By Steve Samek
Big news from the minor-league baseball world comes off the field in the offseason. Teams change affiliations when player development contracts come up for renewal.
Often times with the switches come relocations and name changes. So far this offseason, three squads have rebranded with very results. I’ll take a look at which one’s work and which don’t.
The New Orleans Zephyrs also rebranded, announcing it Tuesday night. They have adopted the moniker, the Baby Cakes.
No, that is not a typo. Their name is actually the Baby Cakes.
This name is after the New Orleans dish the king cake. Inside each cake is a plastic baby that grants a prize to the finder of it.
They also have adopted a yellow, purple and green color scheme.
This name is awful and the worst of the rebrands yet. The one logo looks like a baby with a shrimp tail, even though it is a cake upon second glance. The other logos are fine, but nothing too special.
I can’t take this name seriously. What grown man at the Triple-A level wants to be a Baby Cake? This is a pet name, not a sports team. Unique name, but not one I like.
The first team is the former Brevard County Manatees. They change hands from the Brewers to the Braves. The rebrand puts them as the Florida Fire Frogs.
I like this change a lot. It adds something to the Braves system they lack: a minor-league squad not called the Braves.
It’s a unique name, too, not just a unique one in the system. What I like about the name is that it isn’t over the top, but it’s still interesting. It’s unique and minor league appropriate without being excessive, or stupid. It won a name the team contest and the fans chose well here.
The second team is the former Jacksonville Suns of the Double-A Southern League affiliated with the Miami Marlins. Gone are the Suns and in are the Jumbo Shrimp.
This is only good for alliteration, but to me this name is over the top. Why would you name your team after a food? Why after an animal not so intimidating like a shrimp. Maybe if it worked for El Paso it could work for Jacksonville.
The Suns have been in Jacksonville since 1962 and the historical moniker wins over the ridiculous one here. Plus, the color scheme is very similar to the Pensacola Blue Wahoos, and it doesn’t really stand out like the old black and gold scheme.
This name wasn’t chosen in a name the team contest, but there had to be better options available, or don’t rebrand the almost iconic Suns.
Our final offering to date involves the former Binghamton Mets, the Double-A team for the New York Mets. I am not a fan of naming your team after your parent if you’re above the rookie league level.
So, the Mets name isn’t one I liked. The Binghamton community spoke and Rumble Ponies was the winner (I voted in this contest for the Stud Muffins).
The team name comes from Binghamton being the “Carousel Capital of the World.” The logo is a red, silver and white carousel horse looking to charge into battle. It combines the story and identity of the town with an intimidating logo. Plus, it’s a unique, but not over the top name.