FanPost

New Identities for our Farm Teams

Awhile back, I posted about how the Huntsville Stars will be moving to Biloxi after this season and how there is a big question mark hovering over the Brewers’ PDC with the Southern League club. Since then, we’ve seen a few more interesting developments. First a new website was launched that featured a fantastically chopped up Brewers retro ball-n-glove logo, which I’ve taken as a subtle sign that there is interest in a PDC extension. Next, it was announced that Buck Rogers (GM of the Stars) would be following the club to Biloxi. Rogers has been a friend to the Brewers, so it’s another sign that bodes well for a continued relationship. Finally, the team just announced that they are beginning a name-the-team contest, and are accepting submissions. Some Brew Crew Ball readers chimed in with suggestions (Smallpox, Bagels, etc.) already, and that got me thinking about the optimal identity for the new Biloxi club. This opened a can of worms, and before I knew it, I had rebranded the entire Brewers’ Minor League system. Using incredible, cutting-edge technology (Microsoft Paint) I was able to create completely realistic identities for our farm clubs, and I expect that all of these brands will be put into practice within a few years.

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DOUBLE-A: Huntsville Stars become the Biloxi Barley

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In real life, brewers use barley as the primary raw ingredient in beer-making. Likewise, the Brewers will use their Double-A players (Barleys, as they are known) to produce a major league product that goes down smooth. The alliteration is simply the cream on top. I don’t think it matters at all that Biloxi is a Gulf coast city with no history of barley production. This brand will never go skunky.

Logo: As you can see, the Barley's logo will be that very same photoshop job that is present on the team website; with the difference being that this 'bb' stands for Biloxi Barley instead of Biloxi Baseball. For the everyday cap, a grain of barley is cradling the 'bb.' For a retro, alternate look, the Barley go for classic Brewers' royal blue. The barley grains on the bill are a tip-of-the-cap to the old Seattle Pilots and their 'scrambled eggs' effect.

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Mascot: "Hop" the barley grain (take that, Hillsboro!)

Promotions: A t-shirt gun filled with whole grain barley that is sprayed at the crowd. "Barley Davidson" motorcycle race from Milwaukee to Biloxi. Good old-fashioned chugging contest.

Ballpark Quirk: Every year, there will actually be a 100-square foot plot of barley planted in right field, which will not be mowed at any time throughout the season.

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TRIPLE-A: Nashville Sounds become the Nashville Jackwhites

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Nashville is getting a new stadium, so why not a new name? I suggest they name their team after one of Nashville’s more prominent residents.

Promotions: The Seventh Inning Nation Army Stretch. "Sticky Thump"—a body slam competition in a kiddy pool filled with sodapop. A Ron Roenicke-endorsed player event known as "the Hardest Bunt to be Buntin."

Ballpark Quirk: Dead leaves on the dirty ground—littered all along the third base foul line.

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CLASS A-ADVANCED: Brevard County Manatees become the Brewvard County Manatees

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Since there is no way to improve the brand of the Manatees, we have to think outside the box here. Space Coast Stadium might be a dump, but the taxpayers of Wisconsin will gladly agree to subsidize a new ballpark on one condition: the county of Brevard, in Florida, must change its name to Brewvard County. Nobody will notice the difference anyway, but us Brewer fans get to reap the awesome benefits. Want to purchase one of those t-shirts with the Brewers typeface altered for the name of the farm club? Go right ahead. This is America.

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ROOKIE-ADVANCED: Helena Brewers become the Helena Handbaskets

Despite having a quintessentially bland brand, I can’t help but have a soft spot for the Helena Brewers. In term of cumulative years, they have the most history with the parent club of any of the current affiliates. The relationship began in 1985 with the Helena Gold Sox, and they are the last vestige of the nostalgia-inducing Brewers’ eighties and nineties farm system that included the El Paso Diablos, Stockton Ports, Denver/New Orleans Zephyrs, and Beloit Brewers/Snappers. Nowadays, Helena feels a little obsolete playing in the Pioneer League, which features a team named after an alien, a team named after a dinosaur, and a team called the Owlz. Good for scrappy Helena! It’s always fun when farm clubs put their own twist on the parent club’s identity, and the barley H done in Brewers typeface is pretty great. I can’t imagine them doing a better job as long they are attached to the chip-off-the-old-block moniker, but the Pioneer League’s least-watched team (2013 average of 882 fans per game) needs a new lease on life. I give you the Helena Handbaskets, and I won’t even attempt to design anything from scratch using Paint.

