It has been a busy offseason for Minor League Baseball team rebrandings, as several clubs change their identities ahead of the 2020 season.
The upcoming season will see several MiLB franchises take the field for the first time with new looks. Most of these teams have made their name changes to coincide with the opening of new ballparks—2020 will be a busy year for new ballparks across baseball, with four opening in affiliated MiLB alone—though a few have opted to change their identities as they continue playing in their longtime home facilities.
All four franchises opening new ballparks this season will debut new names. The former Mobile BayBears have become the Rocket City Trash Pandas (Class AA; Southern League) as part of their move to Madison, AL, where they will open Toyota Field in April. The unveiling of the Trash Pandas brand took place in the fall of 2018, so the franchise has had plenty of time to establish and promote its new identity before beginning play in Madison.
In addition to the Trash Pandas, there are two other relocating teams with new brands. A move to Wichita, KS prompted the New Orleans Baby Cakes to become the Wichita Wind Surge (Class AAA; Pacific Coast League), as the club unveiled its brand in November in anticipation of April’s opening of a new ballpark. For their relocation to Fredericksburg, VA, the Potomac Nationals kept their nickname while becoming the Fredericksburg Nationals (High A; Carolina League). Although the franchise is not changing its name, the move to Fredericksburg comes with drastic changes to its logos and marks from what it had previously used, resulting in a brand with a completely different look and feel to go along with the franchise’s move to a new ballpark in a new city.
The only MiLB team that will open a new ballpark without relocating this year, the Kannapolis Cannon Ballers (Low A; Sally League) will take the field for the first time in 2020 after having played as the Kannapolis Intimidators since 2001. The Cannon Ballers will open a new ballpark in downtown Kannapolis, which is being built as part of a larger redevelopment initiative.
Beyond those four teams, there are a few that will return to their familiar ballparks with new looks this season. The Fort Myers Miracle did away with their long-time identity that dated back to the franchise’s time in Miami, becoming the Fort Myers Mighty Mussels (High A; Florida State League) as part of a rebranding unveiled in December. Another drastic change was the Norwich Sea Unicorns (Short Season A; NY-Penn League), who overhauled their branding after playing as the Connecticut Tigers since 2010. The Missoula Osprey name was also retired, as the franchise became the Missoula PaddleHeads (Rookie; Pioneer League). In all three cases, the teams completely overhauled their color schemes as part of their name changes.
This offseason also saw a franchise lay the groundwork for a new brand that will officially take effect after the 2020 campaign, as the Worcester Red Sox (Class AAA; International League) name, logos, and marks were unveiled in November. The current Pawtucket Red Sox, the franchise will relocate to Worcester, MA from Rhode Island after the 2020 season, making the move in anticipation of opening the brand-new Polar Park in 2021.
Along with the rebrandings mentioned above, a few teams changed their primary logos this offseason. Those included new looks for the Danville Braves (Rookie; Appalachian League) and the Winston-Salem Dash (High A; Carolina League).