November 2010

The Dawn of A New “K”

kcombo.jpgYesterday’s post and article on the Asheville Tourists’ new logo has received quite a bit of attention from the internet’s vast legion of logo aficionados. Thanks for that.

But the Tourists’ renderings of hobo sport-playing, rib-eating celestial bodies weren’t the only new marks to emerge from the Minors yesterday. Or even from North Carolina.

The Kinston Indians, who are celebrating a quarter century as a Cleveland affiliate, unveiled new logos of their own:

KinstonPrimary.jpg

The logo seen above replaces this:

kinstonold.gif

While much remains similar, the big difference here is that Kinston is no longer using a Chief Wahoo-style caricature as part of its identity. It had been the last team to do so in the Minors (the Spokane Indians developed their latest mark after consulting with the local Spokane tribe, while the Indianapolis Indians switched to an abstract, somewhat psychedelic design in 1995).

But despite this significant change, the K-Tribe’s new look is aesthetically similar to the old one. This is duly noted in the press release:

“The new, fresh look updates the classic K-Tribe style that our fans love,” said Assistant General Manager Janell Bullock. “We blended together current favorites and updated some great designs we already had. New look, same tradition!”

A Feather In Your Cap (home hat):

Kinston_homecap.jpg

The away caps feature a red “K”:

kinstonaway.jpg

And now, the moment you’ve all been waiting for: What the team’s uniforms look like when worn by eyeless virtual men.

At Home

kinstonhome.jpg

On the Road:

kinstonroaduni.jpg

Alternate Blues

kinston_altblue.jpg

The logos are the work of — you guessed it — Studio Simon. I can’t remember the last new Minor League logo that wasn’t designed by either Studio Simon or Plan B Branding. Those two have the game on lockdown.

benjamin.hill@mlb.com
twitter.com/bensbiz

A New Moon in Asheville

Today is a big day on the North Carolina League logo front, as both the Asheville Tourists and Kinston Indians have overhauled their identities. This post will focus on the Tourists, who are making like Margaret Wise Brown on opposite day and saying “Hello Moon”!

primary.JPG

But that’s “Mr. Moon” to you, as that’s the name of the shades-wearing natural satellite featured prominently on the new cap design.

Mr. Moon.JPG

In an homage to the moon’s longstanding reputation as a preeminent provider of nocturnal light, the above image glows in the dark.

But why such an emphasis on the moon in the first place? The team explains in a press release that:

“The concept pays tribute to countless moon-lit nights at McCormick Field, during which the Tourists have become part of the summer fabric for families throughout the Land of the Sky….The Tourists are the first team to incorporate a moon into their identity program. The closest may have occurred 100 years ago, when the Asheville team in the Class D Southeastern League (1910) and the Appalachian League (1911-12) was known as the Moonshiners.” 

And in case you didn’t know, Mr. Moon is a big fan of ribs that float through space until reaching his eager crater-filled maw. This is an alternate logo, and a brilliant one at that:

bbqmoon.JPG

And let’s not forget the batting practice cap, which features Mr. Moon utilizing his trusty hobo’s bindle as a bat:

HoboMoon.JPG

What it all adds up to is a happy constellation of logos:

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Some of which are available — right now! — in cap form:

caps.jpg

All of the above is courtesy of the increasingly ubiquitous Plan B Branding, who, along with Studio Simon, are the Coke and Pepsi of the Minor League logo landscape.

And speaking of cola: “RC” you later, as I’ve got a plane to catch. I’ll provide additional logo news and posts as soon as I am able. In the meantime, what’s YOUR opinion on all this?

benjamin.hill@mlb.com
twitter.com/bensbiz

So That You May Now Know the Newest News

tucson.jpgThose who work for Minor League Baseball teams have no say whatsoever when it comes to trades, free agency, and player development. Nonetheless, the flame of the industry’s hot stove is just as scorching as that which emanates from the Majors. It’s just heating up a different pot is all. 

One big piece of news was made official yesterday, with the announcement that the franchise formerly known as the Portland Beavers will be playing in Tucson in 2011 (and, perhaps, beyond). More on that can be found HERE, and rest assured I’ll be providing updates on that situation as it progresses.

And as an aside — when I first started this blog a man by the name of Benny Hill wouldbenny.jpg periodically email me his thoughts on the Tucson Sidewinders. You still out there, Benny? Your name is my name too, and I’d like to hear what you think about yesterday’s announcement. 

Far more prevalent than franchise re-location are identity overhauls, featuring new logos and, in some cases, new team names. The Lake County Captains released their new marks on Wednesday, and the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers continue to churn out numerically-obsessed promotional videos in anticipation of November 12’s grand unveiling.

