Tagged: Plan B Branding

Wahoo’s On First

Well, the moment you’d (presumably) all been waiting for has arrived:

The Pensacola Blue Wahoos, the latest and therefore greatest entrant into the venerable Southern League, now possess a visual component. 

Primary Logo

I must admit that I find it amusing that the Wahoo has a hook in his mouth. Wouldn’t that imply that death is imminent, despite the determined demeanor?

No! According to the press release, this “tenacious” Blue Wahoo is shown “breaking away from a fisherman’s line.” He has lived to scowl another day.

The cap logo features “a Blue Wahoo circling a baseball bat forming the shape of a ‘P’ for Pensacola.”


The logo’s color scheme is described thusly Neon Red, Gulf Coast Royal, Blue Angel Navy, and Tin Roof Tin make up the club’s official colors, celebrating the textures and colors of the Emerald Coast. The Blue Wahoos are the first sports team to adopt Neon Red, a tribute to the neon signs that illuminate Pensacola’s beachfront establishments.

It seems that quite a few people aren’t buying this “neon red” terminology, however, at least if Facebook and Twitter rumblings are to be believed. Why not call it “Pensacola Pink”?

The team says that “many” alternate logos will be unveiled in the coming months, but at the moment the only one available features the aforementioned hook (presumably after it has broken away from the tenacious Blue Wahoo).

The logo was designed by Plan B Branding Brandiose, that recently re-branded branding company. These guys have to have one of the most bizarre-sounding client lists in all of professional sports: Blue Wahoos, Storm Chasers, IronPigs, Flying Tigers, BayBears, etc. Clearly, Minor League Baseball is a world all of its own.

And in related news, the Blue Wahoos now have an official website as well. A visit to the “Bait and Tackle” team store should satiate all of your fish logo-related needs.

The Blue Wahoos weren’t the only Floridian Minor League team to unveil a new logo on Friday. The  Dunedin Blue Jays did as well,  adapting to changes recently made by the parent club.

Everything old is new again (until it becomes old, at which point it becomes new again).


And apologies for the extreme tonal shift, but obviously the big story in the world of baseball today is the stabbing death of Mariners outfielder Greg Halman. I’m currently working on a story that will feature the thoughts and recollections of those who knew him in the Minors. If you have something you’d like to share then please get in touch ASAP.



Hello and Goodbye

Last Friday I wrote a feature story on the new-for-2012 Pensacola Blue Wahoos, but the westernmost region of the Florida panhandle isn’t the only area in which affiliated ball will debut next season.

How about them Grand Junction Rockies? The team, located in Western Colorado, was officially introduced to the public at a press conference yesterday. The Rockies will play in the Pioneer League, as the Rookie-level affiliate of the (surprise!) Colorado Rockies. Read all about it in my MiLB.com piece.

And with a new team comes a new logo. Here it is, in all its parent-club referencing glory:

As noted in the MiLB.com piece, the key difference between this mark and that of the Colorado Rockies is that the mountain range has been replaced by a mesa. As I learned today, Grand Junction has more Mesas than Jose’s family reunion.

As a club that plays in Colorado and owned by the same folks that own the Colorado Rockies, it’s not surprising that Grand Junction is going the conservative route with its look. The same could not be said of the team that they are replacing: the Casper Ghosts. As you may recall, this was the only team in professional baseball whose primary logo glowed in the dark.

RIP The Ghosts

In glossing over the article I wrote when the Ghosts’ logo was unveiled on Halloween 2007, I came across the following quote from team CEO Kevin Haughian.

“I originally wanted to be the Casper Weinbergers, but we figured no one would get it.”


The Ghosts’ logo was designed by Plan B Branding, which, as of today, is no longer Plan B Branding. As detailed on this blog last week, the company unveiled its new name via a week-long internet scavenger hunt. And that new name is:

Logo fiends should enjoy poking around the new website, particularly the “Behind the Scenes” section. Said section is chock-a-block with info and photos regarding how many of the Minors’ top logos came to be.

The announcement of the “Brandiose” name comes exactly one year after another notable name change. For it was on November 15, 2010 that the Omaha Storm Chasers were introduced (themselves a Plan B/Brandiose client, natch).

