6 baseball team name finalists emerge

Record-Eagle file photo/Jan-Michael StumpTraverse City Beach Bums players practice at Wuerfel Park.

TRAVERSE CITY — The mascot finalists are in.

Traverse City Baseball unveiled six options for the inaugural Northwoods League team coming to TC next season.

The options include the Black Pearls, Sasquatch, Tree Shakers, Dogmen, Pit Spitters and Dune Bears.

The team said it received more than 3,000 submissions in the contest. Fans can vote among the half dozen finalists through Dec. 14 at www.TraverseCityBaseball.com. Fan preferences and comments will be weighed by the team’s front office in the final team name decision.

“We were incredibly impressed by the amount of input we received from the ‘Name the Team Contest,'" Traverse City Baseball CEO Joe Chamberlin said in a press release.

Black Pearls refers to both a new variety of cherry developed by Cornell University and the ship of the same name from the "Pirates of the Caribbean" movies.

Tree Shakers and Pit Spitters likewise originate from Traverse City's cherry industry, paying homage to a method of harvest and the tradition of pit spitting competitions such as the one at the National Cherry Festival.

Dogmen comes from the folklore creature of northern Michigan, the basis of a 1987 song by former WTCM disc jockey Steve Cook and later made into a 2011 film.

Sasquatch refers to similar folklore of an upright-walking, ape-like wilderness creature most often associated with the Pacific Northwest and Western Canada.

Dune Bears is a nod to the Sleeping Bear Dunes legend of Mishe Mokwa, a bear said to have swam across Lake Michigan with her two cubs to avoid a massive Wisconsin fire. North Manitou and South Manitou Islands are said to have come into existence to celebrate the two cubs lost in the swim.

The winning name of the team will be announced next month. The winning submission will receive four 2019 season tickets, a suite for one night, a team merchandise prize package, the opportunity to throw out the first pitch on opening day and a Traverse City excursion.

More information on the Northwoods League franchise including a 2019 schedule and information on season tickets please visit www.TraverseCityBaseball.com.

Traverse City Baseball purchased the Traverse City Beach Bums in September to a group headed by Chamberlin, a vice president with the West Michigan Whitecaps, a Class A affiliate of the Detroit Tigers. The stadium, formerly known as Wuerfel Park, will be renamed and next year house a Northwoods League, a wood-bat league featuring top college prospects.

Senior sports writer