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Lansing Lugnuts

How the Lansing Lugnuts Got Their Name

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Lansing Lugnuts

When Lansing's new team announced that they would go by the "Lugnuts" for their 1996 debut season in Michigan, the fan response was.... well, "ambivalent" might be a kind way of putting it. A poll in the Lansing State Journal revealed that 90% of fans "strongly disliked" the name, which was designed to honor the city's automotive history as the hometown of Ransom E. Olds (of the Oldsmobile).

As is often the case for Minor League teams, the name for the then-Royals (now Blue Jays) affiliate came by way of fan suggestion. Of the 2,000 suggestions the team received, a host of quirky finalists emerged. Along with Lugnuts, the front office considered River Dragons, Ball Hogs, Bullfrogs, Capitals, Capitols, Crabs, Governors, Llamas, Lumberjox, Mudwumps, Spark Plugs and Mid-Michigan Mammoths. With their obvious edge in terms of ferocity (narrowly beating out the Mammoths in my estimation), the River Dragons were initially the front runner and artwork for the anticipated "Lansing River Dragons" was drawn up before the team owners decided to go in a more inanimate (although less fictional) route.

Along with the damning poll, the Lansing State Journal published letters to the editor from fans on both side of the ensuing debate around the somewhat-silly name. The kerfuffle made national news, attracting the attention of David Letterman, the New York Times, USA Today, the Washington Post, and Sports Illustrated. But the owners held strong on the belief that there are worse things than a memorable moniker, and the fans grew to love the offbeat name, good-naturedly cheering for the 'Nuts in droves. Over time, the name fared far better in media polls: it earned the top spot for Minor League team names in a 2004 USA Today poll.

See all our mascot stories.

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Fox Sports, YouTube
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Pop Culture
The Simpsons's Classic Baseball Episode Gets the Mockumentary Treatment
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Fox Sports, YouTube

Opinions vary widely about the continued existence of The Simpsons, which just began its 29th season. Some believe the show ran out of steam decades ago, while others see no reason why the satirical animated comedy can’t run forever.

Both sides will no doubt have something to say about the episode airing Sunday, October 22, which reframes the premise of the show’s classic “Homer at the Bat” installment from 1992 as a Ken Burns-style mockumentary titled Springfield of Dreams: The Legend of Homer Simpson.

As Mashable reports, “Homer at the Bat” saw Montgomery Burns launch his own baseball team and populate it with real major league players like Wade Boggs, Steve Sax, and Jose Canseco to dominate the competition. In the one-hour special, the players will discuss their (fictional) participation, along with interviews featuring Homer and other members of the animated cast.

It’s not clear how much of the special will break the fourth wall and go into the actual making of the episode, a backstory that involves guest star Ken Griffey Jr. getting increasingly frustrated recording his lines and Canseco’s wife objecting to a scene in which her husband's animated counterpart wakes up in bed with lecherous schoolteacher Edna Krabappel.

Morgan Spurlock (Super-Size Me) directed the special, which is slated to air on Fox at either 3 p.m. EST or 4:30 p.m. EST depending on NFL schedules in local markets. There will also be a new episode of The Simpsons—an annual Halloween-themed "Treehouse of Horror" installment—airing in its regular 8 p.m. time slot.

[h/t Mashable]

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Great Big Story, Youtube
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Seattle Mariners Fans Are Going Crazy for These Crunchy Grasshopper Snacks
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Great Big Story, Youtube

Seattle Mariners fans have more than warmed up to the newest, offbeat addition to the Safeco Field concessions menu: toasted grasshoppers covered in chili-lime salt.

The crunchy snack, which sells for $4 and comes packed in a small container, has only been available for less than a season but has already sold 300,000-plus orders to date. That's about 1000 pounds of grasshoppers. 

Frequenters of Seattle's popular Mexican restaurant Poquitos will know that this delicacy—which first started as a novelty item on its menu—has actually been available to the public for six years. But it wasn't until local chef Ethan Stowell was hired to give the Safeco Field menu a hip retooling that the salty bugs found new, fervent popularity at the ballpark. (Also on the Safeco menu: fried oysters drizzled in hot sauce.)

Great Big Story met up with Manny Arce, the executive chef of Poquitos and visionary behind this culinary home run, to discuss the popularity of these crunchy critters. You can watch the video interview below:

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