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charlies uniform

Teodoro Martinez takes his turn at bat for the West Virginia Power in a Charleston in a Charlies’ uniform during Tuesday’s game against the Long Island Ducks Tuesday.

I’ve never been a fan of The Power.

Don’t get me wrong. I love the fact we have the opportunity to watch and enjoy professional baseball in Charleston.

I just never liked the team’s nickname. It just doesn’t seem right to call a team — any sports team — by an inanimate object.

The Heat. The Jazz. The Magic. The Drive. The Revolution. The Power.

Yuck.

“Hey, what team do you play for?”

“I’m a Wildcat.”

“How about you?”

“I’m a Power.”

Double-yuck.

I’ve disliked the name since it was launched in conjunction with the 2005 opening of Appalachian Power Park.

For all those who agree with me — and I know you’re out there — there’s some potential good news.

The Atlantic League team that uses Appalachian Power Park as its home is under no obligation to retain Power as the team’s name.

“There is nothing preventing us from changing the name,” said Andy Shea, the Power’s managing partner and CEO. “It’s certainly something that’s on the table.”

When Shea assumed leadership of the team in February, he couldn’t help but notice that there are a lot of baseball fans clamoring for a name change.

“It was a major eye-opener,” Shea said. “When we announced, a good percentage of people commented that now we can change the name.”

To what? Oh, I don’t know, maybe something like the Charleston Charlies? That was the team’s moniker during our heyday of minor-league baseball in the 1970s and into the early 1980s, when the team was a Class AAA International League MLB affiliate.

During the years since 2005 when the Power was a Class A South Atlantic League affiliated team, the team would occasionally don throwback Charlies uniforms, depicting the signature bowler hat that was the trademark of the man for whom the team was nicknamed, Charlie Levine, the father of Bob Levine, who purchased the franchise in 1971.

As perhaps a precursor of where this is headed, the Power this season will wear uniforms with CHARLIES emblazoned across the front of their tops, right above the bowler-wearing, cigar-chomping, baseball-shaped head depicting old Charlie for every Tuesday and Saturday home game this season. They seem to be a hit with fans, not to mention the CEO.

“Personally I love how they look, the players love how they look, they’ve been well received by the community,” Shea said. “Everyone knows and recognizes the Charlies. That’s why we wanted to have those two nights a week.”

Charlie Levine (and his son Bill) may no longer be affiliated with our city’s ball club, but that shouldn’t preclude it from re-adopting Charlies as its nickname. After all, this is Charleston, and Charleston Charlies rolls pleasantly off the tongue (and onto the newspaper page).

It’s certainly an improvement over the Power. (Have I mentioned yuck?)

Any of the other previous team names used here would be preferable, to varying degrees. The Statesmen (meh). The Senators (uh, let’s stay out of politics, shall we?). The Marlins (taken, and hardly apt).

How about some post-Charlies nicknames? I liked the Wheelers, and with talk of the Sternwheel Regatta coming back to Charleston, it could again be a fitting team name.

My favorite is the Alley Cats, for a couple of reasons. That was the team’s name when I first moved to Charleston, and I lived practically across the street from Watt Powell Park in Kanawha City, the team’s home before Power Park was built. And oh, what a great logo. I still have an Alley Cats ballcap around here somewhere.

Or perhaps clever minds with a baseball bent will come up a new nickname for our new team, one that captures the city in the 21st century. I’m open to suggestions.

As long as we eventually turn off the Power.

Contact Nick Scala at 304-348-7947 or nickscala@wvgazettemail.com. Follow him on Twitter @nick_scala319.