The captain has found a home in Raymond James Stadium, but no new name...yet
News Rewind: On Friday, June 2, 2000, the Clearwater Coast Guard rescued an unidentified, 6-2, 250-pound, bearded man from the choppy waters of Tampa Bay. Though he was suffering from amnesia and unable to tell the Coast Guard his name or origin, he remembered vaguely that he had been the powerful captain of a mighty pirate ship.
-- Buccaneers.com, Saturday, June 3.
A month later, we now know this man's story well. The Tampa Bay area has accepted the mysterious seafarer as one of its own and he has taken up residence in the ship docked in the North End Zone of Raymond James Stadium, the ship he used to captain on the high seas of the Carribean. He has also taken on the envious job of Mascot for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
The one thing he has yet to take on is a name. Though memories of his adventures in the Carribean and his likes and dislikes have all gradually returned, he cannot recall what he was called before his two-year ordeal lost at sea.
That's where Buccaneers fans have stepped in, using Buccaneers.com, the official team web site. Since June 3, Buccaneers.com has run a contest to choose a new name for the captain, and he has agreed to accept whatever is selected for him.
As enthusiastic and animated as the captain is, however, he has begun to grow restless as he waits for the big news. Buccaneers.com caught up with the Mascot on a recent fishing trip, and the usually silent seafarer spared a few words on the situation.
"I'm adjusting fairly well without a name so far," he said. "Most of the people I run into at Raymond James Stadium just say, 'Hi, captain,' or 'Hey, big guy.' Still, there are times when it can be tough, like when I was filling out my census form or trying to get a fishing license. The DMV wasn't very sympathetic."
Fortunately, The captain's wait is approaching an end. The mascot naming contest will come to a close on Friday, July 14 and an in-depth review of the ideas will take place. The results of the review – and the new name our captain so eagerly awaits – will be announced at a following date. There will certainly be plenty of ideas to choose from – over 8,000 entries have been sent in through the Buccaneers.com contest.
Carole Wood, the team's Cheerleading Coordinator and one of the representatives involved in the naming process, says the response has been overwhelming. "Our fans have obviously embraced the new Mascot and are eager to help," said Wood. "We've gone through the list once and are impressed by the fans' imaginations. I'm sure the captain will be very pleased with his new name."
The 8,000-plus submissions have covered a wide nautical spectrum, with many duplications, obviously. Many entrants have explored the 'Captain' theme – Captain Buc, Captain Cutlass, Captain Pegleg, Captain Grimm and Captain Argh!, to name a few – while others have made the 'Pirate' connection – such as Pirate Pete, Jolly Roger, Plank and Shiver-me-Timber. Still others have worked the Bucs colors into it – Pewter Pete, Redbeard, Blackburn, for instance – or gone with simple one-name choices – Scar, Bucky, Hook and Bucshot to pull out a few popular choices. (The names mentioned above are random examples; none have been either chosen or eliminated.)
Just as eager Buccaneer fans have endured a long offseason of anticipation for their team to return to the field, the team's new mascot has had an anxious summer of waiting for his new name. The Bucs will end the anticipation when they take the field on August 4 to open the preseason against Washington at Raymond James Stadium; the captain's wait is nearly over as well.