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Greenville welcomes the Drive
10/27/2005 4:33 PM ET
When Greenville's Class A Minor League baseball team takes the field in its new, downtown stadium next April, the ballclub will also be sporting a brand new name announced today: the Greenville Drive.

"Greenville has an incredibly entrepreneurial, forward-looking spirit, and we wanted the name to reflect that enthusiasm," said team president Craig Brown. "Its remarkable success on so many fronts has been the result of individuals who had a vision and made it a reality through perseverance and hard work. It is that unique quality and experience we wanted to capture in the name of this community's team.

"After considering literally dozens of possibilities," added Brown, "we felt the Greenville Drive best described the attitude and direction of this region. That the Upstate is also home to Michelin, BMW and the International Center for Automotive Research (ICAR) lends credibility to the name and also provided creative inspiration for the new team logo."

The Greenville Drive's logo includes nostalgic elements that evoke the imagery of car hood ornaments from the 1940s and 1950s. The rounded, winged "G" embedded with the "Drive" name in flocked script is meant to connect the best of the past with the best of the future. Colors will mirror the midnight navy and crimson of the team's Major League Baseball affiliate, the Boston Red Sox.

"This is a new era of Greenville baseball," said Greenville Mayor Knox White. "The Greenville Drive will be a baseball team for people who grew up here as well as for those who moved to our area, and I think the name is a great reflection of our community. I'm excited about the opportunity for people to rally behind the new team name and look forward to Opening Day in April, when we welcome baseball back to downtown Greenville for the first time since 1972."

Baseball has been an integral part of Greenville for more than a century. From the Spinners, whose team name drew upon Greenville's textile heritage, to the Braves to this past year's Greenville Bombers, the city has hosted a number of beloved professional baseball teams.

The Bombers' history began in 1983 with the arrival of the Columbia Mets in Columbia, S.C. In 1993 the Columbia Mets became the Capital City Bombers, honoring the city's men who flew B-25 airplanes during World War II. In 2005, the Bombers moved to Greenville and began their affiliation with the defending World Champion Boston Red Sox. A new name was sought prior to the 2006 season to make it "Greenville's team."

"Along with the team's representatives, we evaluated a list of potential names gathered from community sources such as newspaper polls and radio contests, as well as our own renditions," said Joe Erwin, president of Greenville-based Erwin-Penland, one of the Southeast's leading full-service marketing firms and the group that helped create the Drive's new name and logo.

"Some of the name possibilities included the Grits, the Fireflies and the Greenville Joes, a salute to the city's native baseball legend, Shoeless Joe Jackson," said Erwin. "Major League Baseball vetoed the Greenville Joes because Shoeless Joe was banned from baseball for his alleged involvement in the 1919 Black Sox scandal. The team ultimately chose the Greenville Drive because of the positive image it represents for the entire community."

With the name and logo in place, work has begun on team uniforms and fan merchandise, some of which will be available for purchase on the team's new Website,, currently under development. Sales of 2006 season tickets have also begun in partnership with the Greater Greenville Chamber of Commerce, with more exciting developments still to come in the months leading up to Opening Day.

For instance, today's announcement also included the winners of two contests the team held in conjunction with last week's Fall for Greenville festival. Prizes included a pair of 2006 Greenville Drive season tickets and an all-expenses trip for two to see the Boston Red Sox play next season in historic Fenway Park.

"We'll be aggressively promoting the team throughout the offseason," said Brown, the team's president. "As work continues on the stadium, which is part of a $35 million development including retail shops and upscale condos, we expect the excitement and enthusiasm for the Greenville Drive to continue building right up until the first pitch on April 6."

For more information on the Greenville Drive, including schedules and season ticket packages for the 2006 season, visit or call (864) 422-1510.