The Yuma team in the independent American West Baseball League will be known as the Yuma Desert Rats, as the team moves on to the next step of creating a logo and identity for the team.
The team never actually played under the team's former name, the Yuma Panthers; AWBL officials pulled the team from the North American League (where the team played under the Yuma Scorpions name) and then sold it to Tim Ferguson, who decided on the rebranding to give the team a more local connection.
A desert rat, apparently, refers to people who enjoy living in the hot Arizona climate. From the Yuma Sun:
After the owners of the AWBL purchased the Yuma franchise, which was the Scorpions, they immediately announced the team was changing to the Panthers, referencing a team that played in Yuma more than 60 years ago. When the league sold the franchise to Ferguson, the first thing he wanted to do was give it a Yuma name.
Ferguson and [Tina] Eaton said they talked with people around town, including MCAS Col. Robert Kuckuk and Linda Jordan, director of Yuma Visitor's Bureau. It was Jordan's input, Ferguson said, that was particularly valuable.
“Her interpretation was being a desert rat is a badge of honor,” Ferguson said. “I wish I could remember that saying, that you have to be tough enough in the summer to enjoy the winter, or something like that. That's the connotation of what desert rat means.”
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