There's no better time to introduce a Ghost than on Halloween.
So credit the professional baseball entity formerly known as the Casper Rockies with perfect timing, as the Pioneer League club held a press conference on Wednesday to announce that they will henceforth be known as the Casper Ghosts.
"I think I can say with confidence that we'll be the first Minor League team that is looking forward to hearing lots of boos," remarked club CEO Kevin Haughian. "I originally wanted to be the Casper Weinbergers, but we figured no one would get it."
Facetious references to former defense secretaries aside, Casper's franchise overhaul is an ambitious and far-reaching one. Many elements of the re-launch are still in the planning stages, although a significant aspect of the team's refurbished identity was revealed on Wednesday -- a new logo, courtesy of San Diego's Plan B Branding.
The logo is described in the team's press release as "mystical," and features baseball stitches and a western-style "Casper Ghosts" lettering. But not that's all.
"We've designed the first glow-in-the-dark hat in baseball history," said Jason Klein of Plan B Branding. "There are three different versions. We have one cap that is all black, and when the lights are turned off a hidden "G" materializes inside the ghost logo. The second cap has a bill that is rust colored, and the entire logo glows in the dark. Finally, we have an all-white cap that features the ghost's eyes, nostrils, and teeth. Then, in the dark, the entire logo glows."
A logo this ambitious is designed to reach a larger audience than just the baseball fans of Casper, Wyo., and Haughian has experience in this sort of endeavor. Prior to coming to work for Casper, he served as the GM of the California League's Lake Elsinore Storm franchise. Under Haughian's direction the Storm unveiled their now-famous "eye" logo, which has gone on to become the best-selling logo in all of the Minor Leagues.
"Lake Elsinore has been a runaway success, but we figured that here in Casper it was time to take it to the next level," said Haughian. "We've thrown down the gauntlet and let the Storm know we intend to overtake them. They've been good enough to respond, so here's hoping this turns out to be a healthy and fun rivalry."
"We've got nothing to worry about and are confident we will remain the No. 1 logo in Minor League Baseball," said Lake Elsinore Storm President Dave Oster in a press release.
Of course, it should be acknowledged that the motivation for the Ghosts' name came from the simple fact that Casper the Friendly Ghost has been a cartoon icon for over six decades. Classic Media owns the rights to Casper the Friendly Ghost, and the club has secured an agreement with the company for the right to produce merchandise bearing the benevolent wraith's smiling image.
"Casper the Friendly Ghost is wildly popular in Asia, so there's a lot of potential for overseas merchandising," explains Klein. "And he still has quite a following here in the U.S. as well, obviously." Haughian, as a result of his previous employer, has become acquainted with just how lucrative the international market can be.
"I've seen Lake Elsinore gear in Europe and Australia, where the people wearing it don't even know it's a baseball team," he said. "That's what we're shooting for here, a situation where a lot of our sales will be driven by the World Wide Web."
While thinking globally, Haughian and his staff are acting locally.
"We've got a lot of work to do over the next couple of months, and have to make sure we get the people of Casper on board with our new identity," he said. "We're doing nothing less than completely re-branding the entire franchise."
Benjamin Hill is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.