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New Minor League names, logos for 2020

A nationwide rebranding roundup, from Rookie ball to Triple-A
January 21, 2020

The Winston-Salem Dash unveiled a new primary logo on Wednesday, thus concluding the Minor League Baseball rebranding season. During this roughly three-month period, one of the most reliably entertaining portions of the offseason, teams across the country unveil new names, logos or both. Now that rebranding season is in the rearview

The Winston-Salem Dash unveiled a new primary logo on Wednesday, thus concluding the Minor League Baseball rebranding season. During this roughly three-month period, one of the most reliably entertaining portions of the offseason, teams across the country unveil new names, logos or both. 
Now that rebranding season is in the rearview mirror, ready to give way to promo schedule unveiling season, it's time to look back at the changes that occurred across the Minor League landscape. The final 2019-20 tally of nine teams equals the total in 2018-19; there were five in 2017-18, nine in 2016-17 and 10 in 2015-16. For those keeping score at home, that's 42 teams over a five-year period.   

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Date: Oct. 5
Team: Fredericksburg Nationals
Occurrence: New logos for relocating team
Designer: Studio Simon
The Carolina League franchise formerly known as the Potomac Nationals has relocated from Woodbridge, Virginia, to Fredericksburg, where it will play in a new ballpark. The team opted to retain the Nationals name, as Washington, D.C., is located just 54 miles to the north. But in conjunction with the move, it released a new set of logos designed by Studio Simon. The Potomac Nationals were called the P-Nats; similarly, this iteration of the franchise will often be referred to as the FredNats. General manager Nick Hall said "that's what people will call us across Minor League Baseball, across the country and here in Fredericksburg." One alternate logo features the Fredericksburg skyline, while another depicts noted Fredericksburg resident George Washington swinging an axe.

Date: Oct. 23
Team: Kannapolis Cannon Ballers
Occurrence: New name and logos in conjunction with a new ballpark
Designer: Studio Simon
After 19 seasons as the Intimidators, Kannapolis' South Atlantic League club changed its name to the Cannon Ballers. The reason was twofold. The Class A Chicago White Sox affiliate is moving to a new downtown ballpark this season and, perhaps more importantly, it didn't own the Intimidators name (that moniker, a reference to Kannapolis native Dale Earnhardt Sr., is controlled by his widow, Teresa). Cannon Ballers, another Studio Simon creation, refers to the carnival-like atmosphere expected at the new ballpark. More significantly, it's a nod to the (now defunct) Cannon Mills textile company for which Kannapolis is named. The titular cannon baller sports a bushy mustache, not unlike Earnhardt's. The NASCAR racer's No. 3 is subtly embedded within the "B" of "Ballers." 

Date: Nov. 4
Team: Missoula PaddleHeads
Occurrence: New name and logos
Designer: Brandiose
Missoula's Pioneer League team is under new management, as longtime owners Judy and Mike Ellis sold the club to Big Sky Professional Baseball. The new owners decided to move on from the Osprey name, meaning that Missoula loses its distinction of being the only professional baseball team to be named after an animal that lives in its natural habitat at the ballpark. What it gains is an identity that references the wide variety of river-based activities that are popular in the region. An aquatic moose is part of the primary logo; fitting, in that moose antlers are known as paddles. The moose's eye contains a silhouette of Missoula's Mount Sentinel and Mount Jumbo, depicted under the moon and the sun. 

Date: Nov. 13
Team: Wichita Wind Surge
Occurrence: New name and logos for a relocating team
Designer: Todd Radom
After a 12-year absence, Minor League Baseball is returing to Wichita. That team is the Wichita Wind Surge, who previously existed in the Pacific Coast League as the New Orleans Baby Cakes. The Wind Surge name, per assistant general manager Bob Moulette, was chosen because "Wichita is the air capital of the world." The Pegasus in the primary logo is "an eternal symbol of aspiration ... harnessing the wind and surging forward." The logos, one of which was inspired by Wichita's iconic city flag, were designed by Todd Radom. He said the "consensus was that this is a city that is looking forward ... dreaming big dreams and making things happen. The Wind Surge will play in a new ballpark located in the same spot as the city's previous Minor League facility, Lawrence-Dumont Stadium. 

