Results tagged ‘ Logos ’
For those familiar with Minor League Baseball’s offseason news cycle, the month of November holds special meaning in that it is prime time for teams to announce their re-branding efforts for the next season and beyond. Recent news on that front has included the unveiling of the Hillsboro Hops name and logo, the Lexington Legends’ heavily-mustachioed new look and Erie’s enhanced commitment to marauding wolves.
But this week is gonna be a doozy, with three re-branding efforts of escalating intrigue being unveiled over the course of the next five days. The Hudson Valley Renegades will debut their new logos on Wednesday afternoon, and later that evening the (relatively) nearby Scranton/Wilkes Barre Yankees will announce their new name. (This effort is in conjunction with the team playing in what will essentially be a “new” ballpark next season, as PNC Field is in the midst of a thorough renovation that forced the team to spend the entirety of 2012 on the road.)
The six finalists in the SWB Yanks’ re-branding are a largely unserious lot: Blast, Black Diamond Bears, Fireflies, Porcupines, RailRiders and Trolley Frogs. After being known as the Yankees (and, before that, the relatively conservative-sounding Red Barons), there is sure to be some backlash in the Scranton area from fans unhappy with their home team’s more flamboyant new direction. Such controversy is par for the course, really, and SWB president Rob Crain should be well-equipped to handle it given that he was an assistant general manager in Omaha when that team changed its name from the Royals to the Storm Chasers. (That change was not at all popular in the early-going, though fans have by and large come around to it).
But whatever the reaction is in Scranton, it will be a mere prelude to the third and most fascinating re-branding effort being unveiled this week. On Saturday, after 46 years of being known as the “Phillies,” Reading’s Eastern League club is announcing a new name and to say that the local reaction to this change has been negative would be an understatement. Just check out the comments on this web site press release, or the reaction to virtually any post on their Facebook page, or this online petition against the change, or, finally, this 2800-member strong “Save the Reading Phillies” Facebook page. To add gasoline to the flames, iconic PA announcer Dave “Frenchy” Bauman has publicly declared that he will resign from his position if the R-Phils change their name and, in response, the team has announced that PA announcer tryouts will be part of Saturday’s re-branding festivities. (For those interested, Bauman has commented frequently on the aforementioned “Save the Reading Phillies” Facebook page).
In general I am supportive of team re-branding efforts, even when they aren’t initially embraced by the community. Negative reactions to irreverent team names and identities are often motivated by the fear of the unknown and a general ignorance of how Minor League teams operate, and a common pattern has been observable in recent years in markets such as Lehigh Valley (IronPigs), Richmond (Flying Squirrels) and, of course, Omaha: Anger gives way to acceptance once the season begins and fans are able to witness first-hand how the new identity is incorporated into the overall entertainment experience. (Because, like it or not, Minor League teams are in the entertainment business first and foremost. Affiliation agreements can be short-lived, and the product on the field is 100% dictated by the parent club. Therefore, it makes sense for Minor League teams to focus on what they can control: their identity and the multi-faceted entertainment options that complement the game itself).
But Reading is unique case in that the franchise already seemed to be enjoying a best-of-both-worlds scenario. The city has been nicknamed Baseballtown, after all, and the fan base has a justifiable sense of pride in both their classic ballpark and a long-running Phillies connection (alumni include icons such as Mike Schmidt and Greg Luzinski to more recent luminaries such as Ryan Howard). The “Phillies” name has a powerful resonance in Reading, perhaps more powerful than that of any other Minor League team that still retains the moniker of its parent club.
But, meanwhile, Reading’s deeply-embedded front office (led by GM Scott Hunsicker) has worked hard to create a thoroughly unique Minor League atmosphere at the ballpark, and the fan base has embraced this side of the game experience as well. Vegetable racing, the mascot band and dancing super-fan “Disco Briscoe” are all part of the FirstEnergy Stadium atmosphere, which, of course, also includes the ostrich-riding Crazy Hot Dog Vendor. (I have been fortunate enough to visit dozens of Minor League stadiums over the past several years, and never have I seen a ballpark character with the level of popularity enjoyed by the Crazy Hot Dog Vendor — read all about it HERE).
