Shreveport Swamp Dragons
The Shreveport Swamp Dragons of Shreveport, Louisiana, was a team identity that existed in the Texas League for a mere two seasons. For both of their seasons, the team was the Double-A affiliate of the San Francisco Giants.
The Swamp Dragons were born following the 2000 season, after a bizarre sequence of events. In the late-nineties, Mandalay Sports Entertainment (part of the same company as Mandalay Pictures movie studio) began buying minor league teams. Meanwhile, Jon Spoelstra, a Mandalay exec who literally wrote the book on creative sports branding, was working on an ambitious plan at the highest level of sports. At the time, Spoelstra was president of the NBA’s New Jersey Nets, and the team was pursuing a wacky plan to change the team’s name to the New Jersey Swamp Dragons. It came close, but ultimately, the planned was scrapped. In the aftermath of this debacle, Mandalay assigned the Swamp Dragons identity (and some of the visual branding elements) to one of their newly acquired minor league baseball properties: the Shreveport Captains.
While the Captains were a mild and conservative brand, the Swamp Dragons sought to attract attention by being on the cutting edge of wacky minor league identities in the early days of the twenty-first century. Their color scheme was based around bright green and black, and their primary logo was a large menacing dragon gripping a baseball as if he’s poised to pitch a frame. They had two cap logos–both of which featured the letter S with a dragon tail point. A black cap (likely home look) had a green capital S with the dragon point tucked up in its interior. A green cap had a black lowercase S with with the dragon point extended far to the left. These caps, as well as the primary logo, often appear on replica merchandise these days, and were included in one of MiLB’s recent Hometown Collection series.
As one might expect from only two years of play, the list of Swamp Dragon alumni is pretty sparse. Joe Nathan suited up for the team as he bounced back and forth from majors to minors en route to an All-Star career. Joe Niekro’s son Lance played for Shreveport in this time, so I guess that’s something worth mentioning too.
The new brand ultimately wasn’t enough to save the Shreveport franchise. Following the 2002 season, the team relocated to Texas. The Frisco RoughRiders play in the Texas League to this day, and the Swamp Dragons disappeared in a puff of smoke.