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Kannapolis Cannon Ballers Need Help Naming Mustachioed Mascot


What's got a baseball for a face, an epic mustache and no name? The mascot of the newly renamed Kannapolis Cannon Ballers.

The franchise wants fans of the minor-league team to fix that and is now taking suggestions for the mascot's name.

The team – formerly the Kannapolis Intimidators – became the Cannon Ballers Oct. 23. The new name came with a new mascot – a mustachioed daredevil with a helmet and goggles that's dressed to be shot out of a cannon. It's meant to represent the new and the old: The mascot's mustache is similar to one sported by NASCAR legend Dale Earnhardt, whose nickname "The Intimidator" was the team's old namesake.

The team solicited fans' input for the new franchise name, too. Apparently ideas floated by fans included the Kannapolis Possums or the Kannapolis Kangaroos. But the name Cannons kept popping up in fan submissions. It's a reference to the old Cannon Mills, a major employer in the town, and it stuck.

It's not the first time sports franchises and other institutions have crowd-sourced names. For example, the names of the Savannah Bananas and Macon Bacon baseball teams in Georgia both came from contests.

Of course, crowd-sourced naming hasn't always worked out – as demonstrated by the Boaty McBoatface debacle in 2016. That's the name that had overwhelming support after the U.K.'s Natural Environment Research Council let the public submit names for a new research ship. The U.K. didn't honor the silly name, instead christening the ship the Sir David Attenborough.

Folks have until Nov. 29 to submit their ideas for the Kannapolis mascot at KCBallers.com.

The team said in a press release that it will consider submissions that are "creative, family-friendly and tasteful." It describes that mascot as bold and brave with a smile on his baseball-shaped face.

In December, fans will again get to vote – but this time on a list of finalists.

The Cannon Ballers will play their first game in April at a new stadium in downtown Kannapolis.

Dash joined WFAE as a digital editor for news and engagement in 2019. Before that, he was a reporter for the Savannah Morning News in Georgia, where he covered public safety and the military, among other topics. He also covered county government in Gaston County, North Carolina, for its local newspaper, the Gazette.