Walk-Off

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  1. If the St. Paul and Sugar Land indie-league teams are indeed earmarked for moves to MLB-affiliated minor leagues, then the latest plan seems to be that: the St. Paul Saints would take the Fresno Grizzlies' place in the AAA Pacific Coast League, the Grizzlies would then replace the departing Lancaster JetHawks in either the existing High A California League or a new West Coast-based lower-level minor league that would include the Cal League's remaining teams, the Sugar Land Skeeters would follow the Saints into the PCL, and a second PCL club would then be forced to move to a lower-level minor league. However, I remember reading at least one earlier story that suggested that the Skeeters would head instead for the AA Texas League. Oh, well, if the Skeeters wind up in the PCL and the Astros make the Skeeters their AAA affiliate at the first possible opportunity, then the Round Rock Express might gain a chance to reunite with the Texas Rangers -- who, for the time being, have opted for the Nashville Sounds as their AAA representative largely because the Rangers organization (a) regards the now-PCL-member San Antonio Missions' current venue as too decrepit and (b) sees too little, if any, progress being made toward a new ballpark for the Missions anywhere in the San Antonio area.
  2. Instead of Dreamers, I think that Williams would be wiser to have the team be nicknamed the Juice -- which came in second behind Magic in the then-proposed Orlando NBA franchise's naming contest in 1986.
  3. Orlando Dreamers? More like Orlando Dream-Ons if you ask me! Hey, Mr. Williams, 1990 called. It wants its branding consultant and its graphic designer back.
  4. In the span of a relatively small number of hours, Pat Williams and his lieutenants have not only devised that seemingly lazy choice of nickname and that hideously clip-art-like logo for their proposed team, but have also set up a website, a Facebook page, a Twitter feed, and an Instagram feed for their campaign. Also, according to this article on TampaBay.com, Williams has made an apparently face-saving claim that he and his organization would rather land an MLB franchise for Orlando via an expansion than through a relocation of the Rays. With apologies to any ordinary resident of Central Florida who really wants a local MLB club, I find it way too easy to take a skeptical view of this whole effort. Even with more well-thought-out proposals for both a nickname and an emblem, an Orlando MLB franchise initiative still faces daunting questions as to whether the Orlando area -- a smaller media market than either the Tampa-St. Petersburg area or the Miami-Fort Lauderdale area -- could be and would be demonstrably better at supporting an MLB franchise than either (let alone both) of the sections of Florida that already have regular-season big-league baseball. The fact that Central Florida in general has such a seemingly horrible history with both minor-league baseball teams and spring training facilities is another problem that Williams and those working with him need to overcome if they are to realize their dream (pun somewhat intended) of an Orlando team in North American baseball's uppermost echelon. Just as I fear that anyone seeking an MLB franchise for the Las Vegas area is overestimating the ability of such a team to sway lots of tourists to pay profitable sums of money to attend games during their trips to that region, I am concerned that Williams et al. are letting themselves be afflicted with a naïvely grandiose expectation that an Orlando-based MLB club can depend enough on sales of game tickets to vacationers to make up for any difficulty in convincing the locals to spend adequate amounts of money to attend those same games. Then there is that X factor ... that wild card ... that is The Walt Disney Company. With more than sixteen years having passed since Disney sold the Anaheim Angels to Arte Moreno and with the Atlanta Braves no longer conducting spring training at the Walt Disney World Resort's ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex, how willing would Bob Iger and his minions at The Mouse House be to add a major-league-specification and major-league-capacity baseball park to the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex -- even as an on-speculation endeavor akin to the St. Petersburg ballpark known now as Tropicana Field -- and do so with only the company's own money, but without any cooperation with or other participation from Williams and his particular group?
  5. I, for one, hope that if and when Major League Baseball banishes all of those teams from the established minor leagues, the owners of the displaced MiLB teams will reject involvement in any new league organized at least partly by MLB, whether it is an "independent" professional league like the "Dream" league or a summer collegiate league. Instead, in my opinion, those owners who are willing and financially able to transform their MiLB franchises into independent pro teams should either try to get their clubs into established independent pro baseball leagues or band together to form one or more new truly independent pro leagues that would have no involvement with MLB whatsoever. Likewise, I think that those owners who believe that their MiLB clubs could survive without an MLB team affiliation only with a switch to unpaid college players should either try to secure places for their teams in existing summer collegiate baseball leagues or join forces to create one or more new summer collegiate leagues that would keep well away from any connection with MLB.
