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LAWRENCEVILLE, Ga. (AP) — The Atlanta Braves' Triple-A farm team has a new nickname.
In a real curveball, it's not one of the six finalists.
The former Gwinnett Braves, a team located in Atlanta's sprawling northern suburbs, announced Friday their new moniker is the Stripers — a tribute to striped bass fishing on Lake Lanier.
The attendance-challenged franchise decided to change its name to create a distinctive identity and eliminate confusion with its nearby parent club. After input from fans, six finalists were announced in July: Big Mouths, Buttons, Gobblers, Hush Puppies, Lambchops and Sweet Teas.
A selection committee initially decided on Big Mouths — another fishing nickname — as the winner. However, while developing logos and uniforms, officials decided it "was not fitting with the ultimate vision of the team," according to a statement announcing the new name.
So Stripers it is .
"Gwinnett County is known for offering a wide variety of outdoor activities, including year-round striped bass fishing on Lake Lanier," said North Johnson, the team's vice president and general manager. "As the Stripers, we will honor that outdoor tradition while sporting a unique identity that fans across the region can embrace."
If nothing else, the team could use some new fans.
Gwinnett averaged only 3,135 fans per game this past season, by far the lowest in Triple-A. In fact, the former G-Braves were nearly doubled up by the Double-A team that replaced them when they moved from their longtime Virginia home to the Atlanta metro area in 2009.
The Richmond Flying Squirrels averaged 5,745 a game in the Eastern League.
"Big Mouths was the inspiration that ultimately led to the Stripers," Johnson said in the statement. "We felt focusing on the striped bass would better reflect our community, with Lake Lanier known as a premier destination for striped bass fishing and located just a short drive away from Coolray Field. The Stripers name perfectly fits the region while also having a timeless baseball feel."
And, no, it has nothing to do with the stripes on the massive interstate highways that run through notoriously congested Gwinnett County.
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