Given that the R-Phils already do an excellent job walking this distinctly Minor League tightrope, the imminent re-branding represents a huge risk and brings to mind the old “If it ain’t broke…” cliche. For even if fans eventually embrace the new name, the public relations fallout from this decision will reverberate for a long time to come. Quite frankly, the strongest partisans on either side aren’t looking particularly good right now: the R-Phils front office is rather cavalierly flying in the face of deeply-ingrained fan sentiment within an admirably supportive market, while the most vocal contingent of fans against the change are engaging in online histrionics that are rather out of proportion to what is actually taking place. (Passion for the hometown team is a wonderful thing, but it’s not like the team is relocating. They will remain a Phillies affiliate, regardless). And say what you will about Hunsicker and company, but they’re not a bunch of Johnny-come-latelies to the Reading baseball scene. Shouldn’t their success in running the club thus far be taken into consideration? Shouldn’t the tone of this discussion be a bit more diplomatic?
There’s a lot more to explore when it comes to this story, and I’ll do my best to follow up with different viewpoints throughout the offseason. In the meantime, I’d like to know your opinion: Brilliant? Suicidal? Both? Let me know.
Monday marked the first work day in which MiLB.com headquarters (located in Manhattan’s Chelsea neighborhood) was back up and running after the superstorm, and it took me not having access to this place to realize just how much I missed it.
All of my friends are okay.
As someone who resides in a neighborhood that was marginally affected, I’m only just beginning to process the extent to which Sandy truly devastated the region in which I live and work. I was very fortunate in that I never lost power through it all, and with this being the case I channeled some of my storm anxiety into writing for MiLB.com and this blog as if nothing was wrong. I didn’t know what else to do. (For those interested in how Minor League teams were affected by Sandy, check out this short news piece). I’ll save my musings on storm life lessons and how this can and should spur me to become a more active and engaged member of my community for another day. For now, though, let’s engage in a little bit of good ol’ fashion offseason bouillabaissin.’
In case you didn’t read my MiLB.com dispatches, two teams have recently unveiled a new set of logos.
The Lexington Legends got quite a bit of play for their new look. Not only did mascot Big L unveil the new look after rappelling down the side of a building, but the team’s new road cap features a mustache and nothing else. Crank up Sparks!
The new Legends’ universe:
And then there were the Erie SeaWolves, who kept on keeping on with their canine pirate theme despite Erie’s distinct lack of mammalian buccaneer quadrupeds.
I couldn’t help but notice that the eyepatch is now on the right eye, when it used to be on the left. What does it all mean?!
So, yeah. Logos. Next up on the unveiling front are the Hudson Valley Renegades on November 13th and then, one day later, the Reading Phillies. That latter case should be very interesting, as the R-Phils are changing their name and let’s just say the community isn’t reacting positively to that news in the early-going.
Speaking of the Reading Phillies, their former media relations director Tommy Viola is now with the Charlotte Knights. And last month in Charlotte love was in the air. Ballpark wedding!
But sometimes, one needs to destroy before they can grow. Just a few days later, Knights mascot Homer visited the construction site of the Knights’ new ballpark in order to help out with the construction.
Finally, some dragon-with-a-hammer content on this blog! I knew it would happen one of these days.
The nationwide fraternity of Minor League mascots added its newest member this past Friday, as the Pensacola Blue Wahoos unveiled this fella to his presumably adoring public:
You may remember that I wrote about this Blue Wahoo a few weeks back, when he was nothing more than an artist’s rendering in search of a name. He has since been bestowed with a moniker, and will forevermore be known as “Kazoo.” Interestingly, the Blue Wahoos are referring to Kazoo as a “fictional aquatic creature” despite the fact that he clearly exists.
The Blue Wahoos are entering their inaugural season, but thanks to the inexorable passage of time they’ll eventually be celebrating anniversary seasons of varying degrees of importance. And when they do, there’s a good chance that they’ll put in a call to Studio Simon. I was recently alerted to the fact that this Louisville-based logo powerhouse has had a hand in three recent anniversary marks, celebrating seasons from 10 to 20 to 60.
Aberdeen IronBirds, 10th Anniversary
I’d say that the above image is pretty much the definition of “self-explanatory.” So let’s move on.
Fort Myers Miracle, 20th Anniversary
Whereas the IronBirds mark needed no explanation, the above logo has a bit of a backstory. Dan Simon, the man behind the Studio Simon brand, reported in an email that:
The Miracle mark features the script font, and the teal and yellow color palette, that the team sported when they first moved from Miami to Fort Myers in 1992. In fact, the team wore those colors for at least several campaigns before the move, which means that it was them, and not the team formerly known as the Florida Marlins, who deserve credit for officially bringing teal onto the baseball branding landscape.
But wait, there’s more:
As part of their 20th anniversary celebration this season, the Fort Myers Miracle will be wearing throwback uniforms from 1992, their first year in Fort Myers after their move from Miami (a move necessitated by the fact that the Florida Marlins were taking over the Miami territory, starting in 1993).