  6. I remember some discussion of Vancouver as a potential site for an MLB club during the late 1980s and early 1990s. If what I have read about BC Place is correct, that stadium hosted a handful of PCL Vancouver Canadians games and occasional preseason exhibition games between MLB clubs during its first twelve years of existence. (At the very least, if BC Place has retained an ability to accommodate a full-size baseball field since the venue's 2010-11 rebuild, then a Vancouver MLB team should be able to use that stadium as at least a temporary home.) Also, I definitely remember Vancouver's profile going through an upward surge during and after the World's Fair that the city hosted in 1986 (Expo 86). During that era, the criticisms of the idea of placing an MLB franchise in Vancouver seemed to stem from both a concern that the Canadian dollar was too weak to enable an easy profit for a Vancouver MLB team and a general skepticism of the ability of an MLB team based anywhere in Western Canada to amass a fanbase comparable in size to the followings of the Blue Jays, the Expos, or especially most of the US-based MLB clubs. As for a nickname for a Vancouver MLB franchise, if an ursine theme is desired, then I think that Kodiaks is definitely the choice that has the most professional look and sound.
  7. In my opinion, Reebok is wise to revive the vector logo (a clearly more memorable emblem than the delta pattern), but is foolish to bring back also the rather 1970s-like (e.g. Starsky & Hutch) wordmark that accompanied the vector design.
  8. Part of my reasoning about how the NFL might realign the AFC if the Chargers move to London is a belief in the notion that if the league is so eager to do something as risky as put a team in London, and especially if the league's powers that be are wondering nowadays if they can resolve the Chargers' lack of fan support and revenue as a Los Angeles team by steering that franchise toward London, then Goodell et al. might be feeling a lot of pressure to make sure that a London-based version of the Bolts play in a division with teams that are (a) the most desired regular opponents among gridiron football fans in Greater London, (b) in markets which Londoners would have the greatest desire to visit for an away game, and (c) in markets whose own teams' fanbases are large enough, geographically close enough, and wealthy enough to be the most likely sources of people traveling to London for rivalry games. Therefore, I think that, within the AFC (if not in the NFL as a whole), the best possible trio of divisional rivals for a London-based franchise may well be: the Patriots -- a perennial championship contender since 2001, the league's closest team to both the British Isles and continental Europe, and a team based in a part of the United States with a particularly rich history and high income per capita; the Jets -- who play near a city that is not only the largest in the United States, but also London's main rival worldwide as a center of finance and culture; and the Dolphins -- who play close to a glamorous and cosmopolitan city that, particularly in the winter, draws many middle-to-upper-class visitors from the across the British Isles and the European mainland. On the other hand, while I am a Titans fan, I have strong doubts that the AFC South would be a smart choice of division for a London NFL team resulting from a relocation of the Chargers. Jacksonville may be in Florida, but its attractiveness to the average Londoner might be hampered by its having cooler winters, having noticeably fewer tourism draws, and being generally less sophisticated than Miami. In the other direction, I have at least the impression that the average person in the Jacksonville area is poorer, and thus less able to attend an away game in a place as far away as London, than the typical resident of the Miami area. Nashville might be comparable to Boston in terms of appeal and popularity among travelers from the London area. However, it seems rather obvious to me that the country, bluegrass, and Southern gospel genres of music -- the bedrocks of the contemporary global image of Nashville -- are decidedly acquired tastes, particularly among Europeans. Meanwhile, the Nashville area is more populous and possibly richer per capita than the Jacksonville area, but is still very much in the shadows of the New York City, Boston, and even Miami areas in terms of both population and income per capita. Indianapolis anchors a metropolitan area with a population size comparable to that of the Nashville metro area, and it would not surprise me one bit if the Indianapolis area enjoys a higher income per capita than either the Nashville area or the Jacksonville area. However, I suspect also that the Indianapolis area's income per capita is, at best, no higher than that of the Miami area. Furthermore, what can Indianapolis really offer to a visitor from Greater London, especially in the fall and winter months?
