Tag Archives: mascots

Creative Names – The Fort Wayne TinCaps

Greetings readers,

In honor of clinching the last playoff spot of the Midwest League, let’s talk about the Fort Wayne TinCaps.

While Fort Wayne has had the same team since 1993, the TinCaps were born prior to the 2009 season. The name is based on Johnny Appleseed, who is buried within the area. Along with a new name, the TinCaps also got a new ballpark to play in downtown called Parkview Field (named after a healthcare institution.)

The history is a treat to read, as the team we now know started as the Kenosha Twins. The Midwest League created a rule where all parks had to be updated before the start of the 1994 season. When the owners discovered that the area had little to no interest in the K-Twins, the team was shopping for a new home. The former Twins team moved and started playing as the Fort Wayne Wizards in 1993, at brand-new Memorial Stadium.

Keep in mind, the Wizards were still part of the Minnesota Twins system. They would switch to the San Diego Padres farm system following the 1998 season. There would also be a redesigning of logos in 1999, as the current set of logos and the mascot Wayne the Wizard was replaced by Dinger the Dragon. You can catch a look at the progress of those logos here. There’s also an interesting story about the guy that was Wayne the Wizard on this site. As an additional tidbit on how the jerseys looked in 1993, give this picture a look.

While a couple teams out there hold the nickname of Wizards, it’s a creative name for the TinCaps. The colors, which were green and blue during the Dinger Days, are red, brown, and green. The apple is also said to be of good luck, according to the team’s website.

While there was nothing technically wrong with the Wizards name, it’s a bit more creative and close to home with the legend of Johnny Appleseed. It’s also an attempt to revitalize downtown Fort Wayne, with the new ballpark and new look.

There’s a ton of baseball history, including 15 years with the Wizards and many more years to come with the TinCaps.

Sources of information from the TinCaps website, checkoutmycards.com, and Baseball in Fort Wayne’s website.

Until next time,

-Lee

Tough Love

Greetings readers,

Fans are an important staple in sports. Basically, no fans equals no money. No revenue; no team. The fans are the ones who buy the jerseys and merchandise, who pay the cable company for Pay-Per-View, and who pay to have a seat.

So let’s ask something, what does a fan do when that team isn’t easy to follow? What if their team is consistently losing?

Today’s topic is going to be covered by two articles. We have ESPN‘s list of the best-ran professional teams and we also have Puget Sound’s Business Journal with their list of the toughest MLB teams to watch (here’s a little guide into how this list was created.)

From the ESPN list, we have a team close to the Miami Valley that is 15th overall in the nation…and one dead last. That’s right, the Reds are 15th and the Bengals are dead last (122nd, if you wondered.) The rankings are based on a few categories, such as players’ effort, ownership honesty, strength of the coaching staff, and values that effect fans. This list took the NHL, NBA, MLB, and the NFL into account.

For the Bengals, the ownership (which, if you ask the majority of the fans and Who Dey Revolution, that’s the problem) is 120th overall. Only the Maloof family of the Sacramento Kings and the Atlanta Spirit of the former Thrashers scored worse. For the Reds, ownership was ranked 17th.

For a look up north near the lake, the Cleveland Indians were the top team in town, ranking 53rd. The Cavs were 65th, followed by the Browns at 91st. For one last stop, the Columbus Blue Jackets were 87th. Out of the ESPN list, the Green Bay Packers were 1st, followed by the Tampa Bay Lightning.

With the Biz Journal, the Reds are the 11th toughest team to root for, with the Indians 9th. The Washington Nationals and the Chicago Cubs are the top two teams in the list. The easiest teams to root for are the New York Yankees and the Boston Red Sox.

Stats aside: when a team consistently loses, it becomes difficult to continue alliances with that team. While it might become frustrating to continue seeing that team lose, it also affects the social part of lives. For example, Person A is a fan of a team that continues to lose. Person B is a fan of a team with a 24-game winning streak. Person B could rag on Person A for liking that team. That’s just part of the Circle of Sports.

From what I’ve seen, the media seems to cover teams that keep on winning. That’s why you keep seeing the same teams on national broadcasts. The more your team wins, the more you win.

