OMNI February 2019
It’s hard for me to believe that it has only been two months since the last OMNI. It feels like a lifetime ago, but I guess I’ve been busy. Mostly busy with other stuff in life, but also fairly busy working on the MLG site. Here’s what’s new, with the caveat that a lot of this stuff is still incomplete and under construction.
It took way longer than I thought, but I finally got through the 100+ entries in the DIA for teams that went defunct since the year 2000. I also did the five R.I.P. 2018 teams, and the Syracuse Chiefs one in particular took a ridiculous amount of time. You might be asking, “so are you going to do the nineties now?” The answer is both yes and no. Eventually, I will be doing the nineties and eighties and drilling back in time as far as I can go. The nineties is an especially interesting decade to me, so I am tempted to just dive in and work on these teams.
However, there are some other things that need attention too. I plan to go back and revise the 100+ entries that I’ve done thus far. I hit my stride about halfway through, and some of the early ones are a little shabby compared to those that I’ve done more recently. Just the revising will probably take a while, if nothing else because there are so many entries. Speaking of revision, I’d like to clean up and flesh out the collection of “live pages” that I keep creating. This has been one of the neatest by-products of the DIA project, and I keep referencing it myself, so I think others could benefit from it once I go public with the site.
I am also toying with the idea of creating a page for each current minor league team, and this is a huge undertaking. Many/most of the current 160 teams would be pretty quick and easy, but teams with extensive history like the Buffalo Bisons or Birmingham Barons are going to take as long as the Syracuse entry took. So basically, that project could eat up the lion’s share of my 2019 MLG efforts.
Plus there are always sidetracks to write about. I finally got around to reviewing the 1990 Sports Illustrated issue. I have other plans to write about minor league baseball card sets and other memorabilia. One thing that I have already put a lot of work into is the Minors in the Movies series. As of this writing, I’ve done five entries, but at least one more is forthcoming. Lots of cool details throughout, so be sure to check it out.
Another project that I was inspired to do is a collection of pages devoted to individual notable MLB players. I’ve started by making small pages for Hall of Fame inductees, and I have plans to do the same for pitchers who have thrown perfect games. I think this is a worthwhile project, and the pages don’t take too long to crank out.
It looks like 2019 will be another busy year for the MLG.
Our first unexpected identity change announcement of the winter came from the Pioneer League, where the Missoula Osprey will be changing their name after the 2019 season. The Osprey began in 1999, and their brand has been fairly consistent over the last twenty seasons. I really like the identity, but I’m not too sad to see some change. Actually, it seems like it will be a fun DIA entry to write a year from now. There aren’t any name suggestions to report at this time, but stay tuned.
The next announcement came from the Sally League, where the Kannapolis Intimidators are not going to be long for this world. That weird K-monster logo has been around since the team started in 2001, and it’s not a surprise that a refresh is in order. However, it did come as a surprise that they are doing a full-scale revamp and not just a brand redesign. The Intimidators name is inextricably linked to former owner Dale Earnhardt, so it seems a little bizarre to change a perfectly good and meaningful name. After some online backlash (including some Twitter suggestions by Dale Earnhardt Jr.) the team announced that they will still be honoring the Intimidator. Hmmm. We’ll see how this plays out.
The two teams that are phasing out have some similarities, as they both began right around the year 2000 and both had simple, low-budget looking brands. The news reports are very significant to the MLG, and both are now in the Critically Endangered section of the Endangered Teams list. Speaking of teams facing threats…
The New York Mets have made some noise about leaving St. Lucie and find a new home for spring training if the city won’t pony up the right amount of funds for renovations of the complex. This could be some extortion bluster designed to get the shovels in the ground faster, but it’s something to keep an eye on. If the Mets left St. Lucie, that would spell the end of the Florida State League’s St. Lucie Mets.
Moving on to some branding news, the Fresno Grizzlies announced a significant redesign of their visual aesthetic. Orange had been the primary color for Fresno since their inception in 1998, though that was largely due to their status as a Giants affiliate for many years. When San Fran ditched the Grizzlies in 2014, Fresno signed on with the Astros. Houston happened to be another orange-based team, so there was no immediate need to change the brand. But now, with the new Nationals affiliation, it made sense for them to try something new. The team states that this is a “forever” look, but I have to think that the red is at least a little inspired by Washington. The overall look reminds me a bit of the changes that Nashville and Round Rock made this offseason. Speaking of Round Rock…
If I tried to cover every gimmicky branding promotion that minor league teams do these days, each OMNI would take ages to write and reading it would be kind of like hearing a lullaby. However, I like this Astros’ tequila sunrise/rainbow guts situation quite a bit. This helps us remember the new affiliation.
Another promo that stood out to me is the Carolina Mudcats announcing that they will change their name to the “Micro Brews” for a few games this year. DimDers are going mainstream, baby! Milwaukee ownership bought the Mudcats franchise a few years back, and this is a great way to tie into the parent club. The M used in the logos is very similar to what Milwaukee wore when they moved from Seattle in 1970, which in turn is similar to the old Milwaukee Braves’ logo. Anyway, this is the promo of the year as far as I’m concerned.
One last bit of news was the passing of jazz composer André Previn. I first encounted Previn some years back when I was doing some research about the glory days of the Pacific Coast League. I came across the album cover for Double Play! by Previn and Russ Freeman, which features a topless model wearing a Hollywood Stars baseball cap. As soon as I saw that image, I knew I had to have it from my memorabilia collection. I bought the CD and put taped the paper insert up on my wall. Then I put on the music just to check it out, and I remember enjoying it. Time to dust it off.
Hats off to André Previn, influencer of one of the greatest album covers ever. Rest in peace.
Till next time.