On an even greater scale is the Omaha Royals, who will be announcing the results of their “Name the Team” contest on November 15.

I will say once again that my choice is “Omahogs.”

As for that which has already happened, the newly re-christened Jackson Generals have unveiled the logo for the 2011 Southern League All-Star Game. As with the Lake Captains logo, this is a Studio Simon effort: 

jaxgen.jpg

Moving from logos to stadium renovations, the South Bend Silver Hawks have announced that Coveleski Stadium will be getting a $10 million facelift. 

covel.jpg

There will be improvements galore, but my favorite is this: “Huge fire pit for those cold days in April and May.”

Speaking of improvements, the Toledo Mud Hens are making available a customized Firefox add-on browser.

browse.jpg

Sez the team: The add-on is complete with a scrolling Hens’ news ticker, video and image updates, Hens’ downloads, and much, much more!

Are any other teams doing this? The Mud Hens are the first I’ve seen.

Finally, while I do my best to ignore Christmas-related endeavors until after Thanksgiving, the first item of the Williamsport Crosscutters’ “Eight Weeks of Cutters” gift guide caught my eye (and you know how painful that can be).

It’s the Boomer plush doll!

plush.gif 

And — hey! — I almost forgot: It’s Gratuitous Video Friday! Today’s selection is an old promo for “Mary Hartman! Mary Hartman!”, one of the most funny, subversive, and ahead of its time TV shows ever made.

Hey Sony! Release more “Mary Hartman! Mary Hartman!” on DVD!

benjamin.hill@mlb.com
twitter.com/bensbiz

Old Captain! New Captain!

Some big logo news reached these shores today, as the Lake County Captains have unveiled a new identity.

The primary mark is one of the splashiest in years. It’s naut bad at all!

Captains_primary.JPG

Sez the team:

The new primary logo solidifies the Captains nautical theme and the organization’s ties to Lake County. The primary colors in the new scheme will be navy blue, light blue, tan, yellow and flesh. The primary logo features a ship wheel with the new “Captains” script font across the center with a baseball below the name coming out of a wave of water. The handles of the ships wheel represent the knobs of baseball bats.

The logo seen above replaces this, which has been made to walk the plank:

capold.gif
But don’t worry, the Captain is still represented. Check out this alternate cap logo:

Captains_Captain.JPG

And this alternate jersey design is nothing if not C-worthy:

Captains_C.JPG

At home or on the road, the players’ caps will feature this well-lit design:

Captains_lighthouse.JPG
And, finally, this sleeve emblem is in shipshape condition. Sorry I didn’t get to it schooner:

Captains_Ship.JPG
The logos were designed by Studio Simon, but no one had to tell me that. This Louisville, KY-based firm has developed a quite recognizable aesthetic, one that can be spotted across the Minor League landscape (including the Eugene Emeralds and Bradenton Marauders as well as logos for the Winter Meetings, Opening Day, and the Professional Baseball Umpires Corporation).

Meanwhile, all this talk of Captains has gotten me thinking about Jack London’s “Sea Wolf.” That book is awesome; you should read it and then email me your opinions.

benjamin.hill@mlb.com
twitter.com/bensbiz

Under Attack! (And It Feels So Good)

siege.jpgThe World Series ended last night, but that wasn’t the biggest piece of news to emanate from the baseball world.

Of far greater import was the discovery, during a routine Google search, of a press release attacking my skill and integrity as a journalist. That the release was written a month and a half ago is beside the point, what matters is that it exists and I now have something entertaining to write about this afternoon.

On September 19, the day after losing the Texas League Championship, the Midland RockHounds issued forth a missive entitled “Benjamin Hill Was Wrong.

Their beef seems to stem from a single paragraph in my TL Championship preview, in which I wrote: “… the RockHounds went 35-35 in both halves and made it to the playoffs by virtue of playing in the league’s thoroughly lackluster South Division.”

But hell hath no fury like a RockHound very mildly scorned. Let’s go to the invective:

Either Mr. Hill was absent during “research week” in school (sir, the word “thoroughly” in your so-called “preview” constitutes an editorial) or his research is, itself, “thoroughly lackluster.”

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First, Mr. Hill completely overlooked the fact that the North included Arkansas, the second worst team in all of Minor League Baseball (gee, Ben, think THAT might have inflated some win-loss records?). Second, he ignored the fact that the South was very well-balanced…Last, Ben Hill knows precious LITTLE about Darren Bush ‘s baseball club.

