But usually it ain’t like that. One simply has to make do with what’s available, imbuing it with enough meaning to make it seem worthwhile.
So welcome to today’s blog post, a full-to-bursting bouillabaisse of imminently worthwhile and meaningful material!
I’ll start with what you surely all came here for: video of anthropomorphic sushi engaged in a high-stakes battle royale amidst a sprawling winter wonderland.
Which of the Vancouver Canadians racing mascots will prevail? Only those who have watched this video know for sure!
But perhaps you prefer your Minor League mascots in cameo, as opposed to vegetable, rolls? If so, then watch on. You might be surprised at who turns up, as he’s a most elusive character. He’s also a vegetable.
And, of course, hardly a day goes by when there is not a new logo to share. I’m particularly pleased to share this, the official mark of Chattanooga’s Engel Foundation:
As you’ll no doubt recall, this is the group that is seeking to restore the iconic Southern Association facility (which played host to a veritable cavalcade of baseball greats). I wrote an article and blog about the efforts during my trip to Chattanooga last season; read all about it HERE and HERE.
Oh, so it’s more logos you want? Then more logos I have. The three images seen below were designed by the ubiquitous Plan B Branding, to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the Boise Hawks. Fans can vote for their favorites at the team’s web page, but as of now that image in the middle possesses a formidable lead.
For those who may not have seen it via Facebook, Twitter, or scrolling CNN news story, there is currently a piece on MiLB.com about Marty Dobrow’s book “Knocking On Heaven’s Door.” Check it out HERE, or just look at the cover here:
— Will you be there?
— Regardless, what sort of articles/blog posts would most interest you?
Feedback, please. I know you’re out there.
Last night one had the sense that something big was about to go down in Altoona. Anticipation hung in the air like a thick layer of misty morning fog. And the tension? The tension was palpable.
Palpable, I tell you.
In the month of November, an emphatic OMG! emanating from the inner recesses of a Minor League stadium can only mean one thing.
Yep, you guessed it. A new logo:
Remaining constant, of course, is the team’s adherence to the railroad theme. After all, “Curve” is an homage to the famous 220 degree Horseshoe Curve train track that winds around the summit of the Allegheny Mountains.
The Horseshoe Curve is what inspired this secondary mark:
The team remarks in the press release that “It’s believed the Curve is the first and only professional sports franchise in the commonwealth to use the keystone as part of its primary logo.”
The Pennsylvania keystone gains further prominence with this, a third logo:
As a Pennsylvania native, I’m a big fan of the logo seen above. I think I’ll have to get one of these caps and pretend the “A” represents my hometown of Ambler. Anybody out there have any love for (or at least knowledge of) Ambler?
The uniforms will be revealed early next month, but the Curve do note that “Further honoring the area’s railroad ties is the new color scheme for the team: Railroad Red, Boiler Bronze, Charcoal Gray, and Soot Black.”
The logos were designed by Minor League stalwarts Plan B Branding, always proponents of attention to detail and local emphasis. On the Plan B blog, designer Casey White notes that “there are a ton of hidden symbols infused into this new brand” and that they “contain one of the coolest twists to an official On-Field that we’ve ever created.”
Heady words, those.
Instead of doing investigative reporting, I’ll just solicit feedback from the readership — Anyone see any hidden symbols in the new logos? The latest edition of the team’s “Tuna Vision” web series provides plenty of info on the motivations for the new logo, but precious little on potential hidden symbols.
Finally, the club is currently soliciting names for the engineer featured in the primary logo. Email your suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org
Kannapolis is home to the Intimidators, a South Atlantic League club named after the late Dale Earnhardt. A Kannapolis native and NASCAR legend who once owned a minority stake in the team, Earnhardt was nicknamed “The Intimidator” in recognition of his aggressive tendencies behind the wheel.
Players will only sport the logo during what the team refers to as “Dale Earnhardt-related occasions”. But given Earnhardt’s legendary status among NASCAR’s huge legion of fans, this is a mark that should resonate far outside of the local market.
“In looking over ways to continue to enhance our partnership
with Dale Earnhardt, Inc. and the Dale Earnhardt Foundation, we thought this
new alternate logo was a fitting tribute,” said Intimidators general manager Randy Long in the press release.
Here, Earnhardt’s son Kerry (himself a race car driver) models the new look:
The team also announced an additional alternate logo, which is like Cyclops and the first Super Bowl in that it consists of one “I”:
Unlike every other Minor League logo unveiled this offseason, the Intimidators’ new marks were not designed by either Plan B Branding or Studio Simon (finally!). They were the work of Phire Branding, an Ann Arbor-based company that has previously designed Earnhardt’s website and NASCAR Hall of Fame logos.
But lest we forget, the Intimidators primary logo isn’t going anywhere.