The Miracle will be wearing the teal and yellow caps and jerseys for every Friday and Saturday home game during the 2012 season. There will be a season-long jersey auction that will conclude at the final home game on September 1, when the highest bidders will win the jerseys.
A portion of the proceeds from that auction will benefit the Dave Clark Foundation, which as Simon notes, should “make you ‘Glad All Over.‘” That one deserves a high 5!
Billings Mustangs 60th Anniversary
I did write about that one already, but the above image is superior to that which I had before. And here at Ben’s Biz Blog, you know we only settle for the very best.
One thing is bothering me, though: is there a word for “60th anniversary”? If this was a 50th anniversary then I’d have the chance to drop “quinquagenary” and 75 brings the opportunity for “dodranscentennial.” But, for now, I’m at a loss for words.
“If it bleeds it leads” is a well-known journalism trope, and those of us who make a living in the cutthroat world of Minor League baseball blogging ascribe to a similar saying: if it’s a logo then it’s a go-go.
Therefore, I have no choice but to begin today’s missive with the latest and greatest images to emanate from the world of MiLB. On Saturday, the High Desert Mavericks unveiled a pair of high-definition alternate logos:
Sez the team:
“After 21 seasons in the Victor Valley, we felt it was a great time to introduce new logos which reflected both the Mavericks team identity and our strong connections to the High Desert community,” general manager Eric Jensen said. “Our new ‘HD’ logo allows the whole High Desert to feel represented when they’re wearing Mavericks apparel and incorporates the unique physical attributes of this region.
“Likewise, the new cowboy logo represents the rugged resilience of those who reside in the desert while providing a historical tie to the Maverick name.”
I was fortunate enough to be able to visit a Mavericks game last season, but somehow I neglected to notice physical attributes such as a green sun. I did, however, notice the ruggedness.
Another team I visited on that trip were the Lake Elsinore Storm, who have recently announced a very good reason to make a return visit. Following April 22’s ballgame, Joan Jett and the Blackhearts will perform a free show.
This has to be one of the best deals of the season — where else can $9 buy entry to both a professional baseball game and a rock n roll spectacle?
Sez the team:
The concert, set to begin approximately 30 minutes after the game ends, will be held in celebration of Storm owner Gary Jacobs’ birthday. Jett, known for “I Love Rock N Roll,” is scheduled to perform a 90 minute set with her band on a stage placed behind second base.
Hey, Lake Elsinore, please do me a favor and offer Rocky Road ice cream during the ballgame. It would mean a lot.
But now let us return, one more time, to the world of logos. On Monday the Reading Phillies announced a great new idea, one that sees them teaming up with Brandiose in order to teach the art and science of logo design to a new generation.
It’s called ‘9 to the Nines.’
And since it’s been a press release quoting kind of morning, let’s do it one more time:
As a kid, did you ever dream of wearing uniforms like the pros? Jason Klein and Casey White of Brandiose are the guys who design the official logos and uniforms for Major League Baseball teams. The duo will be coming to Reading, PA to give the kids of the Olivet Boys and Girls Club a firsthand look at how baseball logos come to life. Brandiose will also be collaborating with the kids to design their very own logos for the Baseballtown RBI League.
Jason and Casey will take the kids through the same creative process they take teams of Major League Baseball and Minor League Baseball through by discussing the parts of the community the kids cherish the most. They will then work with the kids to bring those ideas to life in logo form. Kids will sketch their ideas at the event, with Klein and White compiling the ideas into a major league look for each Baseballtown RBI League team. The kids’ logos will be unveiled in time for the Baseballtown RBI League’s 2012 Opening Day.
And — hey! — if any kids want to submit a Ben’s Biz logo that could be used for 2012 and beyond then you know where to find me. That’s right, alone and in front of a computer.
Last week I took a break from the typical sort of blog content, eschewing the ever-present “now” in favor of planning for the future. And indeed, your input is still very much desired regarding that particular tri-fecta of posts:
— Send me headshots! (Seriously, the response to this thus far has been tepid at best. My writerly ego, so fragile to begin with, is in danger of suffering irreparable damage. Here’s some inspiration for ya:
But that was then, so now it’s time to look at what was then now. Or, rather, was now then. Capiche? Me neither.
The Yankees’ Empire State of Mind is due to the fact that the team will be playing “on ze road” throughout the 2012 season, with the majority of the ballgames being hosted by the Rochester Red Wings (the team is also playing “home” games in the Empire State locales of Batavia, Buffalo, and Syracuse). This less than ideal situation is because the team’s PNC Field is undergoing an extensive $40 million renovation, rendering the field unplayable.
