Rocky isn't just a Philadelphia icon.
The Wilmington Blue Rocks, located just 25 miles from the City of Brotherly Love, have a Rocky of their own. That would be mascot Rocky Bluewinkle, who serves as the centerpiece of the team's new logo.
The Blue Rocks' new identity was unveiled at a cocktail reception Thursday evening, attended by former players, fans, journalists and prominent local politicians. And just one look at the logo makes it perfectly clear that in Wilmington, the moose reigns supreme.
The team's press release sums it up 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 around team mascot Rocky Bluewinkle."
The logo was designed by Plan B Branding, a San Diego-based "ideas company."
"Our philosophy is to take the personality and values of the franchise and turn up the juice, in order to let those things shine through in the logo and the uniform," said Plan B's Jason Klein. "The Blue Rocks are all about fun, and gear themselves toward the youth even more than most teams do."
This youth-oriented focus goes beyond Rocky Bluewinkle, as secondary mascot Mr. Celery is featured on the sleeve patch. Mr. Celery is a somewhat mysterious character, as he only emerges from his subterranean stadium lair after the Blue Rocks have scored a run. Nonetheless, the anthropomorphic vegetable has developed a cult following in Wilmington and beyond.
"Mr. Celery is a phenomenon, and his popularity makes us look like geniuses," said Blue Rocks general manager Chris Kemple. "But in a way, it's much ado about nothing. We found a beat-up celery costume many years ago, and the rest is history."
Moose and celery aren't exactly the first things people think of when they think of Delaware, but Klein insisted that Rocky's intense countenance was directly influenced by the state's history.
"A lot of inspiration came from the fact that the Blue Rocks are the only professional sports team in Delaware, and that Delaware was the nation's first state," said Klein. "There was a revolutionary spirit here, in that people wanted to secede and start their own country. There was a lot of determination, and that became really important as we were developing Rocky's personality."
The connection to Delaware and Wilmington baseball history certainly doesn't end there. The club will be wearing striped socks, which directly reference the Blue Rocks teams of the '40s. Furthermore, an alternate cap features an interlocking "BR" overtop an outline of the state.
And then there was last night's unveiling, which was attended by 275 people.
"More than an unveiling, we turned the evening into a story about what the Blue Rocks mean to Delaware," said Kemple. "Our guests included former players, a host family that has housed 14 Major League players, and people from the city government who were responsible for getting our stadium funding underway.
"In listening to people speak about the team, it became clear that the fans here are very passionate about their baseball."