  9. I am torn as to whether Captains or Owls would be the best nickname for a Raleigh-based MLB team. On one hand, a Captains identity (a) goes well with Raleigh's status as the closest North Carolina city of its size to where Orville and Wilbur Wright made their first successful flight and (b) conveys a position of leadership (i.e. "captaincy") to which any self-respecting sports team desires. On the other hand, any species of owl makes for a surprisingly fierce bird of prey, and Owls is definitely a more understated choice for a nickname that "strikes fear in the hearts of opponents" than Reapers or Revenge. With all of that said, alliterative appeal notwithstanding, I prefer "Raleigh Captains" over "Carolina Captains" and favor "Raleigh Owls" above "Oak City Owls." Tied for third in my mind are Hounds and Oaks. A domestic dog of any breed, like a wild canine of any species or an owl of any species, is a carnivorous animal, and pretty much any animal in the dog family is known to hunt well as a member of a team, so a Raleigh Hounds identity has the potential to inspire an image of players who are very dedicated to one another and very eager to hunt together for a common goal and to fight together against a common foe ... and that is not even mentioning the likelihood of a "Release the Hounds!" custom among the team's fans. Meanwhile, the oak tree is not only a long-recognized symbol of Raleigh, but is also known as a symbol of an enduring strength such as what a professional baseball team must have in order to succeed over a season with usually no more than one day off in any given week. What I would rank fifth is Nobles. In a vacuum, a Raleigh Nobles identity works due to its connotation of leadership, like Captains; to its connection to North Carolina's history in general, like Captains; and to having a clearly stronger tie to the history of Raleigh specifically than does Captains. However, for Nobles to succeed as a Raleigh-based MLB club's nickname, the logo(s), wordmark(s), uniforms, and overall visual identity would have to be much less gaudy than what Gino Reyes is proposing for such a team on the Raleigh MLB campaign group's website.
  10. @Red Comet, while I think that this is the most sensible way to structure the AFC should the Chargers head for London and be allowed by the NFL to stay in their present conference, the Miami Dolphins' long history of pandering to Northeasterners visiting South Florida and especially to South Florida residents who used to live in the Northeast has me wondering about how likely it would be that the Dolphins and the Buffalo Bills fight each other over which of those teams gets to stay in the AFC East. If the Phins win -- and the Bills lose -- the privilege of playing in an AFC East with the New England Patriots, the New York Jets, and a London team that may or may not have the Chargers nickname, then the league's best choice for realigning the AFC would be: to put the Houston Texans in the Chargers' position in the AFC West, as you suggest; to make the Baltimore Ravens replace the Texans in the AFC South, and thus not only revive the Ravens' former rivalries with the Tennessee Titans and the Jacksonville Jaguars, but also foment a twice-per-regular-season grudge match against the Baltimore-turned-Indianapolis Colts; and to have the Bills replace the Ravens in the AFC North, where at least the Bills would have rivalries with the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Cleveland Browns. Finally, the fact that Miami International Airport has scheduled nonstop passenger flights to and from the London area's largest airport on three airlines and scheduled nonstop passenger service to and from the London area's second-largest airport on a fourth airline -- whereas the closest airport to Buffalo with scheduled nonstop passenger flights to and from any airport in or near London is slightly over 94 miles or 151 kilometers away by car, and across an international border, in the Toronto area -- might help give the Dolphins an edge over the Bills in landing a place in an AFC East with a London-based franchise. While scheduled nonstop passenger flights to and from London may not matter so much to players, coaches, executives, and other team personnel who would enjoy the privilege of going across the Atlantic in a chartered aircraft, such flights or the lack thereof could be a big deal for local fans who are willing and able to attend an away game on the other side of "the pond" and local media personnel who are tasked with traveling those thousands of miles to cover such a game.
  11. Hmmm ... I thought that the change from Wiz to Wizards stemmed from a trademark infringement suit by an East Coast electronics store chain called (Nobody Beats) The Wiz. Based on one article that I read, the original plan was to name the Kansas City team the Wizards in the first place, but the use of the Wizards nickname by a minor-league professional soccer team in a state well away from Missouri led MLS to go with Wiz instead.
  12. @Gothamite, if your assessment of Kroenke is correct, then it seems to me that he is to today's NFL what Jerry Jones was to the league thirty years ago -- a "new money" owner who is decidedly wealthier than most of the more established first-generation owners of NFL teams and/or most of the owners who inherited their respective franchises, and thus has an easy time provoking high levels of jealousy and fear among his fellow NFL team owners and within the league's leadership. In that case, Kroenke probably needs now -- and Jones probably needed in the past -- to outthink, not just outspend, his way to respect and leverage within the NFL. The competition for the Los Angeles market was a situation in which Kroenke's stadium plan outthought that of the Davis and Spanos families enough to earn the blessings of nearly every other NFL owner and Goodell ... just as the conflict between Jones and then-NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue in the mid-1990s over sponsorships, as best as I can remember, ended with Jones outthinking Tagliabue, and thus gaining concessions from the NFL on that matter, by revealing actual and/or supposed examples of the league enforcing its sponsorship policies more stringently against the Cowboys than against some other teams.
