OMNI Labor Day 2018
In the most recent Occasional Minor News Informational, I said that I’d wait till mid-September to do another edition, but I decided to do another quick one before that. I expect that the next OMNI will be plenty full with things like PDC results and the Fayetteville brand unveiling and such, and there are a few things that demand attention now.
Late summer vacations and such have slowed down my DIA entries a bit, but I’m still expecting to get through the year 2000 this fall. Another thing that’s slowed me down is that the Utica Blue Sox entry spurred me to create several new Live Pages (Vampire Identities, CamelCase, The Sox Drawer, etc.) with more to come soon. I feel these pages add some great dimensions to the site, so I’m going to keep at it while I have the notion.
Wowza! It really happened! After years of speculation and stalled attempts at relocation, the Pawtucket Red Sox are moving. I expected that this long-tenured, historic franchise would never actually live up to their relocation threats, but here we are. The team is moving to Worcester, Massachusetts in time for the start of the 2021 season, and they are expected to be called the Worcester Red Sox, or WooSox for short. In a weird coincidence, they will be playing at Polar Park–named after Polar Beverages.
Now, what do Polar Beverages and the Pawtucket Red Sox have in common? They both use a polar bear for their logo! Of course, the baseball mascot was a reference to the PawSox nickname (as in bear paws) so it wouldn’t make as much sense as a WooSox mascot. Of course, the team did recently pay for updated logos, so it wouldn’t be a surprise to see the polar bear move to Massachusetts. Plus the polar beverages connection. Weird.
I digress, but this is truly huge news in the grand scope of the minors. It will be sad to see the PawSox relegated to the annals of the DIA. I moved the PawSox from Vulnerable to Critically Endangered on the Endangered Teams list. Since the move isn’t going to be for a few years, they are at the bottom of the Critically Endangered list, just below the Mobile BayBears.
This absolutely blew my mind. New Era and Lids partnered up for a line of caps featuring minor league logos on the front and major league logos on the side. As you may know, I have a bit of an obsession with Pro-Line caps produced in the mid-nineties that used a similar technique, albeit with the MLB logos on the back of the caps. (Except for one of the Albany Polecats’ caps that had the Orioles’ logo on the side to accommodate contrasting cap panel colors.
What happened with this new line in 2018 is that they were released mid-summer, and had every single Triple-A team represented. Whose bright idea was that? We are in a PDC change year, and beyond that, we know that no fewer than three Triple-A identities (51s, Chiefs, Sky Sox) will be defunct by the end of September. Plus, the aforementioned PawSox, who will be toast within a few years. Even if they keep the polar bear logo, the P on his cap will not be moving to Worcester. What a waste of thread. Unbelievable.
The caps are pretty cool, though. Beyond the MLB-logo-on-side, another thing that differentiates them from the Pro-Line caps is that they used the MiLB team’s color scheme to fill in the logo. So while the Pro-Line caps were hit and miss with the color clashes, these caps are treating us to the bizarre sight of seeing some MLB logos in colors that aren’t in their current scheme. Let’s have a look:
THE LIKELY-TO-CHANGE-PDC CAPS
THE WEIRD COLOR SCHEME CAPS
THE UNCONTROVERSIAL CAPS
I barfed up quite a few words on those caps, so I’ll keep this succinct. PDC season is coming soon, and there will be some important changes. Nothing has really changed at the Triple-A level, but the Texas/Houston/Milwaukee dance with Round Rock/Fresno/San Antonio is worth watching. At this point, I’m taking it as a given that Round Rock and Houston will link up, so that leaves Fresno and San Antonio between the Rangers and Brewers. I still think that both the Rangers and San Antonio will have mutual interest, but there are a few factors that could deter that. One is the ongoing ballpark debate in San Antonio, and the Rangers could balk at the idea of having to wait a few years for their players to play in the new park. Another one is Milwaukee’s connection to Elmore Sports Group and how that might tie in with another affiliation expiration.
Way down at Rookie Advanced level, the Helena Brewers are moving to Colorado Springs. Elmore Sports Group counts this franchise among their assets, as well as the Triple-A Sky Sox franchise that’s moving to San Antonio. This means that Elmore has been working with Milwaukee for years, on multiple affiliation levels. It’s hard to imagine any team jumping at the chance to send their teenage prospects to the inflated offense of Colorado Springs. If the Brewers decline to extend the PDC, who else is there? The Rockies already own a Pioneer League team, so that seems unlikely. What happens if there are no takers in a level with only 18 teams? Would the NAPBL intervene? Hard to say.
This is pure speculation, but where these two storylines could converge is if Elmore says to Milwaukee something like, “you stick with us in the Pioneer League, we’ll stick with you in San Antonio.” Surely, Milwaukee would prefer to have San Antonio (same time zone) over Fresno, even if there would be no guarantee of having their players in a new ballpark for any extended period of time. We’ll see.
And when we do see, we’ll have a new OMNI. Thanks for reading.