Or is it? The renovations have yet to begin, as the team’s scheduled sale to Mandalay Baseball has yet to go through. More on all that, as well as the mild controversy behind the Empire State Yankees name, can be found HERE.
And, hey, since we’re on the new logo tip now would be a good time to show the San Jose Giants’ recently unveiled 25th anniversary mark. Your life will never be the same:
And now for yet another logo, of sorts: The Reno Aces have continued their St. Patty’s day tradition, by releasing an Irish-themed limited edition t-shirt.
On St. Patty’s Day the team should drop the “Ren” from their name and simply go by the name “O’Aces.” Although, come to think of it, that might result in a lawsuit from the Gallagher bros.
Meanwhile, I’ve been spending a lot of my “down” time here at the office in the tedious but worthwhile task of compiling (via spreadsheet) 2012 promos of note. Some interesting stuff pops up sometimes, such as this offering from the Portland Sea Dogs:
April 15: Tax Day/Headstone Giveaway
Sez the team: There are only two guarantees in life: death and taxes. Therefore the Sea Dogs have partnered with Jones, Rich, and Hutchins to giveaway a headstone to one fan.
I like it! We as a society need to spend more time contemplating (and therefore overcoming our fear of) the sheer inevitability of death. While a “Salute to Mortality” theme night is a long way off, the Sea Dogs are at least moving the conversation in the right direction.
The previous post on this blog ended with an anniversary logo (the Hickory Crawdads 20th, to be exact), so in the interest of seamless transitions let’s keep that particular train right on a-rollin’:
It should be self-explanatory, but the above mark commemorates the fact that 2012 will be the Northwest Arkansas Naturals’ fifth season. They played their first season way back in 2008, when George W. Bush was president, the price of a postage stamp was a mere 41 cents, and Ben’s Biz Blog was less than a year old.
But enough about bygone eras. Let’s celebrate the future! The Wisconsin Timber Rattlers announced that there will be a nacho stand at the ballpark in 2012, and the team is currently conducting a Facebook poll to determine what the stand should be called. I am pleased to report that my submission of “Nacho, Nacho Stand” is one of the finalists.
I am not pleased to report that, as of this writing, my submission has received all of 16 votes. “Class A Nachos” is currently in first, and, really, that one is not nearly as good as mine or fellow contender “Nachossss.” Biz Blog readers, now is the time to rectify this egregious wrong! Vote HERE! (If I win, I’ll donate my free full-size free nacho grande helmet to charity).
2012 will also be Season 1 for the new-look Swoop, mascot of the South Bend Silver Hawks. When Swoop last appeared in this blog, he was engaged in an intimate moment with a Miss America contest.
But those days of tongue-in-beak insouciance are over. For last week, the Silver Hawks gave Swoop a makeover:
Speaking of the Silver Hawks, they were, to my knowledge, the only MiLB team to run a local TV ad during the Super Bowl. That spot, cinematic in scope, can be viewed HERE.
Of course, a far more common Minor League approach is to engage in a spot of parody. The Frederick Keys did just this, putting their own spin on a FIAT ad (the original can be viewed HERE).
And speaking of the Super Bowl, you’ll no doubt recall that the last post on this blog started with info on the Lowell Spinners us-against-the-rest of the New York-Penn League big game bet.
It was a sizable gamble, and the Spinners lost. Therefore, mascot Canaligator is in for a summer of abject humiliation.
Even more so than usual:
As for me, I’ll be “writing a blog…all summer long.” Don’t you forget about me.
The posts on this blog are rarely team-specific during the offseason, simply because there is rarely enough content from one team to comprise an entire post.
Today is one of those rare occasions, as the Reading Phillies have unleashed a torrent of notable news upon the world. First and foremost, the team’s plans for the 2012 Eastern League All-Star Game Home Run Derby are downright hallucinogenic.
The above visual (yes, that is an intern on a crane out in left field) will all come to life on July 10. Perhaps some extensive quoting from the press release would be warranted at this juncture:
[P]layers will be trying to hit select targets around the field to earn points….targets include outfield dunk tanks, R-Phils fanatics jumping on a trampoline, and pink flamingo yard ornaments sprinkled around the outfield.
Conversely, there will be obstacles hitters will want to avoid in order to not lose points. The Reading Phillies mascots will be scattered around the field, trying to snag balls hit by the all-stars. For each ball the mascots catch, the hitter will be penalized with negative points.
While the hitting challenge is going on, an exclusive VIP party will actually take place right on the infield. These VIP quests will be protected by a net as they party away with homerun balls sailing over their heads.
Grammy Award-winning musician and Berks County resident David Cullen will also be performing uncomfortably close to the pitcher’s mound in a protected area as he entertains fans and all-stars in attendance.
