Tag Archives: MiLB

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

Creative Names – The Vancouver/West Michigan Whitecaps

Greetings readers,

Today’s Creative Names will deal with two teams that share a nickname. Enter the Whitecaps.

One team is part of the Detroit Tigers’ farm system (and has been since 1997.) The other plays in the MLS. One has been around since 1994, while the other is just starting up. One is known for having a gigantic burger worth 4,800 calories on their menu and shares a corporation name in their ballpark name with the Toledo Mud Hens and fellow Midwest League foe Dayton.

The West Michigan Whitecaps started playing in 1994, after the Madison Muskies moved in 1993. The team has been in the same ballpark since the team’s birth. Once called the Old Kent Park, the stadium name was changed in 2002 to Fifth Third Ballpark when the company bought the Old Kent Bank. Fifth Third also owns two other baseball parks in Toledo and Dayton, as well as a college basketball arena in Cincinnati. There is also the Fifth Third Burger, which weighs in at four pounds and 4,800 calories. It was featured on an episode of “Man vs. Food.”

The actual name comes from two sources: one from the history of baseball within the Grand Rapids area and the other from the proximity of the Grand River and Lake Michigan. The actual history of baseball for the area actually started in 1980 when a columnist questioned why can’t baseball work there where it does in Evansville, Indiana (Detroit’s Triple-A franchise was there at the time.) The history is very interesting, so give it a look-through here.

Over the northern border lies the Vancouver Whitecaps. Looking at their logo, you can see the top part being the mountains and the bottom part (which kind of looks like a W) being the blue waves of the Pacific Ocean. With this logo, it’s easy to identify the tops of the mountains as being white caps. The history with this team begins in 1974, as the Whitecaps played their first game. They won the championship in 1979, defeating the Tampa Bay Rowdies. Skipping all the way to 2008, the Whitecaps were announced to be the 17th team in the MLS. They will soon play in the newly-renovated BC Place. Give the history a look-through here.

I remember watching the Columbus Crew game in Vancouver on ONN, and I just remember the mountains hanging over the stadium. It was a beautiful site to see. Columbus won that game 1-0 over Vancouver.

So there you have it, two professional teams with the same nickname but different history. One deals with the actual baseball hats whereas the other deals with the mountains.

Also, the logo posted of West Michigan is the old one. The new one can be found on WM’s history site, with a wave inhaling a baseball. The old logo kind of reminds me of Miamisburg’s old city logo. I’m not sure when they switched logos, but it might be around 2003 from a picture I seen with the current uniform setup, which dates from 2003-present. You can see the old logo on some old programs, which are hanging up in the hallway of Fifth Third Field in Dayton. It’s pretty neat to see.

Source of information from West Michigan’s website, Vancouver’s website, and miamisburg.org (for the old logo comparison.)

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