Fire Frogs make leap into Central Florida
Fans of amphibians, alliteration and the combination thereof are sure to love the Florida State League's newest team.
The Florida Fire Frogs.
The Fire Frogs relocated from Viera, Florida, following the 2016 season, where they were known as the Brevard County Manatees. The team, Class A Advanced affiliate of the Atlanta Braves, is now based in Kissimmee and will play at the Houston Astros' former Spring Training home of Osceola County Stadium. This marks the first time that the ballpark has hosted a Minor League team since the 2000 Kissimmee Cobras.
The Fire Frogs name and logos were announced Wednesday evening, during an unveiling gala at the Osceola Heritage Club. It had been one of six finalists in a "Name the Team" contest, ultimately triumphing over Dragonflies, Mud Kickers, Rodeo Clowns, Sorcerers and Toucans.
"Fire Frogs won the vote," said team president Joe Harrington, who spent the last three seasons as general manager of the Aberdeen IronBirds. "The name came from two fan submissions. Kara Morrison, from St. Cloud, suggested 'Fireflies.' Steven Strickland, from Orlando, submitted 'Coquis.' That's a species of frog native to Puerto Rico. So we merged those two into one made it part of the fan vote.
"It has a great ring to it," he continued. "The logos look really sharp, and I think the community will really like it."
That the coqui frog is of Puerto Rican origin is no coincidence, as the greater Kissimmee area is home to a large percentage of people who are of Puerto Rico heritage. Harrington referred to the team's array of logos as representing a "family of frogs"; an alternate logo depicting a bull frog (a nod to the rodeos staged at Kissimmee's Silver Spurs Arena) is, therefore, the "crazy cousin."
The team's logos were designed by Brandiose, a San Diego-based firm headed by Jason Klein and Casey White.
"[Brandiose] had a vision, and I think they came up with logos that say what the community is all about," said Harrington. "Whether traditional or non-traditional, it's about family. The families here support each other and want to be supported."
As for why the team opted to use "Florida" as its geographical signifier, as opposed to something more specific, Harrington said that it's because he wants the Fire Frogs to be a "big brand." Kissimmee is located approximately 20 miles south of Orlando, the fourth largest city in Florida and a tourism epicenter.
"This is a big area, and our name signifies that we have the expectation of being big," he said. "We want to be the community's team, to bring more people to the table."
Wednesday's announcement is part of a multi-stage rollout. The Fire Frogs plan to unveil uniforms next month, including a sleek, pinstriped alternate logo featuring a black cap emblazoned with a gray, metallic "F". A mascot will follow shortly thereafter.
"There are a lot of things going on, and we're really excited," said Harrington. "We hope the community is excited too."
The Fire Frogs open their season April 6 with a home game against the Daytona Tortugas.
Benjamin Hill is a reporter for MiLB.com and writes Ben's Biz Blog. Follow Ben on Twitter @bensbiz.