The name was heavily criticized by those within the community and without, and my response to the criticism (specifically that of  then-ESPN columnist Rob Neyer) was the most widely-read and commented upon offseason blog post that I have ever wrote. Give it a (re)read, if you’re so inclined.

Ah, November 2010. I was so young and strong back then.



Moving Forward In Reverse

My original plan was to devote today’s post exclusively to food (shocker, I know), but you know what they say about the best laid plans:

They are often interrupted by a reversible hat!

The Altoona Curve announced their new logos and uniforms earlier this offseason, and the shape-shifting item seen above represents the final piece of the puzzle. Remarks the franchise:

[T]he Altoona Curve’s new home cap is believed to be the first in Minor League Baseball to feature a specially-designed, rally cap lining. When the Railroad Red cap with the new Engineer head logo is turned inside out, a bright orange lining with large black eyes is displayed to simulate the look of popular Curve rally mascot, Al Tuna.

The cap is the work of Plan B Branding, who are understandably excited by their latest innovation. I chatted briefly with company co-founder Jason Klein over IM yesterday, but all he wrote was “Al Tuna! Al Tuna!” before my connection gave out. But perhaps that’s all that was needed.

Al Tuna! Al Tuna!

But in case you were wondering, the players themselves won’t be wearing the rally caps. Curve manager PJ Forbes told the Altoona MirrorI can emphatically say no. But it is a nice touch for the fans, and it’s another way to get the fans involved, which is what it’s all about.” Which reminds me, why isn’t there a “Come to the Park in Your PJs” night on the Curve promotional calendar? It would be a great way to honor the manager while getting the fans involved. And that’s what it’s all about!

Speaking of getting the fans involved, the Huntsville Stars are going to be broadcasting games in a most interesting fashion this season:

The Stars will be replacing the traditional radio broadcast with a live web show for every home game.  The webcast, “The Living Room Show”, will bring a different level of entertainment to the ballpark, putting the broadcast in the hands, and seats, of fans. Ryan “Pokey” Hayden, a former voice of Troy University athletics, will host the show and keep things rolling. He’ll also be in charge of calling the play-by-play, and it won’t be from the press box. Hayden will be seated on a couch in the seating bowl, calling the game with the people who love it most: the fans.

I’m definitely interested to hear (and see) how this turns out. It could be the future of Minor League Baseball broadcasting, or it could be a crazy and quickly-forgotten anomaly. But it won’t be both. I’d also curious to hear YOUR thoughts. Yes, you.

Believe it or not, I have not embedded a video since MLBlogs made its momentous conversion to WordPress (who, according to the logic of Rob Neyer, must be doing something wrong). That situation is going to be rectified right now, with a video that just happened to fall into my lapse. Courtesy of the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers, here’s the offseason condensed into 118 seconds.

But the offseason, in real time, was approximately 4.2 billion years. I, for one, am glad that it ends tomorrow. It’s time to not enjoy life in a whole new way!

Oh, and that food-related post is coming soon. I think I’m going to call it “Appetite For Destruction” because how is it possible that I have never written a post with this title?



Keepin’ It Rail In Altoona

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:

The new primary logo seen above replaces this:


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?

Thumbnail image for Curve_engineer.jpgThe 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.”

I guess Train Track Tan, Sleeping Car Cerulean, and Propped Up By Federal Subsidies Silver didn’t make the cut.

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 — Anyoneeplurubus.jpg 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 engineer@altoonacurve.com

I’d go with “Casey at the Track”, in honor of folk hero engineer Casey Jones. That guy sure has had a lot of songs written about him.


Omaha Opts For A Meteorological Moniker, With Chaser

Like Crystal Pepsi, the Dodo Bird and civilized political discourse, the Omaha Royals are no longer.

In their place are the Storm Chasers.


Storm Chasers emerged as the winner of a “Name the Team” contest that received 1500 entries (where fore art thou, Omahogs?), and was announced on Monday evening. The name pays homage to Omaha’s standing as the extreme weather capital of the country, and gives the club a plethora of branding opportunities as they prepare for their inaugural season at Werner Park (a team store called the “Storm Shelter”, for example).