Date: Nov. 22
Team: Danville Braves
Occurrence: New logos
The Danville Braves, Atlanta's Rookie Advanced affiliate in the Appalachian League, were established in 1993. They wore the same hat for the entirety of that time before unveiling three new designs just before the Thanksgiving holiday. The primary cap, black with a red brim, features a red "D" in an Atlanta Braves-style font. There isn't a tomahawk on the cap, although two alternates still include this piece of weaponry. The team also updated its primary logo, swapping out a teal baseball diamond background in favor of a red, white and blue roundel. 

Date: Nov. 25
Team: Worcester Red Sox
Occurrence: New logos for a relocating team
Designer: Brandiose
The Pawtucket Red Sox, known as the PawSox, are embarking on their final season at venerable McCoy Stadium. They will then relocate to central Massachusetts in advance of the 2021 campaign, becoming the Worcester Red Sox. That's the official moniker, at least, but the International League club's branding centers around the "WooSox" nickname. The smiley face in the primary logo, his stance modeled after Ted Williams, references the fact that that iconic piece of optimistic imagery was created in Worcester. The heart at the center of the "W," meanwhile, is a nod to Worcester's role as "the heart of the Commonwealth." Team president Dr. Charles Steinberg said that while other names were considered, WooSox was the popular pick in the community. "If the question is 'Who beats the WooSox?' then the answer is 'Nobody beats the WooSox,'" Steinberg concluded. 

Date: Dec. 3
Team: Fort Myers Mighty Mussels
Occurrence: New name and logos
Designer: Brandiose
The state of Florida already is home to Minor League teams named the Stone Crabs, Threshers, Tortugas, Jumbo Shrimp, Hammerheads, Blue Wahoos and Tarpons. The latest entry in this already robust aquatic bouillabaisse are the Mighty Mussels, formerly known as the Miracle. The name change came after the Class A Advanced Twins affiliate came under the ownership of Jacksonville-based Zawyer Sports. The Mighty Mussels in question have literal muscles, reflecting the team's emphasis on promoting a healthy, active lifestyle. The color scheme, heavy on the purple, represents the myriad sparkling hues that reflect off a mussel's shell. An alternate logo depicts two mussels locked in an enthusiastic handshake. This, perhaps, is an homage to the greeting shared by Carl Weathers and Arnold Schwarzenegger in the film Predator. 

Date: Dec. 5
Team: Norwich Sea Unicorns
Occurrence: New name and logos
Designer: Brandiose
Norwich, Connecticut, celebrated a pair of anniversaries in 2019. It was the 10th season for the New York-Penn League's Connecticut Tigers and the 25th season of having a Minor League Baseball team in the city. Now that those milestones are in the rearview mirror, the Tigers have rebranded as the Norwich Sea Unicorns. The Sea Unicorn in question is a narwhal, which Jason Klein of Brandiose describes as a "tough-as-nails sea captain." The name and corresponding imagery harken back to Norwich's role as a bustling port city, as Sea Unicorns are a nod to the legends told by captains after returning from a long voyage. Navy blue, prominent in the color scheme, references the region's current status as a nautical powerhouse. Naval Submarine Base New London is located nearby, as is the headquarters of the General Dynamics Electric Boat Company (a leading manufacturer of Navy submarines).

Date: Jan. 15
Team: Winston-Salem Dash
Occurrence: New logos
Designer: The Variable
The original Winston-Salem Dash logo, unveiled in 2009, featured the side profile of an angry, streaking baseball in front of the team's name. The newest iteration, unveiled last Wednesday, de-emphasizes the Dash. An overlapping "WS" stands for not only Winston-Salem, but also the Chicago White Sox organization with which the Dash are affiliated. Thus far, the Carolina League team has unveiled three hats (home, road and an alternate); the uniforms will be unveiled in February. The Dash hired The Variable, a Winston-Salem-based advertising agency, to create the new look. 

Benjamin Hill is a reporter for MiLB.com and writes Ben's Biz Blog. Follow Ben on Twitter @bensbiz.