There are some truly awful minor-league team names out there. An abbreviated list: IronBirds, Doubledays, Baysox, RiverDogs, LumberKings, TinCaps, Intimidators, BlueClaws, JetHawks, BayBears, SeaDogs, River Bandits, SilverHawks, ValleyCats.
Call it the "IronRule": If you've got two capital letters in your name, you've done something wrong.
The latest and greatest case in point: the Omaha Storm Chasers:
- The unveiling of the "Storm Chasers" moniker marked the culmination of a "Name the Team" contest that drew 1,500 fan submissions. This glut of options was eventually narrowed down to nine finalists, each representing one of five key facets of life in Omaha: philanthropy, the military, transportation, agriculture and the weather. A fan vote, in concert with focus group research and input from logo design firm Plan B Branding, resulted in the selection of "Storm Chasers."
"The common theme that emerged [in the focus groups] was that Omaha deserves a bit more for itself, and is entitled to a unique hometown identity," said Jason Klein of Plan B Branding, which has previously been involved with prominent Minor League rebrandings such as the Richmond Flying Squirrels and Lehigh Valley IronPigs.
Additionally, team mascot Casey the Lion will be joined by a pair of meteorological-themed costumed characters: Stormy and Vortex.
Still, many in the area had become attached to the O-Royals moniker, which reflected the team's long-standing affiliation with the Kansas City Royals. Cordaro conceded that the reaction to Storm Chasers has thus far been a "mixed bag," while Klein utilized a more elaborate metaphor.
"A logo, symbolically, is a box. And over the years, fans accumulate experiences with an organization and put their emotions into that box," he said. "When there is a logo change, all of these emotions are dumped out, and now all of a sudden there is a new box. So it's reasonable and understandable for there to be some negative reactions. There hasn't been enough time yet to take the emotions linked with the old box and put them into the new one."
First, that's the worst metaphor ever.
Second, three mascots? For a Triple-A team?
Third, when do you know a sports team is lying? When they claim they've let the "fans" determine their name. Read that one bit closely ... "A fan vote, in concert with focus group research and input from logo design firm Plan B Branding ..."
You know that that means, right? The "fan vote" is to mollify the fans, with the marketing people doing whatever the hell they want (presumably with a little help from ownership).
For a long time, Royals was a good name because the parent club was beloved in the area, and highly successful. Then the parent club came into disrepute, and being the only Triple-A club named after its parent didn't seem so wonderful. The Omaha Royals became the Golden Spikes, which was a really cool name if you were born in the 19th century. Otherwise, not so much. That lasted for three whole seasons before they became the Royals once more.
Now they're Storm Chasers, which I predict will last for more than three seasons. Four or five, maybe.
They're definitely on the right track, though. I think the problem is that they just haven't taken the fan voting and the focus groups and the branding expertise quite far enough. I'm just spitballing here, but how's about ... BenevolentRailBombingHuskerStorms?
Just think about the costumed characters!