While mascot Casey the Lion will remain, he is being joined by two weather-related costumed characters.

Stormy doesn’t need a weatherman to tell which way the wind blows. He’s anemometer-ically correct: 


Don’t Mess With Vortex


The above logo will adorn the club’s home caps, while the road caps feature the “O-Bolt” emblem seen below. I suppose now is as good a time as any to mention that the logos were designed by Plan B Branding, the San Diego-based company whose work has been featured many, many times on this blog.

Whirlwind alternate cap logo:


And on the batting practice cap, the above whirlwind wraps itself ’round and ‘twixt the O-Bolt.


The home and road unis, for your viewing pleasure.


But lest one forget about the “Royals” entirely, this sleeve patch notes the long-standing affiliation between Kansas City and Omaha.

Omaha_KC patch.JPG

But speaking of Royals, it seems that many in the community didn’t desire a name change in the first place. A quick search through the internet will unveil a plethora of negative reactions, from the team’s Facebook page to local news stories. Even Deadspin, the most popular Mean Girl in the sports blog clique, took a few cheap shots.

But when you get right down to it, isn’t all publicity good publicity? And what many of those criticizing fail to understand is that this is how Minor League Baseball operates nowadays. It’s entertainment first and foremost, and eye-catching family-friendly logos distinct from the parent club lead to innumerable branding opportunities and generate far more merchandising revenue.

It was just one year ago, for example, that the Richmond Flying Squirrels were gettingrfs.jpg battered mercilessly for their “bush league” name and logo. But once fans saw how the re-branding fit into a larger entertainment context they hopped right on board, and the club currently leads all of Minor League Baseball in merch sales.

Whether a similar story plays out in Omaha remains to be seen, and of course everyone is entitled to their opinion regarding “weather” or not this is a good idea. But recent history (not just in Richmond, but across the Minor League landscape) is on the side of the Storm Chasers.

What do you think?


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”!


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:


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


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


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


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?


The AquaSox Throwback to the Future

I’ve really got to hand it to short-season teams, who keep finding their way into the news despite the close proximity of an Opening Day which does not apply to them.

The latest such club to penetrate the public consciousness is the Everett AquaSox, who have just announced a “brand extension.” This might not be quite as radical as a “complete identity overhaul”, but it is a most significant development nonetheless.

So, how does a brand extend one’s self? Let’s find out by taking a look at the team’s new and improved starting line-up of logos.


As before, Webbly the frog remains the centerpiece of the team’s primary logo.


The big change here is the stylized letter “E”, which is a direct reference to the Seattle Mariners’ “Trident M” logo of the 70s. As the press release points out, this makes the AquaSox “the first Minor League Baseball team to build their identity based on
their affiliate’s throwback logos.”

In fact, the Trident “E” will now be featured on the team’s away caps:


Also of note is a new mark that depicts a literal pair of Aqua Socks. This will be used as a home shoulder patch on the home uniform, as well as an alternate cap:


The “brand extension” is the work of Plan B Branding, a creative ideas and storytelling company whose recent work has resulted in more aggressive bears, moose, and crustaceans.

I’d like to think that this will be it when it comes to new 2010 logos, but I’ve learned not to assume anything. Just when you think that there won’t be any more — BAM! — another one comes from out of nowhere and flattens you on the sidewalk like a sack of bricks falling from an improperly constructed scaffold. 


Now It Can Be Revealed

vegas.jpgFor confidential reasons related to my health and safety, I was forced to remain coy about where I spent my time from Sunday-Thursday. But now that I am back within the warm and comforting embrace of New York City, I can tell you that I was in Las Vegas in order to attend the Baseball Winter Meetings.

While the Winter Meetings of the popular imagination revolve around wheeling and dealing at the Major League level, in reality this is just a small portion of everything that goes on. The Minor Leagues are very well represented as well, and of course it is the Minors that are of interest to me.

Last year, I wrote a comprehensive Winter Meetings journal. This year, in the interest of brevity and also in the interest of retaining my readership, I will condense this coverage into capsule form.