I know this article has mostly been reciting stats and saying obvious things, but it does matter how much people  invest in their team. For the fans, they feel like they’re part of the team and have become family. For the front office, the more they invest usually results in more fans. When the players/coaches invest in the team, that usually brings fans in, as well. It’s the Circle of Sports, if that exists.

One last thing: you might wonder why I used a Seattle Mariner as the picture. Well, while looking at the Puget Sound article, I got the idea to type this article. The Mariners were picked seventh, and that was originally going to be the article. However, I remembered the ESPN list and thought it would add more to the post. That wraps up the closest thing to director’s commentary you’ll see on this blog.

Sources of information from ESPN and Business Journal.

Until next time,

-Lee

How to Train Your Streak

Greetings readers,

It takes a good while to start a streak. For the Dayton Dragons, it started around 2000.

Let me explain what streak I’m talking about. I’m talking about the consecutive sell-out streak that the Portland Trail Blazers have had since 1995, with 814. The Dayton Dragons, the lower-A affiliate of the Cincinnati Reds, have tied it up on the recent series finale against the Bowling Green (KY) Hot Rods. After their trip to Indiana to play South Bend and Fort Wayne, the Dragons will be back at home, looking for Number 815.

It’s a very unique story, especially if you ask some of the workers that’s been there since the beginning. Not only do you have a broadcaster celebrating 3,000 games on air, but you have a sell out streak by a minor league team. On the top five list, you have three NBA teams in the Trail Blazers, Chicago Bulls, and the Boston Celtics, followed by the Boston Red Sox in the MLB.

Currently, Dayton’s tied with the Blazers with 814, followed by the Red Sox, and cap it all off with the Celtics and Bulls.

What makes Dayton so successful? To me, the environment is a lot different then some of the other places I’ve went to see a game. It’s aimed more towards a family-friendly environment, and it’s for a good price too. While there’s at least an eight year wait for season tickets, there’s always the Lawn Seats for $7.

The crowd is a different flavor compared to others as well. While some fanbases jump ship as soon as their team sinks, disappointment is rarely uttered in Fifth Third Field. Out of the last eight seasons, only one has been a winning season. The Dragons have also never captured a Midwest League title. While the actual team itself hasn’t been winning championship after championship, the fans still love their team nonetheless.

As an employee of the Dayton Dragons, I have to say it’s a rather laid-back place to work. Families love coming to Fifth Third Field, as well as baseball fans and dates.

The Dragons look to break Portland’s streak this Saturday, July 9th against the South Bend Silver Hawks. Hopefully the Dragons can keep it rolling past 815. The sky’s the limit for this ball club.

Source of information from the Dayton Daily News and Minor League Baseball.

Until next time,

-Lee

Send Us Sonics

Greetings readers,

“Change your profile pictures if you want the Seattle Supersonics back!” According to this article, if you change your picture, that will force the NBA to bring a team to the state of Washington. Will this work in the long run?

While I had the All-Star game on the TV, I found the movie Sonicsgate online and decided to watch that. I knew losing the basketball team hurt a lot of the fans in Seattle and the nation, but I don’t think I’ve truly knew what was missing.

You might be asking why this is a topic for me in my blog. I think it’s neat that people are teaming up for a cause to bring a historic franchise back to a city. I wasn’t a fan of the team moving to Oklahoma City. To me, it seems like a random place to have a professional team. Then again, look at Portland and Sacramento. I know I’ve mentioned the issue of getting new arenas or moving to another market. However, this is about taking arguably Seattle’s best team and moving it somewhere else.

With all the social networking today, it’s easier for people to contact their favorite athletes, teams, news and sports media. While it certainly worked for Egypt’s movement to remove their leader, can it really work in the sports world?

Will Seattle ever see another NBA franchise? I hope so, but time will tell. Will changing your Facebook picture to a logo of the Supersonics bring the team back? Possibly.

Speaking on teams moving from their current home, that seems like it’ll be a theme this week. Not to spoil anything, but there’s another team on the Western front that might make a move.

To close out the article, I’m going to recommend you the reader to watch Sonicsgate when you can (I mention when you can, because it’s roughly two hours.)

Source of information from the Bleacher Report. The entire movie “Sonicsgate” can be seen in its entirety on sonicsgate.org and YouTube.