And, later: Note to Ben Hill. Both Midland College and the University Of Texas Permian Basin (in Odessa, if that’s more convenient) offer excellent journalism courses. Perhaps a refresher is overdue.

Let me make clear that I am not upset by any of this in the least. But as this is the only blog material I have today, I’ll make a few observations:

– Wouldn’t it have made a lot more sense to have written this release BEFORE the RockHounds lost in the Finals?

– Rivalries are fun, and it’s always great when teams can feed off of bulletin board material. I would love to see front offices deliberately cultivate rivalries throughout the playoffs, antagonizing the opposing team in order to create greater fan interest.

Or, conversely, you can wait until after the playoffs and then attack a so-called “journalist” who had no interest in the outcome whatsoever.

– Midland RockHounds? More like Middlin’ RockHounds! Am I right or am I right?

– Finally, I write about Minor League Baseball year-round and go out of my way to make sure my readers can get in touch. If your team wants to go after me, then please let me know! I’m totally on board, and will do my best to promote your endeavors.

It’s fun to be insulted! Feel free to give me the what-for at any time and for any reason:

benjamin.hill@mlb.com
twitter.com/bensbiz

Faster and Furiouser

battttssss.jpgThere’s nothing big to report today, but lots of little stuff. In the interest of equity, brevity, and levity, please peruse this rapid-fire collection of blog-worthy material.

I’ll call this Quick Hits! Surely no one in the history of blogging has ever done such a thing before.

(Note: Quick Hits! is a trademark of BensBizBlogCo LLC, 2010 All Rights Reserved All Wrongs Avenged)

Quick Hit! #1 — New Column Begins!
Last week marked the first edition of “Offseasoning”, an MiLB.com feature chronicling the offseason lives of Minor League players. The inaugural column focused on right-hander Terry Doyle, whose non-baseball job is a relatively common one: substitute teacher. If YOU are (or are aware of) a player engaged in an interesting offseason endeavor then by all means get in touch.

Quick Hit! #2 — Comic Strip Returns!
The Altoona Curve found great success last year with their “Curve, PA” comic strip, which ran in the local Altoona Mirror. This unique marketing tool will be featured on the team’s Facebook page during the offseason, starting today. The strip featured today would have been far creepier had it explored the concept of a “trophy wife.”

curvepa.jpg

Quick Hit! #3 — Ticket Package Offered!
The Charleston RiverDogs are a Yankees affiliate, but today they revealed a ticket package designed to appeal to the Braves fans in their midst. It’s called “Braves Rome to Charleston,” and includes “two tickets to the nearly-sold out 7th Annual Hot Stove Banquet on Jan. 28 that features recently-retired Braves’ skipper Bobby Cox…In addition, the RiverDogs will throw in two lower level box seat tickets to either the Sat., April 16 game or Sat., June 4 contest against the Rome Braves.”

Are YOU aware of any creative ticket packages? If so then get in touch.
Quick Hit! #4 — Artifacts Displayed!
The Omaha Royals played their last game at Rosenblatt Stadium this season, truly the end of an era. But Rosenblatt lives on at Cooperstown, as the Baseball Hall of Fame is currently displaying mementos from the final contest. Here’s a picture that includes Rosenblatt’s home plate (more pictures can be found on the the O-Royals’ Facebook page):

rosenblattplate.jpg

Quick Hit! #5Vacation Awarded!
For the 21st consecutive year, the Pawtucket Red Sox have provided a pair of local Boys and Girls Club members with an all-expenses paid trip to the World Series.The winners, selected in August, received tickets to Games 3-5 in in Arlington as well as yesterday’s Cowboys game.

Quick Hit! #6 — Teams Ranked!
According to a new study released by sportsfangraphs.com, the Toledo Mud Hens lead all of Minor League Baseball in combined Facebook fans and Twitter followers. Check out the Mud Hens’ release HERE, and the full list HERE.

Quick Hit! #7 — Countdown Continues!
As noted in Friday’s blog, the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers are releasing a series of videos in anticipation of the team’s November 12 logo unveiling. I particularly enjoyed yesterday’s Halloween video:

Quick Hit! #8 — Baseball Songs Sung!

If you like music and you like baseball, then chances are that you like songs about baseball. If so, you might want to check out “The Greatest Game in the World” by The Thrill Building. This power pop paean to our national pastime features 22 songs over 80 minutes, providing the sort of fuel necessary to make it through the offseason.

Speaking of fuel, let me know what’s going on. I am, once again, out of material.

benjamin.hill@mlb.com
twitter.com/bensbiz

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