Colors: Red and black, with orange flames licking up the sides of the jerseys.

Logo: A cartoon devil catching a pop fly with a basket on hand in place of a glove.

Mascot: Helen, a female devil

Promotions: Helen shoots the t-shirt gun and fans try to catch the shirts with handbaskets. Binge-and-purge(atory) hotdog eating contest. Trident toss.

Ballpark Quirk: There will be a giant basket embedded in the right field fence. If a player hits a home run into the basket, everybody at the game gets a free 5-Alarm Chilidog.

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CLASS A-SHORT SEASON: Introducing the Milwaukie Brewers

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Despite my best efforts, the Brewers do not have a Short Season-A team. When the Northwest League’s Yakima Bears moved south from Washington, initial word was that a new stadium would be built in Milwaukie, Oregon, a suburb of Portland. At the 11th hour, the Hillsboro city council jammed through a stadium bill, and the Hops were born. If the Northwest League expands, or if an underperforming franchise (I’m looking at you, Tri-Cities Dust Devils!) relocates, how great would it be if the Portland area had a second team? Obviously, the Crew would sign the PDC and the new team would be called the Milwaukie Brewers. Every year, they would compete with the Hops for the Rip City Golden Mug, and Portlandia denizens would be drinking every last drop of baseball enjoyment.

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CLASS A: Timber Rattlers vs. Foxes

I’d like to end this on a serious note, and one that should spark some lively debate among commenters. I have no strong opinion on this topic, but I have seen it brought up enough that it deserves mentioning. Should the Brewers’ Midwest League affiliate remain the Rattlers, or should they go back to their old name, the Foxes? Let’s debate.

Place Name: When the Appleton Foxes relocated a stone’s throw away to Grand Chute, they took that as license to claim the entire state as their own. While ‘Appleton’ may no long be a perfectly accurate identifier, a return to an older name—such as ‘Fox Cities Foxes’—would be acceptable.

Nickname: There aren’t timber rattlesnakes anywhere in the Fox Valley, but this identity has become iconic in the last 20 years. Some people say ‘Rattlers’ for short, but that name seems more appropriate for a team in the Southwest than for a team in the Midwest. ‘T-Rats,’ on the other hand, is very nice shorthand that adds a touch of class to the operation. Financially speaking, the identity has been a success, and remains a top-25 brand (of 160+) within MiLB. ‘Foxes’ is a fun geographical play on words that utilizes an under-respected and regionally-appropriate wild dog, but there is a feminine quality to the name that the players may not always appreciate.

History: Timber Rattlers—celebrating 20 seasons in 2014. Foxes—34 years, from 1962-1994, though the place name switched a few times. Check it out.

Mascots: The Rattlers currently feature Fang, a grotesque snake with arms, legs, and a curly tail protruding from his backside. They also have Whiffer, some random Phillie-fanatic wannabe that I’m pretty sure is performed by the same person as Fang, since they are rarely seen together. The future Foxes, on the other hand, could also have two mascots; one male and one female. At least once per game, the Jimi Hendrix song "Foxy Lady" would play over the PA between innings and the male (let’s call him Alfoxso) would lustily pursue the female (Vicky the Vixen) while using the same gestures and gyrations as Garth from the movie version of Wayne’s World.

Logo/Colors/Uniforms: The T-Rats feature maroon uniforms with the W-snake logo. As long as they are called the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers, I don’t think this can really be improved upon. Over the last twenty years, the W-snake has become a classic logo in Minor League Baseball’s canon. Their other logos, like the newer coiled snake and the ‘TR’ fangs simply aren’t as good. For a future Foxes team, the best I have seen was done by Bowen Hobbs on a sportslogos.net forum posting.

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Mr. Hobbs’s color choices (reminiscent of Virginia Tech) are maroon and orange. His reasoning is that the seats in Fox Cities stadium are already maroon, and orange is the color of a fox. It’s not bad, in my opinion, but if the team were to go that route I would probably start missing the old identity immediately. It’s too much fun to crack jokes about Fang and to call them the T-Rats, ad nauseum.

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So, Brew Crew Ball, what say you? Ratters or Foxes? Opinions on the Barley, Jackwhites, or Handbaskets? Brewvard? Milwaukie?

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