Despite controversy, El Paso Chihuahuas mark territory in Sun City

Updated: Wednesday, October 23 2013, 09:55 PM MDT
Despite controversy, El Paso Chihuahuas mark territory in Sun City story image

By: Genevieve Curtis
EL PASO, Texas -- The El Paso Chihuahuas are here to stay, and even a full 24 hours after the big reveal of the Triple A Baseball Team name, the reaction is still flowing both on the streets and online.

From groans and moans to petitions, to some even saying it's racist, the Chihuahuas name is not a hit with everyone.

But the general manager of MountainStar Sports said anyone who wanted to changed the name is simply barking up the wrong tree.

"The Chihuahua's not the biggest dog but it'll back a Doberman in the corner," said Taylor.

It's not the size of the dog it's the size of the fight in the dog.

It's not just a catchy saying—Taylor said it's a metaphor for how El Pasoans feel about El Paso and how MountainStar, who chose the name, believes the team name embodies the city.

"In the focus groups people kept saying, we're loyal, feisty, we're not the biggest city but we are OK with that," said Taylor. "Most importantly it has to be fun," he added.

The name was chosen after fans submitted more than 5,000 suggested monikers. Taylor said it was about two to three months ago when they realized the Chihuahuas would be the name.

Even with the naming contest the sports group never promised to adopt the most popular and Taylor admits he doesn't know which name garnered the most votes.

It seems everyone was hoping for anything but the small, yappy breed.

"Gators, Desert Gators," said Carlos Duran of West El Paso

"It was the least one I thought they would pick," said Jackie Leyva of the Lower Valley. "Desert Gators or the Sun Dogs," she said when she was asked which one she was rooting for.

"People already think were super Mexican; now they're going to think we are extra Mexican," said Irving Salazar.

But many admit -- they're starting to come around to the hound.

"At first I was like, 'Oh man who came up with that?' but then I was like, 'Yeah, that sounds pretty cool,'" said Victor De La Garza.

Despite more than 7,000 people signing a petition to change the name and a whirlwind of negative comments on social media and from the national press, the feisty, Chihuahua is marking its territory.

"I think we need to be very clear on the negative reaction. It is less than it appears to be. It's the vocal minority because if you look at the number of our Facebook fans in the last 17 hours. It's a lot more than what is on that little petition that's going around," said Taylor.

Taylor said there have been some ticket holders who have asked for their money back but even more new fans who have bought tickets and apparel.

"If anyone wants to sit at home because they don't like the name or the logo they're going to be missing a lot of good times," said Taylor.

Taylor says there are some exciting announcements coming up, including uniforms and the mascot.

Plus, they'll announce some of the school programs and nonprofit work they're going to be doing with the Chihuahuas.

Despite controversy, El Paso Chihuahuas mark territory in Sun City
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