RICHMOND, VA. (WWBT) - Richmond's baseball team hopes its new name takes off. The Flying Squirrels beat out four challengers today to take the top spot.
The new baseball owners took a leap of faith Richmond will eventually cuddle up to the new name.
"If people don't like flying squirrels right away we're going to have so much fun that they'll eventually love it," said Todd Parnell, Flying Squirrels V.P., and COO.
Brad Mead of Prince George County is the man who entered the name in the contest. He couldn't get out of work, so his parents came to support his victory.
"I didn't know he'd sent it in. I didn't know he'd sent anything in until he was notified that he was one of the finalists," said Donna Nelson.
His mom and dad believe the name was partially inspired from Brad's run-in with a flying squirrel while clearing some brush.
"A branch hit a bird house and out came a squirrel. We asked our next door neighbor 'What was that?' and he goes 'That's a flying squirrel. Just sitting up there,'" said Kyle Nelson.
The owners say the name was fun, which is what you'll get when you come see the squirrels at the Diamond.
"At the end of the day when we asked ourselves which one of these names would kids like the most, what families would like the most. Flying squirrels came out ahead of everybody else," said Parnell.
So what does the target audience think?
"I really like the name flying squirrels because what if they hit a fly ball and it just hits out of the park. It's very cool," said Shardaisa Pulliam, a Henrico County student.
"I think it's silly, it's funny. I like it though. It's a good name," said Kortnie Carmon Jiggetts.
The owners have already hired a team to start developing a logo. A name the mascot contest is also just around the corner so get your ideas ready.
The other possible names were Flatheads, Rock Hoppers, Rhinos and Hush Puppies. The name Hambones had been an option but was removed from consideration after complaints from the NAACP.
Richmond Baseball team leaders received more than 6,000 entries for original five names and CNBC was allowed to elect their wildcard entry.
Previous team names included the Virginians and the Braves.
Richmond's new team is in the Eastern League and will be a Giants affiliate through 2010, when San Francisco's current player development contract expires.