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Teams usher in season with new looks
Minor League clubs freshen brands with logo, uniform changes
02/12/2010 10:00 AM ET
The Brooklyn Cyclones, Casper Ghosts and Delmarva Shorebirds are marking anniversaries in 2010.
The Brooklyn Cyclones, Casper Ghosts and Delmarva Shorebirds are marking anniversaries in 2010. 
Opening Day always provides the opportunity for a fresh start, and few things signify the dawn of a new era better than a new logo.

This offseason has seen a parade of logo-related activity, from full-on identity overhauls to minor adjustments to anniversary insignias to All-Star Game emblems and beyond. What follows is a roundup of what has occurred during the 2009-10 offseason.

Brand new

Lakewood BlueClaws (unveiled Aug. 20) -- In a deviation from standard operating procedure, the BlueClaws unveiled their new logo during the previous season. The announcement was timed with the release of the 2010 schedule, with general manager Geoff Brown explaining, "We just wanted to change things up after nine years. We're freshening up the crab." The crustacean in question is Pinchy, who now sports a more determined visage. The uniform font, called "driftwood," is meant to evoke the lettering seen on Jersey shore boardwalk signage. (Designed by Plan B Branding.)

New Orleans Zephyrs (unveiled Oct. 13) -- The Zephyrs made the wise choice to emphasize their connection to the inimitable city of New Orleans. The new mark, which features a baseball bat intertwined with the city's iconic fleur de lis, has been dubbed the "Fleur de Z." Navy blue remains the Zephyrs' primary color, but a metallic silver hue is replacing the hunter green that was prevalent in the previous, mascot-specific logo. Home jerseys will read "Zephyrs" in navy blue and silver, while the navy blue road unis feature "NOLA" in white script. (Designed by Rickabaugh Branding.)

Mobile BayBears (unveiled Nov. 19) -- The BayBears' express intent with their new uniforms was to honor the past while looking toward the future. That goal is very much in line with the club's biggest 2010 initiative: the relocation of Hank Aaron's childhood home to the stadium grounds, where it will serve as a museum and learning center. The throwback-style home uniforms feature "BayBears" in light blue script across the chest, with navy blue trim. On the sleeve is an emblem of a snarling, bat-wielding bear.

"The bear is out of hibernation, hungry and ready to go," said team president Bill Shanahan. "With our old logo, the bear was a nice, fun, happy bear. But we're going for a more aggressive look now." (Designed by Plan B Branding.)

Richmond Flying Squirrels (unveiled Dec. 1) -- No team has had a busier offseason than the one formerly known as the Connecticut Defenders. In September came the announcement that the team would be relocating to Richmond, and the following month it was revealed the club would be known as "The Flying Squirrels." In December, fans were given an image to go with the name -- "a sleek, angular squirrel in mid-flight," utilizing a color scheme of black, "radiant red" and a previously unquantifiable hue known as "Squirrels silver." The secondary logo features a puffy-tail "R" overlaid atop an acorn. "It's kid-friendly but has a little bit of an edge to it," explained Flying Squirrels president Todd Parnell. (Designed by Plan B Branding.)

Bradenton Marauders (unveiled Dec. 15) -- Let's put aside the somewhat complicated maneuverings that led to the Marauders' existence. Instead, let's focus on the logo: a bushy-bearded buccaneer sporting an eye patch, earring and crossed-bat hat. It should go without saying that the club is a Pittsburgh affiliate: "We wanted to show that we're Pirates-related and have a close association with the big-league team," explained GM Dan Wolfert. "But at the same time we wanted to maintain our own brand and convey that we are something unique." (Designed by Studio Simon.)

HEADWEAR SALES
The top 25 teams in headwear sales during the first three quarters of 2009, ranked alphabetically (Minor League Baseball does not provide specific rankings).

