I am sure that in the meeting the branding team had with the baseball ownership the question of how will the team’s name be used to inspire team unity came up at least once. Imagine a growling diminutive dog holding its own against overwhelming odds was probably one of the imageries bantered about.
As much thinking that might have gone into the process of selecting a name for the team to represent El Paso I am sure not once was any thought given that the cute little toy cartoon of a dog, some consider a glorified rat would be the driving force behind rage in the community.
Rage at the whole stadium fiasco.
MountainStar and the enablers to the stadium have looked for ways to unite the divided community around their stadium and their team. What they seem to have ignited instead was raged unity against the team and the whole fiasco.
In less than 24 hours after the team name was announced over 7,500 signatures were gathered online demanding that the name be changed.
At first I thought this was just an example of a public relations campaign gone awry. It now seems that it has not only gone awry but it is threatening to turn into outright rebellion against a team that hasn’t even set foot in El Paso yet.
Not only is the community overwhelmingly negative about its city having a dog that does nothing to inspire confidence, much less strength represent them but they are now angry that the name is not only offensive it is racist to the team’s home community.
In a community overwhelmingly Hispanic it is not a good idea to have Hispanics question how their city is to be presented. By the overwhelming negative response to the name and the racist intonations being raised the whole stadium fiasco might end up being brought to its knees by a rat masquerading as a dog.
East of El Paso, the rest of Texas has perceived El Paso as an annoying appendage. The El Paso Chihuahuas have just confirmed to them that El Paso is as annoying as they already knew.
I am actually really flabbergasted that supposedly intelligent people would not have seen this coming.
Back on July 15, I wrote “The Horde Propaganda, A Case Study and Naming the Team the Desert Gators”. Obviously I was wrong thinking the team would be named the Desert Gators. However as I laid out my reasoning I had written; “but El Paso would abhor being associated with the State of Chihuahua right next door”.
Look at the social media comments. If I, just a blogger with no formal education in branding knew that there would be community outrage with associating El Paso to Chihuahua how come a highly-paid supposedly professional marketing team couldn’t have seen that coming as well? Could it possibly be because those making the decisions about the baseball team name have no understanding or bothered to care about what the average El Pasoan really thinks?
Is the team ownership so arrogant and insulated in their own world view that they don’t comprehend the community’s essence much less understanding the community’s anger?
More importantly the majority, if not the whole discussion about the El Paso Chihuahuas has turned away from an incoming baseball team into a discussion about El Paso’s greatest insecurity; being associated and tied to Mexico.
Not only did the Chihuahua originate from the State of Chihuahua which happens to be the largest state in Mexico but Chihuahua borders El Paso. For generations many El Pasoans have had an inferiority complex about being mistaken for a city in Mexico.
In 2010 El Paso tried to distance itself from the violence in Juárez through branding campaigns. Likewise in 2011, the city’s marketing arm once again tried to distance itself from Mexico. Most El Pasoans I run into on my travels are quick to point out that El Paso is not Mexico.
Some of the historical buffs reading this blog might remember the San Elizario Salt War also known as the El Paso Salt War. In 1866, Mexican ethnic El Pasoans rose up against Anglo Texan capitalists and their political surrogates.
In the midst of trying to build community unity around their stadium scam, the Foster-Hunt led horde has instead ignited rage that has united a community around one thing; its complete disgust in the name of a team that is yet to set foot in El Paso.
It is possible that a diminutive, cartoonish rat masquerading as a dog actually be the spark that ignites outright rebellion against the stadium scam?