And for good reason! This logo is a perennial winner in the “Angriest Letter” category at the annual “Anthropomorphic Awards” (held in my living room each January). It might look a little like a high-heel shoe, but it is a high heel shoe that can and will destroy you. Show some respect.
To start with, I’d like to bring your attention to the bi-weekly “Offseasoning” features I’ve been writing for MiLB.com. As it’s name would imply, these articles take a look at what a Minor League player is up to in the offseason. Terry Doyle and Wande Olabisi have been profiled thus far, and a piece on Scot Drucker will run next week.
But after that? My supplies are low. So if YOU are aware of any interesting offseason player endeavors then please get in touch with some recommendations. You know where to find me:
Offseason endeavors abound these days, because offseason endeavors are all we’ve got. A particularly interesting one involves Lowell Spinners director of corporate communications Jon Goode, who recently co-authored a book with Glen “Big Baby” Davis of the Boston Celtics.
It’s called “Basketball With Big Baby“, and the cover showcases the title character’s formidable head-swiveling abilities:
Moving from an individual endeavor to a group one, the Reading Phillies remain hard at work on their extensive renovations to FirstEnergy Stadium. In this most recent video, the Crazy Hot Dog Vendor shows his gratitude to the hard-working construction crew.
More like “Happy Franks-Giving”, if you ask me.
And — hey! — after a one-week absence, it’s time for Gratuitous Video Friday. I’ve been listening to Guns N’ Roses “Use Your Illusion I” all week long, so today I’m going to have to go with their video for “Live And Let Die.”
This video is a non-stop cavalcade of some of the best rock n’ roll outfits of all time. Nothing can top the policeman’s hat-catcher’s chest protector-kilt combo, although the get-up pictured right there in the screen grab comes pretty close.
I’m a fan of ESPN’s Rob Neyer, one of the most astute baseball writers working today. But after reading his recent blog post, not-so-subtly titled “Omaha Joins Ranks of the Embarrassing”, it’s clear that he doesn’t have a strong grasp of Minor League Baseball operating principles.
The post is inspired by Omaha’s recent name switch from “Royals” to “Storm Chasers”, and draws heavily from my MiLB.com article on the subject.
There are some truly awful minor-league team names out there. An abbreviated list: IronBirds, Doubledays, Baysox, RiverDogs, LumberKings, TinCaps, Intimidators, BlueClaws, JetHawks, BayBears, SeaDogs, River Bandits, SilverHawks, ValleyCats. Call it the “IronRule”: If you’ve got two capital letters in your name, you’ve done something wrong.
The latest and greatest case in point: the Omaha Storm Chasers.
Should teams be denied the right to develop their own unique identities? Is homogeneity across the Minor League landscape really a better option?
The following is (the bulk of) my reply to Mr. Neyer:
With no control over the product on the field, Minor League teams are first and foremost about entertainment. While in a perfect world the fans would be keeping score while studiously analyzing MLB’s future stars, the reality is that teams surround the game with as many goofy distractions as possible in order to reach the broadest demographic (those who might not care about sports, in other words, but are looking for an evening of affordable family-friendly recreation).
And regarding the Storm Chasers, this has little, if anything, to do with the Royals name falling into “disrepute.” After four decades in beloved but oversized and impersonal Rosenblatt Stadium, the team is moving to a new ballpark and finally has a chance to create a far more vibrant entertainment destination. The Storm Chasers name offers innumerable branding opportunities within the facility, and gives the team the chance to establish a far-reaching identity within the community completely distinct from the parent club.
And, yes, the new name will greatly increase merchandise sales. This is a business, after all, and profit can and should take precedence over a masochistic adherence to tradition.
Recent entrants to the “ranks of the embarrassing” that are currently thriving include the Richmond Flying Squirrels and Lehigh Valley IronPigs. Both provide a case study of how and, most likely, why the Storm Chasers name will succeed in the long-term. In a nutshell (pun intended, in the case of the Flying Squirrels): Fun is the name of the game, and should be exemplified in all aspects of the operation. If it takes three mascots to accomplish this, then all the better.
I’m not saying that the Storm Chasers, or Minor League Baseball in general, is beyond reproach. Some fans may find it hard to embrace such a cartoonish and defiantly unserious persona, and “Name the Team” contests that seem to give short shrift to the popular vote are bound to alienate sections of the fan base.
But criticisms of the industry that don’t take into account key operating principles (and the recent success thereof) are hard to take seriously, especially when stated in such an obstinate and close-minded fashion. You have to be able to understand something before you can effectively rip it apart.
I’d love to get your thoughts on all of this, whoever you may be. Feel free to dust off the always-underutilized comments section, and of course opinions can be always be expressed through email and Twitter.
To quote the immortal Mr. Sparkle: Can you see that I am serious?