  • Albuquerque Isotopes
  • Buffalo Bisons
  • Carolina Mudcats
  • Charleston RiverDogs
  • Chattanooga Lookouts
  • Columbus Clippers
  • Corpus Christi Hooks
  • Durham Bulls
  • Fort Wayne TinCaps
  • Greensboro Grasshoppers
  • Gwinnett Braves
  • Lake Elsinore Storm
  • Lehigh Valley IronPigs
  • Louisville Bats
  • Myrtle Beach Pelicans
  • Northwest Arkansas Naturals
  • Pawtucket Red Sox
  • Portland Sea Dogs
  • Reno Aces
  • Round Rock Express
  • Sacramento River Cats
  • Salt Lake Bees
  • Toledo Mud Hens
  • Trenton Thunder
  • Wisconsin Timber Rattlers

Eugene Emeralds (unveiled Jan. 21) -- The Emeralds' new logo is similar to the old one in that the script style is almost identical. While the previous mark simply featured "Ems" over a baseball diamond, the new identity showcases the word "Emeralds" over two prominent local landmarks: the Willamette River and Spencer Butte. This is the team's sixth logo since its inception in 1969, but as the news release stated: "Never before has the Ems logo been so deeply rooted in community identity." (Designed by Studio Simon.)

Wilmington Blue Rocks (unveiled Jan. 28) -- Last year, an episode of "Extreme Makeover" was shot in Wilmington. Perhaps that show inspired the Blue Rocks, whose radical overhaul was explained thusly: "The most extreme alterations lie in the change of colors to a powder blue and a move away from the old pickax logo. The new primary logo has the words 'Blue Rocks' centered on team mascot Rocky Bluewinkle." Rocky's intense countenance is balanced by the presence of Mr. Celery on the sleeve patch, a fitting tribute to the runaway popularity of the team's mysterious anthropomorphic vegetable mascot. (Designed by Plan B Branding.)

Alterations, modifications, updates

Jacksonville Suns -- The Suns' blue, yellow and red color scheme was changed to black, gold and "old gold." The home uniform will feature black mesh sleeves, plus a "black, gold and old gold slash around the collar and down the front." The team also unveiled three new cap designs, including an alternate home cap with a new "J" logo.

Reading Phillies -- R-Phils players will be sporting four new pieces of apparel in 2010: a patriotic red, white and blue "Classic Ballpark" game cap and batting practice cap, a red road cap featuring a train atop the "R" and a road jersey that strongly resembles the one worn by the parent Philadelphia Phillies.

San Jose Giants -- The Giants have a "new and improved traditional look" in 2010, in which the connection to the parent club is even more apparent. A new white home jersey "features a 'Giants' word mark in black letters across the chest along with white pants and a black hat with an orange 'SJ' logo."

Anniversaries

Brooklyn Cyclones -- The Cyclones' 10th anniversary logo features a large blue "10" atop a silhouette of Coney Island's iconic amusement rides.

Casper Ghosts -- The Ghosts held a 10th anniversary logo contest, with the winning entry submitted by graphic designer Boyd Erickson.

Delmarva Shorebirds -- The Shorebirds' 15th anniversary logo depicts the front facade of Arthur W. Perdue Stadium, surrounded on one side by "1996" and the other by "2010."

All-Star Games

Lehigh Valley IronPigs -- The IronPigs are hosting the Triple-A All-Star Game, and the big news is that the uniforms will mark "the first time that league-specific uniforms will be worn by respective All-Stars in either Triple-A or the Major Leagues." The lettering on the International League jersey is "IronPigs Steel," while the Pacific Coast League jersey includes "Pacific Coast" across the chest in "brick red" lettering.

Midland RockHounds -- The RockHounds' Texas League All-Star Game logo is a Texas-sized chunk of Americana. It features a baseball-clutching dog in a hard hat laid atop a star, baseball bat and gushing oil well.

Lowell Spinners -- The Spinners are hosting the 2011 New York-Penn League All-Star Game, and they're asking you to design the logo. Serious artists are asked to submit designs in "vector format" before April 1.

Myrtle Beach Pelicans -- The Pelicans will be hosting this year's California vs. Carolina League All-Star Game. The logo highlights the aquatic environs of Myrtle Beach, as a Pelican with a starfish in its mouth is laid atop a sandy background.

Benjamin Hill is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.
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