Thursday, October 24, 2013

Ay Chihuahua? Oy Vey!




I have never been more embarrassed for my hometown of El Paso, Texas. 

El Paso, already known as the town ranked as one of the least educated, sweatiest, least athletic, highest soda-consuming, fattest cities in America, now has yet another black eye.

El Paso, which once had two news vans drag race caught on videotape, and which had fights at McDonald's similarly caught on camera, had a chance to pull itself into the ranks of the Top Twenty-Five Cities when it got its own AAA baseball team.  I was terribly excited to have a baseball team in the Sun City, even though I knew many who were upset that in order to have it, we had to blow up City Hall to build the stadium Downtown.  I went and got a season ticket.

Then I heard of the five finalists for the new team name, submitted by the public, vetted by the owners, and then presented to the citizens for which to vote on online.  The nominees were:

Aardvarks
Buckaroos
Chihuahuas
Desert Gators
Sun Dogs

Of these names, not one is actually good.  Who sent them, kindergarteners?  Who picked them as the BEST names, professional idiots?  These were dreadful names and given that there were over 5,000 submissions I shudder to think if THESE were the best, what were the worst?

Now we got the official name for the El Paso AAA baseball team...the El Paso Chihuahuas.

Again, I've never been more embarrassed.

Would have been less embarrassing...

The person who submitted this name (Shae Vierra) and the entity that owns the team (MountainStar Sports Group) have tin ears and no sense.  No thought apparently was given to how picking an animal already used for promotion in a highly-controversial ad campaign (the Taco Bell Chihuahua) might in any way offend Hispanics, who already endured an accented mini-dog pushing Mexican food.  Given that El Paso is around 75-80% Hispanic (and the majority of them of Mexican descent), the selection of Chihuahua is simply ghastly.  Too many, myself included, see the selection of Chihuahua as insulting to the majority of Hispanics.  I see it as perpetuating stereotypes: the little, yappy dog to symbolize the 'foreign' community.

Even the non-Hispanics who've heard the news are aghast.  What is so threatening or intimidating about a Chihuahua?  The selection is seen as a joke, a way to look like idiots, and there is a simple reason for that...it IS a selection made by an idiot (Vierra) and chosen by idiots.  One of the reasons Vierra submitted the name was because his wife has a Chihuahua.  You don't name a baseball team after your wife's pet!

I'm asked to support this small, rodent-like creature to represent a semi-professional baseball team.  I do not think I can do that.  I am seriously considering cancelling my season ticket over what I see as a total fiasco.

The MSSG has already made itself unpopular by not asking voter support for a Downtown baseball stadium.  Too many El Pasoans feel it was rammed down their throats in backroom deals.  They further alienated citizens when the Group asked for an increase in the Hotel Occupancy Tax (or HOT) to fund the project, then when the Group approached City Hall (or wherever the actual City Hall is now located, having been spread out over many buildings after the actual City Hall came a'tumblin' down to have the field) for more cash.  The City balked at giving more, so MSSG was, in a rare move, denied. 

Now the selection of a name that the majority of El Pasoans detest (with the notable exception of the Vierra Family and the WASPy owners) may push even supporters of AAA baseball (like myself) to openly revolt.   I suspect MSSG will do what they've grown adept at: ignore the people they are attempting to woo and stick with the name a vast majority detest.

Then again, in a city as apathetic as El Paso...

I don't know what the end result of this debacle will be.  I keep reading people's comments who say they won't go to a game because of this.  I for one won't buy any merchandise with such a horrifying mascot...no cap, no jacket, not even a cup.  I was proud to sign a petition on Change.org asking that the group change the name.

For myself, I am undecided as to whether to go or not on Opening Day.  I've already spent the money, but this is really embarrassing, another slap in the face of a community that has a poor enough reputation without handing people yet another example of just how dumb El Pasoans can be.

I think I may go, but I might just wear a mask or paper bag in shame.

http://www.change.org/petitions/mountain-star-sports-group-llc-change-the-name-of-el-paso-s-upcoming-triple-a-baseball-team-the-chihuahuas   

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