Rangers pick 5 finalists for Kinston affiliate name

The Texas Rangers announced Thursday that the organization has narrowed down the potential nickname options to five finalists for its new Class A Advanced Carolina League franchise in Kinston, N.C.

The official name of the franchise -- Down East -- reflects the regional market for the Rangers' new affiliate.

Cast your vote for the team's nickname

"While the new team will call the great City of Kinston home, there are so many people from neighboring areas that will be part of the new family of fans," said team general manager Wade Howell. "To honor the geographic diversity of the fans, and to give a nod to the many vibrant areas the team will serve, we'll precede the new team nickname with the phrase Down East."

The finalists for the club's nickname -- Eagles, HamHawks, Hogzillas, Shaggers and Wood Ducks. Each of the five represents a piece of the culture and history regarding Kinston and its surrounding areas.

Fan voting for the nickname opened Thursday and will conclude at 5 p.m. ET on Sept. 29. The organization -- which stressed the importance of "regional relevance, marketability, the ability to trademark the name and family fun" in addition to fan input -- hopes to reveal its new nickname by early October.

Down East will play at Kinston's Grainger Stadium, which will host a Carolina League franchise for the first time since 2011.

The Rangers are planning to renovate Grainger Stadium, with expansions to its clubhouses, weight room and concession stands to be completed for the 2017 season, to suit its new affiliate club.

Oliver Macklin is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.