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