Those desirous of a detailed visual explanation would do well to watch the team’s five-minute explanation video, linked to in the aforementioned press release.
My guess is that the R-Phils were influenced by the Quad Cities River Bandits, who last season put some very unique twists on the Midwest League Home Run Derby. Any other 2012 All-Star Game hosts planning something similar? Let me know!
Meanwhile, a new logo has come out of Reading as well. This:
The above frankfurter, designed by
the artists formerly known as Plan B Branding Brandiose, is the new mark for the club’s Baseballtown Charities. Some explanation:
Baseballtown Charities, a non-profit 501(c)(3) entity, was launched ten years ago in association with the Reading Phillies in order to keep baseball alive in Reading through charitable donations to underprivileged youth, who otherwise wouldn’t have the opportunity to play baseball. The organization was also founded to pay tribute to Reading’s rich baseball history.
Since its inception in 2002, the Baseballtown trademark has played a necessary part in the baseball community of Berks County. Under the Baseballtown namesake, FirstEnergy Stadium has played host to the High School All-Star Game and the Olivet’s Boy’s and Girl’s Club Championship. Each year, the organization crowns the King or Queen of Baseballtown to honor the past by recognizing that individual’s accomplishments and contributions to baseball/softball.
And, finally, with Valentine’s Day on the horizon the R-Phils have put out a video in which team employees explain the significant role that mascots have played in their love lives.
Maybe one of these days I’ll put out a video explaining how mascots played a role in mine.
It is of course not something that I can control, but I’ve received several complaints this offseason regarding the relative paucity of new logo unveilings.
And, indeed, times have been tough (especially when compared to a particularly fertile 2010-11). This year’s crop has been limited to the Daytona Cubs, new franchises in Pensacola and Grand Junction, and two Blue Jays affiliates (Dunedin and Bluefield) who responded to changes made by the parent club. The rest have been anniversary marks, All Star Games logos, and various subtle tweaks.
But if it’s logos you want and logos you demand, I’ll do my best. For example, the Billings Mustangs recently unveiled a logo celebrating 60 seasons of professional baseball.
In honor of the club’s 60th Season, the Mustangs, in association with Studio Simon, have developed a 60th Season commemorative logo, which will be featured on multiple applications and platforms throughout the season. The logo will serve as a sleeve patch for both the home and road jerseys, and it will also be available on team merchandise and souvenirs.
Keep in mind that there have been a few small gaps in Billings’ baseball history, which is probably why the words “Since 1948” don’t appear on the logo. That would be confusing, as would the slogan “Celebrating 60 Mostly Consecutive Years of Baseball Since 1948.”
The Rancho Cucamonga Quakes will be sporting new uniforms in 2012, and it’s easy to find “fault” with them. The logo remains the same, but the team is emphasizing its affiliation with the (relatively) nearby Los Angeles Dodgers.
Arguably the most noticeable change will take place on the numbers in the uniform, as the 2012 uniforms will feature the Quakes’ customary “fault line” running through the middle of each digit, giving it a unique and truly “Quake” look.
An addition to the 2012 uniform will feature a red number on the lower left-half on the front of the jersey, which is also a popular feature of the current Dodgers’ uniform.
Quakes’ jerseys will have sleeves in 2012, a change from the sleeveless style worn in years past. The jersey will no doubt be “Dodgerized”, as the left sleeve will feature the traditional “LA” logo.
Missing from the pants this year will be any piping down the sides, as the new pants will be solid white, also emulating that of the Dodgers’ home pants.
I’ve put my weekly Twitter Round-Up on ice for a bit, as I’m not sure if people were getting/enjoying the concept. But I remain committed to that form of social media, and hope that @BensBiz slow march to 1500 followers transitions into a tidal wave to 10 million. I mean, let’s be honest here, I’m worthy of far more followers than I have.
One new Twitter account that should be of interest to readers of this blog is @milbstaffprblms — a compendium of, you guessed it, Minor League staff problems. A few samples:
the shoes under your desk covered in orange clay and the mildewy smell that accompanies them
I would like to note that I am not the one running this account, despite my (subtle) presence in the @milbstaffprblms avatar.
Update! And, wouldn’t you know it, @broadcastrprobs has now emerged. Follow that one too!
Let’s end the week, as we often do, with a video. This one hails from Tennessee, land of the Smokies, and is to be lauded for its commitment to absurdity. (Another Update! Episode Two of the McGinty and Cunningham series is out, and can be viewed HERE.
Commitment to absurdity: a Ben’s Biz Blog guiding principle since 2007. Thanks for reading.