  13. Which company concocted what I regard as the worst original name of any of the original MLS clubs -- the Kansas City Wiz? I still remember the frat-boy-like remarks that certain sports reporters made whenever the Burn and the Wiz played each other. As for which team ends up being affiliated with Precourt's Pet Project FC, I think that any club based in San Antonio might be just as unwilling as Austin Bold is to partnering with an Austin-based MLS club, albeit for a different set of reasons. At this point, Precourt and his underlings might have to look to a place like Waco for a developmental affiliate.
  14. Just to be clear, as popular choices for nicknames for a Seattle NHL team go, I think that Sockeyes is, at worst, a lesser evil than Kraken. However, I regard Emeralds, Metropolitans, Pilots, and maybe even Evergreens as better choices than either Sockeyes or Kraken. Furthermore, the only genuinely plausible justification that I can see for the team being named the Seattle Kraken is a desire for an association with a menacing creature (even if it is fictional) for the sake of (for lack of a more accurate term) challenging the Canucks' C-shaped orca emblem and the name and logo of the Sharks. With that said, I wonder about the extent to which the people in charge of the Seattle NHL franchise are considering any not-so-obvious inspiration for the team's nickname. For example, have bones or fossils of any predatory animal from the Ice Age ever been found in the ground underneath Seattle? The Nashville Predators' primary logo was inspired by a saber-toothed cat's skull that was excavated during the construction of a downtown Nashville skyscraper in the 1970s. So, while Nashville has cornered the saber-toothed cat motif in the NHL, have the remains of, say, an American lion (Panthera atrox) ever been extracted from the ground in or near Seattle? If the answer is "yes," then that could give a very different meaning to a "Seattle Sea Lions" identity.
  15. @Mr. Bojangles, I agree with all of this except for what should be done with the Cannon Ballers' home jersey. I think that the retention of the staggered alignment of the wordmark for the full nickname on the home jersey is wonky, but I believe also that a baseball club trying to establish a new nickname with fans in the community where it plays is wise to have the full nickname somehow on the front of the jersey that is likely to be worn during most of the team's home games. Therefore, I would do one of the following with the home jersey (in order of preference): 1. Develop an alternate alignment of the current script wordmark for the full nickname -- one in which "Cannon" is completely above "Ballers" -- and use that alignment on the front of the home jersey (albeit probably with slightly smaller letters). 2. Devise an alternate wordmark comprised of capital block letters -- possibly in a font reminiscent of carnivals and/or circuses -- and use the resulting logotype on the front of the home jersey (preferably with, again, "CANNON" fully on top of "BALLERS"). 3. Move the home jersey's placement of the roundel logo -- a symbol whose boundary happens to contain the team's full name -- from the left sleeve to the left side of the chest, shift the number on the front of the home jersey to the right side of the chest, and place the CB monogram on the left sleeve. The Chicago White Sox, the Cannon Ballers' major-league parent club, have their "SOX" monogram on both their cap and the left side of the chest section of their home jersey, so the Cannon Ballers are more than justified to do the same with the drawing of their new mascot.
  16. @Chromatic, I agree that a prey-animal-based nickname for a team whose closest rival, and especially whose two nearest nemeses, use nicknames and/or logos that reference predatory animals (particularly if the predators are known to eat the nickname-inspiring prey specifically) could create a discomforting situation for a fan. Also, I share your opinion that a nickname of Sockeyes could make a Seattle NHL team an easy target for insults from fans (even the team's own fans if the play is too lousy and victories are too rare) and mockery from the media. However, I think that Kraken as a nickname for the team could provoke its own easily conceived set of snide remarks and cruel gestures from fans and reporters alike.