Until next time,

-Lee

The Fighting New Nicknames

Greetings readers,

I know this has been an issue I’ve talked about many times on my blog, but it’s time to see another school switching their nickname. I’ve mentioned many times about Miami University switching names (from Redskins to RedHawks) and how Wright State switched logos and mascot suits (but kept the name Raiders). There’s several other colleges and schools that have done this process, like Oakland (Michigan) did when they went to Division I (Pioneers to Golden Grizzlies) and Saint Bonaventure in 1992 (from Brown Indians to Bonnies, eventually turning into a wolf in 1999.)

The University of North Dakota is up next to change.

The most well-known sport at UND is their hockey team. With a logo that is similar to the Chicago Blackhawks, the Sioux jersey is one of the most recognizable in college hockey. With seven national championships under their belt, it is arguably one of their most successful sports.

Currently named the Fighting Sioux, UND is looking for a new image after several years of being pressured by the NCAA and other groups and teams.

The University of North Dakota decided the final straw was failing to get the Standing Rock tribe to vote (they asked another tribe, and the Spirit Lake tribe voted to keep the name.)

Another reason North Dakota is shedding the name is to be accepted into the Summit League (formerly the Mid-Con/Mid-Continent.) Currently in the league, along with other teams, is South Dakota (in 2011-2012 anyways), North Dakota State, and South Dakota State. Those three schools have animals as their mascots, such as the NDSU Bison, the SDSU Jackrabbits, and the South Dakota Coyotes. Current member Centenary College (Louisiana) is the only one in the Summit League without an animal as their nickname (Gents and Ladies). However, the smallest D-I school will be dropping to Division III play soon.

Granted, UND isn’t in the Summit League, but they are looking to jump into the league no later than 2013.

The NCAA has been cracking down on schools with names that are linked to Native Americans, because they are seen as hostile and abusive. I remember reading about this around 2005 and it had a list of all the schools that still use those names. While some tribes have said “don’t use our tribe name for your team name,” some are okay with it.

While I’m on the subject: why is it not okay for colleges to use images linked to the Native Americans, but high schools and professional teams can? I know it’s different outside of Ohio, but there are several high schools I can think of that use names like Indians and Redskins. I know that those three levels are different too, but it often struck me as something to question.

Back to the topic at hand, UND has 0ver 2,400 logos of the Sioux in their hockey arena. Not all of those logos can come down, however. The NCAA expects the school to get rid of some of the logos by 2015.

No matter how many times a school changes the nickname, there will always be some people that will wear articles with the old logo/names. It looks like UND students will still be allowed to wear the Fighting Sioux gear after all is said and done.

The sources are Grand Forks Herald and NHL.Fanhouse.com.

Until next time,

-Lee

Mascot Midnight Madness Mayhem!

Greetings readers,

Last week, I had someone ask me why the Cleveland Cavaliers have a dog as a mascot, when they are the Cavaliers. I thought it brought up an interesting point. Sometimes the mascot suit itself doesn’t go along with the nickname of the athletic team. I know this might be common to some teams, probably your favorite team does this too.

First off, what are the purposes of mascots themselves? It’s to bring entertainment to the casual fans and everyone alike. I bring up the casual fans just because the people there to watch their teams won’t notice the mascot unless they do something to interrupt the game itself or walk right by them. It also brings an additional feel to the environment, to make it the team’s own. Are mascots needed, by any chance? Not entirely. Like I mentioned before, the casual fans love them and children also love mascots as well.

There’s probably a lot more teams that I don’t mention here,  but I’ll mention a few. Of course, I should mention that this isn’t the important thing of sports, but it is an interesting topic.

Indiana Pacers– If you don’t know what a Pacer is (I didn’t either when I first saw a game in 2009), it’s a combination of horse racing pacers and the pace car used in the auto racing field (moreso at the Indianapolis 500.) Both of those things have rich histories in Indiana, and there’s an interesting story on wherever to call the team Indiana or Indianapolis, but more on that later. That said, here’s Boomer and Bowser. Boomer is a cat and Bowser is a dog. Boomer, born in 1991, saw the beginning of the Reggie Miller era, while Bowser (2001) only saw a few years of the player now on TNT. If you look at their bios, it talks about what they like and don’t like (the one that made me laugh was “Bowser’s Salary: 365 Dog Bones.) Besides what I mentioned above, with the environment and the children, what does a dog and a cat have to do with a nickname based on an object in horse racing and auto racing? Granted, having someone dress up as a race car probably wouldn’t be something to remember, but it does raise an interesting a question.