Monday — Spent the majority of the day at the annual Bob Freitas Business Seminar, invegas2.jpg which select Minor League front office members and other industry luminaries shared their expertise. For my money (if I had in fact paid to attend), the highlight of the seminar was the afternoon roundtable discussions. The roundtables were divided into three 1/2 hour sessions, but there were 14 presenters overall. Therefore, it was imperative to choose wisely.

First, I watched Rob Hackash of the Reading Phillies speak about “Sparking Media Coverage From the Dead of Winter On”. The focus of this was largely on the R-Phils’ Valentines Day promotion, in which mascot Screwball delivers flowers and game tickets to lucky ladies throughout the region. This was followed by Casey and Jason of Plan B Branding, who enthusiastically delivered an idea round-up entitled “So a shark, a groundskeeper, and a used car salesman walk into bar…” I can’t recall the punchline to this set-up, but in my mind it involved the shark needing CPR from the used car salesman. Either way, the title effectively conveyed Plan B’s knack at utilizing orchestrated chaos for fun and profit at the Minor League level. Finally, I watched Scott Carter (accomplished marketer and dancer for the Fresno Grizzlies) speak about “Repeat Customers: The Cheap and Easy Success Strategy.” Essentially, Carter laid out a series of objectives geared toward transforming the casual ballpark visitor into a bona-fide super fan. (step one: book Billy Zabka).

Monday evening was filled with the usual Vegas hi-jinx, such as watching “Cash Cab” in the hotel room and going to bed early.

trade.jpgTuesday: On the professional level, most of my day was spent traversing the labrynthian corridors of the mammoth Baseball Trade Show. As someone who writes about promotions year-round, I always enjoying seeing what new giveaway items are being peddled by the various vendors in attendance. My favorite this year was the flipbooks being offered by Coyote Promotions, in which teams can have their memorable moments immortalized through the magic of self-propelled fast-moving still photography.

But, the trade show is exhausting. In addition to constantly being on one’s feet, there is the nagging feeling of being eyed up by vendors as they decide whether or not to launch into a sales pitch. I’m probably not worth talking to, unless someone is interested in getting a plug on one of the internet’s finest Minor League business blogs. On second thought, this definitely makes me worth talking to. I wield influence like a caveman wields a club. 

Tuesday night I took a bus three miles east on Tropicana to the Pinball Hall of Fame. 220pinball.jpg machines from all eras of pinball history, and all in excellent condition. This place is a labor of love, and an absolute must for anyone who enjoys pinball. I, obviously, love pinball. In fact, email me at any time in order to talk about pinball.


Wednesday — Early in the afternoon I spoke with Minor League President Pat O’Conner on his plans for 2009. This conversation was then deftly combined with select quotes from O’Conner’s Opening Session speech on Monday, and turned into this journalistic masterwork. On Wednesday evening, I had the pleasure of attending the Minor League gala at the Pure Nightclub. The invitation called for “upscale club attire”, and it was quite a spectacle indeed to see each attendee’s interpretation of these dress specifications (khakis and an untucked and wrinkled collared shirt seemed to be the general consensus). This event, which likely resulted in the most disparate male to female ratio in the history of Pure Nightclub, was nonetheless a good time and a great networking opportunity.

Acting on a tip from someone who knows about such things, I ended the evening at the Peppermill Lounge. This place was great, especially in contrast to the faux-opulence and barely disguised customer contempt that characterizes so many other businesses on the Las Vegas strip. Enjoying a cigar and a double bloody mary while sitting around a flaming pool (!) was the perfect ending to the Vegas experience.

slots.JPGSo, in summary, when in Vegas visit the Pinball Hall of Fame and the Peppermill Lounge. Oh, and “Slots A Fun” has $2 blackjack at all times. That’s about all I can help you out with.

Addendum: I must say that, throughout the week, I was surprised by the number of people who referenced this blog as the primary reason they know who I am. So, if you know me, get in contact with me. Or, if you don’t know me, still get in contact. This blog is a two-way street, and the more anecdotes, photos, and news items that get sent my way, then the better the content. Upwards and onwards toward world domination!

Incidentally, this blog ranked #49 among MLB Pro Blogs in the number of visitors from Opening Day to the present. While it means a lot to me have beaten my long-time blogging nemesis Torii Hunter, there is still a long ways to go. Please, keep spreading the word…