  17. First, I am concerned that the team's ownership and management are placing a list of finalists for the nickname in a capsule that is set to stay closed for more than forty-two years as little more than an excuse to refuse to comment on exactly which nicknames received serious consideration once the franchise's official nickname is revealed and, therefore, to pressure the public into accepting a possibly mediocre nickname for the team. Second, many of the ways that various Twitter users have replied to the time capsule tweet not only have conspired with the news about the time capsule to reinforce my cynicism with regard to what Seattle's upcoming NHL team might be named, but also have added to my dim view of how those most likely to cheer for a Seattle NHL club are perceiving at least some of the most expected nicknames for the team. Among those replies, what stand out in my mind the most are two apparently contradicting objections to a Seattle Sockeyes identity and how those objections may relate to the overall Sockeyes-versus-Kraken debate. People in one camp seem to dislike Sockeyes as a Seattle NHL franchise's nickname because, among other things, the particular kind of animal depicted in the Vancouver Canucks' emblem is known to eat sockeye salmon. Personally, I wonder if (a) most of these people favor the more faddish, more gimmicky, more cartoonishly minor-league choice of Kraken as the team's nickname; (b) such people are likewise the majority of those who want Kraken to be the team's nickname; and (c) such people prefer a Seattle Kraken identity mainly due to a yearning for a name that "strikes fear in the hearts of opponents" and are hoping and imagining that those playing for a team with such a nickname will be "Krak-ing" the teeth and bones of opposing players regularly during games. People in a different group, meanwhile, seem to be uncomfortable with Sockeyes as a nickname because they regard that name's potential to be associated with the phrase "Sock 'em in the eye(s)!" as cruel and even childish. Well, I, for one, hope that people in this other group are not so hypocritical as to want the team to be called the Kraken, let alone out of a desire for an aggressive and intimidating nickname.
  18. Studio Simon has been providing generally good nicknames and visual identities for its baseball team clients so far. However, a part of me hopes that Studio Simon does not become too popular among baseball clubs, lest the company then become inclined to perform its work at least as formulaically as has Brandiose.
  19. While I would rather see the South Atlantic League's Kannapolis team be called the Cannons or the Cannonballs (even with a spelling of either nickname with a K instead of a C) if the plan is for a circus-inspired nickname, a third possibility for a name with a circus theme may well be the Kannapolis Clowns. If nothing else, the team's ownership could spin such a choice of name as a tribute to the Indianapolis Clowns, who were Negro League baseball's last surviving professional club, the first pro baseball team to employ and use Hank Aaron as a player, and probably the closest thing that baseball has ever had to an equivalent to the Harlem Globetrotters.
  20. Two other supposed motives for the Houston Dynamo name were a desire to pay homage to at least one former Houston professional soccer team that was nicknamed the Dynamos and an attempt at a show of appreciation for the strong presence of energy-related companies and industries (especially in the realms of petroleum and natural gas, obviously) in Houston's economy. As for Nashville's MLS club, had that organization needed to reuse, or otherwise pay tribute to, the name of a Nashville-based professional soccer team that existed before the USL Nashville SC did, I would have preferred that the team be called Nashville Diamonds FC, in honor of the admittedly short-lived Nashville Diamonds of the defunct American Soccer League. I think that the Nashville Diamonds name is the classiest and most polished moniker of any of the pro soccer clubs that played in Nashville before the 2010s, especially in comparison to such longer-lasting brands as the Nashville Metros and the Tennessee Rhythm (two names that were used at different times by the same soccer team). In addition, a Diamonds brand for a Nashville team has the potential to form a subtle association with the glitz and glamour that can result from stardom as a musician who records in Nashville.
  21. Sorry about that, @Red Comet. I was hoping that you were being sarcastic. Anyway, to get this thread somewhat back on topic, have any of you ever read NewBallpark.org, a blog that has spent years covering the Athletics' lengthy, difficult quest to land a replacement for the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum? I neither am an A's fan nor have any personal connection to Northern California, but I have nonetheless been reading that blog somewhat regularly for most of the nearly fifteen years that it has existed. Both the blog's deep, steady coverage of the political and financial intrigue that has prolonged and complicated that club's pursuit of a new home venue and the many passionate comments that many readers have made about the matters covered by that blog have been enough to draw me into being a surprisingly frequent reader.
  22. With Alabama as the home team, the SEC can get away with a daytime kickoff for the game this year. On the other hand, I cannot think of any college or university whose football fanbase is as dominated by people who demand that their favorite team play as many nighttime home games as possible as seems to be the case at LSU.
  23. I suspect that the struggles that the NFL has had with logos for recent Super Bowls are the product of a desperate desire within that league's leadership for a common element in the branding of each Super Bowl. Meanwhile, the Olympic movement has enjoyed a strong common branding element for decades thanks to that iconic symbol of five interlocking rings. It seems to me that as long as those rings, the host city's name, and the year in which that city is holding an Olympic Games are present, an organizing committee for those Games and anyone hired by such a committee to design an emblem for that edition of the Olympics should expect to have a wide degree of freedom in crafting a logo that works well with the event's place and time. As for the 2024 Olympic Games' new emblem, it is a stylish and alluringly daring symbol that is very befitting an Olympics being held in a city known worldwide as a hub of art, design, and fashion. Whoever developed that logo gets an emphatic merci beaucoup from me. Now, I am curious as to what will become of the rest of the visual identity for the 2024 Games.