BILOXI -- The first pitch in Biloxi's new baseball stadium won't come for another year, but plenty of suggestions are being thrown around to name its team.
"One thing is sure," said Tim Bennett, part-owner of the team. "It won't be the Stars."
The new owners bought the Southern League's Huntsville Stars, who will play their last season at the stadium in Huntsville this year and move to Biloxi for the 2015 season. Bennett said the name "Stars" reflects Huntsville's space program.
The team's new name will represent some aspect of South Mississippi and its sense of place.
"The team belongs to the community," Bennett said, and the fans in the Biloxi area will have a say in naming the team.
Team representatives started discussions Friday about setting up a contest to come up with the name. People are talking about it everywhere he goes, Bennett said, and stop him on the street to offer suggestions.
"I've heard the White Caps. I've head the Breeze, the Oaks the Waves," he said.
It isn't just the name that has to be decided. The new team will need colors, a logo, a mascot -- and all of them need to be kid-friendly. "After we name the team, then we need a name for the mascot," he said.
Team merchandise will become available before the team starts play in Biloxi, he said.
When the contest begins, people will be able to submit team names online and possibly by phone, Bennett said. The top choices will go to a runoff.
Gov. Phil Bryant pitched Biloxi Blues, referring to the origins of blues music in the state. "Biloxi Blues" also was the name of the 1988 Neil Simon play and movie about a young airman sent to Biloxi for basic training at the end of World War II.
Mississippi Sound was suggested, but that's already taken by Coastian Glenn Miller, who plans to use the name for a theme park north of Interstate 10. Beach Boys is another name with a trademark ring.
Other teams in the Southern League went to the fans to name their teams. The Montgomery Biscuits came from a contest suggestion, as did Pensacola's Blue Wahoos.
Ken Young, majority owner of the new Biloxi team, said the name of his team in Albuquerque, N.M., was taken from a suggestion in a local newspaper. The Isotopes comes from "The Simpsons" television show.
Sun Herald readers have used Sound Off to pitch their favorite names and
the Schooners is a favorite. "The boat that made Biloxi. A draft of beer. An iconic restaurant. The trifecta," one person said.
Other readers like Biloxi Mullet or Biloxi Bacon, a reference to the fish that sustained the local population during the Civil War blockade. "Biloxi Bacon. You couldn't get any more local flavor than that," said one person, who also suggested serving mullet sandwiches at the concession stands.
"The Biloxi Bombers honors both the long ball in baseball and Keesler Air Force Base," said another Sound Off submission.
Bennett said the excitement surrounding the naming of the team shows the community is embracing minor league baseball in South Mississippi.
"Now that the decision has been made and the commitment is there, people are jumping on board and saying 'Let's support it.'" Bennett said.