The Louisville Bats have a new look, and they want to make sure that it's on your radar.
The Bats -- Triple-A affiliate of the Cincinnati Reds -- unveiled new logos and uniforms during a Monday afternoon event at their home of Louisville Slugger Field. This marks the first rebranding since the International League club adopted the Bats name in 2002, a move that followed four seasons as the "RiverBats."
The Bats' previous black-and-purple color scheme has been swapped out for red and navy blue. The bat in the primary logo, previously a front-facing abstraction, is now depicted flying in front of a baseball moon while gripping a baseball bat in its talons. (Louisville is, of course, the home of the Louisville Slugger bat company and the team's name plays off this association.)
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Bats senior vice president Greg Galiette, reached by phone prior to Monday's event, said that the reasons for rebranding were threefold.
"We're closely associated with the Reds, both geographically and through our affiliation. We thought we should get a look closer to the Reds, since there are so many of their fans in our market," he said. "Another important factor is that there is a rich and deep tradition as regards Louisville's previous Minor League franchises. If you go back to the Redbirds, and the Colonels before that, they wore red. And, a lot of the time, they wore navy. We wanted to pay homage to that."
He continued, "And then there's the merchandise. We're going to have increased merchandise opportunities, and we're looking forward to those also."
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As for the bat in the primary logo, Galiette said that the team decided not to adopt the "sneering and angry" look that has been de rigueur within the current Minor League logo landscape.
"That was the original concept, but we kind of pulled it back, especially with all of the associations between bats and vampires," he said. "We didn't want to scare too many kids, but we did want it to look intimidating. We're hoping that we've hit it up the middle."
The Bats' new look was designed by SME, a design firm that has a strong working relationship with the MC Sports Acquisition ownership group of which the Bats are a part. SME has also designed the logos for the Reno Aces and Bowling Green Hot Rods, the other two teams in the MC Sports Acquisition portfolio.
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Monday's stadium event also included the unveiling of four uniforms: home, road, an alternate navy jersey and a "patriotic red" jersey to be worn on Sundays and holidays. The home jersey was modeled by Cincinnati native Joel Bender, who pitched for the Bats in 2015. Seth Varner, another Ohio native-turned Reds pitching prospect, wore the road duds.
"At home we'll be predominantly wearing red. A red logo as far as the lettering, red piping and red socks," said Galiette. "On the road we'll have more of a navy look, accentuated with 'Louisville' in script, and above the two 'i's in Louisville are flying bats. On all of the jerseys, we'll have red baseball-seam piping on the sleeves."
Now that the logos have been unveiled, the Bats will turn their attention to promoting it.
"We've got a little bit of everything going, and now we're looking forward to getting it out there," said Galiette.