Here’s an end-of-the-year (end-of-the-decade) edition of the OMNI. It’s also the two-year anniversary of the site’s launch. Happy birthday to MLG!
I’ve been a bit busier than expected with my real life, but I have every intention of finishing up a few longer-form articles. The PBA story has taken on a life of its own, and I’ll probably keep checking in every month or two with response articles as I’ve been doing for the past few months. I also need to complete my “decade in review” article. All forthcoming.
I have been relatively productive here on the site since the last OMNI. The biggest piece I put together is a comprehensive (4,000+ word) guide to minor league Oyo mini-figures. Speaking of “stuff,” I found an Albuquerque Dukes Pro-Line cap to add to the gallery. That was pretty exciting. I added pages for a few more Hall of Famers. I fleshed out the “same name, different city” live page, inspired to do so after completing a team page for the 1991-1999 Texas League version of the Jackson Generals. I wrote up Unsolved Mystery pages for the (Walla Walla) Blue Mountain Bears. Regarding another Unsolved Mystery, a reader named Paul helped to solve the mystery of what Idaho Falls’s team was called in 1985. Thanks Paul!
I continue to revise old pages that I made ~2 years ago when I started this site, but I want to make sure to create a steady stream of new stuff as well. Things to watch for (hopefully) before the next OMNI: more 1990s team pages (Rockford Cubbies up next!), current team pages (Columbus Clippers is next) and I’ll start cracking into the whopping seven team identities that went defunct in 2019. That seems like a good segue into the next section.
In the last two months, we got a steady stream of new minor league team identities. The first announced was the Missoula PaddleHeads, a rebranding of the Missoula Osprey. Missoula didn’t do a name-the-team charade, so the wacky CamelCase nickname kind of came out of nowhere. Of course, the whole new name is shadowed by Missoula’s inclusion on the list of teams that MLB wants to sever PDCs for. The brand itself is pretty cool and unique. I like the colors. It seems like a late-nineties era minor league identity.
Next up, we have the Wichita Wind Surge, the relocated New Orleans Baby Cakes franchise in the Pacific Coast League. I must say that I was very surprised by this identity. Wichita spent the better part of a year building up expectations for what their amazing new identity would be. They said they wanted something classy not quirky, and somehow ended up with the “Wind Surge.” What an objectively terrible nickname! Luckily, the logos and brand elements are nice. Wind Surge. Yikes.
Then comes a team identity that we’ve been expecting for quite a long time: the Worcester Red Sox, with the preemptive colloquialism “WooSox.” The name is not much of a surprise, but the logo set is outstanding. Brandiose made use of the factoid that Harvey Ball, the designer of the iconic yellow “smiley face,” hailed from Worcester. Brandiose gave us the smiley in a post-contact batting stance, wearing a cap and red stirrups. Awesome. The WooSox take to the field in 2021.
The biggest surprise of this year’s crop was the rebranding of the Fort Myers Miracle into the Fort Myers Mighty Mussels. This one came completely out of the blue, not unlike the Tampa Tarpons of two years ago. The Miracle haven’t shown any sides of needing a brand boost, but they apparently said “aw shucks, what the shell?” and seized a new brand. Pretty decent, family-friendly brand that uses the uber-rare light purple/lavender color.
Finally, we had a new one in the New York-Penn League, where the Connecticut Tigers have rebranded as the Norwich Sea Unicorns. I was pretty sure that Sea Unicorns was the name they were going with all along, so the identity wasn’t too much of a surprise. The bigger surprise is that they proceeded forward with the rebranding despite (like Missoula) being one of the teams marked for PDC-severance in the new PBA deal. We’ll see how all that drama plays out, but for 2020, we have a spiffy new identity with some cool branding elements.
In a surprise turn, the Appalachian League’s Danville Braves have updated their logos and branding. That news in itself is not that noteworthy–the team simply added contemporary sheen to what they had been using since their inception in 1993. What is more interesting is that the D-Braves, along with the entire Appy League, is supposedly on the verge of being shut down or at least reorganized under a new affiliation structure in the new PBA. All the teams are owned by MLB clubs, so one has to assume that there won’t be much blocking the league from major change. But then why would Atlanta invest in new brand elements. Hmm.
On the “league logo” front, the Florida State League updated their emblem. I must say that I am not a fan. There have been a bunch of league logo updates in the past few years, and it definitely feels like a case of “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” But whatever, you can’t stop change. You can only comment on it.
Till next time. Thanks for reading.