Team name up for vote

Initial idea, River Pigs, is 1 of 7 in election in Tupper Lake park Saturday

TUPPER LAKE — Weeks of discussion over what this village’s planned Empire Professional Baseball League team will be named will boil down to an election Saturday.

After some local team organizers publicly backed away from the initial “River Pigs” name last week, due to some public outcry, the story reached a national audience over the weekend. A news brief from the Associated Press, picked up from an Enterprise article, landed in newspapers and radio shows all over.

The community can vote on the team’s name at the Municipal Park ball field Saturday from noon to 6 p.m., casting a confidential ballot for one of seven possible names: River Pigs, Axemen, River Drivers, Rowdy Bucks, Tupper Timber, River Otters or Mighty Hemlocks.

The votes will be tallied by Tupper Lake Free Press Publisher Dan McClelland. He said these names have been vetted for legal approval, free of existing copyright. In his Free Press article on the event he joked that “(It) seems the committee couldn’t find honest people to do that.”

River Pigs is still in the running for a possible name. It was chosen by Empire League President Eddie Gonzalez, whose friend Jared Carrier researched Tupper Lake and its logging past in search of a name to represent that history.

Many logging-related names, such as Lumberjacks or Timberjacks, are already copyrighted by other teams, but River Pigs was open. It’s a logging term for the men who had the dangerous and highly skilled job of balancing on felled trees floating down a river, traversing the uneven landscape with a long pole in hand, breaking up log jams.

The name appears on a sign along the edge of Raquette Pond as part of the village and the Wild Center museum’s educational campaign on the shore of Raquette Pond. Some, however, have contended that the term was never used in the Adirondacks.

Gonzalez said the River Pigs was just his first name suggestion, and that it was never official.

“We haven’t even announced that there’s going to be a team, officially,” Gonzalez said.

The deal still hinges on a letter of intent between the league and the village, and getting the team depends on the village’s ability to ensure that a quality baseball facility will be available in time for the season, which begins in June.

Gonzalez said he was a bit disheartened to see people discussing the name, not the team, but added that he never had second thoughts about his intent to put a team in Tupper Lake.

“We want baseball where baseball is wanted,” Gonzalez said.

He said he was open to more name suggestions and was never set on River Pigs.

On Saturday, Tupper Lakers will vote on the suggestions and a name will be decided there. Rick Reandeau from New York Life insurance company will sell hot dogs and hamburgers, with the proceeds going toward the construction going on in the ball field.