Cleveland Cavaliers– The Cavs are currently rebuilding to replace their former star LeBron James, who is now playing for the Miami Heat as you know. One thing that never be taken away from the city of Cleveland is the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Enter Moondog (the picture you see on the article.) Disc Jockey Alan Freed coined the “Rock and Roll” phrase, as well as the “Moondog” nickname. If you want to see something funny though, check out Moondog’s profile on CavFanatic and look under favorite types of music. There is no mention of rock and roll but classical, jazz, and “sassy.”

Stanford University- This school from the PAC-10 calls itself the Cardinal (no ‘s’.) It’s different from Cardinals because it’s not referring to the bird but rather a color in the color palette. Until 1972, the school had a nickname of Indians. When that was dropped, the nickname was the Cardinals, but not representing the bird. In 1981, the school decided to drop the ‘s’ and stick with Cardinal. This is an interesting case, since the school itself does NOT recognize the tree as an official mascot. Granted, it is a representation of the El Pato Alto and the redwood trees. However, the media (sportscasts and college games) will still have the tree as their official mascot.

Troy Bruins- As you might know, I am an internee with the Bruins. Also, I wrote an article about Troy’s hockey team earlier in the year. One thing I didn’t mention is the mascot suit. If you are a Dayton Bombers fan back in the day, you might recognize the tale (no pun intended) of the squirrel who couldn’t fly since he broke his tail so he flew planes instead. It made sense, since the the Bombers were based on Dayton’s history of flight and had a logo of a fighter in their last logo. It kind of makes sense in Troy since it’s in the same area of Dayton and there is Waco Field, just a few minutes outside Troy’s limits.

Ottawa Senators- When you think of the term “Senators, chances are you are thinking about Politics in America. If you’re in Canada or you love some NHL, you think about the hockey team. The past few years have been splendid for this team born in 1992. This second-franchise of the Sens (first one played until 1934 and won 11 Stanley Cups)  has yet to win a Stanley Cup but did come close in the 2007 Finals. The term Senators does not represent what we Americans think and hear about on those news networks, but rather a form of a Roman General. The mascot suit itself is “Spartacat“, a lion that is proudly recognized within the city of Ottawa. Its rival is Carlton the Bear, the mascot of the Toronto Maple Leafs (originally I thought about talking about Carlton, but I decided to leave him out just because I didn’t want to have a super long article and bore the readers.) Spartacat has been with the Senators since 1992 as well.

Those are only a few examples of nicknames that don’t match with the mascot suits. Like I said earlier, it’s not a huge deal if this happens, but it can be common. This might warrant a few sequels (by sequels I mean future posts) on the subject, since I left out a few examples out.

It doesn’t matter who/what the mascot is, it just matters who you root for. The players make the team, not the mascot suits.

Until next time,

-Lee

Colonel Bear Rebel

College sports are huge, no doubt. What happens when your alma mater or your school changes names, mascots, or nicknames?

In 1997, Wright State University changed their Raider mascot to a wolf from a viking. Also in that same time frame, Miami University (in Oxford, Ohio) changed from Redskins to RedHawks. Add Ole Miss to the list.

To distinguish themselves out of the old South traditions, the University of Mississippi has replaced the Colonel with a black bear. The original icon wasn’t the only tradition to be stopped. In 1997, Ole Miss stopped their tradition of waving the Confederate flag and have even banned their band from playing “From Dixie with Love.”

The tale of the bear actually came from a hunt by Teddy Roosevelt and also by Nobel Peace Prize winner William Faulkner (nicknamed “The Bear”.)

To be honest, it’s not a bad transition from a Southern Rebel to a bear. There does lie a story on the bear, like I previously mentioned. Also, this was the popular choice with students as nearly 60% of the voters picked the black bear over a land shark and something representing the “Hotty Totty.”

How will this translate into the rest of the SEC? Of course, this is just an image change but who knows what will happen. Will it be widely received in the world of Division I college sports?

Sorry about the short article, but I thought it was interesting to talk about. Until next time.

-Lee